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Vancouver's Best Value Restaurants: From Casual Vegetarian Joints to Charming French Bistros



Value isn't about being the cheapest place to eat, it's about finding somewhere that offers quality and flavor without breaking the bank. While some of the best deals can be found inside little hole-in-the-wall joints, there are a number of lovely restaurants that offer value and are perfect for your next date night in Vancouver.

Les Faux Bourgeois makes the top of the list because they nail it across the board. The warm and inviting atmosphere is perfect for a date night or dinner with the parents. The service is knowledgeable and efficient. Above all though, the food is excellent and very reasonably priced for what you're getting. Portion sizes make for a filling, rich meal so you really can't go wrong here. Be sure to make a reservation because this place fills up, especially on weekends.

Sometimes there's nothing more filling and comforting that a big 'ole bowl of noodles. For something tasty and pretty healthy, check out CHAU Veggie Express. This Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant serves vibrant bowls of goodness that are very generous in size and light on your wallet. They have two locations, East Vancouver and Granville Island. The East Vancouver location is a larger sit-down restaurant, while the Granville Island location is in the Public Market and is suited for take-out.

Over in Chinatown is Chinatown BBQ where generous servings of meat and rice can be enjoyed for around $10. Split an order of veggies amongst the table and you've got a complete meal that tastes great, is filling and won't break the bank.

 

 


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CHAU Veggie Express (East Vancouver)


This family-run business serves vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese food. It's a local favorite because when it comes to taste, there's no shortage of delicious dishes to eat here. You may think that cooking Vietnamese food without fish sauce may be a challenge (and for many it is), but owner Maria and her mother have concocted an excellent substitute that doesn't substitute flavor. From fresh salad rolls to warm, comforting bowls of noodles and soup, the menu boasts plenty of healthful and satisfying options. Each dish speaks for itself, but the reasonable prices and large portions certainly sweeten the deal. Speaking of sweet, make sure to save room for their dessert. The chocolate peanut butter bar is ridiculously good. The coconut shake is also a must.

Recommended for Best Value because: The Golden Temple is a rich bowl of turmeric-coconut brothy goodness that's packed with noodles, veggies and tofu for $14.25. You'll be stuffed.

Natasha's expert tip: They have gluten free, vegan, onion and garlic free options.

Read more about CHAU Veggie Express (East Vancouver) →




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 BBQ pork, BBQ duck, curry beef brisket, and of course, more meaty offerings served with perfectly cooked rice. For vegetables, 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 Value because: The soy sauce chicken with a side of the ginger scallion sauce at Chinatown BBQ is filling and delicious and will cost you $9.50.

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.

Read more about Chinatown BBQ →


Nightingale


For the price point, this is on the higher end of our list, but hear us out. A beautiful room, plenty of ambiance, delicious food and cocktails are the hallmarks of a great date night and Nightingale checks all the boxes. This is the sister restaurant to Chef David Hawksworth's Hawksworth Restaurant, a high-end dining room at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Nightingale gives diners the opportunity to dine on Chef Hawksworth's dishes at a more affordable price point. The food menu's seasonally driven and quite extensive and dishes are best enjoyed shared. Start with creative salads and veggie dishes before moving on to house-made pasta, pizzas and meaty mains. There are plenty of vegetarian options, too. The cocktail menu serves up a selection of hand-crafted thirst quenchers and if it's beer or wine you're after, they've got you.

Recommended for Best Value because: The buttermilk fried chicken with spiced maple syrup, sumac and pickles is a must. The portion size for this "small" order is also very generous.

Natasha's expert tip: Make a reservation as it gets pretty busy.

Read more about Nightingale →


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MeeT in GASTOWN


When it comes to cravings, MeeT in Gastown brings out the best of both worlds-comfort classics and healthy bowls. With a few locations around the city, this vegan restaurant is a local favorite. If you're feeling healthy, The Lovely bowl is heaving with ingredients that satisfy and nourish. It starts with a bed of brown rice and is topped with marinated tofu, wilted kale, roasted red pepper, broccoli, shredded carrot, toasted coconut bacon and almond satay sauce. Should that not be what you're in the mood for, check out their burgers. The Angry Burg is all kinds of delicious indulgence. They beer batter one of their burgers and toss it in a spicy buffalo sauce before stacking it onto a kaiser bun with guacamole, ranch dressing, lettuce and tomato. They also have a bunch of appetizers, salads and poutines to choose from. Be sure to save room for dessert!

Recommended for Best Value because: For $12.50, order The Main. It's a house-smoked burger on a kaiser that comes with a substantial side of fries and salad.

Natasha's expert tip: They have a few locations around town so if this address isn't convenient, chances are one of the other ones may be.

Read more about MeeT in GASTOWN →


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East Side
Phnom Penh


People go to Phnom Penh because the food is good, the fact that it's reasonably priced and the portions are generous is an added bonus. If the line outside of Phnom Penh during peak lunch and dinner hours is any indication, locals (and visitors) love this Cambodian-Vietnamese restaurant. Head to Chinatown, grab a seat and order the deep fried chicken wings. Don't think. Just do it. The light and crispy batter keeps the wings juicy and the sauteed garlic and green onions add extra flavor. Dip them in the lemon and pepper sauce and we dare you to stop at just one. After a few bites, you'll understand the long lines. Other very popular dishes are the Luc lac beef and butter beef. The menu is large so it's really hard to choose what to order, but those three are a great place to start.

Recommended for Best Value because: It's best to share dishes at Phnom Penh, but if you want to keep it lean, the beef noodle pho is a favorite for $9.25.

