Neighbourhood Guidebook: Kitsilano (The Best Eats, Drinks, Shops & Stays)
Stunning mountain views, a massive but beautiful saltwater pool, and a laid-back beach-town, Kitsilano is another gem in Vancouver’s crown of gorgeous places to visit. Culturally rich, this captivating neighbourhood boasts a host of attractions including the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Fashionable stores sell a range of outdoor-wear, yoga and exercise gear, and charming waterfront restaurants serve delicious seafood fare.
Kitsilano is a must-visit for a relaxing and enjoyable time, and to help you plan your next trip there, we’ve put together lists of the best stores, restaurants, cafes and other hot spots that are loved by both locals and visitors.
We hope you visit Kitsilano and enjoy rest, relaxation, and fun.
Serene seaside dining is one of the hallmarks of Kitsilano. This tranquil beach town hosts a stunning variety of restaurants featuring everything from traditional sushi to epic French cuisine. Here’s a list of some of Kitsilano’s best restaurants for you to visit on your next stop there.
Located on 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, this delightful French restaurant is quaint and intimate with the servers and decor doing a wonderful job to give the place a real French vibe. Open for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, Au Comptoir brings a little bit of France to Vancouver. They constantly change their menu with the seasons to accommodate local produce, ensuring fresh and delightful cuisine is always available.
For breakfast, try out their Croque-madame which consists of parisian ham, gruyère, fried egg on country bread or their Assiette De Saumon Fumé, which is house smoked salmon, chive crème fraîche on toasted country bread. Another favorite at Au Comptoir is their home made beef burgers. Grilled to perfection on homemade buns with the exact right amount of condiments, this burger has customers coming back for more.
For dessert, the pastry Chef brings forth fresh and exciting creations that are perfect for starting your day or ending your meal.
For those of you looking for absolute fresh mouthwatering seafood in Vancouver, Oddfish comes highly recommended. With a menu that changes based on the catch of the day and what local farmers bring in, Oddfish is a creative, casual and classy restaurant in Kitsilano to bring a date or a group of friends and be prepared for exciting new dishes popping up on their handwritten chalkboard.
At Oddfish, most of their meals are meant to be shared so you get to try a variety of their offerings. The burrata is highly recommended, and their handmade fresh pasta accompanied by your choice of clams or prawns is a delight. They also do great fresh vegetarian dishes and their Roasted Broccoli or Grilled Asparagus is not to be missed.
“Let’s see what the sea brings us…” is their adage and is sure to lead to an exciting and captivating seafood extravaganza.
Tacofino is a popular “go-to” option for Mexican tacos and mouth watering Mexican food. Considered by many to be the best in Vancouver, this popular chain comes highly recommended not only for their authenticity but also for their playful and succulent dishes.
The Maui Pork Al Pastor is their faithful representation of Mexican culture. With a bit of kale slaw and pineapple salsa thrown in, this combination is what gets customers returning in flocks. For fish aficionados, the cod and tuna tacos are fresh and accompanied by toppings that bring out the fish to perfection. The bean and cheese, crispy tofu and eggplant and cauliflower tacos are sure to delight veggie lovers.
Finish off with their signature Diablo Cookie to really experience the best Tacofino has to offer.
For amazing French fine dining you should visit Annalena, regarded by many to be the best in Vancouver for French inspired cuisine. There are amazing cocktails on offer and the soft music and attentive staff contribute towards a wonderful ambiance that makes Annalena the perfect place to unwind. The food here is firmly French, influenced by the Pacific Northwest.
They have a delightful tasting menu featuring at least seven beautifully presented dishes which are balanced and palatable. Try their unique fried chicken skin covered in chocolate. The spot prawn with morel and aerated porcini and bisque, and the brie with black truffle will definitely tantalize your taste buds. Their most popular dish is the mussels out of their shells in a decadent creamy sauce with thyme, preserved lemon & garlic.
Annalena comes highly recommended if you’re looking for a fancy, upscale fine dining experience with wonderful service and superior food.
