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The Essential 38 Vancouver Restaurants: April 2014

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It's time to update Vancouver's Eater 38, the answer to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" This group spans a myriad of cuisines and budgets, across the city and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs. Every quarter, we add pertinent restaurants that were omitted or have newly become eligible. (Restaurants must be at least six months old - the list is in no particular order).

Got beef with the list? State your case in the comments or on the tipline. Oh, don't forget to take a look at the Vancouver Heatmap - maybe that's where your much-loved newly-opened restaurant is? .

April 2014:
Added:

Guu Garden, Bistro Wagon Rouge, YEW Seafood & Bar, Fairmont Pacific Rim RawBar, Buck Stop, West

Removed:
Good Wolfe, La Mezcaleria, Campagnolo Main, Red Wagon, La Belle Patate, Salt Tasting Room

January 2014:
Added:

Motomachi Shokudo, Cincin, Miku, Secret Location, Bambudda, La Mezcaleria, Good Wolfe, Homer Street Cafe, Burdock & Co., The Farmer's Apprentice

Removed:
Ajisai Sushi Bar, Black + Blue, Hoi Tong, Irish Heather, Les Faux Bourgeois, Pelican Seafood, Raincity Grill, Sula Indian Restaurant, The Mexican, Zakkushi Charcoal Grill


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kingyo Izakaya

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871 Denman St, Vancouver
BC V6G 2L9, Canada
(604) 608-1677
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The essential Vancouver Izakaya experience. Get there at lunch to score one of the Deluxe Bento Boxes (only 10 made each day) to try a whole heap of absolutely everything. At night time soak up the noisy atmosphere, over-order from the daily changing specials, try a squeezed-at-the-table fresh juice take on a chu-hai. Stay late.

2. Buck Stop

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833 Denman, Vancouver
BC V6G 2L7, Canada
(604) 428-2528
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The West End has become a place of pilgrimage to those who are serious about American-style barbecue thanks to the fine folk at Buck Stop. Hand-made and home-smoked is the name of the game, from the delicious syrups and infusions behind the bar to the lip-smackingly wonderful creations that come from chef Henry Besser Rosenberg’s in-house smoker. All that plus excellent prices and late-night opening.

3. Motomachi Shokudo

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740 Denman St, Vancouver
BC V6G 2L5, Canada
(604) 609-0310
Finding the perfect bowl of ramen is something of a Vancouver obsession and you may find yours here. Prepare to queue at this tiny hole in the wall joint in the West End and you'll be rewarded with some of the best broth in the city.

4. Forage

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120-1300 Robson, Vancouver
BC V6E 1C5, Canada
(604) 661-1400
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Chef Chris Whittaker probably walks the sustainable walk more than any other Vancouver chef, obsessing over all things foraged, locally-farmed and seasonal. With an award-winning restaurant packed with energy-efficient gizmos and a seriously-impressive zero-landfill waste record since they opened— this is absolutely the place to bring your eco-friends.

5. Tableau Bar Bistro

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1181 Melville St., Vancouver
BC V6E 0A3, Canada
(604) 669-5060
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One of those places that effortlessly seems able to be the ideal brunch, lunch, date dinner or hanging-with-friends destination. Chef Marc-Andre Choquette’s (ex-of the much-mourned Lumière) deft work in the kitchen translates French bistro standards into Vancouver classics.

6. CinCin

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1154 Robson St, Vancouver
BC V6E 1B2, Canada
(604) 688-7338
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A Vancouver staple, tucked away upstairs on Robson Street, CinCin does contemporary Italian food absolutely beautifully. Worth a visit for the squash ravioli alone. Perfect for dates and special occasions or just because you deserve it.

7. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

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777 Thurlow St, Vancouver
Canada V6E 3V5, Canada
(604) 669-1940
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Top-notch, friendly service added to outstanding value make this one of the city's best choices for entertaining out-of-town visitors or just treating yourself to a damn good unpretentious meal. Head up to the roof top patio for daily Appy Hour and Buck a Shuck deals in their sun trap garden.