Natasha's expert tip: During the lunch and dinner rush, it can be quite busy so be prepared for a bit of a wait.

Read more about Phnom Penh →


La Taqueria  Pinche Taco Shop
Photo courtesy of La Taqueria


La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop has long been a favorite spot to grab some tacos. Choose from fillings like de cachete (tender beef cheeks), carnitas (pork confit), pollo con mole (chicken in a mole sauce), pescado (fish), and the popular de lengua (beef tongue). There are also a number of vegetarian options and if you venture that way, you won't be disappointed. There are a few different homemade salsa options and some freshly pickled vegetables to add onto your taco that will add some welcome heat. To complete your meal, grab a horchata. It's creamy, without the dairy, slightly sweet, and has warm hints of cinnamon. It's very refreshing! At this original location, the seating is a bit limited, but people move through pretty quickly so you don't have to wait long for a seat. Their newer locations have larger menus and more seating.

Recommended for Best Value because: The rajas con crema at La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop is a must. Stewed poblanos, mozzarella, sweet corn and cream make for a rich taco.

Natasha's expert tip: If you want a more sit-down atmosphere, they have a number of other locations around the city that offer that.

Read more about La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop →


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West Side
Vij's Rangoli
Photo courtesy of Vij's


Open for lunch, dinner and late-night snacks, Rangoli is Vij's more casual sister restaurant. Vij's is definitely worth a visit, but if you're looking to save a few bucks, check out Rangoli. Start your meal with one of their delicious samosas. With fillings like lamb, beef short rib, grilled kale and jackfruit, and potato and bell peppers-to name some-it's hard to pick just one. If you find yourself in this situation, order the flight of three. For mains, there are plenty of curries to choose from. The menu is packed with flavorful options that will suit both vegetarians and meat lovers. South Granville is known for it's charming boutiques and calming neighborhoods, making it a fabulous area of town to walk, shop, and enjoy the scenery before or after your meal.

Recommended for Best Value because: The kale, jackfruit and cauliflower curry with rice pilaf at Vij's Rangoli is an incredible dish that'll cost you $18.50.

Natasha's expert tip: The express lunch has options ranging from $16-$18, which is a good way to save a few dollars and enjoy a speedier meal.

Read more about Vij's Rangoli →




Bandidas Taqueria is a Mexican-inspired restaurant in East Vancouver that's very reasonably priced. The menu is vegetarian but also favors vegan diets. With the use of nuts, tofu and beans, it's hard to miss the lack of meat. They're open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner so a healthy and satisfying meal can be enjoyed throughout the day. From tacos and burritos to nachos and enchiladas, you've got options. Added bonus? They make their corn tortillas in their kitchen. The atmosphere inside is based on being ethically sound, utilizing vintage furniture. Their reason for doing so is because of their devotion to the environment. Local wines and beers mingle with organic and free-range items to produce a socially responsible and healthy environment. They're also constantly looking at ways to give back to the community through fundraisers and aligning themselves with important causes. You can feel good eating here.

Recommended for Best Value because: For $10.75, you'll be stuffed from a burrito at Bandidas Taqueria. Get the Ronny Russel made with yams, guacamole, black beans, salsa, cabbage, and pepitas.

Natasha's expert tip: Their happy hour is 9 pm until close. Select beer and cider are on offer for $3.75.

Read more about Bandidas Taqueria →




Nuba is one of Vancouver's favorite gems that has built a strong following that has helped pave the way for its expansion across the city. Nuba specializes in Middle Eastern dishes and everything from the hummus and baba ghanouj to the falafel and grilled meats are bursting with flavor. An added bonus? This Lebanese cuisine is quite healthful. Each item on the menu is very reasonably priced and made from quality, local and organic ingredients (where possible), making it a great value. The West Hastings restaurant is a very popular lunch location amongst the business district workers. Dinner is no exception and is always packed with people waiting to get their Lebanese fix from Nuba. Each of their locations is equally delicious so don't be shy to give any of the properties a shot.

Recommended for Best Value because: For lunch, get the chicken tawook pita for $11. For dinner, their La Feast is $21/person and serves a generous selection of vegetarian dishes.

Natasha's expert tip: No matter if you're vegan, vegetarian or a meat lover, there's something on the menu for all of you. They have cafe and restaurant versions, while both are casual, the cafes are perfect for a very casual lunch.

Read more about Nuba Restaurant →




Les Faux Bourgeois is a favorite among Vancouverites because the food is excellent, the atmosphere is warm, and the price is right. You don't have to spend a bundle to enjoy classic French cuisine in Vancouver, making this spot a perfect place to take a date. The dishes are ample in size and most mains are under $25. Some daily specials can be a bit more, but for the quality, service and ambiance, it's incredibly reasonable. The menu features traditional French dishes like canard confit, mussels in white wine, and coq au vin. Appetizers include escargots de Bourgogne, sweetbreads, country-style pork pate and other tasty options. The menu hasn't seen any major changes since opening and diners love that they know they can always count on their favorite dish being on the menu. Daily specials are offered for those looking for a change, or to try something new.

Recommended for Best Value because: Les Faux Bourgeois' steak frites is a tasty hanger steak with a heaping portion of frites for $23. You can't go wrong with this dish.

Natasha's expert tip: If you're planning on going on a weekend during peak hours, make a reservation a couple of weeks in advance. Otherwise, you may not be able to get a reservation until 9 pm.

Read more about Les Faux Bourgeois →


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Meet Natasha John

Natasha is not born and raised in Vancouver, but is pretty certain it's her spirit hometown. After jumping around Canada, Texas, Arkansas and the UK, she has her feet firmly planted in...  More About Natasha

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