In the mood for Vietnamese cuisine? Try the award winning Mr. Red Cafe run by Rose Nguyen & her husband Chef, Hong Duong. They had a wish of carrying the cultural values of Vietnam to Vancouver, and the love and effort put into each dish truly exemplifies this desire. This picturesque, popular restaurant might seem small, but the decor is excellent, with lots of green plants and beautiful paintings on the walls. Just right for a Vietnamese feast.
Pho is the “go-to” dish, and you should definitely try thePHỞ GÀ (Chicken), PHỞ BÒ (Classic Beef.) Their signature main course is the BÚN ĐẬU MẮM TÔM which consists of huge servings of steamed pork hock slices, deep-fry tofu, deep-fry pork blood sausage served with vermicelli noodle, fresh herbs and spicy shrimp paste sauce.
Wrap up with some authentic dessert. The CHÈ CHUỐI (Sweet banana & Yuca dessert with tapioca & coconut cream is amazing!
In Kitsilano is a unique cafe called East is East, a hub for people with divergent cultures to feel at home. Their fusion approach to food, ambiance, live music and art enhance a sense of inclusivity while retaining the spirit of Eastern traditions. Based on the traditional dhaba style cafes found back east, this popular date spot in Vancouver is perfect for an evening of relaxation.
For starters, try their take on Boulani, a traditional Afghan roti with stuffing, or the Dalcha stew, a delicious blend of chicken or lamb in dahl soup. Move onto their Wild Salmon, Chicken Masala or the Lamb Curry, as your main to actually experience the Persian influence. Finish off with some Chai and the popular dessert for every eastern occasion, their mouth watering Gulab Jamun.
Whether you’re yearning for some nostalgic desi food or just feel like new experiences, give East is East a try. Your taste buds won’t be dissapointed.
On the bucket list for any Ramen lover should be Kitsilano’s Ramen Danbo. This highly recommended eatery is popular for using local as well as imported ingredients. Their versatility allows you to customize the noodle thickness and firmness, the broth and spice. Danbo is considered by Ramen lovers to be among the best in Vancouver for their unique and original signature broths and artisan crafted noodles.
To start off, there’s a choice of four types of Ramen; Classic, Shio (salty), Miso (soy) and Negi-goma (sesame). You get to choose basic toppings like Chashu-men (pork belly), or tofu. Traditional toppings like boiled eggs, nori, kikurage and karashi takana are also available. Definitely try out their side dishes; the pan-fried Yaki Gyoza and Pork Donburi are just too delicious to be overlooked.
Protip: There is always a waiting line outside due to its popularity. Turnover is pretty fast though, so make sure you write your name at the entrance and go in when they call out your name.
The popular restaurant, Mamalee can be found on West Broadway in Kitsilano. Recommended for its authentic Malaysian cuisine, this amazing family-run cafe is sure to ring your taste buds to life with their exquisite herbs and spices and fresh food. Combining care, quality and originality, Mamalee should be on the bucket list of anyone looking for a profound dining adventure with an authentic Malaysian perspective.
Mamalee is known for its Hainanese Chicken. This delightful blend of Chinese tradition and Malaysian complexity is served boneless with either rice or noodles. Also try out another favorite at this restaurant, the Laksa Noodle Soup, a rich coconut and curry flavoured dish, available in chicken, beef, fish and vegetarian.
In Kitsilano, the popular Nuba’s is one location where you can be guaranteed fresh and enticing Lebanese dishes that appeal to meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans alike. The food and drinks here are prepared on the spot, ensuring the rich blend of zest and flavour is fresh on your plate. The ambiance at Nuba’s is fantastic. From the friendliness of the waiters to the classy decor and generous servings, it is a popular hangout for those indulging in upscale Middle Eastern cuisine.
Try their halloumi cheese for starters. Move on to their famous falafel, hummus and baba ganoush, all traditional Lebanses starters, that signify the authenticity that Nuba’s is popular for. If you like delicately spiced meat, cooked to perfection then the Lamb Kafta, Lamb Kibbeh or the Beef Flatiron Kebab are not to be missed. Their version of Vegan Stew is not only scrumptious, but will make you want to come back for more. All in all, the perfect place to get away and immerse yourself in a different world.
