Some food destinations sneak up on you. They begin as pizza-and-beer celebrities and everything else gets lost in the shadows. Vancouver is one of those destinations. However, if you look beyond the billboards and fast-food outlets, this city dishes up a surprising amount of gourmet opportunities. It's time to put something on your plate worth writing home about.
Just offshore from Vancouver's city centre, Granville Island is sometimes overlooked by visitors. This is a shame, because the island boasts some of the city's best food, history and culture. It all centres around the Public Market where lovers of food and cooking have found their long-lost home. Explore the assortment of fascinating stalls, which all emphasise fresh, homemade products and delectable gastronomy. Day vendors include farm and food artisans who offer a variety of award-winning choices including jams, sauces and sweet treats.
The weekly Farmers Market in Triangle Square (June-September) is the best place to not only source quality produce, but also learn from the experts in vegetables, flavoured chocolates, baked goods and a lot more. Combine gorgeous food with waterfront and city views at one or more of Granville's restaurants. There's something for every kind of diner, from breweries and steakhouses, to seafood and Italian. With so much to see (and devour), it's easy to miss some of the best parts of Granville Island's food scene. Fortunately, you can stay four nights at the elegant 5-star Wedgewood Hotel and take advantage of the complimentary Granville Island Market Tour.
It's not outrageous to say food trucks have steadily made their presence felt in the dining culture of numerous cities around the world. Vancouver is no different, with a collection of highly-touted food vendors on wheels. Visitors can indulge in grilled cheese, hoisin chicken, smoked wild salmon, Berkshire pork and more from the gourmet menu of the ever-present trucks. The only problem is knowing where to look.
The food trucks move around to expand their consumer base, so you can't rely on them ever being in the same spot. In such a massive city, the best way of finding your next street-side meal is by joining the experts in the food truck experience: World's Best Food Truck Tour. These tours last for about two hours and include four courses, five tastings, and plenty of fun and engaging stories from the guides and local chefs.
Inner-City Gourmet Dining
Vancouver's streets aren't only worth exploring for their food trucks. There are gastronomic experiences within many of the renowned restaurants. These establishments are often run by highly-regarded chefs, feature award-winning menus or incorporate creativity in their food. From Southern-style pulled pork sandwiches and Chinese cuisine, to dreamy gelato and chocolate paired with local wine, the food encounters are imbued with variety.
Make sure you don't miss a single taste by taking the hand of an expert on the Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour. This three-hour culinary journey stops off at multiple restaurants and includes four courses, 14 tastings and group interactions with the chefs and owners. It's possible to combine food trucks with fine-dining when staying at the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel, which has its own signature restaurant and right now includes both the World's Best Food Truck and Guilty Pleasures tours.