5 Vancouver Chefs Dish On Their Favourite Eats

18 July 2016
Read Time: 4.6 mins

Vancouver has a pretty good reputation. Often voted as the world’s most livable city, the picturesque landscape, friendly locals and inescapable melting pot of cultures come together nicely for tourists and locals to enjoy the best of the Canadian West Coast.

The Big Smoke, Hong-couver and now Vansterdam with its recent legalized Cannibus laws, are all affectionate nick names for the rainy city, and with all these great characteristics, Vancouver has its charms to suit any traveler. Whether you are interested in the great outdoors or the fine arts, Vancouver really is a stunning destination to visit. With some of the best seafood, street foods and now wine in North America, Vancouver no longer plays second fiddle to rival city Montreal when it comes to good eats.

Here is a chef’s guide to the Vancouver.

Chef Lisa Henderson, The Union

In a very male dominated industry, Chef Lisa Henderson from The Union is a rare find in Canadian kitchens. In a very diverse city like Vancouver, it’s no wonder Lisa draws crowds with Pan-Asian food to hungry locals. So where does Lisa eat on her days off?

The Union Restaurant , Vancouver, Canada. The Union Restaurant , Vancouver, Canada. Image: The Union.

Where do you go for breakfast?

Acorn - there are a lot of options for different diets. And every dish is unique and delicious and can’t be found on other menus. I like the fried poached egg - a soft poached egg rolled in tempura, deep fried and served on a bed of sautéed collard greens with homemade cornbread and a smoky piperade sauce.

Best spot for dinner?

Chica! Love their ceviches and causas. The staff is so friendly and you can tell they love what they’re doing. They have a great happy hour everyday (all day on Sundays).

Best kept secret in the city?

Corduroy in Kits is our favourite little neighbourhood bar, a “Cheers” kind of place. Kayla and the gang always make us feel special. Great pizza. (they also own Corduroy Pie Co. on 16th Avenue). Stop by on Rock Paper Scissors, Open Mic or Comedy nights.

Favourite place for a quick bite?

Meat & Bread. Huge sandwiches! They make all their condiments from scratch. I like the Porchetta with the salsa verde and crackling which is their standard classic and everyday they have 2 or 3 different sandwiches.

Best dish to try now in Vancouver?

Charcuterie wood board at Juniper, all made in-house by their third generation butcher/sous chef. It is impressive - chicken liver parfait, beautiful terrines and cured meats. Peppercorn bison salami!

Chef Angus An, Restaurant Fat Mao

Chef Angus An is well known in Vancouver for his restaurant Maenam. Controversy followed the chef to in mid-2015 to his newest eatery, Fat Mao. Many doubted whether he could pull off authentic Thai flavours with local British Columbia ingredients. Needless to say he shut down critics with sell-out bowls of noodles and other morsels. Chef Angus takes us on his favourite Vancouver eats.

Flat lay image of a selection of noodle bowls from Chef Angus An's Fat Mao Restaurant. A selection of dishes from Chef Angus An's Fat Mao Restaurant. Image: Fat Mao.

Favourite spot for breakfast and coffee?

Matchstick Coffee in Chinatown. I love their kale scone, and Chef JC Poirier's new menu is awesome too.

Favourite place for a quick bite?

Mr Red Cafe. I love their house-made rice rolls with beef.

Best kept secret in the city?

Masayoshi. So good. So under the radar.

Chef Dan Olson, Railtown Café

In the new ‘it’ district of Vancouver, Railtown is where you find Chef Dan Olson’s modest yet delicious café. When he is not churning out fresh baked goods, Chef Olson is eating his way around Van-city.

 A waitress holds bread fresh from the oven at Railtown Café. Bread fresh from the oven at Railtown Café. Image: Railtown Café.

Favourite place for a quick bite?

Indochine Kitchen + Bar on Broadway. Their garlic butter chicken wings are some of the best in the city.

Best spot for outdoor dining?

Guu Garden, an Izakaya spot with several locations in the city. They have a great under-the-radar patio that’s right downtown yet tucked away from the hustle and bustle.

Secret cheap eat in the city?

Au Petit Café, a popular, family-run Vietnamese restaurant on Main Street with cheap and delicious banh mi sandwiches and great noodles.

