Restaurant industry picks the best in Vancouver

Straight staffers called up over 100 local restaurants and asked chefs and owners to name the best Vancouver restaurants in 11 categories. (They weren't permitted to vote in their own.) Because we wanted them to tell us what they really thought - without the risk of alienating friends or colleagues - we promised not to attach names to their responses. Here are their collective picks.


1. Maenam
1938 West 4th Avenue, 604-730-5579

2. (tie) Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie
163 Keefer Street, 604-688-0876

2. (tie) Pourhouse
162 Water Street, 604-568-7022

3. Market by Jean-Georges
1115 Alberni Street, 604-695-1115

West Coast

1. Bishop’s Restaurant
2183 West 4th Avenue, 604-738-2025

2. Blue Water Café + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton Street, 604-688-8078

3. (tie) Coast Restaurant
1054 Alberni Street, 604-685-5010

3. (tie) Boneta
1 West Cordova Street, 604-684-1844


1. Le Crocodile
100-909 Burrard Street, 604-669-4298

2. Les Faux Bourgeois
663 East 15th Avenue, 604-873-9733

3. Pied-í -Terre
3369 Cambie Street, 604-873-3131


1. Sun Sui Wah Seafood
Restaurant 3888 Main Street, 604-872-8822; 102-4940 No. 3 Road, 604-273-8208

2. Kirin Restaurant
Various locations

3. (tie) Hon’s Wun-Tun House
Various locations

3. (tie) On Lok Restaurant & Wonton House
2010 East Hastings Street, 604-253-3656


1. Tojo’s Restaurant
1133 West Broadway, 604-872-8050

2. Hapa Izakaya
Various locations

3. (tie) Blue Water Café + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton Street, 604-688-8078

3. (tie) Kingyo Izakaya
871 Denman Street, 604-608-1677

3. (tie) Sushiyama Japanese Restaurant
371 East Broadway, 604-872-0053

3. (tie) Toshi Sushi
181 East 16th Street, 604-874-5173


1. Vij’s
1480 West 11th Avenue, 604-736-6664

2. Rangoli
1488 West 11th Avenue, 604-736-5711

3. Ashiana Tandoori Restaurant
1440 Kingsway, 604-874-5060

Other Asian

1. Maenam
1938 West 4th Avenue, 604-730-5579

2. (tie) Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine
Various locations

2. (tie) Simply Thai Restaurant
1211 Hamilton Street, 604-642-0123

2. (tie) Thai House
Various locations

3. (tie) Chau
1500 Robson Street, 604-682-8020

3. (tie) Phnom Penh Restaurant
244 East Georgia Street, 604-734-8898

3. (tie) Sawasdee Thai Restaurant
4250 Main Street, 604-876-4030


1. Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca
1133 & 1129 Hamilton Street, 604-688-7466

2. La Quercia
3689 West 4th Avenue, 604-676-1007

3. (tie) Campagnolo
1020 Main Street, 604-484-6018

3. (tie) Q4/Gusto di Quattro
2611 West 4th Avenue, 604-734-4444; 1 Lonsdale Avenue, 604-924-4444

3. (tie) La Buca/L’Altro Buca
4025 MacDonald Street, 604-730-6988; 1906 Haro Street, 604-683-6912

Latin American

1. Cobre
52 Powell Street, 604-669-2396

2. (tie) La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop
322 West Hastings Street, 604-568-4406

2. (tie) Doña Cata
5706 Victoria Drive, 604-436-2232

3. (tie) Baru Latino Restaurante
2535 Alma Street, 604-222-9171

3. (tie) Don Guacamole’s
1333 Robson Street, 604-569-2295

3. (tie) Las Margaritas Restaurant & Cantina
1999 West 4th Avenue, 604-734-7117

3. (tie) Salsa & Agave Mexican Grill
1223 Pacific Boulevard, 604-408-4228




Apr 1, 2010 at 3:01pm

no vegetarian category?


Apr 1, 2010 at 4:54pm

Is there any meat only restaurants? Hunting and Gathering is so much easier nowadays with corn-based animal products.


Apr 1, 2010 at 7:14pm

Veggie option would be delightful... although i think the bigger prob is a lack of veggie restaurants. (it seems like only the same couple of restaurants gets awarded under veggie restaurants most the time)
Finding a *good* vegetarian dish, served in a omnivore restaurant is hard enough.


Apr 2, 2010 at 7:19am

Do we have any restaurants that allow you to slaughter your own animal?

fred the head

Apr 2, 2010 at 8:26am

where can i take the wife for bulls balls i here its quite the new thing.


Apr 5, 2010 at 8:29pm

@Charlie (the Straight's editor everyone)
- Ok, apparently your readers do think enough to eat vegetarian now and again, but when will the city's chef's and restraunters catch up? Haven't they heard of meals without meat?

At least the reader's choice selections came up with some vegetarian faves! Rahda & Bo Kong are wonderful! And now I've got a new place to check out - this Foundation place. Although no thanks to Vancouver's "restaurant industry insiders".

If the chefs of the city don't even have a single vegetarian place on their list of favorites, I don't think it is very likely we will be seeing any fresh, new veggie spots opening up anytime soon. I guess we're stuck eating at Naam (I mean really - it's getting kinda stale don't you think?), until our city's culinary power brokers decide to take some risks and open some new vegetarian places.

Whose going to take the leap? If you build it, we will come! (and I'm not even strictly vegetarian)

- Pauline, Kitsilano


Apr 14, 2010 at 3:40pm

Regarding the vegetarian options out there - there are plenty of restaurants that have veggie options on their menus, so just because they aren't specifically a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, doesn't mean they don't have plenty of great 'veggie' or non-meat options.

The category here is 'best restaurant' so perhaps the vegetarian restaurants out there just don't measure up when their competition offers something for everyone. (Most "vegetarians" I know actually include seafood in their diet anyway)

Besides, as Charlie posted, there is a category for best vegetarian restaurants as well - but unless someone is a vegetarian, when asked to think of the BEST restaurant, most people wouldn't think of a vegetarian place as the best, strictly because they are limited in what they are offering - whereas most restaurants that serve meat on their menus also have seafood and veggie options. More and more places are now catering to vegans as well - you just need to ask the chef.

My guess is that there isn't a whole lot of money to be made if you exclude meat and/or seafood from your menu, so that's why there aren't many options available. That would be like opening a restaurant and not being licensed to serve alcohol. You might get a small percentage of the population coming to your restaurant, but people who drink alcohol usually spend a lot more eating out - so for your restaurant to survive, you need to be licensed. Just my two cents.


Nov 13, 2010 at 1:32pm

I think these polls are always the most accurate when coming from industry insiders. They really know the people who work in the establishments and how food is really prepared, not to mention staff morale. There things all translate whether consciously or subliminally to the guest's dining experience. There's a new place that will be one to watch for 2011 called the Helm. Apparently their chef from Toronto is one to watch.