It began with just a saloon founded by the legendary ‘Gassy’ John Deighton in the 1870s, and today Gastown is a thriving hub of art galleries, historic sites, music venues, bars & cocktail lounges, and of course amazing restaurants serving everything from comfort food to authentic ethnic cuisine.
Gastown restaurants are undoubtedly in a league of their own, and they add a unique and tempting vibe to the bustling neighbourhood that brings in locals and visitors by the droves.
Dining at any Gastown restaurant is an experience you will savour, and to make sure you choose a top-notch spot to dine at on your next visit there, check out our list of the 10 Best Restaurants in Gastown, which we’ve carefully curated just for you.
1. Water Street Cafe
This is one of Gastown’s most popular check-in spots, where you can also enjoy some live music along with your meal. Need to take someone on a date? This would be a good spot to start with.
The Water Street Cafe has a view of Gastown’s famed Steam Clock, an antique-style clock that was built during the 1970s; it’s authentic since it runs on steam and it whistles when it gets to tell what time it is.
Here they serve some fantastic seafood and Italian dishes. Two must-order items are their popular Mushroom Gnocchi and French Toast.
Drinks: they have tasty wine here, but you can also opt-in for cocktails such as Raspberry Mule or Ginger Cosmopolitan.
What to order: Mushroom Gnocchi, French Toast, Raspberry Mule, Ginger Cosmopolitan
L’Abattoir is a French-inspired restaurant that first opened in 2010, and is boasting a reputation for having the best bread in town. You’ll find it in a refurbished brick-and-beam building in the heart of Gastown, with classic tiles, driftwood sculptures, and industrial fittings. The menu, under executive chef and owner, Lee Cooper, is sophisticated, as are the drinks you’ll get at the bar.
Order their bread basket, which contains different pieces of bread; it’s an amalgamation of rich tastes… ham, cheddar, and even anchovy. It’s crispy and delicious. From the main dishes, have the divine steak Diane, or opt-in between cod or lamb. Whichever order you have, it’s perfectly cooked meat, with nice sauces and veggie pairings.
Whether you want to go with chef Cooper’s favorite dish, it’s baked Pacific oyster with truffle purée, mushroom marmalade, and whipped garlic butter. Combine your order with some of the L’Abattoir diverse wine options or equally good and stunning cocktails.
What to order: bread basket, steak Diane, cod, lamb, baked Pacific oyster
For a bite of exceptional Italian food in Gastown, we recommend you try Di Beppe. You’ll also like their interior, with exciting vintage Italian posters that add to the great vibe of the place. The venue functions both as a daytime cafe where you can take a sip of true Italian coffee, and as a sit-down restaurant where you can grab lunch or dinner.
On their menu you’ll find always fresh seasonal salads and some fantastic selection of pizzas, pasta, and antipasti. You want to try their pizza Margherita with Fior Di Latte, although you also want to try their Margherita with Mozzarella Di Bufala, which takes it to the next level with its luscious mozzarella chunks made from buffalo milk. The dough is chewy and they always put plenty of cheese as well as a lot of tomato sauce. In case you are up for pasta, have their creamy and peppery Cacio e Pepe.
What to order: Margherita with Fior Di Latte, Margherita with Mozzarella Di Bufala, Cacio e Pepe
If you have tacos and melted cheese cravings, head to La Mezcaleria, the first Mexican restaurant to offer small-batch mezcal in Canada. Their food is excellent and vibrant, which matches their bustling vibe inside.
Served in a small stone and hot dish, the cheese fondue is a must-try here. Order their Amigos flight and you get three different dips (guacamole, octopus ceviche and pico de gallo). And their Baja tacos is no ordinary taco. For more than just snacks, go for a Ceviche Callejero with seasonal fish combined with tomatoes, jalapeno, and cilantro + extra chips. A real blast!
What to order: cheese fondue, Amigos flight, Baja tacos, Ceviche Callejero
Tucked away deep in the heart of Gastown, this charming French Bistro is a must-visit for a cozy weekend brunch. At Jules the atmosphere is serene and pretty, and the service is fast, friendly and attentive. You can also choose to be seated inside, or enjoy the weather outdoors on their patio.
If you’re looking to sample some really delicious fare bursting with French flavor, opt for the Garlic and Black Prawns with Egg Fried Rice, or maybe some traditional French Onion Soup, and an order of escargot. There is also an array of other dishes to choose from. Crab Cakes, Moules Frites, or their signature Duck Confit Cassoulet.
What to order: Garlic and Black Prawns with Egg Fried Rice, Onion Soup, escargot, Crab Cakes, Moules Frites, Duck Confit Cassoulet
Another uber popular hot spot for hanging out and Mexican food in Gastown is Tacofino. They have several locations in town and are absolute favourites among locals for the atmosphere and the tacos ? .
