Gastown Neighbourhood Guidebook: The Best Restaurants, Cafes, & Drink Spots (2023)
Gastown is one of the oldest neighbourhood that you can explore in Downtown Vancouver.
Close to the waterfront and rich with heritage brick buildings, Victorian houses, and cobblestone streets, today, Gastown is one of the most charming neighbourhoods to see and visit once in the city.
Here you’ll find some of Vancouver’s best restaurants and cafes, where you can wander around for a delicious meal or just refresh with great drinks as you enjoy some of the scenic, Insta-worthy views around.
Keep reading and find out which places you should not miss check-in on your next trip to this hood.
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In between Gastown’s genuine Japanese and Mexican food, or any of the neighbourhood’s award-winning restaurant gems, you might have a difficult time deciding where to go for lunch or dinner once around.
Skim through our shortlist and find the spot that best suits your taste for food.
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.
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.
What to order: Porchetta Sandwich, Meatball sandwich
The Twisted Fork gastronomical experience in Vancouver is something worth coming for. This French bistro, occupies an impressive location with ample indoor and patio seating looking down on the Flat Iron building.
The popular brunch spot offers a variety of appetizers and mains that are sure to please your palate.
From a seemingly lonely window that sells some of the best matcha lattes in Vancouver with matcha brought from Kyoto to vibrant hipster-y coffee hotspots that sell top-notch avo toasts.
Gastown is your promised land for great coffee (and great toasts and pastries) and many of the best cafes in the city.
The Birds & The Beets
This is a popular and cozy cafe spot, charmingly nestled in between Powell Street and Alexander Street.
A perfect spot to refresh from your Gastown touristing with a yummy cup of cappuccino with almond milk or perhaps an oat milk latte. It also has one of the most aesthetic corners in this part of the city.
What to order: avocado toast, miso barley bowl, latte
A great majority of coffee shops in Gastown serve 49th parallel, which is awesome, but in case you want different roasts, head to Milano Espresso Lounge. Their La Futura blend is award-winning, and it tastes fantastic both as a latte and espresso.
What to order: dark roast pour over, Hedgehog mocha, Lavender white chocolate
What can be better than coffee and cookies? It’s coffee and cookies at Nemesis in Gastown. Nemesis is one of the best coffee shops you can find in town and because their coffee is really special, coming from a rotating selection of beans.
Try some of their pour overs or some of their espresso. Combine your coffee with their stunningly luscious chocolate cookie.
What to order: pour overs, espresso, chocolate cookie, salad, avo or french toast
If you really want to boost your happiness hormones head to Gringo, also on Blood Alley. It’s a joyous, sweet non-pretentious little hipster Mexican spot in Gastown, and as many Gastowners will tell you, there is no way not to feel happy when you go inside Gringo.
This place is bustling, opens until late, and is boosted by a rainbowy palette of neon lights. Combine your drinks with some of their tacos. It’s first-come, first-serve.
What to order: Bourbarita, tacos
Address: 27 Blood Alley Square, Vancouver, BC V6B 0C4
From beautiful craft cocktails and wine, to sake, beer, and Asian cuisine with French influences, Pidgin is one of those stylishly modern east-meets-west spots where everyone loves to spend an evening sipping drinks and nibbling on delicious bites.
It’s one of Gastown’s brightest gems, and a fun spot to get your drink on and make some memories.
If you’re flighty, then their Cocktail Flight on Tap is for you. If not, we recommend one of the many signature Pidgin Creations.
Tip: The ever-changing Tasting Menu at Pidgin is a definite must-try!
A new entrant to Vancouver’s Blood Alley is Is That French, a wine bar that specializes in Pacific Northwest cuisine. The space is cool and elegant, with a fun and exciting vibe, and the menu is quite extensive.
What to order: Sockeye Salmon Crudo, Drunken Manilla Clam, Smoked Rainbow Trout Dip
Address: 45 Blood Alley Square, Vancouver, BC V5B 0C4
Ready for pub crawling Gastown? Start with Steamworks. Famous for their beer, they have been present on the beer scene since the 1990s. They are one of the favorites both among Vancouverites and visitors.
The name Steamworks takes after the well-known Gastown steam line that passes from here. They actually produce their beer on steam and the heat gives a genuine beer taste.
What to order: 10 Tap Taster, Pumpkin Ale, Cucumber Ale, Pale Ale, Heroica Oatmeal Stout
🍸 See more stellar Gastown bars and cocktail lounges here.
Best Shops in Gastown
Some of the best home assets and furniture you can get for your home in Vancouver come from Gastown. Whether you want something more expensive or something more wallet-friendly, there’s a plethora to choose from.
And here you have some awesome shops to buy nice gifts for your friends, too. Take a look at the four neighborhood shops you should not miss, below.
This is an old, well-established, high-end furniture brand from Vancouver that has been based in Gastown for some 15 years now.
They sell top-notch Danish furniture designs and some of their pieces really look like out of this world. An interesting bit of Inform Interior’s history: its founder, Niels Bendtsen, has designed the Ribbon chair, which has been accepted into the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Old Faithful Shop is another confirmation of why Gastown hides some of the best shops where you can buy items that really rejuvenate your home.
You’ll love their exclusive art prints as much as you’ll love their warm and lovely amber tumblers or sophisticated Japanese kitchen crafts. There’s so much more to explore (and want) at the Old Faithful, so your time here will be certainly worth it.
The old heritage feel and close proximity to transit and the water makes Gastown a prime spot to stay at.
Staying in the neighbourhood would mean easy and convenient access to all the delicious food spots too! Below you’ll find accommodations that are available in the area.
Gastown is pretty popular and during busy hours it can really get frustrating to navigate around.
But now you know the coolest spots where you can stop by and take some rest from all that action, or if you are the people person, you also know the places where the crowd never dies. Wherever you go, enjoy!
Gastown is one of the reasons why Vancouver is so special, and it’s one of those neighbourhoods you don’t want to miss seeing, especially if this is your first time in the city.