Vancouver has an amazing array of cheap, quality places to eat. Don’t be fooled by low prices – you will normally get a plate overflowing with excellent food when you go out to eat.
That being said, there are obviously some places to avoid and some places that are especially good. So, here is my totally incomplete and highly subjective list of good and bad places to eat in Vancouver – these are entirely places I’ve been and would recommend to family and friends.
They are separated into best of the best (places you can’t skip), highly recommended (worth a trip across town), other good restaurants (worth going to, if you’re in the area) and places to avoid (overrated, overpriced or just plain bad).
For a full listing of Vancouver restaurants (with reviews) check out Dine Here.
In general, for the best value restaurants, skip the very touristy areas such as Gastown and Yaletown – places in those hot spots are almost always overpriced. Your best bets for good value grub are the West End (along Davie St.), South Main, Commercial Drive and Fairview (generally south of Broadway, between Oak and Cambie).
Chain restaurants are also very popular in Vancouver. Everywhere you go you’ll see Earls, Cactus Club, Milestones and Red Robin’s. In general, they aren’t bad – the food is fairly decent and they are consistent, but they tend to be overpriced and predictable.
They seem to focus more on the atmosphere than the food, and the result is a nice looking meal (served by very nice looking people, always), that is only, essentially, pub fare. Nothing wrong with that, but you’ll get a much better, bigger and cheaper meal at one of the many independent restaurants across Vancouver. Besides, you’ll get an authentic meal, rather than the ‘same as everywhere else’ treatment.