Good places to eat near Metrotown, Richmond Centre, and other malls
Unless your palate is craving punishment, say no to greasy mall food when you’re out shopping for deals. There are indeed options beyond gloopy burgers and limp pizza—and they’re just a short stroll away. Here are some recommendations located near popular shopping spots. (Call to check holiday hours before venturing out of your mall bubble.) You’ll return satisfied and with plenty of cash left to heed the siren call of the mall sales.
Pacific Centre/Robson Street
Downtown’s shopping hub is blessed with an abundance of high-quality food-cart options that will quickly re-energize you. At Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck (corner of Howe and Robson streets, 604-767-9768), choose your bread and cheese—such as sourdough and Havarti—and add deluxe extras like double-smoked bacon. Your two grilled triangles of oozy, cheesy goodness come with chips and a dill pickle.
Nearby is a triumvirate of patisseries, starting with Bel Café (801 West Georgia Street, 604-673-7000), where you can warm up with roasted tomato and Thai chili soup between bites of a bánh mì with lemongrass grilled chicken, black pepper jam, crunchy veggies, jalapeño, and cilantro. Substitute that fast-food soft drink for a glass of vino at Thierry (1059 Alberni Street, 604-608-6870) while you fuel up with smoked wild sockeye salmon on a baguette with cucumber, capers, and cream cheese. Faubourg (769 Hornby Street, 604-267-0769) offers quiches and sandwiches, such as roast beef on focaccia, along with a host of viennoiseries such as pain au chocolat.
For a more satisfying burger fix than you’ll find at the mall, visit Earls Kitchen + Bar (1185 Robson Street, 604-669-0020) for the Bronx Smashed Burger stuffed with red pepper relish, aged white Cheddar, beer-battered onion rings, and arugula, served with Yukon Gold fries.
Metropolis at Metrotown
This Godzilla of shopping experiences often requires a breather. It’s a short walk to the Crystal Mall and Huaxi Noodle Specialist (2126–4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, 604-438-8620) for a hearty bowl of Guizhou-style hot-and-spicy beef noodle soup, chock full of beef brisket and flank steak. Or slurp up the spicy chicken noodle soup if you’re battling a holiday cold—it’s guaranteed to clear your sinuses. Add raw garlic, chili oil, or cumin if you want to up the heat.
The Syrian Abdul BBQ & Shawarma (1691–4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, 604-431-9498) serves a variety of wraps, such as falafel, chicken, lamb, or beef shawarmas. If you’re especially hungry from that frustrating mall shopping, order a platter that comes with your choice of protein as well as hummus, tabbouleh, rice, salad, and coleslaw. All meat is halal.
Tojo’s it ain’t, but Sushi Garden Japanese Restaurant (4635 Kingsway, Burnaby, 604-436-0104) offers solid, reasonably priced sushi close to Metropolis. The menu features combos including the one with a spicy tuna roll, spicy tuna sashimi, and a kappa roll, as well as unique specialty rolls, like the Chi-Chee roll, a baked chicken and mozzarella roll.
Going to Richmond Centre and eating at the food court would be like going to Hong Kong or Hanoi and gorging at McDonald’s. Instead, you can banish your hunger with a rib-sticking bowl of congee at Tai Hing Congee & Noodle House (8075 Park Road, Richmond, 604-273-3219). The room is basic, but who cares with options like congee options that include preserved egg and pork, mushroom and chicken, or pig’s blood. Order a zhaliang (rice noodle–wrapped Chinese salty doughnut) for dipping. Tsim Chai Noodles (50–8251 Westminster Highway, Richmond, 604-273-6288) serves congee (including with minced beef or sliced fresh fish), as well as items like prawn wontons in soup, dried scallop and egg white fried rice, and Singapore-style fried rice noodles.
You can’t beat pho for a speedy, hearty meal, especially at Pho Lan Beef Noodle Soup Restaurant (6950 No. 3 Road, Richmond, 604-273-1583), where you’ll find it with rare steak, well-done flank, tendon, tripe, and beef balls (waddle back to the mall after that one); deep-fried pork-and-shrimp spring rolls; and a steamed Vietnamese crepe stuffed with pork, onion, and Chinese mushrooms.
Instead of a mall sub, head to Omnitsky’s Kosher Delicatessen (5866 Cambie Street, 604-321-1818) for a delicious rye-bread sammie with fillings such as smoked beef, corned beef, chopped liver, or pastrami. Sandwiches come with a choice of potato salad, coleslaw, or potato chips. Add a bowl of chicken soup with matzo balls for warmth and sustenance.
Bubble tea fans can drink up at Yuen Yuen Café (5890 Cambie Street, 604-322-1020), as well as snack on items such as thick toast slathered with condensed milk or peanut butter, curry chicken rice, or barbecued pork with rice and veg.
Another great option is the Taiwanese Tony’s Beef Noodle (5754 Cambie Street, 604-327-5061), where not only can you get a satisfying bowl of noodles (opt for the spicy broth), but they also serve dim sum items such as green onion pancakes, Shanghai-style pork dumplings, and beef rolled in a Chinese pancake.