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A Look Back At The Best Vancouver Restaurants That Shaped Our City

Best Vancouver Restaurants

Vancouver has witnessed the rise and fall of a litany of spectacular nightclubs and memorable bars. From Cheers to Richards on Richards, the city has plenty of memories from its long lost venues and watering holes.

With that in mind, part of the city’s culture and history is embedded in its restaurants. With some of the best and most eclectic cuisine in the world, this oceanside city has seen a bevy of incredible eateries.

Unfortunately, not all of these establishments are still standing. With rent prices skyrocketing, it is no wonder many restauranteurs decide to close up shop. Alternatively, many decide that their time is up due to life circumstances. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt Vancouver misses some of its best-known restaurants. Let’s have a look at a few of the city’s memorable eateries.

Best Vancouver Restaurants Over The Years 


The Fish House

Best Vancouver Restaurants
Photo: Jeff Hitchcock / Flickr

Known across Metro Vancouver as a Stanley Park staple, this legendary restaurant served many an anniversary, birthday, and company party. Indeed, it was classy, delicious, and unique. Its menu had an abundance of delicious seafood to choose from, as well as other up-scale favourites. It also had a warm, cottage-style decor, while still remaining elegant and refined. After 25 years in business, Vancouverites were heartbroken when the eatery finally closed its doors in 2015.

Francesco’s Ristorante Italia

Best Vancouver Restaurants
Photos: Francesco’s Ristorante Italia / Facebook

Known as one of the most recognizable restaurants in the downtown core, this lovely Italian locale closed its doors on June 25, 2017. Located right near the Scotiabank Theatre near Burrard and Robson, it was in a prime spot for patron traffic; however, the owners quietly announced it was closing for good via Facebook in June.

“Restaurateur Francesco Alongi, originally from the central Sicilian city of Enna, Italy, opened Don Francesco Ristorante in 2002. It was sold to new owners in 2013. Alongi died in May 2015 after working in Vancouver’s dining scene for 50 years,” reports the Georgia Straight.

The restaurant drew big Hollywood names like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry to its delicious cuisine.

Stormin Norman’s Spirit Grill

Located on Commercial Drive, this eccentric locale was the talk of the town. Known for having exotic offerings and an all around adventurous approach to the classic burger, it was a favourite among locals and tourists. Some of the inspired selections included crocodile, bison, kangaroo, ostrich, venison and more. Normand Auclair originally rose to fame when he sold his unusual burgers and sausages at Wreck Beach in the nude. From there he opened his trademark shop in Vancouver, but ultimately the eatery closed its doors to many a sad fan.

Subeez and WaZuuBee

Best Vancouver Restaurants
Photo: Subeez Yaletown / Facebook

Known as a favourite among brunch-goers and cocktail enthusiasts, the Subeez Yaletown eatery closed its doors in 2015. It originally opened in 2014, and the restaurant enjoyed success as a great spot to grab a bite and a brew. Its sister company, WaZuuBee, was located on Commercial Drive and had the same type of atmosphere. Both locations had a transformative appeal: from morning late into the night, they offered superb cuisine and a fun array of cocktails; however, the Commercial drive location eventually closed its doors in 2010.

Top’s Restaurant

Best Vancouver Restaurants
Photo: Top’s Restaurant / Facebook

An iconic venue that first opened its doors in 1972, Top’s served a large number of regular guests for many years. When they announced that they were closing for good in 2016, the outpouring from local fans was tremendous. Steve Taraviras, the restaurant’s owner, was 80 years old when he finally closed the East Van staple after 44 years of service. He said that some of his patrons were literally crying after hearing the news, and that it was hard to say goodbye to such loyal fans.


The Foundation

While there are iconic restaurants of all kinds, this one held a special place in the hearts of Vancouver vegetarians. Foundation opened in 2002 in East Vancouver on Main Street, and was known across the city for having some delicious vegetarian fare and an extremely laid back atmosphere. The nachos were legendary, and it was a great place to have a brew and enjoy time with friends. Mark Thompson, the owner, said the hotspot served quinoa before it was “the next big thing.” It had a steady 15 year run in the veggie spotlight.

Raincity Grill

Best Vancouver Restaurants
Photos: Raincity Grill / Facebook

Heralded as one of the most groundbreaking establishments of its time, it was a favourite of Vancouverites. With a focus on Pacific Coast cuisine, the owners tried to keep the menu as local and sustainable as possible.

“Raincity Grill was noted for its optional 100-Mile menu with all ingredients, except for salt, sourced within 100 miles. When the restaurant opened in 1992, the chef shopped for local, seasonal ingredients at Granville Island Public Market, changed its menu every week and forged a West Coast cuisine when others (with the exception of John Bishop of Bishop’s) were following European traditions,” reports the Vancouver Sun.

Not only was the story behind the food good, but the cuisine was equally as inspired and tasty. After opening back in 2005, the establishment regretfully closed its doors in 2014.


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