Vancouver's tastiest hidden gem restaurants

Even if you know the restaurant scene in Vancouver like the back of your hand, there are probably still a few hidden gems you have yet to discover. I’ve put together this hot list to help you in your quest to explore new and uncharted culinary territory! [Photo credit: iStock/ g-stockstudio]

Molli Cafe

1
1225 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Z5

Despite its location on a busy thoroughfare, Molli Café gets very little foot traffic; unless you’ve been tipped off to it, you might not even realize this little Mexican gem is there. Opened by a husband-and-wife chef duo who earned their stripes cooking at Michelin Star restaurants El Bulli and El Celler de Can Roca, Molli serves up a small menu of delicious nibbles – from a phenomenal milanesa torta to freshly baked sweet treats like the concha buns, topped with a sugary streusel topping. Yummmm.

Campagnolo Restaurant

2
1020 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2W1

Everyone knows (and loves) Campagnolo on Main Street, but did you know that just above the restaurant lies a semi-secret sister establishment? While the same team is behind both ventures, Camp Upstairs has a distinct speakeasy vibe, with a rotating menu of clever snack food creations to whet your appetite (plus a must-try burger that’s consistently ranked as one of Vancouver’s best). They also serve a mean weekend brunch with tempting plates of bacon pancakes, decadent bennies, and fried chicken and biscuits. And if you’re looking for something to sip on, try one of the feature cocktails – there’s one for every day of the week!

Boteco Brasil

3
2545 Nanaimo St, Vancouver, BC V5N 5E6

Not only does Boteco Brasil evoke the feel of a Brazilian house party with its lively atmosphere and perfectly crafted caipirinhas, but it also happens to be located in an actual house – one that has been converted into a great little restaurant. Serving up a mix of snack foods like coxinha (chicken croquettes) and cassava fries alongside traditional dishes like black bean feiojada stew, Boteco’s authentic menu will give you a great introduction to the country’s cuisine. And for an added dose of culture, pop by on a Thursday or Sunday evening for live music and perhaps a little samba to boot!

Ba-Le Deli & Bakery Ltd

4
25-701 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K6

Ba Le is one of those culinary discoveries you almost want to keep to yourself, but it’s such an exceptional find that you feel compelled to tell everyone you know about it. Why? This tiny spot in a Kingsway strip mall absolutely slays the competition when it comes to their bánh mì sandwiches. You will be in rapture as soon as you bite into one of these carefully assembled Vietnamese sammies. Served on French baguettes that are baked in-house daily and topped with pickled veggies, fresh cilantro and filling options ranging from lemongrass pork to meatballs, these bánh mì sandwiches often sell out by the early afternoon – so arrive early, and arrive hungry.

Sofra Mediterranean Kitchen

5
2277 41st Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6M 2A3

Vancouver’s upscale Kerrisdale neighbourhood is not exactly the type of place where you would expect to find a hidden gem of any sort, but Sofra has quietly been serving up stellar Turkish eats in the ’hood for the past several years. Along with the requisite donairs and kebabs, Sofra also makes a drool-worthy traditional pideh, which is the Turkish equivalent of a pizza. This boat-shaped flatbread comes with tasty toppings like spicy sujuk sausage with feta, or beef and onion with pomegranate sauce. Add an egg on top and you’re golden!

Sal Y Limon Mexican Cuisine

6
5-701 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K6

While Fraserhood’s Sal y Limon serves up terrific tacos, burritos and other Mexican fare, the true gem on the menu is the huarache flatbread. A traditional dish from Mexico City, the huarache is rather difficult to find in most local Mexican joints – but at Sal y Limon, you’ll hit the jackpot. Made of fried corn masa, these oblong-shaped flatbreads are hands down a must order. Take your pick between toppings like slow-roasted spiced pork or chorizo with egg, and be sure to order a side of the oh-so-addictive chipotle aioli to drizzle on top.

While Vancouver is best known for its impressive selection of Chinese and Indian restaurants, Japanese izakayas and sushi spots, the city is also home to several restaurants serving lesser-known Asian cuisine. From Sri Lanka to Singapore, this list will introduce you to flavour fare from around in the world – and you won’t even have to get on a plane! [Photo credit: iStock.com/Ugurhan Betin]
Whether you’re pulling an all-night study session or ending a night on the town with some grub, Vancouver has several 24-hour restaurants that serve really good food – if you know where to look. From doughnut shops to diners, cap your night off at one of these local 24/7 eateries.
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