8. Guu Garden

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M101 - 888 Nelson St, Vancouver
BC V6Z 2H2, Canada
(604) 899-0855
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You may have to work a little to find this Izakaya gem in the heart of downtown (head upstairs and don't accidentally visit the similarly-named Gyu) but once you do, oh - it's worth it. From the hot towels at the start to the secret garden terrace outside, everything delights here (including the prices). All the Izakaya classics are fantastic and they may possibly have the best chicken karaage in the city—and the most innovative fresh sheet.

9. Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca

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1133 Hamilton St., Vancouver
BC V6B 5P6, Canada
(604) 688-7466
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If you want to be treated to some of the very best Italian food in Canada then have Pino Posteraro's Chefs Menu and don't even think about the expense. Yes, it's 'Occasion Dining' but Cioppino's is exactly what birthdays, anniversaries and credit cards were invented for. [Photo Credit]

10. Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

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1095 Hamilton St., Vancouver
BC V6B 5T4, Canada
(604) 688-8078
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With a winning team of executive chef Frank Pabst leading the way in the kitchen, Yoshiya Maruyama heading up the sushi bar and ultra-talented Evelyn Chick on bar duties you're all but guaranteed a wonderful evening. Raw or cooked, the fish is the star; out of towers will adore the BC seafood towers. A little pricey but worth every cent.

11. Homer Street Cafe Bar

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1155 homer street, Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada
Bagging a brace of awards in their first months of opening, including Eater's Best Restaurant, Homer Street Cafe's take on casual fine dining and delicious crisp rotisserie chicken makes for a winning recipe.

12. Hawksworth Restaurant

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801 W. Georgia St., Vancouver
BC V6P 1C7, Canada
(604) 673-7000
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The city's love of all things casual stops at the door here: nowhere in Vancouver has such an beautiful room to enjoy truly fine dining. No Lululemon, please. Chef David Hawksworth's elegant creations pair perfectly with the surroundings.

13. Hy's Steakhouse

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637 Hornby St., Vancouver
BC V6C 2G2, Canada
(604) 683-7671
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A gloriously old-school subterranean window-less lair that Don Draper would absolutely love. Order up steak and martinis, get a caesar salad made table-side and admire the city's only open-flame charcoal-grill.

14. YEW seafood + bar

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791 West Georgia St., Vancouver
BC V6C 2T4, Canada
(604) 692-4939
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Few work as hard to champion sustainable seafood as chef Ned Bell, who along with his team at YEW have created one of the more interesting restaurant/bars in the city. Along with award-winning pastry-chef Bruno Feldeisen delicious creations and bar manager Justin Taylor's innovative cocktails, Ned Bell's beautifully-balanced flavours and textures make YEW one of the most consistent casual fine dining delights in Vancouver.

15. Meat & Bread

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1033 West Pender, Vancouver
BC, Canada
(604) 566-9003
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Yes, they may do daily specials, but good luck going there and resisting the lure of their insanely good Porchetta sandwich. Juicy tender pork and crunchy skin spangled with house-made salsa verde and stuffed into a fresh-baked ciabatta roll. [Photo Credit]

16. RawBar

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1038 Canada Pl, Vancouver
BC V6C 0B9, Canada
(604) 695-5502
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Hats off to Chef Darren Brown and team for pulling this one off: Vancouver's first 100% Ocean Wise sushi restaurant at RawBar. Some seafoods have been switched around to make the menu work, for instance, substituting unago for house smoked sablefish, introducing Yellow Fin Tuna and Silva Prawn, as well as removing Tobiko and replacing it with Masago, but a venture like this is well worth supporting—and hey, you may discover new sustainable fish favourites.

17. Miku Restaurant

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200 Granville Street, Vancouver
BC V6E 2E9, Canada
(604) 568-3900
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A stunning room overlooking the water and mountains plus zingingly fresh sustainable sashimi and blowtorch-ed aburi sushi makes Miku a signature Vancouver experience.