Tacofino indeed has some of the best tacos in Vancouver. Their Pescado Fish Tacos are a MUST-HAVE. It’s a good, flavourful portion of crispy fish on a soft taco stirred with a good amount of vegetables that compliment the dish. If you’re with company, go for the nachos and you’ll get one full with salsa, cheese, and extra chorizo, and the chips are super crunchy.
This Gastown location also has a take out burrito bar. You won’t be wrong to order their Crispy Chicken Burrito or perhaps a more veggie option of Spinach Cauliflower Burrito. And the very special recommendation we have for you–our absolute favorite from this place–it’s their chocolate diablo cookie.
What to order: Pescado Fish Tacos, nachos, Crispy Chicken Burrito, Spinach Cauliflower Burrito, chocolate diablo cookie
Meat & Bread is one more popular eatery that we recommend for your Gastown endeavours. They have several locations around Vancouver, although they’re an original Gastown brand, having opened their first venue in this hood in 2010. They are famed for their sandwiches and you can pair them with some great soups and salads. It’s the perfect quick bite and a break from your urban trekking the Gastown area.
The must-try is the Porchetta Sandwich. It’s the juicy and tender king of the Gastown sandwiches. The bread is soft, and it contains salsa Verde and succulent pork crackling which gives such a special crunch and savory flavor to the sandwich that it will immediately win your heart. Alternatively, you can order the Meatball sandwich. The meatballs are gigantic and absolutely delicious.
What to order: Porchetta Sandwich, Meatball sandwich
Pourhouse is inside a century-old warehouse; the atmosphere here is always lively and entering inside might feel like time-traveling in the past. They are well-known for their striking cocktails, such as their “bootlegged cocktails” (a clear hint to the roaring 1920s and the infamous Prohibition).
Even the food evokes feelings of the past. Such as their Scotch Egg, which looks as if it was taken straight out of a 1960s vintage cookbook. Give the Scotch Egg a bite, and it will be something you’ll want to come back to, craving and asking for some more.
Another staple of the house is the Pourhouse burger which comes with spaghetti and meatballs. You should also have some of their liver with toast, seared tuna, or roasted bone marrow. Any of this will fill your mouth with lots of pleasant sensations.
What to order: Scotch Egg, Pourhouse burger, liver with toast, seared tuna, roasted bone marrow
This is a ‘nouveau’ Canadian gastropub that has several locations around Vancouver, including Gastown, where it opened in 2013. Expect good ambiance and pretty flavorsome food under chef Erik.
Start with some of the Flying Pig’s wonderful appetizers. Such as their braised short rib with bone marrow on the bone, carrots and mashed potatoes. It’s really soft and appetizing. The poutine is a little bit on the sweet side but you won’t regret it either. Erik’s Fried Chicken is also very tender and flavourful. Or perhaps you want to try their trout salad with quite some pungent dressing and their crispy salmon cakes that you’ll smash in a minute with that tartar sauce. This makes for a real gastro-extravaganza.
From their sweet treats: the superb chocolate banana bread pudding. It’s really yummy; the banana is candied on top along with some vanilla ice. Luscious.
What to order: braised short rib, poutine, Erik’s Fried Chicken, trout salad, salmon cakes, chocolate banana bread pudding
A popular brunch spot on Hastings Street is the Catch122 Cafe Bistro. Look forward to some stunning Canadian cuisine, and besides the nice food you can also enjoy their coffee or seasonal cocktails.
Their Dirty Breakfast makes for a real art of the breakfast/brunch food. It’s duck cassoulet and house made sausage with a biscuit and sunny side eggs on top. It looks good, it tastes good. Anything you order with eggs is in fact very beautifully served and delicious, so you won’t go wrong if you get the smoked salmon Eggs Benedicts with farm fresh eggs or Poached Eggs with yummy dark yellow yolks spread atop contents such as smoked pork shoulder or perhaps cheese and cauliflower.
What to order: Dirty Breakfast, Eggs Benedicts, Poached Eggs
Location: 122 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G8
That wraps up our list of Best Gastown Restaurants and we hope you have a blast trying out every one of these fabulous spots. When you’re done, why not stop for a coffee in one of Gastown’s fantastic cafes? Or, for a ‘spirited’ night out with friends, there’s a brilliant range of bars & cocktail lounges you could visit. Here’s our list of the Best Bars in Gastown for you to try out.
How We Create Our “Best” Lists
All Noms Magazine’s “best” lists are created using multiple factors and signals to help readers find the best restaurants, things to do, and places to stay at. Some of these factors and signs include personal experiences, correspondence with locals, and compiling experiences from review sites.
Each list is also created to be balanced (in terms of price, cuisine type, ambiance, and more) as possible. This means that the lists are not specifically created in ranking order. You should be comfortable picking from any of the spots on the list and generally have a good time. But of course, YMMV (your mileage may vary) and everyone may have different experiences/palates.