With glass-fronted skyscrapers and a bustling downtown core surrounded by snow-capped mountains, lush urban parks and beautiful coastline, Vancouver sets the tone like no other place in Canada. Beyond the heart-stopping aesthetic of the city, a cosmopolitan flair and thriving cultural scene make for one of the most unique culinary destinations in North America. The farm-to-table, organic and sustainable movements of the Pacific Northwest are ubiquitous in Vancouver, while internationally renowned chefs have all brought their tradition and expertise to contribute to the restaurant scene. From the trendy eateries of Gastown to the traditional establishments where even the yoga pants-wearing Vancouverites dress up for, Vancouver is an enjoyable treat for the dedicated foodie, serving up fine dining feasts in its many elegant gourmet restaurants.
Just a few paces away from the downtown waterfront, Royal Dinette pairs the laid-back, informal atmosphere of an old-time diner with a contemporary elegance. The stunning space is smart and sophisticated with tasteful retro touches such as swivel seats at the marble kitchen counter and updated wooden shelves. Led by Head Chef Amanda Healey, the luscious menu offers a number of creative bites that are made from locally-sourced ingredients and change as the seasons do. The cooking philosophy focuses on introducing guests to approachable, seasonal and quality-driven food through several plates that are simple in nature. The bar menu showcases an array of local craft beer, champagne and handcrafted cocktails, whereas Wine Director Claire Saksun continues to build the restaurant’s impressive cellar of organic, biodynamic and natural wines. The excellent service and intimate atmosphere is perfect for enjoying company without rush or hurry over top-notch food and drinks.
CinCin Ristorante + Bar
A stalwart of the bustling Robson Street, the marvelous Cin Cin Ristorante + Bar has been recognized for its contemporary, Italian-inspired gourmet offerings and award-winning wine cellar for more than 25 years. The establishment itself is decorated in timeless furnishings that bring out the overall vibrant yet alluring atmosphere with the warmth of Tuscany and high-energy profile of Rome. The elegant marble bar is a central feature that’s framed by stone walls with original artworks, while the striking heated terrace makes for a pleasant experience all-year round. Not only does the private wine cellar display the cosmopolitan collection that includes rare vintages, boutique finds and an extensive half-bottle collection, but it’s also available for rent in what’s sure to be a magical gathering of sorts. Led by executive chef Andrew Richardson, Cin Cin puts forth a sophisticated palette of clean, smart and utterly delicious dishes that each reflect the ideals of simplicity and balance. The plentiful flavors and captivating aromas of an Italian cookbook are brought to life using the bountiful regional ingredients. It’s simply one of the best year-round Italian eats and elegant settings in all of Vancouver.
Everything from the original Damien Hirst “heart and butterflies” artwork proudly hanging on the wall to the oversized crystal chandelier in the main dining room embodies the opulent spirit of Hawksworth Restaurant. Led by Chef David Hawksworth, the establishment is consistently rated one of Canada’s best for its exquisite menu that reflects the cultural makeup of Vancouver with a variety of influences – Canadian, French, Italian, Japanese and Mexican. Imagine seared Japanese squid with peanut, nashi pear and crispy pork, or grilled sturgeon with roasted garlic sage and puffed grains. With a remarkable range of tastes, Hawksworth goes about it with an unusual amount of panache. Located within the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, the restaurant contains four separate rooms and includes a leather-paneled bar and lounge for a glamorous and sophisticated ambiance that’s also relaxed and cozy. When it comes to fine dining, Hawksworth is Vancouver’s quintessential experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Blue Water Cafe
Housed in a brick-and-beam warehouse in the heart of the trendy Yaletown district, Blue Water Cafe is considered Vancouver’s definitive seafood destination. Under the leadership of Executive Chef Frank Pabst, the “east meets west” kitchen has created several captivating seafood dishes that use an abundant selection of fresh wild fish caught with sustainability and responsibility in mind. The Raw Bar exudes a true Japanese culinary aesthetic that delivers pure, clean flavors and unique presentations of sushi, oysters and salmon, complemented by one of the country’s finest wine collections. The superb service is the icing on top of the cake for Blue Water Cafe, which exudes five-star excellence in every sense. Follow the sweeping main bar out to the heated patio and private dining rooms where you can enjoy some of the best seafood in the Pacific Northwest.
Led by owner and Head Chef Giuseppe “Pino” Posteraro, Cioppino’s provides a refreshing perspective on mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine. The innovative personal take is rooted in Chef Posteraro’s cooking philosophy of “cucina natural,” which focuses on the plenty of vegetables and low-cholesterol olive oil, striking the perfect balance between flavors. This exquisite expression of Mediterranean flavors is further heightened by the bountiful landscapes of British Columbia and the crisp ingredients that come with it. The end result is a sophisticated palette of tastes that are light, fresh and delicious, whereas the restaurant has done a fantastic job at fostering a stylish and ritzy environment from head-to-toe. The main space is rounded out with an open-show kitchen and plenty of outdoor space for relaxed alfresco dining. Cioppino’s is also home to one of the largest wine cellars in all of Vancouver, something that is easily appreciated by experienced grape lovers and casuals alike.