Best spot for dinner?

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in the Sutton Place Hotel. I’m a big fan of Chef Alex Chen’s seafood-focused cuisine and the service is always top notch.

Chef Deniz Tarakcioglu, Café Medina

Café Medina is somewhat of an institution in Vancouver. Known for their Belgium waffles and lavender lattes, this is the café where Hollywood celebrities filming in Van-city go for breakfast. Chef Deniz Tarakcioglu takes us through his favourite places around the city when he's not greeting the morning rush.


"I'll pass on breakfast," said no one ever. #putaneggonit (: @leanajasmin)

A photo posted by Medina Cafe (@medinacafe) on



Where do you go for breakfast?

My go-to for breakfast is The Red Wagon Cafe. I live right around the corner and know most of the people who work there. They know exactly what I like and how I like it. Their plates are always fresh and thoughtful, and cooked with care and love. On any given day, the bar seat by the wall is my favourite in the restaurant.

Favourite place for a quick bite?

Pizza Garden on Commercial Drive, where I had my first kitchen job. They are open late, close to home for me, and their pizza is consistently fresh and delicious.

Favourite bakery?

Eleanor Chow's Cadeaux Bakery on Powell Street. Eleanor is one of the most talented bakers I’ve ever worked with. Her execution is incredibly precise, and she makes even the most complicated techniques look effortless.

Secret cheap eat in the city?

Mr. Red Cafe. Whenever I crave Vietnamese food, I go to the location on East Hastings. The food is delicious, fresh and affordable. If I’m dining with a group of friends, Peaceful Restaurant is another one of my go-tos for Chinese cuisine. We normally order a variety of items and eat family-style so that everyone gets a taste of each dish at the table.

Best kept secret in the city?

Polonia Sausage House — for the culture, and simply because I’m very fond of hotdogs. Using Polish techniques and superior proteins, Polonia is serving up some of the best smokies in our city.

More Canada holiday inspiration

Top 10 Things To Do In Vancouver
Chef's Guide To Montreal Dining


Chef Jack Chen, Royal Dinette

 Flat lay product shot from one of Royal Dinette's salad meals. One of Royal Dinette's hearty flavoursome salads. Image: Royal Dinette

Best coffee in the city?

The Birds & The Beets in Gastown. They offer incredible coffee in a great neighbourhood. It’s also a great place to people watch.

Favourite place for a quick bite?

Long's Noodle House on Main Street. I go for a quick order of Xiao Long Bao, drunken chicken and noodles. Nothing beats it! The food reminds me of my mom's cooking and the kinds of things I would eat after school when I was young.

Best spot for outdoor dining?

Brunch at Farmer's Apprentice on their intimate patio. The food is delicious, healthy, and created using local and seasonal ingredients.

Favourite bakery? Why?

Beyond Bread on 4th Avenue and Alma Street. It’s an organic artisan bakery that makes the best sourdough and Danish rye bread. We serve their bread at Royal Dinette and our customers love it.

Chef Felix Zhou, Beach Bay Café

Beach Bay Café's sake-marinated sablefish, with daikon, seaweed, dashi and  pickled shimeji. Beach Bay Café's sake-marinated sablefish. Image: Beach Bay Café.

Breakfast in Vancouver?

I’m not big on breakfast, but when I do go out it is to go yum cha, also known as going for dim sum. I usually go to the Grand Palace Restaurant in Coquitlam, but there are several restaurants in Vancouver that offer great dim sum!

Favourite bakery?

Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie on Hastings in Burnaby. If I want to indulge in baked goods, this is definitely the place!

Secret cheap eat in the city?

Sunny Spot Cafe on Main. This place serves great traditional Chinese favourites and it will not break the bank.

Best kept secret in the city?

Basho Cafe on Hastings in Vancouver. Be sure to try one of their delicious set lunches!

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Vancouver.

Michelle Tchea

Michelle Tchea is the bestselling author of Building a Perfect Meal, Signature Dishes and My Little SoHo Kitchen.Born and raised in Melbourne, she currently bounces back between Europe and the US working with the world's best restaurants and hotels. Specializing in luxury travel and gourmet escapes, she can't imagine anything better than vegemite on toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner.