Neighbourhood Guidebook: The Best of MOUNT PLEASANT (Main Street)
If you share a love for good food alongside some vibrant city sights, one of the Vancouver neighbourhoods you should not miss on your bucket list is Main Street Mount Pleasant. It’s Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood outside downtown.
The area is populated with extraordinary places where you can sit for fine dining or just munch a cake and take a rest after all that artisanal and vintage shopping you can do around here. You’ll also appreciate Mount Pleasant for its radiant, hipster-y vibe, with murals by local artists splashed all around the block and its array of unique antique and small artisan shops, heritage buildings, artistic residencies or arts-focused festivities. You’ll love it here if you are into arts and culture, and you’ll love it here also if you are into architecture and design.
To help you explore this Vancouver neighbourhood, our team has handpicked a list of places that are locals’ favourites and are worth your visit at least once.
Enjoy a pleasant mix of tastes as you go food-hunting around Main Street Mount Pleasant. From places which serve some of the most extravagant sushi to the best noodles in town, tacos and vegan dishes–Mount Pleasant is here to testify why Vancouver is a famous foodie destination.
One of the better Asian food restaurants in the area is Long’s Noodle House and might well make a reason why Mount Pleasant has ‘pleasant’ in its name. They offer Shanghainese cuisine at its finest, and at reasonable prices.
You may easily end up envying locals for they are so close to a place where they can grab some great Shanghai dumplings (Xiao Long Bao). The meaty flavour of the dumplings will pop and melt into your mouth, making you crave for some more. Get also their Drunken Chicken, a life-changing staple which would be wrongdoing not to order. The chicken meat is moist and flavourful, all soaked in tasty rice wine. Don’t miss their Tan Tan Noodles either. It’s another signature dish, in fact, one of the best noodle dishes in town. Not too salty, not too oily, and served with delicious meat sauce.
What to order: Shanghai dumplings, Drunken Chicken, Tan Tan Noodles
If you want to food-travel the Silk Road in the middle of Vancouver, head to East is East. They serve some of the most delicious Middle Eastern, Indian, and vegetarian meals around. This vibrant restaurant is run by two siblings of Afghan descent, is packed with buoyant ambient and live music, and fulfills all eligibility criteria to take someone on a date.
You want to try any of their Eastern Roti Roll meals, which combine brown lentil rice or Afghan rice which is basmati rice with raisins and carrots, plus are served with a green salad and dhal soup. The names of the rolls are equally enticing. Like Bombay Mashala with cauliflower and potato in tangy tomato coconut curry sauce. Or Afghan Nomad with roasted lamb in ginger, onion, garlic, and five-spice curry with eggplant.
Combine your roll with a Chai cocktail, which authentically mixes eastern teas with liquor, plus cinnamon or nutmeg.
What to order: Eastern Roti Roll meals, Chai cocktail
Replenish yourself with more delectable vegan dishes at Chickpea. This restaurant started out as a place where you can grab some authentic hummus mixing chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and spices. Under chef Itamar Shani, the menu grew abundant with other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours, however.
Try their falafel, which may well be the finest falafel you’ll ever have, or perhaps their chickpea fries. Portions are big enough so you can always share.
For some genuine Thai food check-in at Main Street Mount Pleasant’s award-winning Thai restaurant Sawasdee. It’s a family-owned restaurant that first opened in the mid-1980s, and has repeatedly won the hearts of locals ever since.
The menu at Sawasdee is abundant with delectable beef, pork, chicken, seafood, and vegetable options. Refer to the Chef’s suggestions section if you can’t decide. However, you do want to try their Pad Thai with tamarind sauce, curry, and coconut, as well as their Roasted Duck Curry dish which combines the duck with coconut milk curry, pineapple, bell pepper, tomato, basil, and bamboo. It’s just yummy!
For a sublime fusion of Japanese and French cuisine, head to Mount Pleasant’s Restaurant Yugo, and enjoy blendings such as sous-vide cooked endives with yuzu, sashimi with truffle oil, or confit octopus with green tomato salsa.
