In the mood for Hong Kong-style diner food? Goldstone Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown is where locals go to get their fix. The restaurant is nothing fancy, but the food is what keeps people coming back. On a cold day in Vancouver, a hot plate of Hong Kong-style spaghetti really hits the spot and Goldstone makes a solid version. Or, tuck into other traditional dishes like chow mein, fried rice, sandwiches, baked goods and soups. Though lunch can get quite busy, there are plenty of tables so you don't usually have to wait to be seated. The service is very speedy, so you'll be in and out in no time.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: A must-have treat from Goldstone Bakery and Restaurant is their egg tart.
Natasha's expert tip: Like many places in Chinatown, it's cash only!
DD Mau opened their first location in Yaletown back in 2012 and has since expanded to open a larger brick and mortar in Chinatown. While the Yaletown spot specializes in Bahn mi sandwiches and noodle bowls (perfect for lunch), the Chinatown restaurant serves an extended menu of tasty Vietnamese eats. Before digging into your main, make sure to order DD Mau's wings. Fried until crispy and finished with their fish sauce glaze, they're addictive and delicious. For something lighter, the papaya salad with a tamarind vinaigrette and fresh herbs hits the spot. For your main, it's hard to choose. From a betel leaf meatball platter to the damn good chicken and rice to three kinds of pho (beef, chicken and vegan), you've got many tasty options. Not to mention, the vermicelli noodle bowls and banh mi on offer. The space in Chinatown is larger and open for lunch and dinner.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: DD Mau Chinatown's chicken wings are the perfect way to start the meal. They're salty, crispy and juicy.
Natasha's expert tip: Get there for happy hour to score cheaper bites and drinks. For food, things like crispy calamari, salad rolls and papaya salad are on offer. Wash it down with a shot and beer for $10.
Good vibes, colorful vegan bowls and healthy smoothies are just some of the ingredients that go into making Kokomo a local favorite. This plant-based eatery in Chinatown has quickly become a go-to for hungry Vancouverites looking to fill up on nourishing eats. Start your day with fruity favorites that include the Kokomo acai, the sunflower acai, or a fresh smoothie. For midday or evening savories, opt for one of the salads. The Coastal Macro bowl is their most popular salad, but you also can't go wrong with their hemp Caesar or the golden laksa noodles. Keep your eyes peeled for the daily specials-they're always whipping up something new to try. Don't leave without ordering Cocowhip. Kokomo is the only place in Canada where you can get this Australian vegan soft serve. Along with the vibrant bowls, the dreamy pink aesthetic and fresh greenery throughout make for an Insta-worthy experience.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: Kokomo's Coastal Macro bowl and Cocowhip are a must, especially if it's your first visit.
Natasha's expert tip: Follow their Instagram to check out daily specials, @heykokomo.
When you walk into The Union, you're greeted by wooden communal tables, buzzing tunes, and the alluring smell of bold flavors coming from the kitchen. For food, the menu boasts share plates like fried pork dumplings and kimchi fries, curries and noodles, chicken wings, and Vietnamese banh mi subs. If you're in the mood for something rich and filling, the massaman beef curry is the way to go. For something lighter, order the vermicelli noodle bowl. Kill the heat with one of their cocktails. The Manga Lasing is made with lime leaf vodka, mango puree, coconut milk, lime, agave, orange bitters and chili water, it's both creamy and refreshing, and it goes down a little too easy.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: The Union's cocktails are delicious and help wash down a spicy massaman beef curry.
Natasha's expert tip: Seating is communal so if you plan to go with a group, get there early to avoid a wait.
On any given night, this plant-based pizza parlor is busy slinging pizza after pizza. Virtuous Pie is a first for Vancouver because they use exclusive nut cheeses on their pizzas. When paired with quality ingredients and their three-day dough, you've got a winning recipe. While they have your standard Margherita made with San Marzano tomatoes, cashew mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil, the menu has some pretty creative concoctions. The Stranger Wings is a popular pie. Made with a bianca base, spicy buffalo cauliflower, crispy fried shallots, scallion and their blue cheese drizzle, it's not your typical pizza. The Ultraviolet is another tasty option that's topped with a walnut and arugula pesto, cashew mozzarella, oven dried tomatoes, flowering kale, pine nuts and caramelized onion. There are also salads and dairy-free ice creams to complete the experience.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: The nut cheeses that Virtuous Pie uses on their pizzas are a great alternative to traditional dairy options.
Natasha's expert tip: Call ahead to order pizza to take home. During peak hours, except a 45-minute to 60-minute wait for pick up.
