Never mind ice cream: come summertime, we all scream for patio time. Vancouver has a plethora of spots for dining and drinking outdoors, from places with magnificent views to those that feel more like your buddy’s back yard.
Far from a comprehensive list, here are a few patios worth sneaking away from work to visit or for having one of those languorous days when lunch turns into lingering right through to dinner.
Georgia Straight readers picked Dockside Restaurant in the Granville Island Hotel as the city’s best patio in the 2019 Golden Plates awards. You can watch Aquabuses chug by and all sorts of paddlers ply False Creek while you nosh on dishes like the Oyama charcuterie forno pizza, grilled Kuterra salmon burger, or satisfying dinner salads.
Papi’s Seafood and Oyster Bar boasts a chill outdoor space with a sweeping view of English Bay and the ultrapopular A-maze-ing Laughter sculptures. Enjoy it with light and bright dishes like ceviche or crudo, freshly shucked oysters (selection changes daily), and maybe a chocolate brownie with salted-caramel ice cream.
H Tasting Lounge at the Westin Bayshore hotel recently opened the sliding glass doors to its stylin’ seaside (and seawall-side) patio, complete with a nine-metre-long fireplace that runs its length. Lobster, chilled mussels and clams, tuna carpaccio, and salmon tartare would all do nicely—but then so would a truffle grilled cheese.
A Negroni or Aperol spritz would be our drink of choice at Di Beppe Caffè and Ristorante’s new patio. It has also launched a new cicchetti menu, meaning “small bites”, with options including tuna conserva with pickled pepper, and olive-and-navy-bean salad with Espelette pepper.
Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio—Ambleside is spectacularly situated on West Vancouver’s waterfront, with views of the Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park, and Ambleside Beach. We’ll take the sashimi, nigiri, and caviar service with a pisco sour, please.
Hidden gem is an overused term, but there’s no denying there are some urban patios that are truly and delightfully tucked away.
The Terrace at the Shangri-La Hotel’s Market by Jean-Georges is on the third floor and features a daily happy hour, plus live entertainment on Thursday and Friday from 4 to
7 p.m. Bar manager Gianluigi Bosco recently launched a new drinks menu, which includes an inventive selection of spirit-free beverages, many with hydrosols, or flower waters, for complexity and flavour. He also meticulously hand-carves and brands the restaurant’s five different styles of ice cubes. Locals’ food faves include black-truffle pizza, Seoul fried chicken, and the restaurant’s signature meze platter: a board with Picholine olives, Marcona almonds, truffle chèvre, lemon ricotta, and sun-dried tomato pistou, all to be munched along with a demibaguette.
For a completely different vibe, check out the kitschy, compact outdoor space at the Narrow Lounge, a supercool, supercasual Main Street hangout. Food options include hot dogs, tacos, and pulled-pork deliciousness. Look for the red light.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Gotham Steakhouse & Bar has a terra-cotta patio adorned with plants, trees, climbing ivy, and a large fireplace for quite the urban oasis. Go for the prime-grade steak tartare, tuna poké with macadamia nuts, and a side of Gorgonzola mac ’n’ cheese.
Sometimes you want a place to people-watch, a patio in the heart of it all.
Hit up Homer St. Cafe and Bar’s garden patio for its signature rotisserie chicken or build-your-own cheese-and-charcuterie platter—even better if you go on a Wednesday for 30 percent off all rosé wines by the glass or bottle.
Tableau Bar Bistro is celebrating summer with a Bubbles & Brunch feature, with weekend deals on Champagne and crémants; other days, take in the fresh air with a crisp and colourful albacore-tuna salade niçoise or moules frites.
Over on Commercial Drive, long-standing hot spot Havana is the place for Cuban flavours served with pitchers of sangria and mojitos.
Granville Island’s Popina Canteen, meanwhile, has a new patio bar and a lemonade stand, serving mixed cocktails (like a bourbon smash) and ever-changing, updated flavours of the tart nostalgic beverage, like hibiscus and quince-rosewater. Some lemonades are spiked, too: pink lemonade has gin and house-made strawberry syrup. Its seafood tray comes complete with cracking utensils and bibs for the half-lobster or crab; there’s also tender side-stripe shrimp, albacore-tuna crudo, spicy nam-jim-marinated swimming scallops, mussels escabeche, and more. Share it with a loved one and you’ll still have room for Popina’s Puffcream (various types of ice cream and toppings served in a cream puff).
Plus, this just in: Popina has announced a daily happy hour, from 6 to 10 p.m., with features like Bomber pilsner for $5, French fries for $2, and half a dozen freshly shucked oysters for $15. Brix & Mortar is another place that has turned 20 in 2019. Its patio is a Yaletown stunner, with seven-tier glass chandeliers that contrast the heritage building’s exposed brick. Consider prosciutto-wrapped Ocean Wise sea scallops with barbecued-duck fried risotto, local tomato on house-baked brioche, or an artisan cheese plate to get you started.