18. Chambar

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562 Beatty St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2L3, Canada
(604) 879-7119
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The restaurant that spawned almost every other great opening in town from Bao Bei to Meat and Bread. Chef Nico Schuermans has created the archetypal Vancouver 'casual fine dining' restaurant with a relaxed room and a menu that effortlessly hops from BC-flavoured French classics to Belgian moules-frites. Also known for serving the city's best tajine.

19. Wildebeest

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120 W. Hastings St., Vancouver
BC V6B 1G8, Canada
(604) 687-6880
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Yes, they have vegetarian options on the menu, but Chef Wesley Young's meat-centric menu will mostly delight carnivores. And there is plenty to be delighted by: bison tartare, Angus short ribs, dry-aged ribeyes... up the stakes: order the roasted bone marrow and luge it with sherry to savour every last meaty drop. [Photo Credit]

20. Secret Location

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1 Water St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2H9, Canada
(604) 685-0090
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One of the city's most innovative chefs, Jefferson Alvarez creates modernist-style cuisine in the glossy white retail-space-meets-restaurant of Secret Location in the heart of Gastown. From edible clays to melt-in-the-mouth aerated fois gras foam, each mouthful is a playful delight. Currently offering one of the best deals in the city for fine dining on a prix-fixe drink-paired menu.

21. Bambudda

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99 Powell St, Vancouver
BC V6A 1E9, Canada
(604) 428-0301
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Modern Chinese brasserie gems from chef Scott Korzack paired with truly innovative cocktails from Buck Friend make this a must-visit spot in Gastown. When the sun shines, there's no nicer place to be than enjoying the rays at the bar, nibbling on chicken skins and radish cakes.

22. L'Abattoir

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217 Carrall St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2J2, Canada
(604) 568-1701
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You may come for Shaun Layton's exceptional cocktails (the Gastown Swizzle is a must for newcomers), but you'll probably want to stay for chef and co-owner Lee Cooper's French-inspired simple cooking. Ultra-cool but not try-hard.

23. Nicli Antica Pizzeria

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62 E Cordova St., Vancouver
BC V6A 1K2, Canada
(604) 669-6985
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If you've never been to Naples at least you can close your eyes and imagine that you're there at Vancouver's first VPN-certified Neapolitan pizza restaurant. The Chef David Tozer's Bianca is a garlic-lover's dream.

24. Pidgin

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350 Carrall Street, Vancouver
BC V6B2J3, Canada
(604) 620-9400
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Scoring a brace of awards including a place on EnRoute's 'Best in Canada' list, PiDGiN goes from strength to strength. The gentrification protesters who previously dogged its doorway have mostly gone away (perhaps focussing on tax-dodging conglomerates or mega-chain, union-busting corporations, instead of a small restaurant? Who knows.) Go and see why Canadian Culinary Championships Gold Medal Plates winner, Makoto Ono has Vancouver food-lovers in an uproar over his menu which blurs the lines between fine dining/casual and Asian/European cooking styles. Pleasingly affordable, open late and a 'shall-we-try-them-all?' cocktail programme from talented barkeep Robyn Grey.

25. Bao Bei

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163 Keefer St, Vancouver
Canada, Canada
(604) 688-0876
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Listen out for the tell-tale sound of woks crashing in the kitchen; the decor may be modern but the technique is traditional at Tannis Ling's popular Chinatown brasserie. Excellent cocktails, generously-proportioned sharing plates and "Kick Ass House-Fried Rice".

26. Phnom Penh

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244 East Georgia Street, Vancouver
BC V6A 1Z7, Canada
(604) 682-5777
Go with friends and order large at this well-priced hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese-Cambodian. You'll definitely want the deep-fried crunchy chicken wings (it's the dipping sauce that make it amazing). The beef luc lac with egg and rice and garlic squid are particularly fine too. [Photo Credit]

27. Bistro Wagon Rouge

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1869 Powell St, Vancouver
BC V5L 1H9, Canada
(604) 251-4070
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Pulling in line-ups and rave reviews, Brad Miller’s neighbourhood French bistro on Powell is doing everything right just now. Yes, you’ll have to wait as they don’t take reservations, but with nearby Odd Society Spirits distillery doing a brisk trade in pre-dinner craft cocktails in their tasting lounge, no-one is pouting. If it’s on the menu, have the Pavé, possibly one of the most wonderful things to ever happen to a potato.

