In an effort to make good places easier to find for those who aren’t overly familiar with the dining scene in Vancouver, I am aiming to make a list of places that I recommend in each area of the city. My aim is to provide readers with a list of tried and true restaurants in different price brackets so that most of the guess-work is done. Here are my price definitions:
High End: Prices in this category are typically above $25 per main course. These are higher-end places so a bit of effort with dress is required, reservations are likely, and these restaurants can be relied on for a special occasion or to impress a date or family members. A little hoity-toity but not in a you-aren’t-good-enough-to-be-here kinda place.
Mid Range: Prices in this category are generally around the $15 to $20 mark for main courses. The atmosphere is welcoming and slightly more formal than the lower-end places so you could likely still get away with jeans, but not your Lululemons. Perfect for situations where you want a comfortable setting, like date-night, catch up with the girls, or just a good meal at a decent price.
Affordable: Prices in this category are around $10 to $15 for a main course. Not always a restaurant but can be as simple as a coffee shop, or a pop-up donut shop. The atmosphere is usually more laid-back so there really isn’t a dress standard. Perfect for weekends, affordable alternative to cooking,
Gastown is easily my favourite area of town to eat out in so gathering my list of favourite food destinations for this area wasn’t difficult. What will be difficult is keeping this list current. Gastown is constantly evolving and adding new bars, restaurants and coffee shops. It can be hard to keep up! You can be assured that Gastown has something for everyone, and every price range.
High End Choices in Gastown:
L’Abattoir: A chic, semi-formal restaurant that dishes up French-inspired West Coast cuisine. The food is well-executed, the space is elegant, and the crafted cocktails are exceptional. Bring the credit card!
Boneless quail and crispy chicken sausage roll - L’Abattoir
Loin of Rabbit - L’Abattoir
Pourhouse: This restaurant-meets-bar packs a punch with quality food and strong, well-mixed drinks served up with a generous portion of charming ambience. Some people go for the drinks, others for the food. Prices are considerably higher than they used to be which is why I have it in the high-end choice. It gets loud on the weekends so not a great choice for a special occasion or romantic dinner.
Mid Range Choices in Gastown:
Nicli Antica Pizzeria: This popular pizzeria brings Vancouverites authentic Neapolitan pizza in a modern, stylish space. Prices aren’t cheap for pizza ($12 to $20) but they are delicious. Great for date night or a girl’s night as it isn’t too formal, yet is slightly more upmarket than other places. It gets busy so plan ahead.
Pizza – Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Salt Tasting Room: If you like charcuterie plates and wine, then Salt is made for you! Salt allows diners to assemble their own charcuterie plate from a menu of artisanal cheeses, cured specialty meats, and condiments, such as honey or olives. The helpful staff will offer food and wine pairing suggestions based on your preferences. The space is stylish and rustic. Prices for the tasting plates are under $20, making Salt a perfect choice for an affordable informal gathering, or a few after-work drinks.
Affordable Choices in Gastown:
The Sardine Can: A small, intimate Gastown bar that offers affordable small plates of familiar Spanish tapas. Prices start at $5, with no dish currently priced over $10. Also sells Spanish beers and wines.
Selection of dishes from The Sardine Can
Nelson the Seagull:A charming no-frills café that offers simple, honest food and some of the best coffee in Vancouver. Prices are exceptionally fair. A casual, welcoming spot for breakfast, lunch, or just a coffee.
Breakfast - Nelson The Seagull
Dirty Apron Deli: Dirty Apron is a cute deli that offers gourmet sandwiches, hot meals, and baked goods. The deli also acts as a small market for high-end cooking ingredients, equipment, and produce. The long table allows for communal seating during the lunch rush, or you can get to-go. They also cater.
Beef and Ale Stew - Dirty Apron Deli
Meat & Bread:This extremely popular sandwich shop offers tender roasted-meat sandwiches for under $10. The warm porchetta sandwich is what people line-up for. Plan ahead for this one as there is usually a line.
Porchetta Sandwich – Meat & Bread
Cartems Donuterie: From its small, downtown eastside location, this pop-up donuterie has made a big splash onto the Vancouver food scene. Cartems creates freshly made old-fashioned donuts in a variety of interesting flavours, such as Earl Grey, Maple Bacon Bourbon, and Carrot Cake. All donuts are $3 each.
Donuts – Cartems
Cadeaux Bakery: The Gastown baking experts, Cadeaux offers freshly baked flaky pastries, cookies, scones, brownies, and cakes. The pretty bakery also has limited seating. Prices are affordable considering the quality of the goods. Their peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, croissants, and lime coconut macaroons are favourites of mine.
Revolver:Revolver is a trendy, coffee-obsessed Gastown café. The funky café has some seating in its stylishly rustic belly but due to popularity, I generally have to get coffee to go. Prices are around $4 for espresso drinks.
Latte - Revolver
Nuba: This casual Lebanese restaurant caters to those looking for healthy, yet tasty, options at affordable prices. Lebanese dishes such as falafel, grilled meats, and salads are available and are delicious.
Falafel Plate – Nuba