Vancouver’s best hole-in-the-wall restaurants

Vancouver’s hole-in-the-wall restaurants and dive bars sometimes offer the most delicious and authentic meals in the city. With unassuming exteriors and well-worn interior decor, these under-the-radar spots just might surprise you. Forget your Sunday best and just come with an open mind and empty stomach!

The Rumpus Room

2301 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3C9

On the corner of Main Street and 7th in Mount Pleasant lies a bright green restaurant called The Foundation. Inside you’ll find hipsters, vegetarian and vegans getting their fix of meat-free comfort-food dishes such as giant nachos platters loaded with black beans and cheese, molten tofu atop brown rice, and maple bean chilli. Be sure to visit in the evening – the must-order mango forte pasta (made with broccoli, zucchini, mango and jalapeños in a coco sauce) is only available during dinner service.

Hawkers Delight Deli

This barely-200-square-foot restaurant on Main Street brings you to the streets of Singapore and Malaysia. Get a quick, cheap and tasty meal here for less than 10 bucks. Popular street food style dishes include nasi goreng, laksa noodles and Hainanese chicken rice. The seats aren’t exactly comfortable, so head here for a great grab-and-go take-out meal.

Long's Noodle House

4853 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3R9

Small porcelain jars of drunken chicken and steaming-hot juicy soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are signature dishes here at Long’s Noodle House. The Main Street institution specializes in a wide selection of Chinese comfort food and has a homey vibe. Come early or make reservations, the restaurant is extremely small and has limited seating.

Phnom Penh Restaurant 1996 Ltd

244 Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z7

Why do people keep calling this place a hole in the wall? This infamous Vietnamese restaurant has a no-frills interior, but it attracts long lines all day, everyday. This is not just your average pho restaurant; all of the dishes here are packed full of flavour. You have to order their signature deep-fried chicken wings (with a side of lemon pepper dipping sauce), butter beef and dry egg noodle.

Bon's Off Broadway

2451 Nanaimo St, Vancouver, BC V5N 5E5

Bon’s Off Broadway is the ultimate greasy spoon, serving up a daily $3 breakfast special with a lot of options. Choose between bacon, ham and sausage; fruit and tomatoes; brown, white or rye bread – or simply fries! Complete the old-school diner experience with a cup of bottomless drip coffee. If you have a hang-over, go there and soak it all up. If you’re broke, go there and fill yourself up!

Argo Cafe

1836 Ontario St, Vancouver, BC V5T 2W6

Let’s break the myth of dive bars with bad service. Argo Café serves a variety of local favorites with really friendly service! Mexican poutine, daily special meatloaf, surf and turf, and even brunch options of egg Benedict and fried chicken and waffles are a few things on their rotating menu. Keep in mind the restaurant is cash and debit only and closed Sundays.

Nice Cafe

154 8th Ave E, Vancouver, BC V5T 1R7

Nice Café is an iconic greasy spoon in the Mount Pleasant ’hood. Locals come here often for the big portions and reasonable prices. Favourites include super fluffy omelettes, egg Benedict with shredded hash browns and even apple pie (ask for a slice of cheddar cheese on top for a sweet-savoury experience). Come early on the weekend or be prepared to wait in line.

House Of Dosas

1391 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V 3E3

Interested in a giant crepe that’s gluten free and packed full of flavour? Try this South Indian spot on Kingsway and Knight. Dosas are made fresh and are only $6. Their roti is also crowd pleasing. The restaurant has a very casual atmosphere. Bonus perks? The late-night hours mean you can satisfy your dosa cravings even at 3:00 am!

Red Wagon Cafe The

2128 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L 1V1

This neighbourhood joint specializes in weekend indulgences, so forget about that diet! Instead order the Super Trucker breakfast, which comes with two pulled pork pancakes and crispy pork belly. Also recommended is the crispy pork belly sandwich with pickled vegetable, jalapeño, cilantro, and mayo in a crunchy baguette. Don’t forget about the Jack Daniels-spiked maple syrup that flows abundantly.

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