No matter how near or far you are from home, a recommendation for a good restaurant or bar is always nice to have. EATS is a collection of places that I’ve enjoyed during my travels.
For dinner with a waterfront view, you can’t go wrong with The Boathouse at Kitsilano Beach. This restaurant was recommended to me by a friend who said that it’s best at sunset, and we were lucky to get a table along the windows for prime positioning. The Boathouse prides itself in its locally-sourced ingredients, and has a broad menu of seafood dishes, sharable platters and a handful of steaks and salads. My husband ordered the Wild Maple Salmon (when in Canada…) and I had the West Coast grilled chicken salad, which was topped with mango salsa, green chickpeas and goat cheese.
Service was friendly and attire is on the more casual side of business casual (I always wonder about dress code when traveling). Its location is great too if you’re staying Downtown, as it was an easy 20 minute walk from our hotel. The Boathouse has 6 other locations throughout Vancouver, including one at English Bay, all of which come with a waterfront view. What I loved most about this location at Kitsilano Beach is that it’s the perfect spot for a post-dinner walk or to sit on one of the big logs and watch the sun disappear into the ocean.
The Boathouse at Kitsilano Beach, 1305 Arbutus Street, +1 604-738-5487, boathouserestaurants.ca
Nicli Antica Pizzeria – Gastown
I’m always on the hunt for good pizza when traveling and was more than satisfied with our experience at Nicli Antica Pizzeria. It’s located in the historic Gastown neighborhood in the northeast part of Downtown (named after steamboat captain “Gassy” Jack Deighton who opened the area’s first saloon in 1867), which is distinguished by a juxtaposition of old lamps and brick lanes with hip boutique shops, restaurants and bars. Similarly, Nicli boasts a cool urban, laid back vibe where modern décor is contrasted by exposed brick, paying homage to the neighborhood’s historic roots.
The restaurant is Vancouver’s first VPN certified pizzeria, meaning its pizzas are made in the true Neapolitan style following a strictly-regulated process (i.e. in a wood oven with authentic ingredients, etc.). Start your meal off with one of Nicli’s creative Italian-inspired cocktails (my favorite was the Carpano Americano, which closely resembled a spritz), or jump right in to the food. We ordered a big sharable salad and two different pizzas (too good to share), followed by a couple of perfectly-portioned desserts to round out the meal. Bottom line, this place was amazing. Nicli is open 7 days a week but does not take reservations so get there early.
Nicli Antica Pizzeria, 62 East Cordova Street, +1 604-669-6985, niclipizzeria.ca
The Refinery – Yaletown
For nightlife in Vancouver one of the most popular neighborhoods is Yaletown. Located in a southeast pocket of Downtown bordered by False Creek, Robson and Homer Streets, this former warehouse district is now home to an eclectic mix of shops, cafés, restaurants, bars and clubs. One of the places we visited in Yaletown was The Refinery. Its menu primarily consists of small plates rooted in local ingredients, paired with award-winning craft cocktails that are served by friendly staff. The upstairs lounge has mixture of high tables and low tables overlooking Granville Street, and seems like a place you would go to hang out with friends.
The Refinery, 1115 Granville Street, +1 604-687-8001, therefineryvancouver.com
Public Market – Granville Island
For a fun lunch experience head to the Public Market at Granville Island. This covered market is a feast for your eyes and stomach with row after row of stalls selling fresh local produce, fish, meats, cheeses and baked goods, as well as a wide variety of ethnic eateries. You’ll also find booths with artisans selling jewelry and other handmade items. We purchased a container of fresh fruit overflowing with beautiful berries, cherries and grapes to keep our appetite at bay as we made our way around the market. We ultimately decided on prawns and chips from one stall and Indian chickpeas with naan bread from another, which were equally delicious and filling. There’s definitely something for everyone at the Public Market, so browse carefully and choose wisely.
Granville Island Public Market, 1661 Duranleau Street, +1 604-666-6655, granvilleisland.com/public-market
Seasons in the Park
We found this restaurant by chance while exploring the Queen Elizabeth Park and are so glad we did. Seasons in the Park sits on top of a hill in the heart of the park and has arguably one of the best vantage points in Vancouver. Inside you’ll find big windows that overlook the park below and Downtown skyline in the distance, but the real magic is on the patio. It was a beautiful night so we opted to sit here under the twinkling chandeliers to take full advantage of the panoramic view (for cooler weather there are fireplaces, heaters and even blankets available for diners on the patio).
Our waitress was super sweet and just the right amount of attentiveness, and we found that the menu had a good variety of options and perfect portion sizes. We started out with a Margherita flatbread pizza for an appetizer followed by a market green salad with grilled chicken and squash ravioli served with pan seared tiger prawns. For dessert we opted for the chocolate mousse cake topped with a gooseberry, which was surprisingly not too rich. The meal was great but it’s the location that really makes this restaurant – a stunning and peaceful place to linger over a cocktail, and definitely worth the small trek through the park to reach it (don’t worry they have a parking lot too). Seasons in the Park is perfect for a special occasion, or in our case, a memorable last night in Vancouver.
Seasons in the Park, West 33rd Avenue and Cambie Street in Queen Elizabeth Park, +1 604-874-8008, vancouverdine.com/seasons-park
Before catching our flight to go home, we went for one more walk around Stanley Park and ended in the Coal Harbour area where we found Soirette Macarons and Tea. I have a weakness for French macarons, so this proved to be the perfect place to stop for a send-off treat. Soirette is a pretty little shop with crisp, white décor that serves as the perfect canvas for the pastel cookies displayed behind the glass counter. We ordered a box of 6 assorted macarons, which we devoured at the bright-colored bistro tables outside. The buttercream filling was very light and fluffy compared to other macarons I’ve tasted, but did not lack in flavor. The shells of the cookies were perfectly dense and cakey (which is hard to master), not in the least hollow or crunchy. Soirette has a good variety of traditional flavors like chocolate, vanilla, rose and pistachio, as well as a few custom flavors like Vancouver Fog, Matcha and Earl Grey Cassis (it is a tea shop after all). My favorite was the salted caramel macaron, which had a surprise burst of caramel in the center of the buttercream filling. Written on the outside of the box was “Paris, Vancouver and Love in every bite,” I couldn’t have agreed more.
Soirette Macarons and Tea, 1433 West Pender Street, +1 604-558-3308, soirette.com
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The food looks delicious!
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[…] Where to Eat and Drink Downtown Vancouver is characterized by a handful of distinctive neighborhoods, each with its own roster of dining options. For example, Yaletown in the southeast part of the city is known for its restaurant scene, nightlife and year-round patios. Head north to Gastown for an even greater concentration of restaurants and bars, from laid back pubs to trendy establishments. You’ll also find lots of great shopping in these areas too. In the opposite direction, the West End has a huge variety of ethnic eateries along Davie Street, Denman Street and Robson Street. For some specific recommendations, check out this list of some of the places I visited here. […]