Not your grandma’s favourite Greek restaurant, The Greek by Anatoli offers an irrepressibly high-spirited take on authentic Greek cuisine with a modern feel. In the summer months, the patio is a see and be seen party space with diners tossing back boozy cocktails such as the delicious Karpouzi, a watermelon-basil mojito or the creamy Greek yogurt-spiked white rum Aphrodite. Just because it’s fun, doesn’t mean they’re not serious about the food, and on the menu you’ll find treats such as perfectly-done smoky octopus and rabbit kalamakia which are juicy popsicles of tender meat guaranteed to change the mind of any bunny-averse diner.
Don’t miss: The Greek salad which features feta that’s flown in from Greece; one mouthful and you’ll never be able to go back to those dry supermarket slabs again.
Wild Tale Coastal Grill is a casual West Coast seafood spot with a killer patio on Mainland Street and a fantastic daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., offering dishes such as lobster poutine and halibut poppers. The menu pays homage to seafood from around the country with PEI mussels and Nova Scotia scallops featuring alongside Lois Lake steelhead and Haida Gwaii sablefish. Daily specials like halibut and hand-cut fries or West Coast seafood paella hover around the $12 mark offering excellent value for money, making it a perfect pick for the end of the month.
Don’t miss: The Sunday night Maritimes-style lobster suppers with five set courses and a one-pound lobster of your very own for just $50.
Bella Gelateria Yaletown, 1089 Marina Side Crescent
You probably already know about multi-award-winning gelato maker Maestro James’s delicious gelato, which has lineups every day at the downtown location in the Fairmont Pacific Rim. But the experience at Bella Gelateria Yaletown is far more laid-back and the menu much larger with incredible treats to factor into your dessert-based plans. I’d suggest making a meal of it. You can indulge in authentic Neapolitan-style pizza while you’re there, thanks to a custom-designed oven from Italy.
Don’t miss: The ‘Gelatini’ cocktails. I love the Negroni made with Earl Grey tea gelato.
This adorable little slice of a pie shop opened in October, sister to the cult favourite on Bowen Island. All of Lime and Moon Pie Company's pies are 100 per cent organic, including the spices, and the containers and to-go coffee cups are biodegradable. Coffee comes from North Shore roasters Moja and the creamy gelato which you can have on the side is from Salt Spring. There are a few chairs so you can eat in, but you’re almost certain to take a couple of slices home too.
Don’t miss: Do the double. Have a savoury pie such as tourtière or a pulled pork popover for your main course and have a sweet pie dessert too. The apple-raspberry with a chocolate crust looks especially dreamy.
Opened just a few weeks ago in the large space that used to be occupied by Subeez on the corner of Homer and Smithe, Per Se Social Corner is offering a trio of different experiences under the same roof: a Illy-branded cafe, Rosalinda tapas bar, and Water and Flour pizzeria. Neither the full menu, nor, to be honest, the welcome mat, are rolled out yet but, it’s early days, so let’s not rush to judge. The concept is fantastic and there are some interesting ideas, from cocktails with a house-made horchata to kimchi on the pizzas.
Don’t miss: The plan is for a genuine tapas bar—tapas laid out on the gorgeous copper bar wrapping around Rosalinda. If this happens, it will be a Vancouver first to have a truly authentic Spanish-style tapas bar experience. Fingers crossed.
Yaletown finally gets its very own seriously fashionable, hidden-door speakeasy-style bar! Open Tuesday to Saturday, from 8 p.m. till late, Hello Goodbye offers up a nightclub experience for grown-ups in a sleekly sexy little room. There’s an open mic night on Tuesday, Rebel Bingo on Wednesday and the London Calling cabaret perform twice a month on Thursdays. Baller bottle service is available so if you’ve got $2300 that you’re longing to drop on 6L of Belvedere, finally, that dream can come true. A ‘Champagne Parade’ experience is also available with five bottles which arrive on a wave of sparklers and bubble guns. I love that tax is included in the drinks price and that the only snacks on offer are Jamaican patties and beef jerky. Good luck trying to find this place; there is no sign, just look for the unmarked door in the corridor by the barbers and head down the stairs.