28. Burdock & Co.

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2702 Main St, Vancouver
BC V5T 3E8, Canada
(604) 879-0077
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One of the most important chefs in the city, Andrea Carlson’s CV reads like a 'Best Of...' run-down of every restaurant that helped shape Vancouver’s fresh, local and sustainable style: C, Raincity Grill, Sooke Harbour House, Bishop's - she’s worked at them all. Burdock & Co is a shining example of casual locavore fine-dining: Vancouver style.

29. The Acorn

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3995 Main St, Vancouver
BC V5V 3P3, Canada
(604) 566-9001
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Another winner on the EnRoute 'Best in Canada' list, The Acorn is beloved by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. You won't pout over the lack of quivering protein on your plate when you have treats like the raw zucchini tagliatelle to enjoy. [Photo Credit]

30. Pho Tan Vietnamese Restaurant

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4589 Main St, Vancouver
BC, Canada
(604) 873-3345
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The signature Pho Bo Satay at this cash-only Main Street Pho-lovers delight is fabulous. End squabbling over where in town has the best Pho by coming here. The crunchy-spicy-juicy shrimp cake is also a must-have.

31. Long's Noodle House

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4853 Main St, Vancouver
Canada, Canada
(604) 879-7879
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Server Sandy is a force of nature at this Shanghainese standard: be guided by her, heck, she'll tell you what to have anyway. The XLB 'soup' dumplings are particularly good as is the 'drunken chicken' which is served a little warm rather than chilled.

32. Au Petit Cafe

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4851 Main Street, Vancouver
Canada V5V 3R9, Canada
(604) 873-3328
The queue outside tells you that you're in the right place as the slightly unassuming signage could make you think otherwise. Delicious and cheap bánh mì just like mama made it - if mama came from Vietnam that is. [Photo Credit]

33. West Restaurant + Bar

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2881 Granville St, Vancouver
BC V6H 3J4, Canada
(604) 738-8938
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Chef Quang Dang’s beautifully presented multi-element creations elevate West Coast cuisine to fine art in the intimate setting of one of South Granville’s most popular rooms. Start with innovative cocktails from award-winning David Wolowidnyk in the lovely library-like bar before handing yourself to wine director Owen Knowlton. You’ll be in the very best of hands.

34. Vij’s

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1480 W 11th Ave, Vancouver
BC V6H 1L1, Canada
(604) 736-6664
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No reservations here at celeb chef Vikram Vij's namesake restaurant - there's always at least an hour queue no matter who you are. Smart diners leave their name and head off for drinks - try West for a well-made cocktail. The lamb popsicles and saag-paneer are must-haves. If you can't bear to wait - try Vij's Rangoli instead. No popsicles but the same beautifully-balanced Indian food.

35. Maenam

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1938 West 4th Ave, Vancouver
British Columbia V6J 1M7, Canada
(604) 730-5579
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Chef Angus An's deft flavour-balancing act of sweet, aromatic, citrus, heat and spice creates plate-lickingly great Thai dishes with a BC-twist. Absurdly cheap; the $10 fermented Thai sausage and curried rice puff salad is your new favourite thing.

36. Fable

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1944 W. 4th Ave., Vancouver
BC, Canada
(604) 732-1322
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Living the locavore dream on West 4th, the hype around chef Trevor Bird’s farm to table cooking is deserved. Excellent service and decent price points make this a genuine neighbourhood favourite. Booking is essential for the Boozy Brunch sessions (last Sunday of the month) which always sell out. [Photo Credit]

37. The Farmer’s Apprentice

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1529 W 6th Ave, Vancouver
BC V6J 1R1, Canada
(604) 620-2070
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Creating a stir on West 6th, Chef David Gunawan, his partner Dara Young and team are crafting daily-changing menus adhering to an ultra-local farmer-led philosophy. Go and see what critics, diners and fellow chefs are raving about.

