Vancouver beckons visitors to British Columbia with its beautiful scenery and an abundance of active pursuits. But you’re missing out on an important part of this incredible city if you’re not seeking out its epicurean bounty. Here are just a handful of our favorite local spots to check out on your next visit.
This rightfully popular and beautifully designed cafe in Yaletown is a must-hit destination. From fresh-baked breads and pillow-soft baked goods to top-notch espresso drinks and lunch offerings, Small Victory is a winner in every sense. Housemade jams, like the strawberry balsamic, are a fantastic accompaniment to the bakery’s scones and clotted cream.
1088 Homer St., (604) 899-8892
Mink – A Chocolate Café
When the season starts to turn and the Vancouver air turns crisp and cool, head to Mink to warm up. Mink’s Drinking Chocolate is rich and velvety, made with 70% cacao for an ideal treat on a chilly day. In addition to hot and cold chocolate beverages, the family-run shop sells artisan chocolate bars and bonbons made by hand in Vancouver. Locals and tourists also flock to Mink for its renowned chocolate fondue.
863 West Hastings St., (604) 633-2451
Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe
Beaucoup offers some of the city’s best French-inspired pastries in a cozy-yet-bustling cafe in Fairview Slopes. The bakery’s croissants are outstanding, especially when paired with an expertly roasted cup of 49th Parallel coffee. The bakery excels at seasonal treats, too, and items like apple pie croissants and pumpkin tarts just arrived on the fall menu. Beaucoup is owned by sister and brother duo Betty and Jacky Hung; the bakery’s founder, Jackie Kai, now leads intimate group trips to Paris that highlight the best bakeries and chocolate shops.
2150 Fir St., (604) 732-4222
With shops in Coal Harbour and Yaletown, Bella Gelateria offers patrons world-class gelato in two waterfront locations. Maestro James is the ringleader at what is perhaps Vancouver’s best gelateria and his award-winning creations are handcrafted with local, seasonal ingredients whenever possible. Classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate are available, but unique offerings like Akbar Mashti—made with rosewater and saffron—black sesame, and lavender & Earl Grey are worth a try, too.
1001 West Cordova St., (604) 569-1010; 1089 Marinaside Crescent, (778) 737-7890
Long Table Distillery
Long Table is Vancouver’s first micro-distillery, a family-run operation best known for their outstanding gins. Each bottle of its West Coast-inspired spirits is handcrafted using traditional, small-batch distillation methods in a custom-designed copper pot still. Long Table often uses hyper-local hand-foraged ingredients, and the water used in distillation comes from the local Coast Mountain Range. Unlike some distilleries that only offer samples of their retail products, Long Table brings some serious mixology to the table at its North False Creek tasting room near the Burrard Bridge. Here, patrons can try excellent craft cocktails on certain nights of the week as well as tastings of its award-winning spirits.
1451 Hornby St., (604) 266-0177
Purebead is a charming family bakery that originated in nearby Whistler and now boasts a covetable Gastown location as well. Come hungry: You’ll be tempted to order everything in the case, and everything is good. The naturally fermented fresh-baked bread offerings include loaves of hazelnut fig, walnut rosemary sea salt and Whistler Wheat, and a smattering of tasty sandwiches served on the housemade bread graces the menu. Save room to try some of the cakes, cookies and tarts, like a salted caramel bar or a slice of spiced apple cake.
159 W. Hastings St., (604) 563-8060
Public Market | Granville Island
Can Granville Island’s Public Market be incredibly touristy? Sure. But it’s also a fantastic spot to shop for locally made treats. Bon Macaron Patisserie is run by owners Yann Fougere and David Boetti, native Frenchmen who brought their pastry experience to Vancouver. Try the whiskey chocolate or olive oil sea salt for traditionally made macarons in inventive flavors. Benton Brothers Fine Cheese sources and sells artisanal, small-production cheeses from across Canada and around the world. Family-owned and operated Siegel’s Bagels specializes in authentic Montreal-style bagels—chewy and dense, boiled then baked in a wood-fired oven. Top it with a schmear like Siegel’s Winnipeg cream cheese or try a bagel sandwich piled high with Montreal smoked meat. Find the full list of market purveyors here.
1669 Johnston St., (604) 666-6477