Vancouver restaurants - best types of food to eat

With all the fresh mountain air and salty breezes, it's hard to keep your appetite on the back burner here.

Our advice is to save the calorie-pinching for another time and make every meal a feast. That won't be difficult, because Vancouver restaurants compete with each other to showcase British Columbia's wonderful fresh ingredients, including seafood plucked straight from the ocean.

Vancouver Foodie Tours have been rated in the world's top 10, so don't be shy about signing up for a group experience. Tours options include Granville Island Market, Guilty Pleasures, Best Food Trucks and Gastronomic Gastown. You'll discover signature Vancouver cuisine, as well as some of the best places in the city to eat.

Cold water delicacies

Wondering what food Vancouver is most known for? Oysters could be the answer. Shucking oysters that have been pried from the rocks submerged beneath the crystal clear waters around Vancouver Island is an experience not to be missed. Take advantage of the many buck-a-shuck oyster happy hours across the city and decide on your favourite out of the Kumamoto, Kusshi and Fanny Bay varieties that are local to Vancouver.

For something different, you can try the creamy tasting, briny sea urchins. These unusual ocean delicacies can be found on menus at many of Vancouver's popular Japanese restaurants.

If you can see past their very strange appearance, gooseneck barnacles are one of the most interesting things to eat in Vancouver. These barnacles are hand-harvested by First Nations fishermen on Clayoquot Sound, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Some say they taste like crab; others compare the flavour to scallops. Yum!

Made from locally caught, hot-smoked salmon glazed with maple syrup, candied salmon can be found all across the city.

Candied salmon and Granville Island

Canadian salmon will undoubtedly be on your list of foods to enjoy in Vancouver, so how about salmon with a difference? Candied salmon! Made from locally caught, hot-smoked salmon glazed with maple syrup, this twist on smoked salmon will certainly take you by surprise. Sweet, salty, chewy and slightly peppery, salmon candy can be found all across the city, including Granville Island Public Market. While you're there, check out a Granville Island food tour - you'll discover the market's very best purveyors of artisan food.

Want to do your bit for the future? Vancouver Aquarium has set up the Ocean Wise conservation program to help eating establishments make environmentally friendly choices and ensure the seafood you eat is sustainable. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol restaurant windows when you're deciding where to eat. The best restaurants in Vancouver respect the environment, because they know the future of great cuisine depends on it. 

Japanese influence

A stalwart of the Vancouver street food scene, JapaDog has become one of the best casual restaurants in Vancouver; an institution equally enjoyed by locals and visitors. The menu centres on a selection of Japanese-inspired hotdogs (think seaweed flakes and miso mayonnaise) served quickly in efficient street-vendor style - no waiting for a table here. There are numerous carts across the city and when you find one we recommend trying their signature 'butter and shoyu' fries.

Vancouver's Japanese food is of such a high standard that some say it's the best outside of Japan. A signature sushi dish to try is the BC roll, British Columbia's signature sushi roll, featuring grilled local salmon skin. Or, for something to warm you up on a cold night, head to one of Vancouver's excellent ramen restaurants - the west end between Robson and Denman streets is a reliable ramen destination.

Latte art, Giovane Cafe, Vancouver, Canada.

Best coffee shops

Vancouverites also love their small-batch locally roasted coffee, especially 'slow bar' styles such as Chemex, siphon flame-brewed and pour-overs. Take your caffeine snob pretentions to Revolver Coffee in Gastown, Kahve or Moving Coffee in 1st Ave, Aubade in Pender Street or Timbertrain in Cordova Street. For great latte art, look to Caffe Artigiano in the financial district.

Vancouver food highlights

Bring your appetite for life to the city that chefs love to call home. Experience vibrant Vancouver with Air New Zealand flying direct from Auckland up to five times weekly.

Watch more: Vancouver Winter Wonderland, The Neighbourhoods of Vancouver

Start planning your trip to Vancouver

Keep exploring Vancouver