Vancouver doesn’t have as many fast food restaurants as you may be used to if you’re from the U.S. Instead it has lots of small restaurants and cafés where you’ll find many different kinds of food, much of it satisfying and reasonably priced. Here is a list of excellent, inexpensive cafés and restaurants frequented by locals.
If you’re looking for the ultimate bargain meal, go to Vancouver Community College restaurant and cafeteria run by the Culinary Arts students at VCC. Lunch is served from 11:30-12:30 and dinner from 5:30-7:00. You can get cafeteria food most of the day. It’s excellent, healthy and really cheap.
Vancouver Community College is located at 250 West Pender. For more information, call 604-443-8479.
For more cheap eats, see our Vancouver Food Trucks pagee.
4434 W 10th Avenue
3096 Main Street
3 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
Specializes in comfort food; thick soups and stews full of meat and vegetables.
5076 Victoria Drive
Vancouver is not a Mexican food sort of town, but there are a few places like Doña Cata that will satisfy the craving in a pinch.
827 Seymour Street
Dunn’s is famous for its Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, reuben sandwiches and poutine. Vancouver is fortunate to have a good East Coast institution opening its doors her
Elbow Room Café
What locals like best about Elbow Room, besides the food, are the insults hurled at diners by the hilarious, irascible owner.
353 West Pender Street
The baked Blue Brie, Pear and Walnut baguette is a favourite in this charming downtown cafe. Great selection of coffees and teas. There is a second location called Finch’s Market at 501 East Georgia Street in the Strathcona neighbourhood.
Food Court at Granville Island
Granville Island Market includes an excellent food court with an international selection of food including Chinese, Indian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, soup and sandwiches, sausages and hot dogs and Terra Bread bakery and cafe. Granville Island is a great place to visit and to eat on the run and on the cheap.
Go Fish at the Wharf
1504 West 1st Ave.
A busy walk up outdoor cafe at Fisherman’s Wharf with excellent lunches, early dinners and long lines. Take along the phone number and when you arrive, call and place your order. By the time you get to the front of the line, your food is ready. Lot fewer people on rainy days. Open 11:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Go Fish Boutique Eatery
1521 West Broadway
This is the grown up version of the Fisherman’s Wharf cafe. Count on fresh fish cooked in imaginative ways.
Got Pho? Thien Kim Vietnamese
2523 Nanaimo Street
This modest little Vietnamese restaurant recently updated its decor and raised its prices slightly but the food is as good as ever. Cheap and good and friendly. Worth the drive.
2610 Main Street, Vancouver
Habit offers West Coast comfort food such as grilled cheese sandwiches, vegie shepherd’s pie and burgers. There’s a daily beer and whiskey shot to wash it down.
Hon’s Wun Tun House
268 Keefer St
This place is big, clean, efficient, authentic and very popular. It is also perfectly located if you want an inexpensive lunch or dinner break while you’re shopping on Robson.
2507 West Broadway St.
A really beautiful retro burger joint with fantastic burgers, milk shakes and malts
1741 Robson Street
This tiny ramen restaurant has wonderful soup and, most often, long lines. Go early.
530 Robson Street (walk up stationary restaurant)
Japadog, started by a Tokyo ad salesman, is a very popular and unusually good gourmet hot dog sold at the 3 Japadog street carts and the Japadog store location.
The Mighty Oak
198 West 18th Ave
Mostly a coffee shop and neighbourhood grocery store, this gem is a favourite to the folks in the Riley Park area.
Sophie’s Cosmic Café
2095 West 4th
Sophie’s is a old fashioned diner with an electic decor and serves giant breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
This place is so popular with locals that it’s best to come for lunch or an early dinner to avoid long lines.
322 West Hastings and 2549 Cambie
604 568-4406, 604 558-2549
As there isn’t a sizable Mexican population in Vancouver, finding decent Mexican food here has been challenging, but that’s starting to change. La Taqueria offers simple and tasty tacos and quesadillas in an authentic looking environment.
Terra Breads Bakery and Cafe
2380 W 4th Ave
Terra makes the best bread in Vancouver. At their bakery, you can get delicious sandwiches and soups and desserts that are a sort of a cross between bread and pastry. There’s also a Terra Bread in the food court at Granville Island.
Thai Away Home
3515 Cambie St
Thai Away Home is very inexpensive and good. Besides the food, you’ll find free recipes and hard-to-find Thai spices and herbs for sale, so you can make your own homemade Thai food whenever you want.
The Wilder Snail
799 Keefer Street
A combination market and cafe, this local spot is a welcome addition to the Strathcona neighbourhood.