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Gourmet getaways

5 Alternative Places to Eat in Vancouver

Alex Sparasci August 14, 2014

A longtime guilty pleasure of mine is watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, the US show about where real Americans go to eat. As luck would have it the show decided to feature some restaurants north of the border in Canada just a few months before I headed there to visit friends. 

So as we planned which attractions to visit we made sure to add some places that had featured on the show, as well as a couple of the best eateries picked by our friends.

If you're ever in Vancouver I urge you to sample some of the delights listed below.

Meat and Bread

Porchetta Sandwich from Meat and Bread

This hip sandwich shop wouldn't be out of place in trendy East London. It features a simple menu with just a few choices but don't let that put you off. 

The queue was out of the door when we arrived but our food was well worth the wait, even with the intense appetite that built up as we lined up next to the roasting porchetta. 

This is a great place to get food while downtown and makes a nice change to the regular chain eateries that you'll find around every corner.

I ate: A porchetta sandwich with salsa verde. The tangy salsa was the perfect accompaniment to the crispy succulent pork. 

Tokyo John Sushi

The view from Cambie Bridge midway between Downtown and Tokyo John Sushi

We'd heard about the prevalence of top-notch sushi in Vancouver, but were still surprised by how many restaurants there are dotted around the city. Our friends took us to one of their favourites: Tokyo John Sushi on Cambie Street. 

It was the best Sushi I have ever had and amazingly great value to boot. The restaurant is small but welcoming. The menu is full of interesting things to try but not so packed that it becomes daunting to choose your meal.

I ate: A sushi Bento Box featuring chicken teriyaki on rice, salad, miso soup and 6 California rolls. I could happily eat it every day.

Food Cart Fest

Our noodles and steamed bun at the Vancouver Foodcart Fest

Every Sunday in the city food trucks congregate in Olympic Village to serve their tasty wares by the waterside. Here you’ll find trucks selling food from all around the world including Greece, Australia, the USA and China. 

We were blessed with glorious sunshine and enjoyed our food in the open air. There were stalls selling clothes and music to browse after we'd sated our hunger, and for the environmentally minded you'll be impressed to know that the Food Cart Fest aims to be a 'Zero Waste' event.

I ate: A wonderfully tender pulled pork steamed bun and quite a lot of my wife's Chilli Don when she wasn't looking.

Red Wagon Cafe

The Super Trucker makes my breakfast look small!

Sometimes a breakfast is so huge that it'll be the only meal you need that day. And when Red Wagon serves a breakfast so hearty it's called the Super Trucker, you know you aren’t going to leave feeling hungry. 

The Super Trucker is packed with so many calorific treats – it even features a crisp pork belly. Although the cafe isn't in the centre of town it’s well worth the trip to eat there. The atmosphere is laid back and its mix of comfort food and bottomless coffee refills is clearly a hit with Vancouverites as we had to queue for a table.

I ate: Eggs Benedict with homefries and house pulled pork plus quite a few bites of my wife's buttermilk pancakes. I felt full until the evening!

Peaceful Restaurant

Jericho Beach where we enjoyed our beef rolls and the BC sunset

There are a few branches of Peaceful Restaurant throughout the city but our friends assure us that the food is great wherever you go. We decided to order takeout and go to one of Vancouver's beaches to eat. 

Maybe it was the stunning sunset and sound of the sea but I'm pretty sure it was my favourite Chinese food ever. I'd never tried anything like the beef rolls; they look like a crispy pancake but once you get the taste of five-spice smothered beef and sweet hoisin sauce you realise it’s something unique. Our friends had ordered a variety of dishes and all of the food looked great but if you go there make sure you try the beef rolls.

I ate: Peaceful Beef Rolls and a bucket of noodles too huge to finish.

5 Alternative Places to Eat in Vancouver