One of the most enjoyable activities when visiting a different city or country is sampling the local cuisine. In the type of places I usually go, this involves taking along a large supply of Imodium and Cipro, but then again I like to travel to the out of the way places that most people try to avoid. I have spend many a night sitting on the can, after eating from a street vendor in a 3rd world country. Such is life. Fortunately, your chances of getting sick while dining in Vancouver is almost nil. The health standards here are extremely rigid and you can safely drink water straight from the tap.

Canada does  not have a "national" cuisine as such. There are typical Canadian dishes, but you do not  hear Americans saying, "lets order in Canadian food tonight dear". What Canada does have, is probably the widest selection of restaurants featuring ethnic foods from elsewhere in the world. Since we are a country of immigrants, this is not surprising. I have found most North American cities, with some notable exceptions, a wasteland of culinary adventure, this is decidedly not the case in Vancouver.

Vancouverites spend more per capita dining out, than in any other city in North America. The city has an incredible variety of restaurants, and the good news is that it is cheaper to eat out in a good restaurant here, than in almost any other North American City. Many experts feel Vancouver has the overall finest selection of Restaurants in North America. There are of course a few establishments which will almost require you to take out a mortgage, but most good restaurants charge anywhere from $15 to $25 dollars Canadian for an entree. They tend to make their money on drinks. A bottle of wine in a restaurant generally costs twice what it costs in a liquor store. You are not allowed to take your own booze into a restaurant, and not all restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol. You can of course eat for much cheaper. If you like Oriental food, you will be in heaven here. Not only is it cheap, but there are tons of Oriental Restaurants and its difficult to find a bad one. You will find restaurants representing nearly every cultural culinary experience you can imagine. Oriental restaurants are also a good choice for lunch. You can often have a full meal for less than $5 Canadian.

All the major fast food chains such as Burger King, McDonalds, etc. are represented. White Spot actually still has car hops. If you did not grow up in North America in the 50's, a car hop is someone who delivers your meal to your car on a tray.

A somewhat unique type of restaurant you will find all over Vancouver is the "Chinese Smorgasbord".  I know is conjures up visions of blonde Oriental Vikings, but they are actually quite a nice experience. There are 3 large ones located in Surrey at 152nd & 100th, 64th & 120th and on 72nd just east of King George Hwy. You can try hundreds of different dishes for one entry fee.

Another feature of Vancouver is the "Food Fair". You will find these in most large malls. They are a conglomeration of small food outlets, and are quite reasonable.

Tipping is generally 15% on the total of the bill, excluding the 7% GST Tax. This usually works out to about 10% of the entire bill including the tax. Many people erroneously tip 15% on the bill total. I have never encountered a restaurant where a service charge is included and most Waiters & Waitresses rely on tips to make a decent living. Waiters & Waitresses have to pay income tax on tips. I find this irritating, since I've already paid my share of tax on the money already. I tend to try and tip in cash, even if I am paying on a charge card. I figure this way, they have some option to not declare all of it.

Vegetarian & Vegan:

Vancouver has a reasonable selection of Vegetarian Restaurants. You will find a couple of links in the table below to a listings for many of them. Vancouver also has a large Chinese & East Indian population and a corresponding large number of restaurants associated with those 2 ethnic groups. Fortunately for Vegans, these restaurants offer a large selection of Vegan & Vegetarian dishes. The best part is, you can attend with your carnivore friends who can pig out on sweet & sour pork, lemon chicken, & ginger beef (sorry Vegans, my mouth is starting to water), while you dine on rice, Tofu & Broccoli. One new Vegetarian Restaurant I can recommend is the Olive Cafe located in the funky Commercial Drive area of East Vancouver. It opened in late 2001 and is run by Turkish University students. You can find it at 1716 Charles Street just 1/2 block east of Commercial Drive. My partner & I went there with Turkish friends recently & had a great time. You can experience typical Turkish dishes and can end your meal lingering over Turkish Coffee or tea for an hour and no-one seems to mind. (Phone 604-251-4141)


Vancouver has strict smoking laws with regards to Restaurants. Its banned in most establishments.


Drinking laws in British Columbia are somewhat archaic. Restaurants have to have a liquor license in order to sell alcohol. You cannot bring your own liquor into a Restaurant, liquor license or not. Most restaurants do have a liquor license, but many smaller ones, do not. If a glass of wine or a beer with your meal is a necessity, you might want to check first.

Restaurant Links
Ezdining - Greater Vancouver Dining Guide Excellent Guide to Vancouver Restaurants
Where2eat.ca - Fine Restaurants Vancouver dining Guide by area
Vancouver Restaurant Guide Another Vancouver Restaurant Guide
Vancouver Restaurant Guide Another Vancouver Restaurant Guide
Restaurant.ca - Vancouver Another Vancouver Restaurant Guide (search by price/area)
Vegetarian Restaurants Guide to Veggie eating establishments
Vegetarian Restaurants Another Vancouver Veggie Restaurant Guide
Gay Vancouver Dinner Party Club Guide to gay operated restaurants
Sunset Dinner Cruise Dine and see the harbour
Vancouver Champagne Cruises Dine and see the harbour
Vancouver Dinner Boat Cruises Dine and see the harbour


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