Hidden Restaurants of Vancouver – Spots Only Locals Know About

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Part of the fun of visiting a new city is exploring the local food scene, and those new to Vancouver will be overwhelmed with their options! Vancouver has many fantastic restaurants to satisfy your foodie cravings. No matter where you are staying in the city, a great restaurant option is just around the corner. Vancouver has it all, from renowned seafood and Spanish tapas to unique doughnut shops and numerous sushi joints. One thing we think you should avoid when choosing where to eat is the chain restaurants dotted around the city. When travelling, one should try to visit the local hotspot. Because Vancouver is a very popular city for immigration, you’ll find an amazing and eclectic restaurant scene featuring European, Middle Eastern and Asian restaurants.
Photo Credit: OEB Breakfast Co.

Below are some of the favourite restaurants of Vancouver locals:

Hidden Restaurants of Vancouver - Spots Only Locals Know About


The most important meal of the day. Vancouverites take their breakfast seriously, and the city has many restaurants specializing in the first meal of the day. Some are so popular that line-ups of an hour are typical on the weekend; you’ve been warned!

Photo Credit: Jam Café

Jam Café

An all-day breakfast joint, they specialize in comfort breakfast food like Eggs Benedict and offer specialties like Pulled Pork Pancakes. While you may have a bit of a wait on the weekend, your stomach will thank you once you dive into the fantastic breakfast foods on offer here – be sure to bring your appetite to Jam Café in downtown Vancouver.

Café Medina

If you’re craving a little Middle Eastern flair, Café Medina is the perfect breakfast or brunch spot in downtown Vancouver. Extremely popular with locals, be sure to order specials like the tagine with two poached eggs and Merguez lamb sausage or the breakfast paella – you won’t be disappointed at this local favourite!

OEB Breakfast Co.

This egg-centric, farm-to-table restaurant in Yaletown is a great way to start your day right. While there are several locations in Canada, each area has a menu unique to the region, so we’re ignoring that this is technically a chain restaurant. Offering classic breakfast options, like two eggs, potatoes and bacon, to chia seed pudding and lobster and shrimp crepes, this is yet another top-notch breakfast joint in Vancouver.

Lunch or Dinner

Whether you are enjoying your midday meal or settling down for the evening, below are just a few of the hidden gems for lunches and dinners.
Photo Credit: Espana

Ask For Luigi

A delightfully charming house in Vancouver’s downtown east side, you’ll almost feel like you’re visiting the Tuscan countryside as you bite into their fresh pasta and enjoy a cold spritz on a warm summer evening.


Looking to share some delicious food with your friends or family? Head over to Espana in Vancouver’s Westend for some great tapas. With small dishes ranging from fried Brussel Sprouts and Patatas Bravas to Jamon Serrano and cheese plates, you’ll want to sample everything on the menu here.


Locals love this authentic, Japanese ramen house for its ramen with chicken broth (as opposed to the typical pork-broth base). With several locations around Vancouver and neighbouring cities, this is the only chain restaurant on our list. Still, you’ll be glad you visited and stood in line with other Vancouverites for this addictive ramen!

Late-Night / Fast food

Whether it’s 2 am or that awkward time between meals when you’re feeling hungry, but it’s too early for a full meal, below are the best, unique options to make sure you can make it to the next meal of the day!
Photo Credit: Chung Chun Rice Hot Dog

Fritz European Fry House

Be sure to stop into Fritz’s whenever you have a snack craving. Winner of several local awards for the best poutine in Vancouver, Fritz’ offers traditional poutine and toppings like Montreal smoked meat, pulled pork, and vegetarian gravy. Be sure to stop by during your exploration of downtown Vancouver to satisfy your hunger! 

Lees Donuts / Cartem’s donuts

Vancouver is getting a reputation for some fantastic doughnut shops, and these two are well worth a visit, and both are so good we couldn’t choose just one. With specialties ranging from Bratnuts (bratwurst with doughnut buns) to Earl Grey and Rose wine flavoured options, you’ll be sure to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth at one of these shops!

Chung Chun Rice Hot Dog

A new entry to Vancouver’s Westend, this Korean hot dog shop always has a line outside, and once you sample their rice hot dogs, you’ll want to come back every day just like the locals! The rice dogs are basically a corn dog from back in your youth but kicked up a notch with all sorts of fillings and toppings, and rice instead of corn, of course!


That finishes up our list of some of Vancouverites’ favourite restaurants. There certainly are many more great options around the city – too many to list! What do you think of our choices, and have you had a chance to try them out? Let us know in the comments below.

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