Dig in with these family dining recommendations from Vancouver’s top chefs and restaurateurs
Delicious dining shouldn’t stop just because you have kids. Start ‘em young and take ‘em everywhere! Find inspiration for your next family dining outing from some of the city’s best chefs and restaurateurs who know a thing or two about what’s tasty in town. Whether it’s dim sum or chicken wings, a simple bowl of ramen or a dramatic table-side flambéed dessert, Vancouver delivers an exciting variety of family-friendly deliciousness.
1. Paul Natrall, Chef, Mr. Bannock
Facebook/ Tacofino"I love taking my family out for tacos or pasta; the kids really love Tacofino Ocho on West 5th; I have collaborated with a couple of Tacofino locations before, and the owners, management and all the staff are amazing. They’re always happy to see me and the whole fam, and—most importantly—have patience with all the questions and answers for my big tribe! I really enjoy the nachos to start and any ice-cold dark beer, but the Wagyu beef taco is great and we love the wild mushroom gratin and chimchurri. We always start with a good spread of appies with lots of chips and dips; vegetarian or meat, there’s something for everyone. We’ll finish with churros for the perfect evening with the kids all fed and sweet-toothed!"
Ubuntu Canteen"I have very little ones (Four-years and 18-months-old) so I don’t get out that much these days, but the spot I would recommend for families is Ubuntu Canteen. They foster an inclusive, family-friendly space that also works with family hours (i.e. all-day menus, great coffee, and early bird dinners). Their commitment to locally-grown ingredients means you’re getting the freshest and tastiest cuisine. Bonus points for their natural wine selection and fresh-baked bread and preserves you can take home, so you don’t have to think about breakfast the next day! They also have an enclosed back patio so you can take your eyes off your little ones for a hot second... guilt-free!"
3. Eric Pateman, Chef and Culinary Tourism Strategist
Chung Chun"When your dad is a chef and culinary travel enthusiast, food is bound to be a focal point of your life. My three girls (now 14, 12 and 10) certainly love a great restaurant meal, but our favourite thing to do as a family is to dine-around on lower Robson and Thurlow. Banana Leaf’s roti canai is usually our first stop! The problem is we could always just stay and eat at Banana Leaf for the whole meal too, as everything on their menu is delectable! Korean hot dogs at Chung Chun where the hot dogs are battered with rice or ramen noodles and filled with things like squid ink cheese and different sausages is a favourite too. Any dining adventure must include a dumpling stop, and our usual is Jingle Bao where we load up on the crispy snowflake or mushroom truffle dumplings. Then the questions is: dessert first or last... or even in the middle? With molten cheese tarts, cheesecake soufflé and—my personal favourite—the Basque cheesecake, Castella knocks it out of the park! Most importantly, at least for our family, is the bubble tea stop. We have two favourites: Machi Machi if we are on Robson or Bengon’s if we are on Denman."
4. David Hawksworth, Chef and owner, Hawksworth and Nightingale
La Quercia"Since our son was little, dim-sum has always been a go-to for family dining, it’s fun to eat with chopsticks and kids love spinning the lazy Susan. Bonus? They can be loud in the bustling and big spaces. Two of our favourites are Neptune Seafood Restaurant in Richmond and Kirin on Alberni in downtown Vancouver. Top dishes are har gow and sui mai along with sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf and potstickers. For a neighbourhood restaurant close to home, we like to frequent La Quercia. The menu changes seasonally and often, but you can’t go wrong with any of chef Adam Pegg’s house-made pastas. For special occasions, we go to Hys in Whistler, kids (and adults) love the dishes prepared table-side including the best Caesar salad ever and Bananas Foster, which is dramatically flambéed with dark rum and served with vanilla ice cream."
5. Alex Tung, Chef, Yowza Culinary and Concepts
Facebook/Potluck Hawker Eatery"Dining out with my family is one of my favourite activities. We’re big fans of Potluck Hawker Eatery. Chef Justin Cheung and his team cook exceptionally tasty South East Asian food. Most of the time when we visit, I just ask chef Justin to cook for us. He’ll do a menu showcasing seasonal ingredients as well as some tried and true menu items. Some of my favourite dishes are the crispy pata, the chicken wings and the constantly-evolving handheld options. Most recently, the Crabby Patty was phenomenal. My kids and wife love Potluck too; the hospitality is exceptional, and the kitchen gladly tones down the heat level when we request it!"