Experiment with some more spicy orders such as their must-have Black Cod fish in maple syrup, combined with fried soda noodles, kale, and yuzu foam. But in case you were wondering what’s reeeeally their special, inescapably it’s their sushi. At Yugo you can devour some of Vancouver’s finest sushi–check our video feature to see reactions.
P.S. Make sure to tell Chef Alex we said hi if you drop by.
What to order: Black Cod fish in maple syrup, sushi
It seems there’s hardly a time when the queues are short at Hawkers Delight, your perfect spot to get some delicious Malaysian-Singaporean treats for little money. This Mount Pleasant gem is a must-check on your bucket list for the neighbourhood. It can get crowded inside, however, it’s always cozy and you’ll love it here, especially if you like flavoursome and pretty spicy food.
Order a comforting dish of Mee Goreng or Vegetable Curry with rice. Don’t miss their specialty portion of Hainanese boneless chicken either. The pieces of chicken are succulent, and served with well-prepared rice and savory sauces.
What to order: Mee Goreng, Vegetable Curry, Hainanese boneless chicken
When Seth Rogen took David Chang for a food crawl around Vancouver for the famed chef’s Vancouver episode, one of the places they visited was Sun Sui Wah on Mount Pleasant. To no surprises since the food here is consistently good, sooo good that some dishes might even make you want to cry out of happiness of how good they are.
The place is known for its Cantonese cuisine, dim sum, and seafood. Try their mouth-watering Sui Mai pork nuggets and Har Gow shrimp dumplings. Need more recommendations? Their BBQ Pork buns or deep-fried crab with leg house specialties.
What to order: Sui Mai pork nuggets, Har Gow shrimp dumplings, BBQ Pork buns, deep-fried crab with leg
If you want to get a taste of authentic, family-style recipes of Vietnamese food, go to Anh and Chi. It’s an award-winning restaurant, well-noted for its delicious rice, noodles, soups, vermicelli and um – their bathroom.
Try their crispy Chả Giò and Chả Giò Chay spring rolls that combine pork or black mushroom and jicama, and carrot, taro and bean thread vermicelli. Some of their best soups include Bún Bò Huế with sliced beef brisket, Vietnamese ham, pork hock and thick vermicelli in a spicy broth. Combine with a dish of Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Crêpe) with pork, prawn, bean sprouts and mung bean in crisp rice flour, coconut milk, and turmeric crêpe.
What immediately adds to your visit at The General Public is the decor of this place. It’s crazy fun and might be a great idea if you also visit at night when all that extraordinary interior gets illuminated. Toys are brought to form sculptures the likes of Pokemon. Or you may end up on a DJ set that is accompanied by screen projections of cartoons. It’s a wild spot that isn’t afraid to be raunchy and playful.
Here you can also order some of the “funkiest” sushi in the block. Their fancy sushi bowls combine hand flamed eel draped with a house teriyaki sauce on rice or chopped tuna with green onion and tuna sashimi pieces.
Combine your sushi bites with rejuvenating sips of any of the fantastic drinks from the General’s bar.
Vancouver’s diverse taco scene would not feel the same whether you omit Maizal RMF from the list of great taco places. In fact, here they serve some of the best taco in the city. Anything you order–tacos, tortillas, tortas, quesadillas, burritos, or churros–is delicious and made from scratch at their premises. The meat is slow-cooked, and as you might find out yourself, it’s very flavourful.
Try the Chipotle Chicken one with grilled chicken thighs, mixed bell peppers, onions, Monterey cheese, and chipotle sauce. With fried tofu, beans, cotija cheese, salsa verde, and sour cream, the Tofu Verde taco is one more must-have option. Get churros for dessert. It’s worth every bite.
What to order: Chipotle Chicken, Tofu Verde taco, churros
One of the best places in the area to get some comfort food with beer is Sing Sing. It’s a new venue that took over a spot previously occupied by a Japanese food restaurant. The place has now been refurbished into a bright and open beer-bar-for all.
Food options include pizza and Pho. Try their Carne Piccante, Funghi or Pesto pizza. Their Pho Chay (vegan) with spicy tofu, shiitake, bok choy, and pea shoots is just exquisite. Other Pho options combine roasted chicken or beef steak. Combine your meal with a Parallel 49 craft pilsner or Strange Fellows jongleur Belgian wit. There are also cocktails on the menu. Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm is a happy hour.
What to order: Carne Piccante, Funghi, Pesto pizza, Pho Chay
If you travel to Spain, checking out a local tapas bar makes for a mandatory part of your travel time. And if you roam around Mount Pleasant looking forward to some genuine Spanish flavours the same as if you were in Spain, your option of choice is the award-winning Como Taperia. Air Canada has recently listed Como Taperia in its top 10 list of Canada’s best new restaurants.
At Como Taperia, small tapas are offered directly from custom tapas cases brought from Barcelona and filled with ready-to-eat small bits. You could also opt for dishes like steak with padrón peppers, chorizo, or classic tortilla española. Don’t miss the Eggplant dish with spiced honey and rosemary, Patatas Bravas, and Shishito peppers. Each order is equally enticing.
What to order: steak with padrón peppers, chorizo, tortilla española, Eggplant dish
A spot that is near and dear to everyone’s hearts…this Church’s Chicken is a well known gem for Vancouverites and Chefs that are in the Main Street vicinity. Not only is their fried chicken one of the best, but the fact that it is open 24/7 makes it ever so dangerous and so eff-ing good.
Without a doubt, you’ll either end a drunken night here or grab a 20 piece for a potluck at this Church’s, if you’re a local Vancouverite.
For a city so well known for its diversity of food, coffee might easily appear subordinate. Nevertheless, coffee culture is brimming in Vancouver and here we’ve handpicked some of the best cafés to try out while in Main Street Mount Pleasant. Some of them serve some really nice snacks or meals that will go well with your caffeine-inducing beverage.
Expect plant-based juices and smoothies + great quick snacks as you stumble on the Juice Truck. They run several locations around Vancouver, including the one in Mount Pleasant. Packed with vitamins, the Juice Truck’s beverages scream health. This is the first Vancouver brand to serve cold-pressed juice, and you can also make orders via their online store.
Some of their most addictive healthy concoctions? The Deep Green one is a mixture of spinach with kale, chlorophyll, carrot, cucumber, orange, lime, ginger, parsley, turmeric, cayenne, and black pepper. Or get the Aloe Green, which blends pineapple with orange, spinach, mint, lemon, coconut water, and aloe vera of course.
You’ll also find a children’s play area, made-to-go items (yogurt parfait, chia parfait); frozen goods like Nora’s ice cream; organic ramen; vegan perogies; Yoggu; Nutmeg Milk specifically at this Main street location.
Chef Sergio Salamonovitz and his partner Shauna opened TrafiQ on Main Street back in 2011. They previously run another locale in West Vancouver, since 2006.
TrafiQ has become the perfect spot to combine your coffee with some really luscious piece of cake. They serve nice-smelling and tasting local organic roasts, and if you’re a matcha fan it’s a win-win for you since they cater two matcha cakes, their Matcha Mini Cake and Matcha Opera Cake. At TrafiQ you’ll also find a variety of French-style buttery croissants and bread, as well as tasty grilled sandwiches, excellent for grabbing a quick lunch.
Yum is the yummiest sweet shop in the area of Mount Pleasant. There is something for everyone. Opening an ice cream and sweets shop has been a life-long wish for Yum’s owner, Michael Gorenstein. And he did that in 2017.
Yum caters its own exclusive blend of coffee, although you may easily get distracted by the scrumptious offer of milkshakes and floats, and appetizing sundaes and bubble waffles. But that’s not all folks. They also have luscious frozen yogurt and ice cream sandwiches, gummies, licorice, and caramels… It’s the neighborhood’s very own candy factory.
What to order: milkshakes, floats, sundaes, bubble waffles, frozen yogurt, cream sandwiches, gummies, licorice, caramels
Liberty is a family-friendly Nordic bakery that first opened in 2015, and you’ll absolutely love it for its pleasant, elegant interior furnishing. Combine your cafe latte or coffee americano with any of their flawlessly-baked treats. Such as Judi’s lemon loaf, the Raspberry lemon muffin or the Chocolate croissant.
