Rodney’s Oyster House
1228 Hamilton St., Downtown
Classic port-city seafood chowders, steamed shellfish, and hearty mains like pan-fried oysters, garlic shrimp, and Atlantic lobster, are the claim to fame at this low-key seafood restaurant. One of the few spots where you can actually see your catch before it’s cooked, Rodney’s is truly a from-the-line-to-your-plate kind of place. Come with a crowd, order a few dishes to share, and expect big portions and lots of flavor. There's a second location in Gastown.
915 Main St., Downtown
Pizzeria Farina looks like a modern, almost Scandinavian café with white painted brick walls, a menu written on parchment paper that's suspended from the ceiling, and seating that's a mix of one long communal table and a few smaller ones with high stools. The pizza dough itself goes through a three-day ferment, and once cooked is thin, crispy, and blistered in all the right places. Chef J.C Poirier is making Neapolitan style pizzas with just a few topping options—ratatouille, mushrooms, fennel sausage, and salami, with the requisite mozzarella and tangy tomato sauce.
1118 Mainland St., Downtown
Although owner Nakamura has a small foodie empire in Japan, his Vancouver restaurants are personal passion projects, both named after his daughters Miku and Minami. Nakamura is credited with introducing the now very popular aburi-style flamed sushi to Vancouver’s fish-obsessed food scene in 2008. At Minami, not only is the sushi torched at the last minute, a piece of charcoal is simultaneously lit to impart a deeper, slightly smoky flavor.
200 Granville St., Downtown
Miku is the more sophisticated, grown-up alternative to sister restaurant Minami. Made even more special by the sweeping views of Coal Harbor, the strictly sustainably sourced menu is centered around the aburi-style flamed sushi owner Nakamura is revered for. What's more, the sake selection is one of the most notable in the city.
780 RIchards St., Downtown
Café Medina, with its Mediterranean-inflected brunch menu is not your typical brunch fare: You'll find spiced meatballs and poached egg-topped tagine, for example rather than your typical skillet potatoes and bacon. Down the street from the Vancouver Art Gallery (stop in after breakfast), the line can get long but the mascarpone flatbreads, bourbon-spiked coffee, and homemade kombucha are worth the wait. High ceilings, long communal tables, and spice-flavored craft cocktails only add to the effect.
Homer St. Cafe and Bar
898 Homer St., Downtown
Housed in one of the city’s most historic buildings, Homer St. Café specializes in the most tender, succulent rotisserie chicken you’ll find outside of France, paired with equally sensational sides. Order a half chicken and go heavy on the potatoes roasted in rotisserie drippings, vinegary coleslaw, smoky cauliflower dusted in chili, and baked chicken skins. If you’re only stopping in for a drink, the bar snacks give a real taster of the main menu—wings off the rotisserie birds, chickpea dip and plantain chips, or a full cheese board showcasing Canadian-made cheeses.
185 Keefer St., Downtown
Juniper takes its cocktails as seriously—if not more so—than its food, and accordingly, the drinks menu changes with the seasons. Using the outdoors as inspiration, many of the cocktails are infused with the earthy, savory flavor you get from vegetables, herbs, and spices. Try the Forester—sorrel-infused gin, fir-infused vodka, green chartreuse, and sherry—for a literal taste of the lush woodlands Vancouver is so famous for. While there's a full dinner menu on offer, we prefer their bar snacks—meatballs, patatas bravas, and charcuterie—small bites that are filling enough to stave off the munchies, but not quite substantial enough to call dinner.
One of a Few
354 Water St., Downtown
The focus at One of a Few is to make the shopping experience as seamless as possible for everyone involved. This means shoes and bags from both established (Clare V., Creatures of Comfort) and emerging designers (Building Block, Kara Bags) are displayed on a few scattered tables, encouraging patrons to make their way around the store so as not to miss any of the Rachel Comey, Wood Wood, Ganni, and LoQ lining the racks; meanwhile, seating for weary partners guarantees uninterrupted shopping time.
1088 Homer St., Downtown
Small Victory encourages patrons to elevate their morning coffee ritual into something celebratory: Serving breakfast items and coffee in a serene space, their scones, jam, and clotted cream—in unusual flavors like pear and lemon, or strawberry balsamic—make it hard to just grab and go. Take a seat, order a rich cup of coffee, and linger over the paper with a decadent breakfast croissant—a smooth start to any day, which is the idea.
325 Cambie St., Downtown
Patrons can pick from two different rooms at Revolver—one with a long community table, ideal for a solo cup or for a caffeine-saturated catch-up with friends, while the alternative with smaller tables is more appropriate for one-on-ones. Each blend, sourced from world-class roasters in North America, is blind taste-tested weekly for quality control. Interior-wise, Revolver manages to feel urban, yet cozy, with wooden seats that appear to be suspended from the ceiling and exposed brick walls covered in maps.