When you want modern and delicious Chinese food with equally tasty cocktails, hit up Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie. The space is pretty intimate and the menu is best enjoyed shared. Their "schnacks" section has a number of small bites that are great to snack on while you enjoy a cocktail or two. Start your meal off with the Sichuan cucumbers and the marinated eggplant; they're both flavorful and light. The petit cadeaux and petits plats chinois are larger than the schnacks-ordering a couple per person is the way to go. From the petits plats chinois, be sure to order the shao bing. This sesame flatbread with cumin lamb sirloin, pickled red onion, green pepper, cilantro and salted chilies is excellent. A delicious vegetarian option is shan tofu. This plant-based dish is a mainstay, but the way they serve it changes from time to time.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie's kick-ass house fried rice is so delicious and offers a pretty substantial portion that's quite filling.
Natasha's expert tip: After dinner, head to the Keefer Bar for cocktails; it's practically next door.
What was once a hole-in-the-wall secret in Chinatown is now one of the neighborhood's busiest restaurants. Vancouverites and visitors alike can't get enough of Phnom Penh's Cambodian and Vietnamese eats. A visit here isn't complete without some of their wings. The deep fried chicken wings are simply prepared but make for a mouthwatering dish. The light and crispy batter keep the wings juicy and the sauteed garlic and green onions add extra flavor. Dip them in the lemon and pepper sauce and you'll see what the big deal is. The marinated butter beef is a dish of thinly sliced, medium rare beef topped with a blanket of cilantro, brown garlic and Phnom Pehn's special sauce. It's tender, tangy and awesome! Don't stop here, Phnom Penh has plenty of other dishes you must try.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: The butter beef and chicken wings at Phnom Penh are two of their most famous dishes.
Natasha's expert tip: Go during off-peak hours before the lunch rush or after in the mid-afternoon to avoid a wait.
Cheap and cheerful Chinese comfort food is served up at one of Chinatown's Gain Wah Restaurant. There's nothing glamorous about this joint and that's part of the charm. Here, you'll enjoy simple, home cooked food that will leave your belly full and won't cost a fortune. The BBQ duck congee is will warm you up from the inside out, the roast pork is crispy and flavorful, and the chow mein is loaded with perfectly cooked, bouncy noodles. This traditional Chinese diner has been a mainstay in the neighborhood for a long time and the menu has remained true over the years. Gain Wah Restaurant gets busy during lunch hours, but service is quick.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: With many new restaurants in the area, it's nice to be able to enjoy a meal at Gain Wah Restaurant; they've been here for years.
Natasha's expert tip: Gain Wah is cash only so make sure you hit up an ATM before your meal.
At first blush, you may not think Japanese and Italian food would make a merry pair, but Kissa Tanto knocks it out of the park. Inspired by "the delicate flavours of Japan and the warmth of Italian cooking", the menu here makes for a harmonious intermingling of the two. Dishes here are best shared, so plan for a couple per person for the table. For something light, start with the fish crudo. The daily fish is adorned with shiso vinaigrette, radishes, Tokyo leek, capers, pickled almonds, Castelvetrano olives and mustard greens. Next up? One of their pasta dishes (they change from time to time). If you like fish, give the whole fried fish a go. Like the food, drinks at Kissa Tanto bring the best of both worlds to the table. From sake and sochu to vermouth and barolo, you won't go thirsty.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: Kissa Tanto's lasagne is one for the books. The buckwheat pasta and sesame sausage ragu make for a memorable dish.
Natasha's expert tip: Sometimes reservations are booked well in advance. They do keep some seating for walk-ins. If doing so, it's best if you're a table of two or four.
In the heart of Vancouver's Chinatown on East Pender Street is a gem that serves authentic barbecued meats and other tasty dishes made by chefs who are trained in traditional Chinese cooking styles and techniques. The menu's features options like soy sauce chicken, BBQ pork, BBQ duck, curry beef brisket, and of course, more meaty offerings served with perfectly cooked rice. For veg, the gai lan with garlic oil is a must, and don't forget to order extra ginger scallion sauce. From the outside, an old-school storefront displays glistening meat that tempts. Inside of the newly updated space are pops of emerald green, reclaimed red chairs, black and white checkered flooring, and old photos that adorn the cream walls. All of this comes together to create a charming space for diners from all walks of life to come together to enjoy a fuss-free, affordable and delicious meal.
Recommended for Best of Vancouver's Chinatown because: Chinatown BBQ is one of the best places in Chinatown to get the best bang for your buck.
Natasha's expert tip: If you've got a big appetite, the Chef's Plate is a heaping serving of BBQ and roasted pork, soy sauce chicken, and half of a salty egg on rice.