Vancouver Chefs Pick Their Absolute Fave Bites in the City

Deep-fried fish cones, grilled pork cheek, double-baked croissants + more—where you need to go and what you need to order the next time you're out for a meal

Credit: Coast

Looking for the city’s tastiest dishes? Vancouver chefs pick their top bites in town

In a foodie city like Vancouver, we’re lucky enough to have ‘best bites’ on almost every corner—world-class sushi, award-winning ramen, internationally acclaimed seafood and a wealth of wonderful produce from our neighbours in the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan. The end result? So much deliciousness! Instead of trying to pick Vancouver’s ‘best bites’ by ourselves, we asked some of the city’s top chefs for help. Start making reservations—you’ve got some good eating ahead of you… 

Click through for some of the city’s tastiest bites according to top local chefs.

Cold Ramen Salad, Suika, 1626 West Broadway

Recommended by Chef Trevor Bird, Fable

“The cold ramen salad at Suika is somewhat healthy and very intense in flavour. It’s heavy on umami and it feels like you’re eating more than a salad. It also tastes better than most ramen out there. I get mad cravings for it late at night after service. If I eat it too much, I have to take a break, but then when I eat it again, it’s even better! Suika is a very energetic room and the staff know all of us because we go there so often. They scream at us when we walk in. What are they saying? I have no clue, but I wish I could do it at Fable…”

Double-Baked Almond Croissant, Batard Bakery, 3958 Fraser Street

Recommended by Chef Keev Mah, Sai Woo

“While there are a great many items to choose from at Batard, I’ve got an affinity for a well-made croissant. There isn’t much of a secret as to why a twice-baked croissant is delicious, especially at Batard. They take a well-made, day-old croissant and soak it in a liqueured syrup, fill it with delicious almond pastry cream, and then bake it until it has a nice brown crust with a thin layer of caramelized sugar. It’s moist, has great texture, a hint of bitterness, and is sweet, nutty, creamy and buttery. The double-baked croissant literally takes a couple of days to make and is a pretty expensive food-cost item—at $4 and change, it isn’t just delicious, it’s a steal.”

Agnolotti al Guido, La Quercia, 3689 West 4th Avenue

Recommended by Chef Joël Watanabe, Bao Bei 

“I love the Agnolotti al Guido (pasta stuffed with veal, chard, ricotta, parmigiano) at La Quercia because it’s simple: perfect translucent pasta, minimal sauce and delicious filling in perfect balance. I could eat bowls of it…. It’s very difficult to get these details right when there’s no fluff to hide behind.”

Mexican Lamb Barbacoa Tacos, Molli Cafe, 1225 Burrard Street

Recommended by Chef Alex Chen, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

“I love the Molli Cafe, an under-the-radar Mexican-inspired coffee shop with high-quality, authentic Mexican food. My go-to is their Lamb Barbacoa Tacos, which they only offer on Saturdays. They braise the lamb and make a rich broth out of the meat, serving it simply with a wedge of lime, diced onions and cilantro—it’s the perfect comfort food for a rainy Vancouver day.”

Beef Tartare, Merchant’s Oyster Bar, 1590 Commercial Drive

Recommended by Chef Shin Suzuki, Pidgin

Merchant’s consistently cranks out exceptional seafood dishes—and some of the best steak tartare on the planet. Fermented chilies, cornichon, pickled shallot, house mustard, yolk, chive, and house bread kick up their rich beef tartare. Everything comes together into this amazing bite: it’s silky, tangy, crunchy and savoury—deliciousness found.”

Agedashi Egg Omelette, Kinome Japanese Kitchen, 2511 West Broadway

Recommended by Chef Andrea Carlson, Burdock and Co.

Kinome has the most welcoming fragrance when you walk in: a deep aroma of dashi permeates the environment and really gets you excited to try the food. The agedashi egg omelette with dashi epitomizes the Kinome experience for me. It is composed of such subtle—almost humble—ingredients, but is so masterfully executed that it becomes so much more than an omelette. The dashi is almost bursting from it—so flavourful! It is the best thing I’ve had in Vancouver in recent memory.”

Credit: iStock

Xiao Long Bao, Long’s Noodle House, 4853 Main Street

Recommended by Chef Angus An, Maenam 

“There are many soup dumplings in the city, but Long’s makes them the best. They have the thinnest skin and the best-tasting soup inside. I love the clean and rich flavours. I want them all the time and can never say no to them!”

Fish & Chip Cone, Coast, 1054 Alberni Street

Recommended by Chef Mike Robbins, Anna Lena

“I think the ‘best bite’ is impossible to actually pick, but a lot of variables bring me to this decision. Firstly, I think Chef Masanori ‘Max’ Katsuno’s fish and chip cone is f’ing delicious: savoury, salty, sweet, spicy, DEEP FRIED—it’s unique and specifically a ‘bite,’ not a meal. Secondly, I used to work at Coast and it was an intense, crazy restaurant to be a part of opening. The late-night sushi would always put a smile on my face after many difficult services—especially those damn cones!”

Tontoro Grilled Pork Cheek, Guu, 838 Thurlow Street

Recommended by Chef Dana Hauser, Fairmont Waterfront’s Arc Restaurant

“The grilled pork cheek at Guu is grilled to perfection and has a perfect balance of char and citrus, and it’s fresh, light and simple. I love to take visiting friends from abroad to the original Guu on Thurlow. We have the pork cheek with yuzu ponzu sauce, a pitcher of Sapporo and interesting conversations—sharing techniques with the chefs while sitting at the bar.”

Tamago Ramen, Marutama Ramen, 780 Bidwell Street

Recommended by Chef Chris Whittaker, Forage

“When I’m having a tough day in the kitchen and need some fresh air, I walk down Robson to Marutama on Bidwell. If I time it right, I don’t even have to wait in line. Their ramen is my ultimate comfort food and a perfect stress reliever with fresh, handmade noodles and a super-rich, delicious chicken broth. I save the soft egg until the end—it’s my idea of the perfect dessert.”

SEE ALSO: Where Vancouver Chefs Go for Dessert