A continuation of love for Vancouver’s food scene… enjoy!
While it may not be Spanish tapas, the food at Bin 941 and Bin 942 is damn good tapas. It’s among some of the finest tapas I’ve ever stuffed my face with, and I consistently leave either Bin totally overloaded with way more food than I should’ve eaten. Doesn’t matter; it’s amazing. Diners feel fortunate that there are two locations (downtown and Kits/South Granville) because each restaurant is itty bitty and so overwhelmingly popular that it’s next to impossible to get a seat. No resos, obvi. Get there early.
Both locations have nearly identical menus, except for a few small things. My recommendations – Kobe Beef Meatballs, Thai mussels, the tower of pommes frites, and anything withe the Navajo Fry Bread. If you’ve managed to save room for dessert, tap that Belgian chocolate fondue…hard.
There’s a lot of Italian food in Vancouver, but one of the best new (ish) places for rustic, thoughtful Italian cuisine is Campagnolo. I got to go there when it first opened with my Food & Travel Writing class, and we sampled pretty much everything on the menu. It was epic. The restaurant itself is really low key, and the food was some of the best and most unique Italian I’d ever had in Vancouver. It’s not your typical spaghetti and meatballs, but full of flavourful authenticity like crispy ceci (chickpeas), soft pork ragu tagilatelle, black risotto with calamari, and an incredibly simple linguine al vongole.
Honourable Mention: Trattoria – it’s in Kits and it’s one of the most affordable high-quality restaurants in the city. If you have a demanding palate and little to spend, this is the place for you.
Really, you go for the patio, and get lucky because the food is pretty damn good. Bridges has arguably the best patio in the city. Down in a corner of Granville Island, the large thick-beamed wooden deck stretches out over the waters of False Creek, and boats pass in and out across the sparkling water as you sit, covered in sun, with a spiked lemonade in one hand and a fully-loaded nacho in the other. It’s perfection. Because of this, prepare to wait for a table on a busy, sunny weekend.
My tip: get there are 3pm, lounge with a pitcher of that Skyy vodka-spiked lemonade (seriously) or a pitcher of Granville Island Hefeweizen (brewed just down the street) and then graze on appies all afternoon long. It’s really hard to beat…I’m craving it right now!
Honourable Mention: Chill Winston. Gastown’s best people watching is done right here.
Salt Tasting Room totally takes it when it comes to charcuteries. They specialise in artisanal cheese and small-batch cured meats, and essentially what you do is assemble your own tasting platter by choosing from their ever-rotating selection of ten cheeses, ten meats, and ten condiments. Almost all of their stuff is locally or regionally produced, and it is impossible not to be adventurous while you’re there.
Their menu changes constantly, but I distinctly remember being brave and ordering shaved beef tongue (and then loving it), and finally developing a taste for mustard with their grainy Guinness variety. The other reason to go to Salt is so that you can say you’ve been to a restaurant in Blood Alley. Seriously.
Honourable Mention: Oyama Sausage Co. in Granville Island Market. Get the pork kazu. Trust.
This is almost too tough, but my fave has to be Sandbar because of its rooftop patio. Even in the winter, there’s something about this patio that is difficult to describe. It’s not necessarily the most beautiful, because it’s under a big bridge, but it’s got some decent views, blankets and heaters for rainy days (the whole patio is covered), and just a good vibe – everyone’s there for good food.
Their fish and chips are awesome, and there’s an epic salmon burger that I always manage to order. Also, fresh pints of Granville Island beer from the rooftop bar taste that much better when the brewery is just across the way.
My favourite cheesemonger in the city is Les Amis du Fromage. They have everything I love, including Colston Bassett Stilton (my ultimate cheese obsession) and delicious manchegos, stinky stinky Shropshire Blues, Montgomery Cheddar, and a lot of Canadian content too.
The people that work there are tres knowledgeable and will help you find anything and everything you could possibly eat, based on what you like and what you want to try. I once left there with a selection of goat, cow, and sheep’s milk cheese and felt like I was in heaven.
So there you have it – my two part series (Part I is here) into food in Vancouver. Eat your hearts out, kiddies!