Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
VIA store 300x100
Join our Newsletter

These are the best restaurants in Vancouver of 2020

Finally, the 31st annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards have been announced.
boulevard-kitchen-oyster-bar-restaurant
Photo courtesy Boulevard

In what has been a most unusual year for the restaurant industry and the dining public, there remains the opportunity to celebrate just how fantastic our food scene is here in Vancouver.

While normally the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards are revealed and feted at a ceremony in May each year, the 31st annual awards and its companion Van Mag issue were postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. It's been a long wait for the restaurants, diners, and even the judges (who don't even know the results of their much-debated votes) as the results in myriad categories spanning cuisines and neighbourhoods have been kept under wraps for months.

In an online ceremony hosted by Vancouver Magazine's Neal McLennan and CBC's Lien Young (quite the foodie in her own right), the 2020 Restaurant Awards were revealed on Sept. 14.

Just a few days earlier, during an Instagram live chat between McLennan and longtime judge Joie Alvaro Kent, the subject of the impact of COVID-19 on our local restaurant scene arose. How many of these award-winning restaurants won't make it to the new year? How many are already gone? Dine-in was curtailed in mid-March, while some were able to pivot to embrace take-out and delivery or add the revenue stream of producing packaged goods or selling groceries, not all have been able to maintain business. Uncertainty around government support and now tighter provincial restrictions on alcohol sales mean a challenging outlook in the industry.

Some are, indeed closed permanently, like Gastown's Bauhaus (Best European), and some are in limbo, like Mott 32 (Best Chinese) at the now-defunct Trump Hotel. Scott Jaeger, the chef and owner of Burnaby's The Pear Tree, which closed down recently, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award; the restaurant earned a silver in the Best Upscale category.

But the message from the Restaurant Awards and its judges (full disclosure, I'm one of those judges) remains clear: Support your favourite local restaurants if you want them to survive. If you're looking for Vancouver's best pizza, best vegetarian, best Korean, or simply the best overall, this list of the winners of the 31st annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards is a great place to start. 

Restaurant of the Year

Boulevard

Chef of the Year

Andrea Carlson, Burdock & Co

Best New Restaurant

1. Do Chay

2. Dachi

3. Sushi Jin

Honourable Mentions: The Magnet, New Fishport

Producer of the Year

Zaklan Heritage Farm

Lifetime Achievement Award

Chef Scott Jaeger, The Pear Tree 

Best Upscale

1.Boulevard

2.The Pear Tree (Closed)

3.Hawksworth

Honourable Mentions: Blue Water Cafe, Cioppino’s

Best Casual

downlow-chicken-shackDownlow Chicken Shack

1. Downlow Chicken Shack

2. HK BBQ Master

3. Chancho Tortilleria

Honourable Mentions: Fat Mao, Downlow Burgers

Best West Coast

1. Boulevard

2. Burdock & Co.

3. Mak N Ming

Honourable Mentions: Farmer’s Apprentice, Nightingale

Best of the Neighbourhoods

North Shore

1. Ancora

2. Two Rivers

3. Bufala

Honourable mention: Terroir Kitchen, Olive and Anchor

Downtown

1. Boulevard

2. Botanist

3. Hawksworth

Honourable mention: Bacchus, Tavola

Mount Pleasant

1. Como Taperia

2. Burdock & Co

3. Osteria Savio Volpe

Honourable mentions: Masayoshi, Koon Bo

Chinatown

torafukuPhoto: Torafuku

1. Torafuku

2. Bao Bei

3. Kissa Tanto

Honourable mention: Chinatown BBQ, Oyster Express

Gastown

1. St. Lawrence

2. L'Abattoir

3. Ask for Luigi

Honourable mention: Pidgin, Bauhaus

East Side

1. Ugly Dumpling

2. Kishimoto

3. Dachi

Honourable mention: Livia, Via Tevere

West Side

1. La Quercia/L’Ufficio

2. Yuwa

3. Maenam

Honourable mention: AnnaLena, Grapes and Soda

Best Victoria

1. Wild Mountain

2. Nowhere, a restaurant

3. Part and Parcel

Honourable Mentions: The Courtney Room, House of Boateng

Best Whistler

1. Alta Bistro

2. (tie) Araxi, The Grill Room

Honourable Mentions:  Bar Oso, Red Door Bistro

Best Okanagan

1. Waterfront

2. Home Block at Cedar Creek

3. (tie) Liquidity Bistro, Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek

Honourable Mentions: Row Fourteen

Best French

cabane-a-sucre-st-lawrencePhoto: St Lawrence

1. St. Lawrence

2. Au Comptoir

3. Le Crocodile

Honourable Mentions: Provence Marinaside, Tableau Bar Bistro

Best Chinese

1. Mott 32 (closed temporarily)

2. New Fishport Seafood Bistro

3. Dynasty

Honourable Mentions: Chef Tony, Chang'An

Best Italian

1. Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca

2. La Querica

3. Savio Volpe

Honourable Mentions: Autostrada Osteria, Ask for Luigi

Best European

1. Bauhaus (closed)

2. Chambar

3. Como Taperia

Honourable Mentions: Bacchus at the Wedgewood, The Magnet

Best Indian

1. My Shanti

2. Swad

3. (tie) Vij's, Dosa Corner

Honourable Mention: Sachdeva Sweets

Best Pan-Asian

1. Longtail Kitchen

2. Ugly Dumpling

3. Pidgin

Honourable Mentions: Torafuku, Fat Mao

Best Latin America

Chancho_Cinco De Mayo-5Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tacos and beers. Photo courtesy Chancho Tortilleria

1. Chancho Tortilleria

2. La Taqueria

3. La Mezcaleria

Honourable Mentions: Rinconcito Salvadoreno, El Santo

Best Vietnamese

1. Mr. Red Cafe

2. Hanoi Old Quarter

3. Co'm

Honourable Mentions: Anh and Chi, Do Chay

Best Japanese

1. Stem Japanese Eatery

2. Yuwa

3. Masayoshi

Honourable Mentions: Tetsu Sushi Bar, Dosanko

Best Korean

1. Hanwoori

2. Joong Won

3. Royal Seoul House

Honourable Mentions: Sura Korean BBQ, Insadong

Premier Crew

Stephanie Jaeger, The Pear Tree

Tiago de Souza Jensen, Burdock and Co

Jeff Parr, AnnaLena

Eric Griffith, Alta Bistro

Danielle McAlpine, St. Lawrence

Isaac Olivier, Boulevard

Best Steakhouse

1. Elisa

2. Hy's Steakhouse

3. Gotham

Honourable Mentions: The Victor, Atlas Steak and Fish

Best Vegetarian

do-chay-phoVegan Pho at Do Chay. Photo: Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

1. Do Chay

2. The Acorn

3. Aleph Eatery

Honourable Mentions: Virtuous Pie, Beetbox

Best Chain

1. Cactus Club Cafe

2. Joey

3. Tacofino

Honourable Mentions: Earls, Nook

Best Thai

1. Unchai

2. Maenam

3. Jitlada (closed)

Honourable Mentions: Kin Kao, Bob Likes Thai Food

Best Pizzeria

1. Via Tevere

2. Pizzeria Farina

3. Bufala

Honourable Mentions: Farina a Legna, Corduroy Pie

Best Seafood

1. Blue Water Cafe

2. Boulevard

3. Ancora

Honourable Mentions: Oddfish, Landmark Hot Pot