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Cafes Vancouver

2018 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

At Five Sails, enjoy pan-seared bass piccata, vegetables and golden fingerling potatoes in a lemon-and-caper butter sauce—and, of course, the incredible view of Coal Harbour

Our annual Where to Dine Awards pay tribute to the hardworking folks who make Vancouver such a food-lover’s paradise

Photos by KK LAW

Critics’ Choice

Five Sails Restaurant

Vancouver’s abundant dining options can overwhelm a hungry traveller, but Les Clefs d’Or always know the newest hotspots, the tried-and-true stalwarts and the hidden gems. These dedicated concierges won’t steer you wrong, and this year their top pick is Five Sails. Perched right on the waterfront, this perennial favourite expertly combines stellar West Coast cuisine with warm service and stunning views of the mountains, inner harbour and Stanley Park. Linger over poached lobster, roasted sablefish or smoked duck breast while watching floatplanes land and cruise ships depart. And make sure to peruse the wine list, which showcases selections from BC’s Okanagan region.—SR (more…)

Holiday Gift Guide: For Foodies

Dec. 2017

Got a foodie in the family? Part three of our five-part gift guide series is chock-full of presents for people who crave delicious swag.

A candy bento box from Sugarfina satisfies any sweet tooth. At Nordstrom or online at Sugarfina.ca. (more…)

Fresh Food at Starbucks


Fresh, fast, fabulous. Now that’s how we like our lunches.

For a healthy meal on the run, look no further than Starbucks. The perpetually popular coffee chain recently launched four protein-rich options for quick and easy lunches: butter-chicken wrap, egg-and-cheese protein box with apples and grapes, chicken-and-quinoa protein bowl, and (the one vegan selection) baby-greens-and-brown-rice protein bowl. Who knew fast food could be so good for you?

Sweet Treats for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival


We’re over the moon for these delightful desserts. (Photo courtesy TWG Tea)

Sep. 14 to Oct. 4, 2017 Celebrate fall with mooncakes. These sweet treats appear each year in time for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, a time of gathering and thanksgiving in Chinese and Vietnamese cultures. Visit TWG Tea to pick up a luxurious gift box filled with either four tea-infused mooncakes or Lotus Jade Tea paired with two tea-infused mooncakes. Word to the wise: pick up an extra box for yourself, because these gorgeous goodies are extremely tempting.

Tasty Take-out at English Bay


Crispy cod tacos, Manhattan-style chowder and halibut 'n' chips at The Daily Catch

Crispy cod tacos, Manhattan-style chowder and halibut ‘n’ chips at The Daily Catch (Photo: KK Law)

The city’s oceanside epicentre offers beach bites in every shape and size. For fish ’n’ chips featuring all-sustainable seafood, such as wild halibut, salmon and cod, drop by the take-out counter at The Daily Catch on Denman. Almost right on the sand, the Cactus Club concession obliges with Angus beef burgers, beer-battered Ocean Wise ling cod tacos, veggie burgers, and a panko-crusted chicken sandwich. Nearby Beach Bay Café and Patio sports a convenient location for take-out fish ’n’ chips and other handy bites. For sweet treats and the ultimate in pure fruit flavours, wander by award-winning D’oro Gelato, for handmade gelato and sorbetto based on traditional Sicilian recipes.

For more from Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

A+ Activities: Our Favourite Reasons to Visit UBC

Find the best places to eat, explore and be entertained at the University of British Columbia. School may be out for summer, but this lush coastal campus is packed with hidden gems for every visitor, from orchestra aficionados and art connoisseurs to golfers and nature lovers


The Museum of Anthropology is home to an impressive collection of totem poles. (Photo: KK Law)

The Museum of Anthropology is home to an impressive collection of totem poles. (Photo: KK Law)

Art History

Fancy a bit of a scavenger hunt? This campus is a veritable outdoor gallery, featuring an ever-evolving collection of art installations just waiting to be discovered. The most recent addition is the Reconciliation Pole, a towering 17-m (55-ft) totem pole carved by James Hart, a Haida master carver and hereditary chief. Intricate details etched into the 800-year-old red cedar tell the story of First Nations communities’ experiences before, during and after the traumatic residential school system—thousands of copper nails are hammered into the wood, each commemorating a child who died at a residential school. Other totem poles around campus include the Musqueam Post by Brent Sparrow Jr., and the Victory Through Honour pole by Calvin Hunt and Merv Child.

