Date night restaurants in Vancouver’s Chinatown

It’s no secret that Chinatown has experienced a culinary renaissance in the past few years. This rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood has transformed into a fave foodie destination. With upscale cocktail lounges, trendy noodle bars and inventive fusion restaurants, there are plenty of places to wow your significant other on your next date night. [Photo of Juniper courtesy of Luis Valdizon, Where They Find Us]

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

1
163 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3

This self-described “Chinese brasserie” charms with its distinct vintage decor and critically acclaimed cuisine. Heralded as one of Vancouver’s best restaurants, Bao Bei is a winning choice for a first date, or a fiftieth. Shabby chic furnishings, colourful chinoiserie, and sepia-toned family portraits throughout the dining area create a homey and welcoming vibe, while the food – a modern mix of beautifully executed Asian small plates – is sure to wow. There’s an inevitable line-up at this Keefer Street hotspot so try to arrive early and grab a cocktail at the bar while you wait for your table.

Oyster Express

2
296 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X5

You know what they say about oysters (wink, wink). Aphrodisiac side effects aside, the magnificent molluscs at Oyster Express will definitely be a hit with shellfish-loving couples. Situated on the eastern edge of Chinatown, this cozy 16-seat oyster bar has subtle nautical theme (note the round porthole window overlooking the street) and a friendly atmosphere that makes it feel like a true neighbourhood gem. Premium local oysters are delivered daily and freshly shucked onsite. In addition to oysters, the menu features seafood alternatives like steamed mussels and candied salmon. Don’t miss the buck-a-shuck Happy Hour and daily drink specials.

Mamie Taylor's

3
251 Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6

Open late throughout the week and into the early-morning hours on weekends, Mamie Taylor’s is an easygoing spot for a late-night dinner for two. With a focus on modern American cuisine, the kitchen turns out Southern comfort food dishes such as octopus jambalaya, Cajun dirty rice, and juicy fried chicken with sweet potato waffles. Stuffed animal heads adorn the exposed brick walls throughout the space, providing a great talking point when the conversation starts to lull. Keep the date-night banter flowing with a round of bourbon-based drinks and end the night with a slice of Mississippi mud pie to share.

Juniper

4
185 Keefer Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6L4

With the opening of Juniper in late 2015, Chinatown now has its very own gin joint – and a pretty darn good one at that. Situated at the base of the Keefer Block building, the two-storey space boasts high ceilings and an artistically industrial aesthetic. The spirit-forward cocktail list features four different variations on the classic gin and tonic. Cascadian inspired dishes pay homage to B.C.’s local farmers and are designed to show off seasonal ingredients and the culinary prowess of head chef Sarah Stewart. Juniper accepts reservations (unlike many restaurants in Chinatown) so plan ahead for prime weekend seating.

Phnom Penh Restaurant Ltd

5
244 Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z7

A Chinatown favourite for decades, Phnom Penh has earned a reputation as a must-try for local foodies and in-the-know tourists who don’t mind waiting in line. The family-owned restaurant serves a mouth-watering mix of Cambodian and Vietnamese fusion fare in a no-frills dining room with prompt service. Packed with Southeast Asian flavours, the crowd-pleasing menu delivers a solid variety of rice and noodle dishes, and you’ll likely notice a plate of their legendary deep-fried chicken wings at every single table. It might not be the most elegant spot in town, but the food is sure to impress.

Caffe Brixton

6
212 Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z7

From early-morning breakfast sandwiches to late-night nacho platters, Caffe Brixton is a chill locale for a low-pressure date at any time of day. Whether you prefer shots of espresso or absinthe, the diverse drink menu has something for everyone. Stop in for a quick get-to-know-you chat over a glass of kombucha (served on tap) or linger into the night with pints of local craft beers. If you’re feeling hungry, the food options run the gamut from simple bar snacks to salads, pizzas and classic pub fare with a Southwestern twist – think tacos, veggie chilli and quesadillas.

Bestie

7
105 Pender St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T6

Looking for a spot that’s casual, cool and a little bit different? Simple sausages get the gourmet treatment at Bestie, a favourite Chinatown haunt specializing in currywurst and upscale German street food. All-natural sausages are locally made and come in four tasty varieties: classic pork bratwurst, turkey chorizo, beef and stout banger, or a veggie version made with organic tofu, seitan and savoury herbs. Top your sausage with curried ketchup or warm sauerkraut and wash it all down with a pint of Munich-style lager. Prost!

Fat Mao Noodles

8
217 Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6

While most of us don’t look our sexiest while slurping up noodles, the hearty bowls at this buzz-worthy noodle bar are worth the potential date-night embarrassment. Celebrated Vancouver chef Angus An has put together a menu of five terrific noodle bowls and a selection of sides; the house-made XO sauce is a great addition to any meal while An Mama’s scallion pancakes are a must-try if you can get ’em before they sell out. Open from 11:30 am until 9:00 pm (or until the noodles run out), Fat Mao is ideal for a midday date or an early-evening rendezvous.

The Union

9
219 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2B2

Modern pan-Asian cuisine and craft cocktails abound at this Union Street mainstay. Step inside the industrial-chic space and you’ll find a fashionable crowd seated at long communal tables aglow with flickering candles. The drink menu features an array of easy-drinking bevvies, (including Filipino inspired “bangas” served in jars) that’ll help calm down those date-night nerves. Bánh mì sandwiches, veggie-packed salads and an array of rice and noodle bowls will keep you satiated. Alternatively, order a spread of savoury bar snacks to share; we love the Hawker Thai chicken wings, spicy green beans and fried pork dumplings.

Crackle Crème

10
245 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2B2

Want to end your Chinatown date night on a sweet note? There are no fewer than 16 varieties of liquor-based and vegan crème brulee on offer at this cozy dessert joint on Union Street. Inventive flavours range from fresh and fruity (mango passion fruit) to sinfully sweet (dulce de leche) to pure novelty (Frosted Flakes). Alternatively, split a Liege-style Belgian waffle drizzled with Nutella or salted caramel sauce. There isn’t a lot of seating inside this pocket-sized dessert café, so you may want to grab a couple of hot cocoas and take an evening stroll together through the vibrant neighbourhood.

Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary festival will see some of the city’s hottest restaurants serving an array of mouth-watering prix-fixe menus. If you want to take your significant other for a special meal, plan a date night at one of these romantic eateries. [Photo courtesy of Boulevard/Leila Kwok]
Tourism Vancouver’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary event will see some of the city’s top restaurants serving mouth-watering prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner. If you’re looking for a kid-approved spot with a casual atmosphere and plenty of choices for picky eaters, book a table at these family-friendly restaurants. [Photo courtesy of Bufala]
Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary event provides foodies with a great opportunity to eat at Vancouver’s most acclaimed restaurants for less. If you want an upscale meal in an elegant setting, these high-end spots deliver a great bang for your buck. [Photo courtesy of YEW Seafood + Bar]
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