International Tasting Tours
Examples of Vancouver’s vast cultural influences are evident throughout the city, from its distinct neighborhoods to its visually stunning public artwork. But the cultural diversity becomes even more apparent with the city’s incredible array of international cuisines. Below are 10 suggestions for introducing your palate to authentic and delicious culinary styles from across the globe, without ever leaving Vancouver.
Why: Vancouver has some of the best Indian restaurants in the country, thanks to the city’s large South Asian population. You’ll find family run cafes through to grand palaces of cuisine, with lots of options for carnivores and vegetarians alike.
Try: Vij’s and it’s more casual spin-off, Rangoli are well-known for their authentic yet approachable Indian dishes. Maurya offers a lighter spin on traditional dishes, while Chutney Villa is one of the city’s only restaurants specializing in dishes from the south of India.
Other Indian restaurants to consider
Why: Vancouver’s long-standing Japanese population was originally attracted to the fishing industry in British Columbia, and you’ll definitely see a Japanese influence in how the city eats its seafood! Sushi is practically the signature dish of Vancouver, and trying Japanese food while you’re here is a must. But don’t stop at sushi – there are plenty of other great specialties to try.
Try: It’s hard to go past Tojo’s for a high-end Japanese experience, but other innovative places to consider at Miku and Minami – sister restaurants that specialize in lightly seared Aburi-style sushi. For a more casual experience, try a pub-like izakaya like Hapa Izakaya or Guu Garden.
Other Japanese restaurants to consider
Why: With more than 50 percent of the city claiming Asian heritage, Vancouver’s Chinese food is authentic, high-quality and delicious. You’ll find traditional dining rooms offering dim sum and banquets, but you’ll also find modern bistros that bring together Chinese and Western ingredients in an chic environment.
Try: For a traditional Chinese experience, head to Floata in Chinatown, or one of the upscale Kirin Restaurants. For something more contemporary, visit Gastown’s Bambudda or Sai Woo in Chinatown, both of which also offer an excellent cocktail list.
Other Chinese restaurants to consider
Why: After a large post-war influx of Italian immigrants in the 1950s, Vancouver’s palate started becoming woken up by ingredients that were previously considered exotic. The city’s Italian community is no longer the only place you’ll find a great plate of pasta, regional specialties or authentic Neapolitan pizza.
Try: The nose-to-tail Campagnolo Restaurant is the place to try seasonally-inspired regional Italian flavours as well as house-made salumi. If you’d like a side of celebrity spotting with your linguine, try CinCin Ristorante, right on Robson Street. For a fun, Italian-American red sauce sort of experience, check out The Distillery in Yaletown, and for Neapolitan-certified pizza, visit Nicli Antica Pizzeria.
Other Italian restaurants to consider
Mexican and Latin American
Why: Over the past decade, many immigrants and foreign language students from Mexico and points south have made their home in Vancouver. The city’s food scene has welcomed the influx of new flavours, and you can now find plenty of great Mexican food, along with dishes from Peru, Argentina, and Colombia in the city’s culinary mix.
Try: Tacofino in Gastown is one of the city’s top spots to grab a taco and other Mexican specialties. For a taste of Peru, try the waterfront Ancora, or Chicha in Mt Pleasant. Baru Latino Restaurante brings together influences from around South America in an inventive multi-national menu.
Other Mexican and Latin American restaurants to consider