For contemporary art, step into the crisp white rooms of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, where avant-garde artists and innovative exhibitions take centre stage. Download or print their info sheet to take a sunny self-guided outdoor art tour—and keep an eye out for the delightful Classical Toy Boat by Glenn Lewis, which isn’t on the list. If you’ve only got time for one destination, venture across Marine Drive to find the Museum of Anthropology tucked away amongst the trees. With one of the finest collections of First Nations art and artifacts in the world, as well as impressive exhibits spanning every culture from Asia to the Amazon, it’s an absolute must-see. (more…)

Drink It All In: Vancouver’s Juice Bar Scene

Vancouver juice bars are on the rise as locals discover the benefits of these detoxifying drinks. What better way to conquer your fitness goals? Drink up and cool down with post-workout delights around the city 


Cold-pressed refreshment by Sexy Juice at Kitsilano's Olive + Ruby Café.

Cold-pressed refreshment by Sexy Juice at Kitsilano’s Olive + Ruby Café.


Whether it’s a post-spin class pick-me-up you’re seeking, or hydration after an afternoon of sightseeing, Nectar has you covered. The menu features juices with seasonal flavours and specific healing properties. Some aid in digestion, promote healthy immune function, clear the skin or support weight loss, while others simply aid in recovering from a night out. All Nectar juices have been pulped and pressed using a hydraulic press to pack in nutrients. The Motivate “milkshake” steals the show with hemp seeds, chia seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, raw honey and alkaline water. Visit the flagship location on West Hastings, or stop by the cart on Granville. (more…)

Buzzing Bakery


Tempt your taste buds with treats for every occasion. (Photo by Betty Hung)

Tempt your taste buds with treats for every occasion. (Photo by Betty Hung)

Love honey? Then make a beeline to Beaucoup Bakery for honey pastries that arrived just in time for spring. The bakery is all abuzz with excitement for three new creations that celebrate local, small-batch nectar from Hives for Humanity. Satisfy that sweet tooth with the buttery Honey Banana Double Baked Croissant, topped with honey caramel and crushed banana chips. For a delicately sweet treat, try the unbaked Grapefruit Honey Tarragon Cheesecake. Or indulge in the savoury Miso Honey Roasted Eggplant Flatbread, with fresh zucchini shiso salad. Trust us: it’s the bee’s knees.

A Sweet Story


Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Biting into a perfectly crisp, flaky pastry can certainly feel like a life-changing experience, but in the case of Jackie Kai Ellis, that indulgence actually helped the Beaucoup Bakery owner whip up a new life. When Ellis flew to Paris to study pastry making at École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, she left behind her life as a graphic designer with her own firm. The catalyst? A cookie. (more…)

10 Spots to Dine on Commercial Drive


Arriva Restaurant. (Photo: KK Law)

Arriva Restaurant. (Photo: KK Law)

True to its origins, Commercial Drive is home to myriad Italian and other flavours. Discover sweet treats at Fratelli Bakery, super sandwiches and cheeses at La Grotta del Formaggio or the ultimate espresso at Prado Cafe. Dining roams from authentic plates at long-running Arriva (pictured) to oven-fired pizzas at Marcello, Lombardo’s and Via Tevere Pizzeria, which is worth the detour to nearby Victoria Drive. Tunisian and French tastes rule at romantic Carthage Cafe. Sniff out Fets for the town’s biggest single-malt offering, or check into St. Augustine’s for its impressive range of craft brews. The Drive has it all.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Green Grocer: Be Fresh Local Market


Produce at Be Fresh Local Market

Produce at Be Fresh Local Market

Picking up provisions can feel like a chore, especially when on the quest for healthy, convenient cuisine. That’s why Be Fresh Local Market’s diminutive cafes and grocery store really pack a punch. Local products—think Nice Vice ice cream and Erin Ireland’s To Die For banana bread—a juice bar, bakery and to-go meals line the carefully curated shelves, for a fresh take on refuelling. Plus, the Kitsilano location boasts a grocery shop on-site, with plenty of farm-fresh produce and artisan fare. Added bonus: the focus on sustainability. Over-ripe produce gets slated for the juicer, and grocery delivery by bike through partner SPUD is on offer. Easy as (organic) pie.

