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Head to the drive and experience what's made this neighbourhood a culinary institution
Commercial Drive is 21 blocks of distinct character, unique shopping and locally owned restaurants, cafes and pubs that make every trip down “The Drive” as memorable as the last. Here are our top picks for places to re-fuel when exploring Commercial Drive.
Bandidas Taqueria is a vegetarian Mexican restaurant that combines the best of comfort and quality. Their house-made tortillas stand out, they have a great selection of local beer and provide an assortment of popular all-day breakfast menu items. And for those who fear anything “veggie,” know that a lack of meat doesn’t translate to a lack of flavour, as the tacos served at Bandidas are second to none.
For over 20 years, Cafe Deux Soleils has been a staple of Commercial Drive. Enjoy a variety of comfort food dishes in the morning, afternoon and evening with a side dish of live entertainment. Playing host to musicians, comedy acts, poetry nights and performance art, Cafe Deux Soleils is a great place to go for dinner and a show, and a welcoming spot for newcomers hoping to showcase their talents.
With over 60 beers on tap, St.Augustine’s is one of the best watering holes to visit when exploring the Drive. With tons of space, it’s a great place to meet up for a drink after work. Hop off the skytrain and take a quick walk to the corner of Commercial and BC Parkway to try tasters of local craft beer, seasonal flavours and even lambics and sours. For a live tap menu and food listing, visit online.
Family owned and operated, the husband and wife duo that runs Absinthe Bistro strives to bring a taste of flavourful France to The Drive. Unlike the alleged effects of pure Absinthe, the three-course menu at Absinthe Bistro is no hallucination. Dishes featuring pan seared scallops, braised lamb shank and confit duck leg are très bien.
Another family run business on The Drive, La Grotta Del Fromaggio, is an Italian style deli and restaurant that serves up custom sandwiches and specialty Italian products like cheese, pastas, olive oil and antipasti. Their sandwich bar lures Vancouverites to return time and again, and the incredibly warm service is all part of the charm.
Opening their doors six years ago, BierCraft Tap and Tapa Bar owners Dean Mallal and Don Farion wanted to share their passion for Belgian beer and great food with the rest of Vancouver. Drink in the friendly atmosphere of BierCraft Tap while enjoying one of their imported beers and two or three course menu options. We recommend the banana foster waffles, which will make your day much sweeter.
There’s always room for dessert, right? The best way to end a night on The Drive is to enjoy a scoop of gelato at Gelateria Dolce Amore. With a history on Commercial that stretches back four generations, Gelateria Dolce Amore creates original gelato flavours with precision and flavourful detail. Other dessert options include pie, sorbetto or personalized cake. Dolce Amore was one of our picks for the best ice cream in Vancouver.
Famous for their homemade sausages, Falconetti’s grabbed plenty of attention when they were featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. You might go for the meat, but you’ll stay for the awesome atmosphere (great for sporting events and live entertainment). Plus, its patio features one heck of a good view of the city.
You can’t talk about Commercial without mentioning Havana. Why? Maybe it’s the amazing year-round patio. Or the awesome sangria and other drinks. The menu is always changing slightly, so there’s always something new and exciting to experience. Great food for brunch, lunch and dinner. Need we say more?
If you’re looking to grab a drink, no matter what day of the week, Libra Room is a great decision. Featuring live music most nights, the atmosphere is always boisterous and fun, perfect for a date or a get-together with friends. One of our favourite Libra Room quirks: choosing a drink based on your astrological sign.
If you’re a fan of a delicious cappuccino (or Cristiano Ronaldo), Joe’s is your spot. This Portuguese-run coffee shop might not have the prettiest decor, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better cup of joe.
If you’re a sports fan and you want to catch a game with likeminded individuals, head to Roma, which is legendary for sporting events, whether it’s the World Cup or a regular season game. Roma recently received a facelift, which includes a patio if you’d rather watch people over the game.