Vancouver might be known for its celebrity chefs and 5-star dining establishments, but many neighbourhoods also harbour a nearly hidden eco-system of quietly flourishing culinary gems; not the kinds of places you dress up for, but the cozy little joints that only the hyper-locals know about, where you can meet your friends for a casual bite or a weekly brunch without enduring long lines and hefty price tags.
According to BC Living Magazine, here are Vancouver’s best places to eat that you’ve never even heard of, until now.
Libby's Kitchen (near Trout Lake) is the dictionary definition of a hidden neighbourhood gem. Tucked away just off Victoria Drive, right across from the new Trout Lake Community Centre, Libby’s Kitchen is a welcome respite from the bustling chaos of the trendy cafes on Commercial Drive.
Libby's makes its food from scratch and offers a full breakfast menu all day long. Its half-panini and soup special is a steal at $6.55, and it brews some of the best Americanos and London Fog lattes in the city.
With its warm and cozy furnishings, Libby's is the perfect place to escape with a book and a steaming cup of Joe. There’s also a location called Libby’s Café in Port Coquitlam, and a kiosk at Trout Lake Community Centre.
The Diner in West Point Grey holds a special place in the hearts of its dedicated fans. Recently celebrating its 50th anniversary, The Diner is still unknown to most Vancouverites.
The English diner’s charming British décor covers every last bit of wall and table space in the place, just off the UBC campus on West 10th. It also happens to serve the best no-nonsense breakfasts at the most remarkably inexpensive prices in true stick-to-your-ribs English style, complete with fried toast, if you dare, and a heck of a Yorkshire Pudding and side of mushy peas.
The real beauty in The Diner, however, is its owner Stella, who won’t let you get away with a half-empty plate without some real English sass.
The Hyde in Mount Pleasant - If Tim Burton travelled back in time to the 19th century with a troupe of burlesque dancers, Hyde would be the fabulously irreverent outcome. This small, sexy restaurant on Main & 14th looks the fever dream of the eccentric filmmaker and the mad doctor, with equally wicked treats on the menu.
Your dining experience at Hyde has to start with a Gin Gin Mule, a contemporary twist on the Gin & Tonic, substituting fizzy ginger beer for tonic with a touch of mint and lime to slap the Jekyll right out of you. Slurp down a bowl of the city’s best mushroom soup and follow it with one of the best Cobb salads in town. At only $4.50, the luxurious mushroom soup jammed full of chunky mushrooms is possibly Vancouver’s best kept food secret, and that’s saying something in this city.
Grab a seat on the patio in the summer; it’s a great people-watching spot.
The Tipper Restaurant also known as The Bottle Tipper, is a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place on a non-descript stretch of Kingsway, obscured by the dominating golden arches of the McDonald’s across the street. The Tipper is a restaurant, bar, and artist's space that's devoted to being local.
Colin, owner and operator, sources local fresh food as often as possible, which results in the best seafood chowder in town, bursting with wild BC salmon, prawns, and baby clams. At only $6 a bowl, it’s hard to say no.
Next game night, take a couple of friends, grab a $5 pint of Red Truck Pale Ale and sink your teeth into the freshest free range Buffalo Burger and side salad on Kingsway.
Spanish Banks Beach Café, is not your average, over-priced beach concession.
This beachside spot along Spanish Banks serves up some of the best fish 'n' chips in the city, and that's saying something in a seaside city boasting the freshest fish in the country. Greasy and hearty, Beach's halibut 'n' chips are fresh, flavourful, and filling. Paired with a bubbly fountain pop and a healthy portion of tartar sauce, it's the perfect meal, even on a rainy day enjoyed in your car with the windows rolled up tight, watching the tankers and waves roll by.
BC Living Magazine