Little Black Book

The Restaurateur's Guide to the Best Places to Eat in Vancouver

by Elizabeth Blau
Kaylin Kaylin & Hobbs steal the show at Granville Island. Photo courtesy of Kaylin & Hobbs Pickles.

If you've ever eaten a good meal in Las Vegas, you have Elizabeth Blau to thank. As a consultant to Steve Wynn and countless others, the restaurateur almost single-handledly brought modern fine dining — not to mention a serious celebrity chef scene — to the Strip. But that's only the tip of the iceberg for this Great Woman in Travel: She's also the co-owner, with her husband chef Kim Canteenwalla, of five restaurants in Las Vegas, Bethlehem, and, most recently, Vancouver, a town she's come to love so much we had to get her little black book of culinary favorites. Her new book, Honey Salt Food and Drink: A Culinary Scrapbook, brims with her family's worldwide adventures and recipes from her restaurants of the same name.

VANCOUVER — My family and I have lived in Vancouver for just over two years but have been traveling to the city quite regularly over the last ten years while working on Honey Salt, the restaurant I run with my husband, chef Kim Canteenwalla, at Parq Vancouver. We fell in love with the city from the moment we arrived. The food scene is fantastic, and the city lends itself perfectly to the Honey Salt farm-to-table and local concept.

No city on Earth offers the unique blend of urban, cosmopolitan, and international diversity, and access to, and appreciation for, the outdoors. It has incredible variety and charm, not to mention a growing emphasis on locally sourced products and the adventurous spirit of the city’s chefs. Also, amazing seafood!

I am simply obsessed with great food and have traveled to every farmer’s market and every neighborhood in search of the best bakery, coffee shop, seafood market, dosa, black sesame bun, bubble tea, ice cream, ramen, and vegan burger I could find. We’ve spent a lot of time exploring as a family and reading every magazine, newspaper, and blog post we could find. We’ve eaten in Vancouver’s best-known restaurants, as well as small, family-run stores. By foot, by bicycle, by car exploring this incredible city. These are my favorites.

Beyond Bread, Vancouver.
It's all about the crust. Photo courtesy of Beyond Bread.

Kitsilano Farmer’s Market
2690 Larch St.
Kits Farmer’s Market has an amazing collection of organic and biodynamic farms ,with everything from amazing British Columbia produce to fresh chicken and duck eggs. I also love the fresh pressed cider, artisan bakers, amazing pies, crafts, live music, and fabulous food trucks. The best part is that some vendors rotate from week to week, so there is always something new to discover.

Beyond Bread
3686 W. 4th Ave.; +1-604-733-3931
Coffee and goodies, in-house bites, and brews — the best quality and freshness. Baristas make the most amazing single-origin drip coffees. I also love the house-made almond and cashew milk.

Chinatown
100 Keefer St.; +1-604-632-3808
Great antique stores, bubble teas, spice markets, and noodles. Explore for hours and stop in everywhere.

Vij’s
3106 Cambie St.,; +1-604-736-6664
Perfectly spiced meals at one of the best Indian restaurants in North America.

Rain or Shine Ice Cream, Vancouver
Don't pick. Have them all. Photo courtesy of Rain or Shine.

La GlaceRain or Shine, and Earnest Ice Cream
2785 W. 16th Ave.; +1-604-428-0793
1926 W. 4th Ave., Suite #102; +1-604-428.7246
3992 Fraser St.; +1-604-428-0697
Vancouver is serious about ice cream and gelato, and it’s at its best here.

Blue Heron Creamery
2410 Main St.; +1-604-283-7534
Blue Heron will convert the most die-hard cheese lover to this vegan cheese shop. Amazing.

Aleph Eatery
1889 Powell St.; +1-604-428-7975
Cozy spot offering the freshest Middle Eastern borderless cuisine. 

David Hawksworth’s Nightingale
1017 W. Hastings St.; +1-604-695-9500
Creative contemporary.

Savary Island Pie Company
1533 Marine Dr.; +1-604-926-4021
The most delicious, sweet, and savory pies in all of Vancouver. The crust is particularly amazing.

Elizabeth Blau at Honey Salt. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Blau.
Elizabeth Blau at Honey Salt. Photo courtesy of Blau + Associates.

Ocean Wise & chef Ned Bell
845 Avison Way; +1-604-691-1818
Leaders in sustainable and ethical seafood practices, whose logo on menus throughout Vancouver and Canada are a seal of eco approval. Ocean Wise executive chef Ned Bell helps spread the word about sustainable fishing practices.

Granville Island
1661 Duranleau St., Fl. #2; +1-604-666-6655
The former industrial wasteland is now an impressive cultural and culinary hub on the waterfront. Check out the seafood and produce (specifically the fresh live prawns), Benton Brother’s Fine Cheese, Kaylin & Hobbs Pickles, and Oyama Sausage Company.

Les Amis du Fromage
1752 2nd Ave. W.; +1-604-732-4218
Great family-owned and operated specialty cheese store.

Vancouver Island Salt Co.
Salt in its element. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Island Salt Co.

Vancouver Island Salt Co.
4235 Telegraph Rd., Cobble Hill; +1-250-686-3862
Hand-crafted artisan salts harvested from the cold, clear waters of Vancouver.

Honey’s Doughnuts
4373 Gallant Ave., North Vancouver; +1-604-929-4988
The perfect way to end your hike on Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. Pack a lunch and take your bike for a ride around Stanley Park.

Where to Stay

I would definitely recommend The Douglas, an Autograph Collection Hotel, or JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, both at Parq Vancouver.

More Food Tips, Inspiration, and Recipes from Elizabeth

Get Honey Salt Food and Drink: A Culinary Scrapbook, by Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla

Keep Exploring Vancouver

Escape to the Edge of British Columbia
Old-World Paddling and Rustic Dining on Vancouver Island
A Fathom Editor Eats His Way Through Vancouver