Sushi joints are super popular all over Vancouver. Among them, is Kitsilano’s own Green Leaf Sushi that is highly recommended by Sushi lovers in the city. Intentionally casual and friendly, you’ll feel right at home sampling the best that Green Leaf has to offer. With friendly service, uptempo and reasonable pricing, this is one restaurant that has customers returning for more.
Try out their unique Japanese Tornado Omelette, consisting of Japanese style fried rice, covered with a whipped omelette and topped with creamy jalapeno sauce. All the sushi here is fresh and the accompanying sauces are exceptional, however they do make a mean signature Aburi Sushi Combo. Their Tuna Tataki Salad is fresh, full of flavor and texture. A perfect balance of salad, fish, and toppings.
The next time you crave some excellent Japanese nouvelle cuisine, give Green Leaf Sushi a shot
Sophie’s has been the mainstay “mom and pop” diner since 1988 and has gone from strength to strength in Kitsilano. This is the spot you go for quality comfort dining. With welcoming owners, a funky dining room and spacious exterior, Sophie’s also boasts original artworks of national and international artists.
Try their famous 4th Avenue Lumberjack (eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and pancakes) or their popular Santa Fey’s Egg Benny. There is a huge selection of beef, salmon, chicken and vegetarian burgers, that are fresh and come with Sophie’s special sauce. They even have a deep-fried breaded Oyster Burger that you should definitely try out.
Finish off with their homemade Cosmic apple Pie or the favourite of all diners, their Cosmic Banana Split.
If you are in the mood for some spicy and authentic Thai food, try the award winning Maenam in Kitsilano. This popular restaurant serves an incredible range of wonderful Thai cuisine that is built on technique, balance, tradition, and innovation, from award-winning chef Angus An. With a tasteful and thoughtful decor, pleasant ambience and hardworking and friendly staff, be prepared to transport your culinary experience to another level.
Their more popular dish is the Pad Thai. Hands down one of the best you can get anywhere in the world. With fresh rice noodles, tamarind, peanuts, tofu, egg, and prawns this dish is meant for those who appreciate high quality gourmet food. For starters, give their Grilled Thai Sausage and Crispy Rice Salad, or their Hot & Sour Seafood Soup a try. The Green, Red and Yellow curry found in all good Thai restaurants are flavourful and should be sampled. Their Shaved Ice Pandan Dessert is so good that you probably will order more.
Tip: If the tasting menu option is available and is highly recommended if you would like the whole Thai cuisine experience.
Trattoria is Kitsilano’s Italian connection. It’s the place you should go for simple, fresh and traditional pizzas, pasta and other Italian delights. They have different deals throughout the week that change regularly and a Happy Hour. The staff is friendly and attentive and can be counted on to give you vegan and gluten free options. Perfect for a romantic date, casual hangout or a group booking.
There are two items on the menu that you will probably not expect many customers to order, but at Trattoria, they do. The first is their amazing take on Bruschetta. Served on flatbread, with a chickpea sauce, burricotta, spiced walnuts, and marinated olives, this simple blend of textures and flavors will have you salivating in anticipation for the rest. The second is more unique, and their most popular dish, Brussel Sprouts! Not kidding. Deep fried and seasoned with lemon, capers, chilies and parmigiano-reggiano. Just amazingly delish!
The highly successful hot pot chain, Haidilao is less than a restaurant and more of an experience. Welcome to a wonderful culinary discovery that will have you craving to return time and again. Be prepared to wait because there’s no pre-booking. However, the restaurant provides a host of cool services to make waiting a joy — snacks, drinks, wifi, and more. Yes, you will be pampered while you wait! When you’re seated you will be given aprons to cover your clothes, and covers for your bags, phones, and even hair ties to keep your hair away from your face. The servers are extremely polite and helpful, and will guide you in preparing your meal.
There is a huge sauce station which also has free desserts and fruit. If you order noodles, a “noodle man” will do the noodle dance at your table before dropping the noodles into your hotpot.
A highly entertaining and fun way to spend an evening with friends.
