Looking for somewhere brand new to dine in Vancouver? There's never a shortage of fresh contenders, thanks to the ever-changing restaurant scene in this exciting culinary city.
Featuring family-style authentic Greek eats in a lively space, a hidden patio that will transport you to sunny Mexico, a smash burger standout and a spot for grabbing plant-based hot dogs, here's a look at 10 new and noteworthy restaurants to check out in Vancouver right now.
Get yourself to Greece by way of Vancouver's Commercial Drive, thanks to Loula's, a vibrant new spot with a tantalizing menu of shareable eats. Sip on elegant cocktails, scoop up creamy dips with savoury flatbread and dive into plates of flavourful dishes like prawn souvlaki, roasted chicken, and lemony Greek potatoes. The vibe is party meets chill, with a soothing pale colour palette shaken up with bursts of brightness, like the flower-dappled ceiling. As a cheeky bonus, there's a hefty dose of pop culture injected into the spirited restaurant; the restrooms each pay tribute to famous TV faces with Greek heritage, Jennifer Aniston and John Stamos. Officially opens July 27.
- Read more: Opa! What you need to know about an exciting new Greek restaurant opening in Vancouver (PHOTOS)
Offering dine-in service indoors and on its spacious patio, Alimentaria Mexicana is the project of Mexican-Canadian Chef and Entrepreneur Ernesto Gomez and his team of creative collaborators who are also behind Vancouver's popular Chancho Tortilleria and Nuba restaurants. With the doors now open for what the restaurant is calling its soft launch phase, diners can expect to enjoy a "Cantina" menu that features dishes like Albacore Tuna Cevice, Halloumi and Grilled Cactus, and traditional corn sopes (small, thick tortillas) with bone marrow. Alimentaria Mexicana says the dishes are ideal for sharing family-style. Of course, they have one of the most ideal patio locations in all of Vancouver, perfect for catching all the summer vibes.
- Read more: Highly-anticipated bold new Mexican restaurant opens its doors on Granville Island (PHOTOS)
There aren't a lot of places in Vancouver like Chupito. The recently-opened patio project of Gastown's original La Taqueria location is all about regional Mexican share plates and knockout cocktails, and it happens to be located off an alley with a shipping container bar and some serious speakeasy vibes.
Maxine's honours the European approach to the neighbourhood joint, which has seen increasing appeal in Vancouver in recent years. It's an aesthetically pleasing place to have a morning coffee - or grab one to go - that seamlessly transitions to become where you can sit down for a high-quality lunch, enjoy a great happy hour, or settle in for dinner. Though they have very B.C.-meets-bistro fare like classic roast chicken, wild salmon with a potato salad (another spot where that tonnato sauce comes into play), and mussels with fries, they're also making pasta dishes, like an addicting plate of Linguine alle Vongole. PS: Save room for dessert.
Escape to Venice without buying a plane ticket (or worrying about all the extra stuff travel entails nowadays). The daytime aperitivo menu at Giovane Bacaro focuses on "snack" items, cicchetti, as well as cured meat selections, salumi. Both the lunch and dinner menus have multiple sections, including cicchetti, meat and cheese (salumi and formaggio), as well as Italy's take on grilled cheese sandwiches (en Carrozza), cold entrees, pasta, and dessert. The dinner menu features hot entrees as well, like a dish called Manzo: skewers of tender, succulent wagyu beef with fresh local greens and a balsamic drizzle (have a glass of Sangiovese with it).
So a casual cafe walked into an artisan grocery shop...and the result is top-notch all-day fare like sandwiches, toasts, salads, and coffee drinks. That's the premise behind Oh Carolina, the modern corner grocer from the same folks who brought us Bufala, Lucky's Tacos, and Bells and Whistles. All-day sandwiches include an excellent pastrami on sourdough or a grilled cheese. As expected, they're doing an avocado toast, but don't sleep on the salmon one; it's got whipped sockeye and creme fraiche on a thick piece of Irish brown bread with briny capers. The cafe is also rocking a full coffee bar, using Timbertrain beans, and has a pastry case boasting a simple roster of croissants, savoury rolls, and Butterboom Bakery donuts.
Fans of burgers in Vancouver know darn well the multi-napkin affair that is the Between 2 Buns smash burger isn't new on the scene, but the fact that they have settled into the brick-and-mortar spot that used to be Bestie may be news to many. Rather than having to catch these burger pros at a pop-up you can pop in to their modest Chinatown digs and tuck into their immodest burgers - done with no modifications - with a dose of punk rock. It's a simple menu of burgers and fries, with beers on tap and canned soft drinks. And we aren't joking about how many napkins you'll need.
Get ready to give some love to Good Dogs, a plant-based casual spot open at 1331 Robson Street that focuses on hot dogs - but is also dabbling in cocktails and other fresh meat-free eats. About a half dozen plant-based hot dogs each reflect a classic or global ingredient combo, plus Good Dogs will be dishing up sides and snacks like dumplings and salads.
The new high-end dining destination at Vancouver's Shangri-La Hotel is called Miantiao, and it focuses on a meld of two cuisines: Chinese and Italian. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, the elegant space serves up adventurous eats, like a spicy "mouth watering frog," beef heart crudo, and its signature tajarin pasta.
A new modern Persian restaurant called Delara has opened its doors at 2272 W. 4th Ave (previously the Kitsilano outpost of Burgoo). The restaurant is the venture of Vancouver-based chef and culinary consultant Bardia Ilbeiggi, who creates beautiful dishes fuelled by his Iranian heritage and professional technique. The opening is semi-official; Delara is running as a take-out window for the time being.