Neighbourhood Guidebook: West End (The Best Eats, Drinks, To Do’s & Stays)
It’s no secret that Vancouver is one city with a multitude of beautiful neighbourhoods that sparkle like gems, and bustle with their own unique energy. The West End is one such neighbourhood, and perfect for a visit.
Predominantly residential, this thriving town boasts a relaxed and easy-going culture, hosts a range of chic fashion stores, versatile dining, and sits proudly as the gateway to the famed Stanley Park. It is known for its LGBTQ culture, inclusivity, great food, bars, tourist spots, and stunning views from forested trails to the Seawall waterfront, and all the way to English Bay.
To guide you through this amazing neighborhood, we’ve carefully curated a list of the best restaurants, cafes, bars, entertainment, as well as places to stay. We hope you’re up for a visit, and ready to make some great memories.
Renowned for its thriving food scene, Vancouver’s West End offers locals and tourists a host of eateries with diverse cuisines, amazing style and of course, pure substance. There is definitely no shortage of great and vibing places to dine here, and the options are endless.
It was difficult to narrow our list down, but we selected each of one these restaurants for their atmosphere, service, overall experience, and not forgetting the incredible food.
No fuss, no frills. Just ramen! Kintaro is that well-known, old-school spot that everyone loves if they want to be transported to Japan. They made it to our Best Ramen List, and for good reason. Their portions are generous, their ingredients are fresh, and slurping satisfaction is the name of the game.
Dive straight into a hearty bowl of their signature Miso Ramen, and you will not be sorry. The Shoyu is another hit, steeped in a delicious pork-bone broth that is divine! Get a side of barbecue pork, gyoza, or kimchi to round off your meal, and soak up each flavorful item.
Aside from being an age-old artisan cuisine, sushi is also a big favourite among foodies everywhere. Great taste quality go hand in hand for the perfect sushi meal, and Tetsu Sushi Bar offers that up in spades! Drop by for a great meal, and just dive into delicious goodness.
Go for the pan-seared King Salmon Teriyaki Don, or some yummy Unagi. The Aburi is fantastic, and their rolls are super fresh and delicious. We recommend the Spicy Tuna, Real Crab, and definitely the Bluefin Negitoro.
For the real deal in tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet,) Saku is where you go! This spot cannot be missed, and is well worth a visit for experience, great taste, and friendly service. A perfect place to hit up for an evening out with friends.
Each katsu set is accompanied by unlimited rice, tonjiru and shredded cabbage, so get ready to chow down! Our absolute fav and recommendation is to go for the cheese katsu. You’ll be singing in joy when you take a bite when it is piping hot.
Address: 1773 Robson St, Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 1C9
Marutama Ramen needs no introduction if you know your Ramen in this city. They make it to every Best Ramen List, including ours, and they do that because they really are a cut above most.
There isn’t anything on the menu we wouldn’t recommend at this spot, and we’re especially keen for everyone to try out their Tamago Ramen, which is soy and pork based in a creamy chicken broth with a soft-boiled egg. The Shoyu (Soy & Bonito) is another great option, but nothing quite tops their Tamago Ramen.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget the Garlic Chips!
Address: 780 Bidwell St, Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 2J6
An izakaya is a type of informal Japanese bar that serves alcoholic drinks and snacks. Similar to Tapas bars and British pubs, they are the perfect spot for an after-work drink, or a light early dinner. Kingyo keeps to tradition by offering fantastic Japanese small plates, and also Bento boxes that are packed with flavorful delights which really hit the spot.
For starters get the deep fried corn, or opt for a fresh sashimi salad. The Sockeye Salmon Carpaccio is another hot must-try item on the menu, and anything off their sushi section is just delish! For your main, go for the Kani Meshi rice bowl, which is packed with snow crab meat, ikura, egg, and homemade crab butter, and served in a sizzling stone bowl!
P.S. if you’re looking to impress, the Stone-Grilled Kobe Beef is marvelous
Another popular sushi spot is none other than Tom Sushi. Well known for their fresh ingredients, simple and classic presentation, and amazing taste, they are a popular pick among foodies, and definitely a place to check out if you haven’t. Take your friends, and spend some quality time enjoying great food and atmosphere.
You’ll want to try the Prawn and Yam Tempura here, for your appis, or the vegetable tempura. Definitely get the spicy gyoza, some soft shell crab, or the oysters. The Salmon Amaebi Zuke donburi is a must-try, otherwise, go for the Bluefin don, which is just as great.
For fast food options in the West End, Chicken World is one spot you gotta hit up. Offering super crispy fried chicken, burgers bursting with juicy goodness, and hearty sides, this is a popular spot with locals and tourists alike. The service here is warmly welcoming and top-notch, so you will feel right at home.