Coffee and pastry snobs are in for a real treat when they visit Kitsilano. Spending a lazy morning at a cafe, nibbling on a perfectly baked Danish, and sipping from a steaming cup of your favorite beverage is something everyone should do to recharge, and there’s no better place to do it than in one of Kitsilano’s charming cafes.
Here’s our list of the best ones to drop by when you visit.
Thomas Haas Chocolate
For some of the best pastries in the city, Thomas Haas is the spot to visit and get more than you bargained for. From their beautiful storefront aesthetics, to the delicious coffee-filled aroma interior, and dazzling arrays of mouth-watering pastry on display, you will love this cafe and never want to leave.
Try some of their Orange-Cranberry Scones, or a Hazelnut Danish with a Matcha Latte, or if you’re looking for a fuller meal, sample one of their five freshly made sandwiches, or a Ham & Cheese Croissant. They are yummy!
Prtip: Thomas Haas is renowned for their amazing cakes, so order one if you have a special occasion coming up.
Two gorgeous spots combined into one! 49th Parallel, the roastery that offers up delicious blends of smooth, rich coffee, and Lucky’s that will send your taste-buds into spins of pure delight with their gorgeous donuts.
Are you looking for a great tasting Bubble Tea fix, with smooth and chewy pearls of tapioca to refresh your spirit? Head to the trendsetting Baroness and enjoy one of their 30+ freshly brewed teas, all with amazing texture and flavor.
Baroness is renowned for their brown sugar bubble teas, and pearls with amazing smoothly chewy texture. The Purple Yam Milk is something you should try, and for sure their amazing Thai Style Brown Sugar Milk made from oat milk, which has fast become one of their hottest sellers. If you’re a fan of creamier tea, then that’s the one you want to opt for. There’s also marvelous Black Tea Series with an array of toppings for the bolder tea drinkers.
Be sure to stop by at Baroness. It’s well worth the visit!
Be prepared to get transported into a train station when you enter Platform 7. How cool is that? This popular neighborhood hangout is always bustling and serving up great coffee, sweet treats and light meals. You may have to wait for a table, but it’s definitely worth your time to do that.
Sample their delicious Stumptown Milkshake, a Chai Latte, and maybe a vegan mixed berry scone (you will love this!) If you want something more filling, try the Deluxe Ham Breakfast (English muffin with egg, ham, cheese and veggies,) the Veggie Breakfast Sandwich, or their yummy Turkey Cranberry.
If you’re craving some delicious homemade ice cream that’s 100% dairy, give Rain or Shine a try. While they may not have huge amounts of flavors, the solid line up of permanent choices and their rotating seasonal menu is sure to make you drool in anticipation. Considered to be one of the best ice cream spots in Vancouver, this popular Kitsilano scoop shop is the perfect place to taste some scrumptious delights.
Try their famous Malted Milk Chocolate with bits of honeycomb coated in dark chocolate, or their Blueberry Balsamic. Also quite popular are the Coffee Toffee, Peanut Butter and Lavender Honey. A lot of their ice creams are gluten and egg free. They also have milkshakes, sundaes, and ice cream cakes. Rain Or Shine is the ideal getaway to indulge yourself in some sweet satisfaction.
One of the oldest coffee shops in Kitsilano (and definitely one of the most charming and popular) is the cozy, family-run Arbutus Coffee. The adorable little neighborhood gem offers service with a smile, great coffee, and an array of delicious pastries and light bites. A great place to relax with a good book, work in relative peace, or just sit at a table outside, sip coffee and watch the world go by.
Try their Lavender Coffee, a Matcha Latte, or a tall glass of iced-tea. Grab a muffin, a slice of moist banana bread, a date square, or a chewy brownie. If you’re hungrier, sample some delicious quiche, or go for a super yummy breakfast bagel with ham, egg and cream cheese.
Protip: If you’re craving a muffin with your coffee, get there early. They sell out fast!
If you’re out for a morning stroll and want to stop for a caffeine fix, then Elysian Coffee in Kitsilano is a wonderful place for just that. Modern, well-lit and just right in space, this is a good spot to recharge, relax, or simply get some coffee to go.
