Tacofino

For the best Baja-inspired tacos on the West Coast – maybe even in Canada – you cannot miss Tacofino. Originating in Tofino on Vancouver Island, the restaurant now has four outlets and two food trucks across the city. Crispy, fresh and loaded, the fish, tuna and chicken tacos are all musts. Go hungry, leave happy.

The Acorn Restaurant

The Acorn isn’t your typical vegetarian restaurant: forget about tempeh and sweet potato fries, here vegetables take center stage leaving even the staunchest meat eater satisfied. Chefs make the most of freshly picked, seasonal, local produce. There’s a strict no-reservation policy – brunch can be especially busy but exceptionally good.

Medina Cafe

Specialising in sweet, crunchy Liege-style waffles, Medina Cafe offers one of Vancouver’s best brunches. Its extensive cocktail menu caters to those celebrating and others in need of a hair of the dog. With a no reservations policy, it’s best to head there early and in a small group – there’s nothing more tortuous than being turned away having caught the savor of caramelised sugar.

Bestie

Hemmed in between a Chinese tea shop and jewellers in Vancouver’s Chinatown, this hip hangout serves up a surprising choice of cuisine: German sausage, chips and beer. Here alpine-chalet meets Scandinavian-chic as colourfully cushioned benches and hanging lamps make up a minimal dining space. Don’t forget to try the currywurst; it’s the best(ie) in town.

Belgard Kitchen

Brush shoulders with locals at this restaurant which serves up sharing plates in a lively setting. Housed inside a brewery, Belgard Kitchen toes the line between regal banquet hall and industrial chic with its dark-wood panelling and barrel partition. Don’t fancy beer? Opt for wine tasting – best paired with a meat board or gourmet pizza.

Kissa Tanto

Kissa Tanto is like something out of 60s Tokyo. Tucked away on the top floor of an inconspicuous building, this picturesque spot marries Japanese and Italian cuisines. Once inside, you’ll see a mirror with the words “Please fix your hair, and remove the mud from your boots”. Push through the blue curtain to enter an intimate wonderland of well-dressed clientele and whimsical furnishings, such as cherry leather stools and blue velvet sofas.

Ask For Luigi

Reminiscent of your favourite family home, Ask For Luigi serves fresh pasta in a simple but charming dining room. Uniform wooden chairs and tables contrast with a black-and-white chequered floor, while large windows cast light on postered walls. You can’t make reservations, so expect large queues (and a delicious reward for waiting).

Finch's Market

A stone’s throw from Downtown’s vertinguous towers, Strathcona neighbourhood offers a taste of residential Vancouver. Here you’ll find Finch’s Market, an artisanal grocer set among heritage houses and tree-shaded streets. Inside, characterful cans line wooden shelves, barrels of fresh produce sit waiting to be devoured and stained-glass windows throw light across vintage tables. Order at the counter – we recommend the pear baguette, stuffed with brie, walnuts and drizzled in oil.

Nelson The Seagull

At this neighbourhood café, rustic charm meets industrial minimalism. Freelancers spread out on communal tables, characterful cracks line the tiled floor and tall windows look out over atmospheric Gastown. Over the till, hangs a portrait of Mandela, the inspiration behind this popular hangout and its name. The song, “The Seagull’s Name was Nelson” was often played on the radio during his incarceration as a secret tribute.

Tacofino

The Acorn Restaurant

Medina

The Birds & The Beets

This wholesome café acts serves an oasis away from Vancouver’s grey and gritty streets. Once inside, floral bouquets (which are available to buy) fill the space with botanical scents and verdant green plants sway from the ceiling. The cuisine has a similar earthy feel – think home-preserved pickles, kombucha and seasonal greens perfect for a healthy lunch.

Revolver

Vancouver doesn’t fall short when it comes to quality coffee shops, but if you’re looking for the perfect cup o’ joe, you’ll find it here. With its high-end equipment and rotating menu featuring world-class roasters, Revolver means business. What’s more, the masculine, red-brick and dark-wood interior is as sophisticated as the espressos it serves.

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