Grab some Peri Peri Chicken Wings, or go for a Combo Chicken Meal. Their signature Bewafa Beef Burger is a must-try (double patty and juicy,) and we wouldn’t say no to the Shona Bun Kebab (desi burger) with a beef and lentil patty, and topped with egg and chutney. Sides include everything from Arabian Rice, to Poutine!
Steeped in history, Olympia Pizza & Pasta is one of those charming old-school neighbourhood spots offering up an array of hearty baked pastas and Greek cuisine. A great place to stop for a bite of lunch with friends and family.
The menu at Olympia is extensive, and packed with fabulous fare that will really get your taste buds going. Start off with some deep fried Fantail Shrimp with lemon & cocktail sauce, or go for the Appetizer Plate that is loaded with all their best appis. For your main, try the baby back Greek-style ribs, BBQ Chicken & Ribs, or their signature Moussaka.
Set in the heart of West End, Papi’s is a seafood-focused casual restaurant that offers a great atmosphere, beautiful patio views overlooking English Bay beach, fantastic service, and amazing food. If you’re looking for a perfect outdoor brunch or lunch experience, this is it!
Shucked with love, and served with lemon, horseradish, and mignonette, the oysters here cannot be missed. The Rockfish Croquettes make a perfect appi, and the calamari is delish too. Dig into a flavorful Thai-style Seafood Curry, or go classic with some Fish & Chips, or Mussels & Chips. Did you say ‘Tacos?” – They’ve got those too!
Step back in time at the Ukranian Cultural Village in the West End. This lively and happening spot is more than just an eatery. There is an open-air museum steeped in cultural history, and worth spending some time exploring. After that, stop for a bite of great homestyle Ukranian cuisine, and enjoy the folksy atmosphere of this beautiful restaurant.
Try some succulent lamb shank, oven-roasted with red wine sauce, a hearty Meatloaf, or dig into an authentic Kiev Cutlet, deep fried to perfection. If not, then go for their signature Cabbage Rolls, or share a platter of their Ukranian Dinner. For dessert, brownies with ice-cream!
Good pizza, pasta, and antipasto with good wine in a fun atmosphere. What more could one ask for in a restaurant? Nook is a well-known name that delivers exactly what it promises. The food is amazing, and this is one spot that keeps hustling and bustling. It’s perfect for a night out with family, or friends, and even date night.
Start your meal with a Nook Caesar salad, and follow that with some Antipasto. We recommend the meatballs, and also the olives. Try the house-made pasta. The Orecchietteis the perfect blend of Italian sausage, rapini and fennel seeds. All the pizzas here are seriously good, so go ahead and indulge yourself. Leave some room for dessert, because you do not want to miss their panna cotta and tiramisu.
For some stylish dining, head over to Sura and enjoy a variety of classic Korean dishes, including a set Royal Cuisine-inspired set menu, and a brilliant soju list. This popular spot also made it to our Best Korean Food list, and for good reason. If you want a truly memorable experience, this is where you go.
The pancakes and rice cakes here are simply divine, and you will want to dig into the Seafood pancake, as well as their signature Royal Ricecakes to start off your meal. Anything off the barbeque menu is worth it, especially the Spicy Sliced Pork. For something more hearty, go for a steaming bowl of Kimchi or Beef Jjigae.
Address: 1518 Robson St, Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 1C3
Get your desi on, and get some Dosa at Davie Dosa Company. This easy-going and friendly spot offers up classic Indian cuisine, and a full service bar to pair off those flavorful dishes. Take a trip to the east, and enjoy the hospitality, the fun, and of course the food.
Start off with a mild soup to get your taste buds going. The Rasam (tomato and peppercorn broth) is tangy and will get you craving for more flavor. Try the mixed vegetable Dosa, or a Cheesy Garlic one. Other yummy options include beef, fish, prawn and lamb. If you’re still not done, and want to indulge, yes they’ve got Butter Chicken too!
Excellent prices, generous portions, and amazing service. Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna pulls out all the stops to give you a dining experience you soon won’t forget. Their food is made from the freshest ingredients, and brings the best of Mediterranean cuisine right to your table.
Begin your journey with some steamed clams and mussels, and enjoy a big bite of some Saganaki (Fried cheese served with Pita.) For your main, dig into some succulent roast lamb, Mousaka, or a deep dish of Youvetsi (Greek Pasta.) For dessert. Baklava, naturally!
Address: -1124 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC -1359 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
Their fish is imported directly from Japan, as well as locally sourced to bring every diner the best selections, and freshest taste. Sushi Bar Maumi specializes in Omakase, which means ‘the chef’s best choice’ in Japanese. So, you can rest assured that your visit here will leave you completely satisfied, and marking this as a spot you’ll want to return to.