Order a Latte and a croissant, and definitely don’t miss out on their signature Chocolate Walnut Cookies. Try a scone or the shortbread, and for someone savory just dig into a cheddar scone. It is super delish! For a fuller meal, you can opt for a Turkey and Cheddar Croissant Sandwich, or even a healthy Veggie one.
Cartems is about three key things: smiles, conversation, and donuts. If they can make people smile and talk about their donuts, then that’s a win.
With a philosophy like that, this popular cafe is always bustling with customers coming in to satisfy their sweet cravings. Highly recommended for their huge selection of vegan and gluten free options, Cartems’ is Kitsilano’s spot for angelic delights.
Try their Earl grey Donut with a sprinkling of rose petals on top. Their Mango Coconut, Blueberry Mint and Dulce Crunch are part of their speciality series and not to be missed. Sample their homemade ice cream that comes in a jar and pairs really well with their crisp fresh donuts. A very good idea for takeout.
Protip: They can and do sell out. If you are looking for a sweet treat later in the day calling ahead is a good idea.
Starting out as a small family business, this popular bakery quickly became a hit amongst Vancouver’s search for fresh, tasty and unique baked items. They bake delicious bread, savouries, cakes & treats that bring a smile to peoples’ faces. If you are more health-conscious, you can ask the server for gluten-free or vegan options. Their main reason for being considered among the best in Vancouver is the numerous options available every day of the week.
Try their Chocolate Coconut Scones and the Blueberry Scones. They are dense, crumbly, buttery goodness and absolutely massive in size. One is all you need. Or, be brave and go for two. With a charming seating area for snacks and drinks, and friendly and attentive staff, the cozy ambience at Purebread will always have you coming back for more.
When you visit Grounds for Coffee in Kitsilano, you’ll first see a chalkboard sign outside that says “world’s best cinnamon buns.” And, they aren’t kidding! Made without trans fats, hydrogenated oils, eggs, bleached flour, nuts, raisins or preservatives, the buns are baked with a high level of control for moisture, frosted with vanilla-bean cream-cheese icing and served fresh.
For the health conscious, there is a wide assortment of freshly baked products to indulge in. Try their Superfruit Muffins that are rich in antioxidants and are kept ultra-moist with seven different types of fruit. Or their healthy, hearty wraps and classic calzones. From classic pizza calzones to choice vegetarian wraps, this amazingly versatile and admirable bakery does it all. Highly recommended for a quick snack or takeaway.
Open for breakfast and lunch, Their There is very popular for their breakfast sandwiches and pastries. With a funky decor and endearing baristas and serving staff, Their There provides a charming atmosphere and superb dining. Located in Kitsilano, this gorgeous cafe has many regular customers who either dine in or opt for delivery. It’s a great place for family outings or a meet up with friends.
Try the Fried Chicken Sandwich, which quite frankly is one of the best in Vancouver. The Classic is very good too, and consists of bacon, scrambled egg, cheese, sprouts and their own Hundy sauce. The Cinnamon Bun with cream cheese frosting is guaranteed to make you come back for more and their Cronut (combo of croissant and doughnut) with a sweet caramel flavour and custard filling is definitely a must try.
It wouldn’t be a complete visit to a beachtown, if you didn’t hit up a few bars and enjoy a couple of drinks with friends. Kitsilano has a range of watering holes that serve a variety of great beers, wines, cocktails and more. We’ve picked out the three best ones we think you might enjoy.
For a no-fuss and frill-free evening of relaxation and a few cold ones, Colony is every local and visitor’s preferred choice in Kitsilano. The place gets crowded and fast, but the atmosphere is great and perfect for a night out with friends.
There are rotating taps for beer, funky cocktails and wine, wine and more wine. Indulge in a glass of Merlot, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot bubbly, or just a yummy
Spicy Mezcal Margarita. Order yourself some Yam Fries, or Dry Fried Squid, or go for a juicy sirloin steak if you’re really hungry.
Tip: Happy Hour is Mon-Fri from 3-6pm, and Colony is also open for Brunch on weekends and holidays.