However, the general consensus is that you can’t leave Liberty Cafe without having a bite of their popular Totoro cookie. It’s really their special and our favourite. They are open for lunch and breakfast every day of the week.
What to order: Judi’s lemon loaf, Raspberry lemon muffin, Chocolate croissant, Totoro cookie
You haven’t been to Vancouver if you haven’t been to Beta5 Chocolate to regulate your sugar level with some of their ambrosial cream puffs. They always experiment with new cream puff flavours, so you may easily find yourself a new favourite every time you visit them. Look for their stellar limited-time only seasonal puffs like lychee-rose cream puff, Vietnamese coffee cream puff, or pick from their more classic chocolate and salted caramel options.
Caffeinated beverages? Order their 49th Parallel-induced exceptional mocha, or their velvety hot chocolate blended with their very own custom-made 66% dark chocolate. And enjoy the ultra-modern industrial touch of the place–it opened recently amid much anticipation among locals.
What to order: lychee-rose cream puff, Vietnamese coffee cream puff, chocolate cream puff, salted caramel cream puff, hot chocolate
Location: 413 Industrial Avenue Vancouver, BC V6A 2P8
Once you check-in at 49th Parallel, you are likely to come back for more of their nice-smelling and tasty coffee you can devour with a luscious doughnut. They serve specialty coffee roasted in the Pacific Northwest region, and imported from various parts of the world. Such as their current holiday filter from Honduras–a fruity, bright coffee with cherry strudel, red berry jam and almond flavours.
Doughnuts? Try their Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble one, rich with fruity cream, smoothly pairing the sweet and tart parts, and topped with sweet icing and crunchy crumble. If you crave for something greasier, opt for a bite of Cold Brew Cruller. The strong coffee flavour flawlessly complements with the sweetened glaze on top. You should also try the Pistachio yeast donut. And if you are a croissant person, try their butter croissant snack. It looks flaky and invigorating on the outside, and is mushy and chewy once you start feasting on it.
What to order: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, Cold Brew Cruller, butter croissant
It’s always fun to grab a cone at Earnest. The place opened in 2012 and became famous for its well-crafted, rich and flavoursome ice cream. They also serve vegan ice cream and ice cream sundaes. The ice-cream is always creamy and by default will make you feel better on a bad day. Some of their flavours are only seasonal though.
A short-list of the flavours you should ask for: London fog (this is really like the must-try), then Salt & Straw, Whiskey Hazelnut, Green Tea, Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Pretzel. They have several locations across Vancouver, and in Mount Pleasant you’ll find them on Quebec Street.
What to order: London fog, Salt & Straw, Whiskey Hazelnut, Green Tea, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Pretzel
Location: 1829 Quebec Street Vancouver, BC V5T 2Z3
There are several corners around Mount Pleasant where to get your daily (or nightly) dose of booze. Stunning cocktails. Some great interiors. A great local crafted beer? We’ve trimmed down a top 3 list where you can grab a drink with friends.
Back in the 1960s, “Tiki culture” thrived coast to coast, influencing music and fashion, and dressing bars in beach-like aesthetics. This forgotten pop world of yesteryear has been recreated at Mount Pleasant’s Shameful Tiki Room where you can grab your vintage-style cocktail and transport yourself for a few hours to Tonga and Fiji.
Get some of the classic cocktails, like Mai Tai or Zombie and combine with nachos. The cocktail menu is abundant and your mind might halt as your eyes wander through all those drink options. Order the Mystery Bowl and allow yourself to be surprised by how they serve it–with smoke and some drum music.
What to order: Mai Tai, Zombie, nachos, Mystery Bowl
Another Mount Pleasant gem where you can head for some drinks is at Zoitering & Sons. Or so says the writing on the greeting window. You’ll find the sight fairly unattractive as if you were to enter an outmoded bookkeeping office of yesteryear. But once inside, prepare to be flabbergasted by how the place faithfully evokes the 1970s. Welcome to Key Party!
Their cocktails are brilliant. Whether you have a B-52, Spiced Sunrise or a Cherry Paralyzer, you’ll have no regrets. Extra: shots of custom-made fruity tapioca pearls bubble tea-style. Or any of their jello shots with layers of vodka, champagne, classic liqueur, capped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Key Party is not only a real hidden gem of Vancouver but also true drinking heaven.
