You know that saying "when one door closes, another always opens up?" That describes the Vancouver restaurant scene perfectly. While COVID-19 may have slowed a few openings down, restaurants are still making their debut, offering take-out, dine-in, and even all-season patios, in the hopes of making a go at it.
From a small sushi shop that doubles as a Japanese grocery store to a new lease on life in place of a long-standing veteran on The Drive, there are several new and noteworthy places to grab a meal - or a sweet treat, drink, or snack.
Celebrated chef Takayuki Omi has brought a new kind of Japanese market to Vancouver with the opening of his venture Sashimiya. The longtime sushi-ya of the Raw Bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, Omi - or Chef Taka as he is known - has left his post at the posh hotel to launch this 600-square-foot seafood specialty shop that sells premium Japanese sashimi-grade seafood, made-to-order sushi, and a variety of Japanese pantry items.
Address: 1348 Hornby St, Vancouver
Aw shucks: There's a brand new oyster bar in Vancouver. "Our mission is to educate the world about oysters as a sustainable food option. Step number one: making oysters fun and approachable," says the restaurant. How's this for fun? They top their Vancouver Island-sourced bivalves with things like maple syrup and ketchup chips, or kimchi and gochujang.
Address: 227 E Pender St, Vancouver
Filling the gap between high-end and fast-casual in the plant-based eats sector, MILA (from the people who brought us Virtuous Pie, the vegan pizza spot) launched in September in Chinatown. The globally-inspired menu has been delighting vegans and omnivores alike. Standouts include the carrot aburi-style sushi, a mushroom and sausage pasta, and a smashburger. Save room for a decadent chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert.
Address: 185 Keefer St, Vancouver
Vancouver chef Clifford Chi has turned his passion project - a Japanese tapas pop-up - into a permanent restaurant. He recently opened Noah's Café (named for his infant son) in Yaletown. Diners can expect "Japanese-based western fusion bistro-tapas-izakaya," according to the restaurant.
Address: 572 Davie St, Vancouver
With an all-vegan menu and new ownership, the space that had until recently been the punk rock-tinged What's Up? Hot Dog! restaurant has a new lease on life. Bad Apple boasts an entirely vegan menu, including "ballpark" nachos with housemade plant-based queso, fries of all kinds - waffle or classic French - with dips and toppings, and an array of burgers, salads, and sandwiches. And, yes: there are hot dogs and cauliflower "wings" on the Bad Apple menu, too.
Address: 2481 E Hastings St, Vancouver
It's a juice bar. It's a coffee shop. It's a cocktail lounge. Kevin & Kevin is all the things. By day, pop in for cold pressed juices and casual light bites (i.e. sandwiches, salad bowls, burritos, panini, and soup to suit all diets), and by night - starting at 4 p.m. - the space morphs into a cocktail lounge offering tapas-style plates.
Address: 488 Gore Ave, Vancouver
Fraser Street's Bells and Whistles has made a slam dunk with their concept, offering a laid-back but upscale take on the modern sports bar. Now they're up and running across town at their second location, which is in the space that was previously The Dunbar. They've got burgers, bar bites, ice cream treats, and lots of brews, plus weekend brunch.
Address: 4497 Dunbar St, Vancouver
Yaletown's boutique Opus hotel venue is now home to the city's first bar focused on spritz-style cocktails and a pizza-centric restaurant, all at the hands of the team behind one of the city's most popular Italian concepts, Autostrada. On the Capo side, they're dishing up pasta, pizza, salads and sandwiches (the latter at lunchtime only) while over on The Spritz side it's a 22-seat cocktail bar focused on, well, the spritz-style drink.
Address: 350 Davie St, Vancouver
Just ahead of the Thanksgiving long weekend pastry chef Remi Ho opened his Vancouver storefront to the public. Known for his elegant and inventive pastries that have been available through direct order or sold at local cafés and restaurants, Ho has had this venture in the works for some time. The shop has limited hours to start, and pre-ordering several days in advance is recommended. Keep up and get all the info via Instagram: @remi.patisserie.
Address: 511 W 7th Ave #109, Vancouver
Taking over the South Granville space that had previously been the coffee shop Bump N Grind, Momono Tea Shop has been pouring their pretty teas and bubble teas since the end of the summer. Their sweet and whimsical drinks come with colourful toppings, like a full portion of creme brulee or pastel marshmallows.
Address: 3030 Granville St, Vancouver
Zoomak, named for the word for Korean taverns that served food and drink to travellers, has replaced BB Korean Bistro in Gastown. The new restaurant aims to showcase "a unique and authentic Korean dining experience with a hint of a modern take on it." On the menu are dishes like Japchae, Braised Tofu Rice, and Jjam Bbong. Casual bites include wings and pork potstickers, as well as crispy fried rice cakes. Bigger "feasts" include the popular "KFC" aka Korean-style fried popcorn chicken, as well as a cuttlefish dish. They're doing take-out to start, then will offer dine-in.
Address: 52 Alexander St, Vancouver
Falconetti's on The Drive has officially closed for good, and Social has already sprung up in its place. "Our concept is based on 'something for everyone,'" a rep for the restaurant explains. "We want everyone to feel comfortable in our space, whether you are just grabbing lunch in work clothing, on a date or on a family outing. We offer a super good happy hour daily and nightly as well as brunch on the weekends." The menu features approachable eats, like poke bowls, burgers, and salads.
Address: 1812 Commercial Dr, Vancouver
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