If you’re looking for a really fun and entertaining place to spend a night out, then Yagger’s Kitsilano should definitely be on your must-visit list. A sports bar packed with TVs, and great theme nights including Karaoke Saturdays, Tequila Tuesdays, and Game Mondays, you’ll be sure to have a rockin good time once you step in.
Order yourself a Strawberry Mojito, or a Moscow Mule, linger over an Old Fashioned, or a cool draught. If you’re hungry, then the appies are super delicious, especially the poutine and wings. Sample their yummy Fajitas, or just go for a Crispy Chicken Po Boy. Yum!
For a classy night out in Kitsilano, head straight for Raisu and enjoy the experience of beautiful Japanese ambiance, service, drinks and some of the most delicious food in town. A perfect place for a family celebration, or a romantic date night.
If you’re in a group, start off with the Plum Wine Sangria, a Raisu Splash Lemon Sour, or go for the beer on tap. If not that, then there’s always Sake! The food cannot be missed, especially their signature Deluxe Seafood Bowl, the Snow Crab and Ikura Hitsumabushi, and of course their famous Sho Ka Do bento.
Protip: Raisu fills up fast, so either get their early, or call ahead and reserve your table to avoid a wait.
If you’ve made it to Kitsilano (and we really hope you do,) then some great shopping should definitely be added to your To-Do list. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered for some fun and leisure shopping experiences that won’t break your wallet.
Your one-stop-shop for everything apparel and more. Patagonia is a great place to get your clothing needs sorted in a day, and also pick up the necessary gear you’ve been meaning to buy, but never got around to.
From sleeping bags, to totes, slings and waist-packs, and even kids ski and snowboard gear, you will find everything you want in here. They also resell a number of pre-loved items, which is great if you’re on a budget. So, go shop your heart out.
If you want to buy a whole lot of produce and groceries, and still not put a dent in your wallet, Persia Foods is where you need to shop. With an array of products and unbeatable prices, this understated store charms customers into returning for all their grocery needs.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts, and exotic dried fruits from the east, you will find it all here. Buy the bread, and you will love the freshness and taste, get some tea, and be sure to stop at their dairy section for a few treats.
Music lovers and fans of vinyl, this one’s for you! Zulu Records is the perfect spot to stop for some relaxing record browsing and tune selection. Take a trip there, and grab a few of your favorite albums.
The selection of records at Zulu is decent, from rock to jazz, and everything in between. They also have a massive selection of used records at throwaway prices, so if there’s something missing from your collection, this would be the place to look.
Tip: If you’re not a vinyl record fan, stop by anyway and pick up a gift for a friend who is.
When you need an afternoon of solid retail therapy, The Latest Scoop is where you should stop. This beautiful lifestyle concept boutique features a host of eye-catching and pretty products that will have you grabbing more and more.
From trendy apparel and striking accessories, to gorgeous home decor like cushions and throws, candles, votives and pretty novelty items, The Latest Scoop has something for every kind of shopper and budget.
If you’re a lover of all things vintage, then have we got the perfect store for you! Step Back brings their customers some beautiful and classic items that are full of old world charm and best of all, affordable in price.
Browse through a wide selection of quaint suitcases, pretty crockery and china, printer’s boxes, retro typewriters, cameras and nostalgic school furniture. There are a range of new items too, including books and decor, and tons of good old fashioned knick knacks. This is really the best spot to start up a collection, or add to one you’re passionate about.
Before planning a trip to any place, finding accommodation can take up time, and turn stressful. To help you out, we’ve listed a couple of places we recommend, as well as an Airbnb map to guide you towards something that suits you better.
Suite Dreams Vancouver Bed and Breakfast
Just a fifteen minute walk from Kitsilano pool, this charming bed and breakfast is great for visitors planning to stay a few days or more.
All rooms have an attached balcony, and are well appointed. They also include a heating system, microwave oven, electric kettle, tea and coffee making facilities, a flat-screen TV, and wifi.
That rounds up our list of the super cool and best places to dine, shop, and stay when you’re visiting the beautifully beachy town of Kitsilano. Have a pleasant and fun stay, and maybe for your next getaway plan a trip to stylish and chic Yaletown?
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