Enjoy the Nigiri, and we recommend you try their Nikiri Shoyu and Tsume, which is super fresh and just bursting with all the right flavors. In donburi, the Deluxe Chirashi Don, and Honmaguro Toro Don are just made to perfection. But, really anything on their menu is perfect!
Every town has their brand of cafe culture, and the West End is no exception. Here, you will find a range of charming and pretty cafes serving up aromatic coffees, sweet treats, snacks, beautiful breakfast options, and light lunches.
Enjoy a relaxing morning with a view, linger over a creamy drink, and nibble on a sweet pastry. Check out our top six picks for where you can do that.
3 Quarters Full
3 Quarters Full is a coffee shop that specializes in not only traditional but also modern Taiwanese food. On the menu, some breakfasts and lunches lean towards semi-upscale Taiwanese cuisine keeping traditions alive with a blend of fusion and fun.
Pastries and desserts like Basque burnt cheesecake, Black sesame Thai Teacake, Belgium dark chocolate cake, and Basil popcorn chicken are among the favourites here.
Home to the ultimate gelato experience since 2000, D’oro Gelato e Caffe is home to the finest made on-site gelato ice cream in Vancouver. A true “Gelateria Artigianale,” they produce fresh gelato in small batches daily, great coffee and hearty snacks. Using the freshest and highest quality ingredients and following original Sicilian recipes, this cafe is known for its authenticity and top-notch quality.
Try their delightful gelato offered in a range of seasonal flavors, or the melt-in-your mouth sorbets that will blow your mind. If you’re hungry, you can also opt for some soups, salads, and paninis, or indulge your sweet tooth more with their scrumptious Italian pastries.
Art with a side of coffee—what could be better? Cafe Portrait is a dream come true for art lovers, and those looking for a chic and vibrant spot to hang out. Just try their traditional Turkish coffee brewed over hot sand! A tradition going back 100’s of years, they promise you will leave with a grin and a conversation starter about the history of coffee!
Their breakfast options cover all your weekend recovery, and morning energy boost needs! Favourites include Shakshuka served with hearty bread to dip, stuffed pastries, fried egg skillet with spiced beef sausage, and more! Something to eat and drink for every mood, and the art space to leave you inspired.
Peaked Pies created a cafe for every Aussie to be able to bask in a taste of home and nostalgia. For those who had only heard of Australian Meat Pies (with kangaroo meat), Peaked is the place to go to not only satisfy your curiosity but to bite into a richness you are not likely to quickly forget.
Their pies are baked daily and are all handmade right in the store. Expect a high degree of quality and taste as this is a family-run, local business. Peaked Pies brings you the ultimate experience in Australian meat pies, Artisan Coffee, and desserts.
They focus on one thing and do it darn right. Yes, you won’t find anything else besides amazing waffles at Nero, but you can be assured that they do all they can to make you the best waffles in the city.
BC raspberries are made into a delectable glaze for their mini waffles and finished with a crunch of raspberries. Their chocolates are the real Belgian deal. All their custards and fillings are made in-house from scratch.
Beauty in simplicity should be their motto. That’s where it all starts. Made from scratch their dough is hand-rolled and slowly fermented for maximum flavour. Baked fresh and served, just how we like them.
Address: -1703 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1C8 -1002 Seymour, Vancouver
Ideally located in the heart of Vancouver’s West End, Greenhorn Cafe’s artistic venue and seating arrangement pull in all types of locals and is a favorite go-to cafe for tourists.
From their brunch to their handhelds, soup salads, and bites, Greenhorn Cafe goes above and beyond to ensure your coffee is freshly brewed and food is beyond delicious. Open 7 days a week, and serving both gluten-free and vegan options, Greenhorn Cafe is a must-visit if you haven’t already.
Address: 994 Nicola St, Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 2C8
You can’t visit the West End without getting your drink on! It’s just not allowed. Okay, we’re kidding. It’s allowed, but why wouldn’t you want to hit the town and sample some delicious cocktails, right?
We thought so. So, here’s where you should go for a boozy good time.
Score on Davie
Voted as the “best Casual Bar” in Vancouver, Score on Davies, not only lives up to its reputation but strives to enhance it every week. With comfortable decor, scrumptious food, handcrafted drinks and an absolutely wonderful and attentive staff, this is the bar to hang out, chill with friends or catch up on sports while enjoying the house speciality, their gigantic Caesars.
Try out their drink “meals”. A 4 oz Caeser in a glass that has a variety of burgers, sliders, dessert and one-bites. They also have sandwiches and burgers with the Score Burger and Crispy Chicken Sandwich among the firm favourites. There are quite a few specials that are not on the menu that change weekly, so check with your server for those.
For Korean Fried Chicken, you know the authenticity is on point when the Koreans all congregate there. Zabu is that spot, and you should totally go there too and enjoy their amazing drinks and scrumptious fried chicken. This place is never empty, and is one of the hangout spots for having genuine Korean drinks like Soju and Makgeolli.