Don’t miss: For those of us who are decidedly non-baller, there are daily drinks deals from Tuesday to Friday. Try a freshly-muddled strawberry daiquiri for $8 on Wednesday or a classic cocktail for $6 from 8 to 9 p.m. on Friday.
Zend Conscious Lounge is an alcohol-free restaurant and kava kava bar offering an excellent breakfast menu (matcha crepes with seared and dehydrated fruit, and white chocolate sauce? Yes, please!), fresh juices, mocktails and teas. If you’re not a drinker and want a cool space to meet friends, this is absolutely perfect. Check out the three-course tasting menu to experience chef Karen McAthy’s inspired vegan cooking. And yes, that’s the same Karen McAthy who used to be at Graze and is about to release a nut cheese cook book.
Don’t miss: The ‘cheese’ tasting boards offering a choice of nut cheeses. I’m an avowed dairy fiend and had serious preconceptions about the idea of non-dairy cheese, but wow, consider me a convert. The trio I tried absolutely blew my mind: creamy, smoky, crumbly, and so, so good.
Nice Vice Ice Cream is Vancouver’s first organic and dairy/soy/allergen/nut/GMO/cholesterol-free, plant-based creamery. This very recent addition to the Yaletown culinary scene is serving up flavours such as 'Strawberry Fiends Forever' and 'Chocoholics Anonymous' in 100 per cent compostable containers or piled high ‘spale’ cones (a surprisingly delicious dehydrated spinach and kale waffle cone combo). The Vice Cream itself is made from coconut milk and sweet potato milk. Try a sprinkle of the artisan salts, such as lavender or hickory, available at the counter from The Salt Dispensary to really pull out the flavours. I loved the espresso salt with the chocolate. Also on offer are ice cream sandwiches and sundaes as well as soon to come, ultra-hip Kombucha floats.
Don’t miss: Try a Vice Cream float made with ultra-cool Capilano Botanical Soda. Also, pop by and sign their petition for a cute parklet outside—we need more green chill spaces!
Housed in a gorgeous brick building from 1912, Brix and Mortar is your new date night and girls/guys night out spot in Yaletown. Fomerly Brix (the restaurant) upstairs and George (the lounge) downstairs, the restaurant has now expanded over the two floors to offer dining in both spaces. A menu revamp means you can enjoy chef Chris Bisaro’s talents with smaller plates such as the drool-worthy Pickled Pineapple and Pork Belly, and coo over bartender Chris Mosey’s Instagrammable drinks such as Big Flavours in Little China which arrives in an adorable take away-style oyster pail.
Don’t miss: The serious wow-factor patio with a trio of gorgeous seven-tiered chandeliers. It’s going to be the place to see and be seen this summer in the city.
Nine excellent reasons why you should eat and drink in Yaletown right now
I’ll admit it: I’ve always been a bit of a Yaletown snob. It’s just never felt like my kind of Vancouver. Sure, I love tried and tested award-winning favourites such as Blue Water Cafe and Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill, and if you ask me for a sexy staycation recommendation, I’ll say the Opus every single time. But going to Yaletown just to bar and restaurant hop and meet friends? Maybe not.
But the times are a-changin’ in Yaletown thanks to a number of excellent new restaurants and bars which have opened in the past year or so. Whether it’s a sexy underground New York-style bar or a vegan alcohol-free lounge, I’ve completely changed my mind about this neighbourhood.
Click through for nine excellent reasons why you should go eating and drinking in Yaletown right now.
Nikki Bayley is an award-winning travel writer, guide book author and spirits and cocktail journalist whose work appears in National Geographic Traveller, The Globe and Mail and the Difford’s Guide. A cheese fan, hula hooper and all-round word nerd, she writes regularly for BCLiving about food, drink, spas and everything else that makes life worth living.