Where the Wild Things Are

Orcas and parrots and bears, oh my! Take a walk on the wild side to spot awe-inspiring—and downright adorable—animals at locations around Vancouver


Grinder shows off his balancing skills in the grizzly bear enclosure at Grouse Mountain. (Photo: KK Law)

Grinder shows off his balancing skills in the grizzly bear enclosure at Grouse Mountain. (Photo: KK Law)

Grouse Mountain
For close encounters of the furry and feathered kind, set your sights on Grouse Mountain. At the mountaintop, find grizzlies Grinder and Coola roaming and splashing around their 2-hectare (5-acre) wildlife refuge. The two bears aren’t related, but they do share a similar backstory: both were found orphaned as cubs, then rescued in 2001. For a meal that’s more than memorable, watch the bears’ morning feeding, then tuck into your own bear-themed breakfast (to Oct. 9, 2016). Those inclined to flights of fancy head to the Birds in Motion demonstration to meet the resident raptors, including hawks, owls and a golden eagle. On the way back down the Skyride—or from the parking lot—try to spot timber wolf Alpha, a retired movie star, who cuts an imposing figure as he roams his habitat.—JVS

Vancouver Aquarium
All that’s wet and wild—on the West Coast and beyond—can be found at the Vancouver Aquarium, where more than 50,000 animals from around the world make a splash with visitors and locals alike. Be mesmerized by jellyfish, roll up your sleeves and pet a stingray, watch acrobatic Pacific white-sided dolphins, and come face-to-fin with many other aquatic residents. But the menagerie of marine life goes way past penguins and beyond belugas: see salamanders and frogs, slow-moving sloths and even Amazonian insects. The aquarium’s intent is to inspire and educate ocean admirers of all ages, but it just so happens to be a ton of fun, too.—JVS

Whale Watching
When it comes to awe-inspiring sights, glimpsing whales in their natural habitat ranks as high as the watery giants dive deep. In the Strait of Georgia, orcas can be spotted breaching and spy-hopping for onlookers, an impressive sight when considering their massive size—5,400 kg or 6 tons—and striking black-and-white dress. And these playful members of the dolphin family aren’t the only species that call the local waters home: grey whales, minke whales, humpbacks and dolphins can also be found in the area, as they feed, frolic and ultimately charm visitors. To see whales in the wild, book a tour with one of the many local whale watching companies.—JVS

Catfe. (Photo: KK Law)

One of Catfé’s furry residents. (Photo: KK Law)

Vancouver’s first cat cafe has the purr-fect combination of coffee to sip, treats to nibble and kitties to cuddle. Home to a rotating selection of eight to twelve friendly felines, all available for adoption, Catfé offers a safe space for homeless cats to meet an array of people—even pop superstar Adele, who stopped by in July. Since opening late last year, Catfé has found forever homes for more than 160 cats, including Larry and Darla (who didn’t let Adele’s attention go to their heads), along with Mr. Whiskers, Cornelius, Pitter Pat and Ron Furgandy. The cafe also stocks an assortment of “meowchandise.” It’s definitely the cat’s pyjamas.—SR

Maplewood Farm
More than 200 animals call Maplewood Farm home, everything from horses and cows to birds and rabbits. Kids can experience what it’s like to live on a farm by riding a pony, watching a milking demonstration and feeding the chickens, ducks and bunnies. Call ahead to find out about special behind-the-scenes opportunities to groom the animals, collect eggs, set up feed and more. It might be enough to turn an urban-dwelling child into a budding Old MacDonald.—SR

Bloedel Conservatory
Stepping into the Bloedel Conservatory is like entering another country, a lush paradise filled with 500 exotic plants and flowers and 200 free-flying birds, all under one dome. Say hello to finches, cockatoos, doves, partridges, parakeets, Chinese pheasants, dwarf macaws and African parrots—and don’t be surprised if one says hello right back. The three different climate zones (tropical rainforest, subtropical rainforest and desert) make the whole experience feel like an overseas vacation, all without leaving Vancouver.—SR