Salty and a hint of sweet is probably the best way to describe their soy garlic frozen chicken. You can order your portions as a half and half, giving you the chance to try out their signature Soy, Hot or signature series. The Soju cocktails are a must try, alongwith their Koren Rice Wines, a wide range of both local and imported beers, Japanese Sake and Korean spirits.
Address: 1635 Robson St, Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 1C8
For more than a 100 years, The English bay has paid host to a delightful beachfront hangout called the Three Brits. With great comfort food, beer on can and tap, an amazing view of the harbour at sunset, and the warmest staff, the Three Brits is a must visit for everyone.
You cannot go to any eatery that has “Brit” in its name and not try their Fish and Chips. Their dirty fries, chicken bites and mozzarella sticks are a great go-to option to pair with your drinks. A reasonably priced and extensive wine list is one of the reasons the Three Brits is never empty, and you will always find this “Public House” as they call themselves, bustling with customers.
Tip: If it’s your first visit, try and go just before sunset to get a truly breathtaking vision as the sun dances on the waterfront.
A West African inspired restaurant that infuses local Pacific Northwest products with spices, herbs and flavor combinations found in Nigeria. This cocktail bar easily holds its own with any other hipster bar in town. Their combos and unique concoctions are not just explosive, but also enhance the food on the menu.
A big favourite is the jollof rice that is served with really tender suya beef skewers and packs quite a bit of heat. The cured pork belly and pulled oxtail flatbread is a speciality that has a beautiful thin crust and balanced by creamy puffs of soft cheese and mild cherry tomatoes. The home-baked pies are authentically Nigerian, served with Mango chutney and harissa; a must-try.
Overlooking the English Bay and offering breathtaking views, the Craft Beer Market is probably one of the best spots to enjoy a relaxing drink. Whether you pop by for Happy Hour, some pre-dinner cocktails, or to spend a while over good drinks and good food, you won’t regret your decision.
The drinks menu here includes everything from rotating taps, lagers, ales, coolers, wines, and cocktails. Enjoy a delicious Blackberry Mojito, or a Passion Fruit Paloma. If you’ve had a rough day, and need a shot, go for it. They promise they won’t judge. If you’re hungry, there’s fried pickles, sliders, and they make a mean Cheddar Bacon Burger too. Want more? Get the Baja Fish Taco.
Although the West End is mostly a residential district, there is also plenty to do if you are a local, paying the town a visit. We’ve put together a shortlist of cool places to visit when you’re in the West End, so you can soak up some local culture, enjoy stunning views, and indulge in some fun adventures.
Stanley Park Seawall
The Stanley Park Seawall isn’t just the park’s most famous feature, but also one steeped in history. Hands down the most scenic way to get some exercise. This stunningly beautiful 14 mile loop comes fully equipped with separate paths for runners, walkers, and cyclists that overlook the gorgeous bay, hallmark views of the city, and its own landmarks extending all the way from Coal Harbour to Kitsilano Beach Park.
It is one spot in the West End no one should miss out on visiting, and if not for exercise, then just to soak up the views, get a breath of fresh air, and maybe grab some gramable pictures!
Tip: If walking is not your thing, rent a bike and enjoy the ride!
English Bay Beach
Located along Beach Avenue, English Bay is one of the country’s most popular and vibing urban beaches, and definitely worth a visit if you are in the West End. It’s a great place to spend the day, or an afternoon playing volleyball, swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking.
Pop in for a quick snack or a leisurely lunch at one of the numerous cafes dotting the beachy landscape, or take a stroll late in the afternoon and end your day with a magnificent sunset.
Jim Deva Plaza
For some of the hippest and most happening events in the West End, you gotta hit up Jim Deva Plaza. This community gathering place has a vibe all its own, and there is always something going on.
Jam packed with events ranging from the annual EVO Summer Cinema, Vancouver Pride, Car Free Day, the Honda Celebration of Light, and much more, this place has something for everyone.
If you’re in the West End for an overnight stay, a long weekend, or even longer, then you will need accommodation that is comfortable, central, and won’t break your wallet. Check out the options we recommend for your next stay.
The Listel is arguably a cultural tourist’s haven, and the kind of retreat everyone should experience. With 129 gorgeous rooms and suites themed around art, this boutique hotel makes for perfect lodgings while on a visit to the West End.
The Listel boasts a state-of-the-art fitness centre, Wifi access, filtered water stations, and is pet friendly. Their rooms are beautifully appointed, and come packed with key and thoughtful amenities including Wifi, an in-room safe, luxurious robes, a coffee-maker, and room service facilities. On-site dining features the acclaimed Forage Restaurant that serves up the freshest local meats, seafood, and produce in delectable dishes.
Address: 1300 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 1C5