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Top 10 Restaurants in Vancouver

The foremost city in British Columbia is on a phenomenal tear. Fresh off Winter Olympics glory, top marks on world livability indices and a de facto, evermore secure place within the pantheon of cosmopolitan trendsetters, life is good for Vancouver.

One specific aspect of Vancouver has drawn scads of attention in recent years. A diverse and inventive restaurant scene has made converts and pilgrims out of everyone from Anthony Bourdain to executives at the Food Network in Manhattan. Street cred from epicure bloggers and Food & Wine editors? Vancouver has it. Not that the city needs outside props, however. A flood of recent star chef arrivals, from Jean-Georges Vongerichten to Daniel Boulud, with furtive whispers of more to come, demonstrates what locals have known for years: the city is a West Coast culinary mecca.

Iconic Vancouver street food: The Japadog – Photo credit

And while we still think the best chef in British Columbia is former Sooke Harbour House kitchen boss Edward Tuscon, now of The Edge in downtown Sooke, 45 minutes outside of Victoria on Vancouver Island, the top ten restaurants in Vancouver do the province proud.

Le Crocodile
909 Burrard Street

A mainstay on the upscale Vancouver restaurant scene for well over a generation, Le Crocodile still doles out classics like os à moelle and magret de canard et foie gras poêlés with panache. Très sophistiqué.

Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca
1133 Hamilton Street

What Le Crocodile is to formal French in Vancouver, Cioppino’s is to formal Italian. Chef Pino Posteraro is a master with a delicate touch.

Blue Water Café
1095 Hamilton Street

Not far Cioppino’s, the Blue Water Café serves the best (sustainable of course) seafood in the city. Executive chef Frank Pabst and sushi chef Yoshi Tabo make a formidable duo.

Sablefish at Blue Water Café - Photo credit

Lumière
2551 West Broadway

New York City celebrity chef Daniel Boulud’s Dinex empire took over the helm of Lumière in 2008. Once the realm of former Iron Chef America champion Rob Feenie, a fave fixture on the Vancouver scene, Lumière is still one of the most reliable tables in the city for a decadent gastronomic experience.

Campagnolo
1020 Main Street

For lovably rustic Emiglia-Romagna and Piemonte fare, Campognolo delivers the goods in one of the most convivial rooms in the city.

Bishop’s
2183 West 4th Avenue

Militant locavores swoon over Bishop’s and with good reason. The menu is a who’s who of star B.C. purveyor products, from Hazelmere Farms organic vegetables to Sloping Hill boutique swine.

Market
Shangri-La Hotel, 1128 West Georgia Street

While yet another Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, in a Vancouver hotel no less, gives us pause, Market displays the fiery chef’s chronic fastidious focus on miniscule details. Besides, the raw bar lounge menu is wicked fun.

Sample Jean-Georges dish – Photo credit

Il Giardino
1382 Hornby Street

A sanctuary of Tuscan sensibility in downtown Vancouver, Il Giardino creates authentic and elegant cuisine. The canneoloni with game is divine.

Tojo’s
1133 West Broadway

The ÅŒ-sensei of Japanese cuisine in Vancouver is, without question, Tojo. The man who practically stole the show in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations Vancouver episode is a consummate character and artist. Sidle up to the bar, order the Omakase menu and bliss out.

Tojo – Photo credit

Vij’s
1480 West 11th Avenue

Tojo pal Vikram Vij is to Indian cuisine in the city what the former is to sushi and sashimi. A paragon ambassador in the mold of Madhur Jaffrey, Vij’s eponymous restaurant is the best Indian restaurant in North America, bar none. Menu staples like jackfruit in black cardamom and cumin masala and lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry stimulate crack-like addictive impulses. The wine list is impressive as well, though we love the homemade ginger-lemon drink. Vij’s Rangoli next door is a casual market and café.

Vikram Vij at his Vij’s At Home cookbook launch – Photo credit

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