Alright, one more before 2021 officially sinks in! With the last year having been such a bleak discourse, we figured we were entitled to stretch the merriment of the holidays a little further. Our Season of Giving campaign is wrapping up this week, but before we go, here are a few of our fave spots to dine out with your household crew. Valentine’s is coming up after all; a list like this certainly could come in handy when you’re stressing about making plans with someone special. Go get em!
This unassuming little spot, for our money, has the best sushi across several municipalities. Premium seafood handled with care by expert chefs is really the secret here (who would’ve thought!). The level of quality in every roll and piece of sashimi is so high, it will make a connoisseur out of anyone. Congratulations, you’ll never eat another pre-packaged dynamite roll from the corner store again. It’s a blessing and a curse, really.
Piva Modern Italian
This gorgeous New West room has some of the best modern Italian we’ve ever had! While it’s on the finer side of dining, there’s absolutely nothing stuffy or pretentious about this gem. The restaurant was founded with the philosophy of creating a personal touch every step of the way. Whether you’re asking for a recommendation from their immaculate wine list or marvelling at the food presentation-their pizzas are seriously gorgeous- you’ll be pleasantly surprised at every turn.
If you’re planning an intimate dinner, you can’t do much better than a quiet table at Chambar. There’s a sense of mood in everything this restaurant does, and the attention to consistency speaks to how many awards they’ve won. The atmosphere, the service, and most importantly, the food, builds to your visit always feeling like an occasion no matter the day of the week. With a medley of culinary influences (Belgian, North African, Persian, and Mediterranean), Chef Nico Schuermans creates a language of tastes that is distinctly his own. Order their famous mussels + frites combo with a side of sourdough to lap up the divine sauce- no more words needed.
Published on Main
As if getting a restaurant up and started through 2020 wasn’t enough of a task, Published on Main has since carved out a niche of their own through a tumultuous year. Already one of the best places on Main Street to get a cocktail, Published is looking at a long run as one of the area’s new staples. The menu pulls from all of Vancouver’s natural delicacies, from the Chef foraging for fresh chanterelles himself, to sourcing local bee pollen for their Japanese-styled milk buns. Try the roasted Fraser Valley duck if you had any doubts about this wonderful spot being added to the list of Main Street greats.
Salmon n Bannock
Traditional Canadian food is so much more than just maple syrup and poutine (thankfully). Salmon n Bannock, Vancouver’s only Indigenous owned and operated restaurant, is a feast of homegrown dishes and flavours. Giving modern takes on traditional recipes like elk stew and dried bison with bannock crackers, this is a delicious glimpse into the traditional food of BC’s first people.
Mr. Red Cafe
There are plenty of tasty spots to get good Vietnamese in Greater Vancouver, but our hearts will always belong to Mr. Red. As one of the few restaurants that specifically serve Northern Vietnamese cuisine, you’ll definitely taste the differences in regional flavours in dishes like their famous pho, and bahn mi. Located on the edge of Burnaby, Mr. Red has been recreating the authentic tastes of Hanoi for over ten years now. Their dedication to preserving these traditional recipes has definitely served them well as they’ve now expanded to three locations. We’re just happy we now have even more opportunities to grab their grilled pork belly meatballs.
Vancouver’s North Shore:
Hachiro Ramen + Bar
There’s something inherently nostalgic about ramen on a cold day. The savoury umami taste of every slurp will take you back to cradling a bowl of soup on a day home from school. The bowls at Hachiro conjure that sensation for us every time- bursts of hearty flavour, fresh bean sprouts, and housemade noodles- picture that final scene from Ratatouille. Add in modern takes on traditional Japanese curries, and an outstanding cocktail list, and it’s no wonder this is one of the North Shore’s premier spots to come in from chilly weather.
Located in the Rosemary Heights area of South Surrey, Tap has been keeping the locales well-fed with traditional European cooking since 2008. Paired with a West Coast vibe, each plate arrives with a local twist on worldly flavours. If it’s your first visit, we recommend starting with excellent housemade focaccia with 18-year-old balsamic, the seared beef filet, with phyllo wrapped mashed potato, and finishing with the vanilla bean crème brûlée.
While Vij’s in Vancouver is Chef Vikram Vij’s flagship eatery, his South Surrey location deserves just as much acclaim. Undoubtedly one of the first “name” restaurants to arrive in the area, My Shanti sets a delicious example for any incoming chefs. The room itself is a burst of vibrant colour outdone only by the flavours on each plate. The sweet and sour Bombay prawns will have you salivating throughout your day at the thought of your next visit, while the marinated, grilled chicken korma in cashew garlic cream sauce will… honestly, it’s probably just best you try it for yourself. No amount of flowery language will do it justice.
Overlooking a beautiful 55-acre vineyard, this authentic French bistro caters to wine lovers and foodies alike. Making the most of seasonal BC ingredients, the kitchen’s fresh sheet always has something new and exciting to offer. Thankfully with any change, they’ve got their 100% BC wine list to accommodate with superb pairings. Whether you’re visiting for lunch (try the stuffed crepes with morney sauce and provolone) or dinner (the lamb shank is braised for three hours in white wine, served in house-blended curry spices), you’ve always got a fantastic meal ahead of you.
So are you feeling peckish yet? Pick any of these local businesses and you’re sure to have a fruitful evening. No matter where you choose to dine, we always recommend supporting the little guy whenever you can as these are the spots that keep Greater Vancouver a destination for flavour seekers. As a little incentive, you can visit our Instagram page to enter to win gift cards to a couple of eateries on this list!