The experience of dining is often more than about just hunger—the atmosphere of a restaurant can radically alter the event of going out to eat. Lucky for us, Vancouver has no shortage of gorgeously designed restaurants that complement their menus.
Bar Susu rejuvenates the former location of Mount Pleasant’s beloved Whip. The sibling to Michelin-Starred spot Published on Main embraces the moody interior of the century-old building, offering up a European-bistro atmosphere with bold light-and-dark contrasts; both exposed and recessed seating (for those sitting beneath the loft); and accented by hand-thrown tableware. (Note: due to a fire, the restaurant is currently popping up in the space of third sibling Novella Coffee Bar—another gorgeous space.)
2650 Main Street, Vancouver
Drawing inspiration from 1960s Tokyo jazz cafes, this Michelin-Starred Chinatown eatery is hidden behind a rather nondescript entrance (save for its identifying neon light) before a dark, narrow staircase opens into the second-floor space. Once inside, chicness reigns: there are pink vinyl banquettes, tilework inspired by Haruki Murakami book covers, and decorative, botanical wallpapers adorning feature walls. It all creates an atmosphere that perfectly complements the Italian-Japanese fare.
263 East Pender Street, Vancouver
Tucked inside downtown’s Paradox Hotel Vancouver, this international restaurant chain boasts an interior design that’s won awards—and rightfully so. Here, New York industrial style merges with traditional Chinese elements, like vintage birdcages repurposed as chandeliers and silk-cushioned private rooms that recall hidden dens.
1161 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Ask For Luigi
This cozy Railtown eatery has only 32 seats, giving it the intimate feel of a dinner party. Written into the design plan for the petite spot was a feeling of being in a real Italian trattoria—busy, somewhat cramped, always enjoyable. Wooden bistro chairs and tables, retro panelling, and a checkerboard floor certainly give it an European vibe—perfect for tucking into a bowl of fresh-made pasta.
305 Alexander Street, Vancouver
Carlino is situated in downtown’s Shangri-La Hotel, so you couldn’t expect anything less than elegance. The dining space highlights an olive tree central to the room—an emblem of Italian culinary tradition—between the bar, lounge, and several velvet-tufted corner booths. For those wanting some privacy for parties, a chic 24-seat dining room can be reserved.
1115 Alberni Street, Vancouver
As far as being completely immersed in food and design goes, Miku Vancouver does it well. Located along the Burrard Inlet near Canada Place, the sushi and seafood restaurant boasts incredible water views. Inside, aquatic themes abound—especially with the hand-painted murals by Kyoto-based artist Hideki Kimura.
70 - 200 Granville Street, Vancouver
Burdock & Co
Just 570 square-feet, Burdock & Co in Mount Pleasant boasts a hip, cozy design complete with rustic charm. Known for its share plates and a rotating selection of seasonal wines, its design is a main attractor to the Michelin-Starred spot—incorporating reclaimed wood sourced from local historical buildings, vintage furnishings, and whitewashed brick.
2702 Main Street, Vancouver
Anh and Chi
The Nguyen siblings don’t shy away from talking about how their roots inspired the redux of Anh and Chi (previously Pho Huang, as owned by their parents), so it’s no mistake that the design pays homage to its origins. Inspired by the lushness of Vietnam, the Mount Pleasant restaurant features a custom wood pattern bar, and behind it, panels made of hundreds of chopsticks that mimic Vietnamese fans. Palm-printed wallpaper (notably in the restrooms) and imported Vietnamese wall tiles converge to give an air of modern and retro design sensibilities. All of which parlay the restaurant’s ethos—traditional cooking with modern tastes.
3388 Main Street, Vancouver
Located inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim at the edge of Coal Harbour, Botanist Restaurant exudes luminosity and cleanliness—like if nature grew inside, sans the soil. Bench seating in soft pinks and beiges highlight the dining room amid pastel and floral-pattern chairs, while lush foliage is on display, contrasting elegantly with marble and brass features.
1038 Canada Place, Vancouver
Quarry tiles, pleated oak panelling, and grey marble are notable features upon walking into Fraserhood’s Savio Volpe. Here, upscale pastas, charcuterie, and a large selection of wines are on offer, and its industrial-chic design is meant to complement the menu’s simple yet elevated fare.
615 Kingsway, Vancouver
There’s no place in Vancouver that’s more “shabby chic” than Chinatown’s Bao Bei. Vintage-inspired floral-printed wallpaper and Prouvé-like lights line a whitewashed, reclaimed wood wall that’s decorated with vintage trays. It all creates a feeling that you’re sitting in your grandma’s kitchen as she wraps dumplings. Of which you must try the steamed prawn, scallop, rockfish and chive.
163 Keefer Street, Vancouver
Tucked inside the Marine Building downtown, Nightingale is the relaxed little sibling to the Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s fine-dining restaurant Hawksworth. Here (at Nightingale, that is), BC’s late 19th-century heritage is on display, with refurbished light fixtures and brass accents along with remodelled library furniture.
1017 West Hastings StreetMore