What to order: B-52, Spiced Sunrise, Cherry Paralyzer
For getting the most authentic beers in Mount Pleasant, head to the neighborhood brewery of Brassneck. It can get super crowded on weekends. They serve tasty house brew beer and experiment with their brews fairly often. You’ll find out the latest beers written on their chalkboard. Unless you get distracted by the beer names + their ingredients. Like Xenophile, which is a tart fruit beer with apricots. Or When Life Gives You Yuzus, which is a brett saison with lemon peel and yuzu. Or Passive Aggressive which is a dry-hopped pale ale.
Also recommended: the BN Hefeweizen and the Killjoy stout one.
What to order: Xenophile, When Life Gives You Yuzus, Passive Aggressive, BN Hefeweizen, Killjoy
Mount Pleasant’s shops are an obvious reason why this neighbourhood attracts a lot of creatives. A single round of window shopping is enough to get you the feeling that the area contains genuine gift shops, pop-up stores and niche merchandise where you’ll be happy to spend your hard-earned dollars.
We’ve trimmed down a list of 5 shops you should check out if in a shopping mood.
Giving Gifts & Company
Giving Gifts started in 2010 thanks to visionary woman Lisa Pozin. The store opened as a new concept gift boutique, where all items on offer are handpicked, and produced by local artists from the neighborhood and around. It’s the perfect spot whether you want to find an authentic gift either for yourself or for someone you love. You can find baby & kids gifts, candles, clothes, jewelry, ceramics, prints, fine art, and the list goes on.
The best pop-up shop on Main Street? Walk down to Little Mountain. With its bright-spaced interior, Little Mountain is a splendid spot for community events and workshops. Pop-up events have so far featured many great brands Little Mountain has collaborated with, such as Mejuri, Poppy Barley, What Kids Clothing, Karma Athletics or Salt Spring Coffee just to name some.
Follow them for workshops and sign up for a class of calligraphy or yoga. You can even book the space for some photo shooting and filming.
If you are a book lover and love all things papery, there’s one place for you on Main Street that will enchant you the moment you see it–it’s the Regional Assembly of Text. This lovely little stationery shop has many cool gift options, such as envelopes, paper, pens, and pencils. But you’ll be most stunned at the typewriter station where you can sit down and write a letter to a loved one–old-fashioned style but gold.
If you don’t know how to use a typewriter, the kind staff at the store is there to assist you. Every week they also run a letter-writing club inside the store.
For Front and Company, it all started in 1993 when a group of friends got inspired after making little money out of a garage sale. Eventually, they opened a shop next to an abandoned warehouse and became popular by selling stylish pieces of clothes alongside quirky antique objects and fashionable vintage jewelry, all at affordable prices.
Fast forward three decades, this is still your Mount Pleasant go-to place if you have a taste of fashion, appealing wearables and accessories, and funky stuff to decorate your house with. Friends may justifiably compliment you on any item you purchase from here.
Location: 3742-3772 Main Street Vancouver, BC V5V 3N7
If you want to renew your cosmetics and beauty supply section at home, do that in Mount Pleasant’s Soap Dispensary. They first opened in 2011 and you’ll love them for their bring-your-own-container-to-fill-your-soap approach as much as you’ll love them for their glass straws and essential oils offer.
There is both a kitchen and soap section at their premises, and time will melt on the clock as you skim through all the items. Toothpastes. Shampoos. Hair conditioners and moisturizers. Zero waste make-up. On weekends, it can get crowded in here.
With so much character, delicious food and activity happening in Mount Pleasant, it is worthy of a place to stay in while you’re in Vancouver. Below are several options on accommodations that are available in the neighbourhood.
So, whether you are up for some fine dining downtown or simply for a cup of coffee with a buttery croissant, perhaps an extravagant cocktail and getting something special for yourself or a loved one–take this list as a compass to guide you through the vibrant and much loved Mount Pleasant district. Vancouver is truly a great city, and Mount Pleasant is one of the reasons why is that.
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