Must-try lunch spots in Vancouver's Railtown neighbourhood

The cooler, younger sibling to Vancouver’s trendy Gastown neighbourhood, Railtown is bursting with new cafés, restaurants and tasty gems to explore. Visit these locations for a lunchtime pick-me-up and to sample some of the city’s most delicious fresh food from independent suppliers. [Railtown Cafe photo credit: Jelger + Tanja Photographers]

Railtown Cafe

397 Railway St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1A4

Step beyond the vast garage doors into the warm-yet-industrial space of Railtown Café, and you’ll be met with aromas of freshly baked bread, roast meats, and homemade sauces – and most likely a line-up. A favourite with the local workforce, this café’s fare is worth the wait time. Choose from sandwiches that are so packed with fresh ingredients and flavours that it’s almost rude to eat them in public; customize your own salads full of interesting items such as squash chips, roasted asparagus, and Stilton; or enjoy a slow-cooked meat with delicious side. Bring your appetite; visit often.

The Belgard Kitchen

55 Dunlevy Ave, Vancouver, BC V6A 3A3

Can’t quite decide what you’re in the mood for? Belgard Kitchen is the perfect spot to waffle over menu choices. Located in the vast Vancouver Urban Winery warehouse-turned-culinary-haven, the Belgard’s menu ranges from pizzas to Korean rice bowls to exotic salads. The bright, sumptuous surroundings of leather booths and reclaimed wood tables easily morph from casual and fun to serious and professional depending on whether companions are friends or colleagues. If your lunch happens to extend, there’s a mouthwatering happy hour menu to keep you satisfied for the rest of the day, too.

Ask For Luigi

305 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1C4

Since opening in early 2014, Ask for Luigi’s reputation has swelled in the city as a result of its handmade, rich, authentic Italian dishes. The cozy, intimate restaurant evokes a dining experience straight out of the continent, with a no-nonsense interior of checkered floor and simple wooden chairs. Choose from an assortment of freshly made pastas, or snacks such as baccala fritters, radicchio salad or anchovies and eggs. Be warned: this is a lunch spot so delicious that you may require a mid-afternoon nap afterwards.

Deacon's Corner Diner

101 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2S5

Hidden under building arches at the corner of Alexander and Main, Deacon’s Corner is a greasy spoon done right. Since 2009, the diner has been serving up comfort-food favourites, nosh on everything from cooked breakfasts to sandwiches to mac and cheese. Traditional diner decor – including vinyl booths and stools at the bar – makes for an unpretentious, welcoming experience. I recommend coming here for a grilled cheese and a beer, book in hand, to truly enjoy the homey ambiance when you need a treat.

The Birds & The Beets

100-55 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1E9

Exposed brick walls, communal dining areas and stunning graphic design make The Birds and the Beets the quintessential Railtown eatery. The café’s menu focuses on healthy, sustainable meals and snacks that let the flavours speak for themselves. Enjoy an avocado and slow poached egg brioche sandwich for an early lunch (served for breakfast), or choose to include seasonal chargrilled vegetables to a salad or sandwich, accompanied by a jar of homemade pickles.


105 Pender St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T6

A hipster favourite that falls just outside the official Railtown district, this bar and snack joint is worth an extra few minutes’ walk for German-inspired comfort food. A staple of the menu is classically made currywurst: an all-natural sausage, served over fries with curried ketchup. Add sides such as sauerkraut, potato salad, and little gherkins. Vegetarians are well catered for, too, with a veggie wurst option or cheese fries covered in a three-cheese sauce.

The Uncommon Cafe

477 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1G7

This family-run spot lives up to its name. You’ll feel like you’re in the personal dining room of owners Lisa and Luc Leimanis, who have decorated the whitewashed space with mismatched furniture, collages of frames, and colourful Persian rugs. The business strives to be 90 per cent sustainable: ingredients are locally sourced, and almost all containers are biodegradable. Choose from sandwiches such as the stuffed meatball or seasonal veg, snack on a homemade muffin or cookie, or take home one of the Leimanis’ famous sauces after your midday meal.

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