38. La Quercia

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3689 W 4th Ave., Vancouver
BC V6R 1P2, Canada
(604) 676-1007
Northern Italian done absolutely right by Adam Pegg - the first chef in Canada to do a Slow Food Masters in Italy - and oh, how it shows. Order alla famiglia - let them decide what you want - whatever’s fresh and available that day. But make a point of requesting their legendary agnolotti di Guido.

1. Kingyo Izakaya

871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L9, Canada
The essential Vancouver Izakaya experience. Get there at lunch to score one of the Deluxe Bento Boxes (only 10 made each day) to try a whole heap of absolutely everything. At night time soak up the noisy atmosphere, over-order from the daily changing specials, try a squeezed-at-the-table fresh juice take on a chu-hai. Stay late.
871 Denman St, Vancouver
BC V6G 2L9, Canada

2. Buck Stop

833 Denman, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L7, Canada
The West End has become a place of pilgrimage to those who are serious about American-style barbecue thanks to the fine folk at Buck Stop. Hand-made and home-smoked is the name of the game, from the delicious syrups and infusions behind the bar to the lip-smackingly wonderful creations that come from chef Henry Besser Rosenberg’s in-house smoker. All that plus excellent prices and late-night opening.
833 Denman, Vancouver
BC V6G 2L7, Canada

3. Motomachi Shokudo

740 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L5, Canada
Finding the perfect bowl of ramen is something of a Vancouver obsession and you may find yours here. Prepare to queue at this tiny hole in the wall joint in the West End and you'll be rewarded with some of the best broth in the city.
740 Denman St, Vancouver
BC V6G 2L5, Canada

4. Forage

120-1300 Robson, Vancouver, BC V6E 1C5, Canada
Chef Chris Whittaker probably walks the sustainable walk more than any other Vancouver chef, obsessing over all things foraged, locally-farmed and seasonal. With an award-winning restaurant packed with energy-efficient gizmos and a seriously-impressive zero-landfill waste record since they opened— this is absolutely the place to bring your eco-friends.
120-1300 Robson, Vancouver
BC V6E 1C5, Canada

5. Tableau Bar Bistro

1181 Melville St., Vancouver, BC V6E 0A3, Canada
One of those places that effortlessly seems able to be the ideal brunch, lunch, date dinner or hanging-with-friends destination. Chef Marc-Andre Choquette’s (ex-of the much-mourned Lumière) deft work in the kitchen translates French bistro standards into Vancouver classics.
1181 Melville St., Vancouver
BC V6E 0A3, Canada

6. CinCin

1154 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1B2, Canada
A Vancouver staple, tucked away upstairs on Robson Street, CinCin does contemporary Italian food absolutely beautifully. Worth a visit for the squash ravioli alone. Perfect for dates and special occasions or just because you deserve it.
1154 Robson St, Vancouver
BC V6E 1B2, Canada

7. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

777 Thurlow St, Vancouver, Canada V6E 3V5, Canada
Top-notch, friendly service added to outstanding value make this one of the city's best choices for entertaining out-of-town visitors or just treating yourself to a damn good unpretentious meal. Head up to the roof top patio for daily Appy Hour and Buck a Shuck deals in their sun trap garden.
777 Thurlow St, Vancouver
Canada V6E 3V5, Canada

8. Guu Garden

M101 - 888 Nelson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H2, Canada
You may have to work a little to find this Izakaya gem in the heart of downtown (head upstairs and don't accidentally visit the similarly-named Gyu) but once you do, oh - it's worth it. From the hot towels at the start to the secret garden terrace outside, everything delights here (including the prices). All the Izakaya classics are fantastic and they may possibly have the best chicken karaage in the city—and the most innovative fresh sheet.
M101 - 888 Nelson St, Vancouver
BC V6Z 2H2, Canada

9. Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca

1133 Hamilton St., Vancouver, BC V6B 5P6, Canada