Eight Vancouver restaurants received Michelin stars when the Michelin Guide came to Canada for the first time in October 2022. Toronto was the only other Canadian city to be awarded Michelin stars. It’s about time as Vancouver has long had a thriving culinary scene. Almost half of the city’s population was born outside of Vancouver so the cuisine is varied, thanks to Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Filipino communities, among others. Add an abundance of fresh, local produce due to a mild climate and high-quality seafood and it’s no surprise the food is so good. Here’s just a handful of the best spots, starting with the eight Michelin-starred and also including more casual places.
An obvious choice for a Michelin star, having topped numerous restaurant award lists since opening in 2017, this modern Quebecois restaurant is petite and super popular so a reservation is essential (and be prepared to wait a month). Chef/Owner Jean-Christophe Poirier (formerly of the highly rated Toqué in Montreal) and Chef du Cuisine British-born Colin Johnson (Bibendum and the Greenhouse,London) oversee an often changing tasting menu ($125 plus taxes). Classic French cuisine meets the gastronomic identity and culture of Les Québécois creating truly delightful dishes. The current menu includes the surprisingly delicious Oreilles de Crisse, maple flavored pork rinds delicately and lightly fried, not the least bit fatty. Another pleasant surprise, venison tartare, not gamey tasting at all, while Huîtres à la Florentine, baked oysters with spinach and mornay are sheer bliss. Mains include locally sourced winners like poached BC petrale sole and Peace Country BC charcoal grilled lamb.
This smart, buzzy restaurant has a firm focus on the sustainable, sourcing ingredients from local farms and producers. Led by award-winning executive chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson, the menu at Published on Main features creative items like bee pollen milk buns, bison tartare and wild BC fiddleheads. Other tempting choices include roasted Pacific octopus, twice cooked pork belly and BC halibut. Published on Main topped Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list in 2022 an d received a Michelin Star in the inaugural Michelin Guide Vancouver.
Chef/Owner at Burdock & Co, Harvest Community Foods and Bar Gobo, Andrea Carlson’s love for British Columbia shines through in organic, seasonal plates that have thrilled diners since she opened her cosy restaurant in 2013. And Burdock & Co was the worthy recipient of a Michelin star last fall. Her farm-to-table philosophy means sourcing ingredients from local growers, farmers, and foragers. The changing set menu ($95 per person) includes dishes like shrimp toast; nettle and ricotta ravioli; dry aged pork loin in fermented spruce tree bbq syrup and for dessert, warm Salt Spring Island marmalade honey cake with ginger magnolia flowers.
This tasting menu focused restaurant, located steps from Kitsilano Beach, is owned by Chef Michael Robbins and Operations Manager Jeff Parr. Named one of En Route’s Top 10 New Restaurants in 2015, its opening year, it has consistently been on Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants list and now has a Michelin star. The tasting menu focuses on seasonal local farms and suppliers, alongside wine pairings and cocktails. Expect interesting flavor combinations like olive-oil-poached Chinook king salmon paired with crunchy dill-marinated kohlrabi.
Chef Patrick Hennessy (formerly at Eleven Madison Park, New York) serves a sophisticated menu based on local products. Oysters with local Northern Divine caviar; crispy slices of Japanese eggplant with local honey; and citrus poached spot prawn are a few of the highlights.
Tucked into the upper story of a characterful building in Chinatown, the decor of Kissa Tanto was inspired by the jazz cafes of 1960s Tokyo, featuring white mosaic floors, antique Japanese panels and dark grey walls filled with artwork. The menu, an expert mix of Japanese and Italian cuisine includes treats like Charcoal Udon with Dungeness crab, prawns, squid, and Calabrian chili butter.
Chef Masayoshi Baba uses locally sourced fish for his exquisite Japanese menu. Seabass, steamed monkfish, and abalone all feature in this Michelin-starred gem.
8.iDen & QuanJuDe Beijing Duck House
The only Michelin-starred Chinese Restaurant in Canada is well known for its delicious crispy, juicy duck. Sea cucumber and the whole king crab are other standouts.
Opened last year in Chinatown by Giovanni “Gio” Mascagni, this Italian gem offers the best in street food, in a warehouse space with a retro vibe. Divine focaccia sandwiches and schiacciata, including one stuffed with guanciale, drizzled with honey and spread with walnut crema are thanks to Chef Mascagni’s expert bread-making skills, learned in his native Florence. The pasta dishes are excellent too. Spaghettoni ai frutti di mare, a classic Italian seaside dish brimming with clams, mussels and prawns in a spicy arrabbiata sauce or Pappardelle with wild boar sauce are fantastic. The classic Fritto Misto, a semolina lightly battered local seafood medley with Calabrian chili mayonnaise is prepared to perfection.
Japanese food is excellent in Vancouver and Miku, located along the Burrard Inlet next to the Vancouver landmark Canada Place, is a top choice. From its signature Aburi-style sushi (lightly seared and infused with savory sauces) to delicious meats (tenderized by Sumiyaki grilling) to desserts created by a Kyoto-trained pastry chef, Miku won’t fail to please. Organic, local ingredients enhance Miku’s innovative menu, which is carefully paired with fine wines and sake. Executive Chef Kazuhiro Hayashi takes advantage of fresh, regional ingredients as well as Ocean Wise seafood options to showcase the best of what Vancouver has to offer. Try Miku’s Kaiseki, its multi-course tasting menu, presented on beautiful Arita-Yaki plates from Japan.
11.East is East
Mustafa and Razaviah, siblings of Afghan descent, offer an eclectic menu that includes the flavors of India, Afghanistan and Persia. Menu highlights include Dhal soup with three different kinds of lentils, cauliflower, spinach, herbs and spices; and Boulani, a traditional Afghan whole wheat roti stuffed with potato, green onion and herbs. If you’re really hungry, the Chai Feast features a selection of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. The decor features ornate carpets on the walls, ceiling mandalas and nature-inspired furnishings. Live music, often jazz, is a bonus.
12.Gotham Steak house
It’s not surprising that a restaurant with such an opulent atmosphere (the decor is art deco and mahogany furnishings). serves only Prime Grade beef and excellent fish and seafood. The menu is simple, classic steakhouse, with only the finest ingredients making the cut. Start with local organic sturgeon caviar, move on to Wagyu striploin or a porterhouse and finish with a properly dense cheescake,
13.Local Public Eatery, Kitsilano
A stone’s throw from Kits Beach, the Seawall and Burrard Street Bridge, this is a well-loved hangout for locals. The food is excellent and the vibe is a combination of relaxed, California lifestyle and small beachtown. Dine on the large outdoor terrace with favorites like fish tacos, Thai curry or Ahi Tuna poke rice bowl. Calabrian Caesar salad with a chili-spiked dressing over whole romaine hearts, panko parmesan, bacon and crispy capers is another good choice.