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Good Food and Chill Vibes at Vancouver's Best Casual Dining Restaurants



After a long day, the line between staying in and ordering delivery or getting dressed and going out can feel rather thin. These casual Vancouver restaurants are perfect for when you want to get out of the sweats and into some jeans.

For a casual date night, Les Faux Bourgeois is where it's at. This charming neighbourhood bistro serves French cuisine at very reasonable prices, in a warm environment. Dishes include classics like steak frites, duck confit and coq au vin. Portions are filling so be sure to save room for the creme brûlée.

When you're craving something healthy and filling, make your way to CHAU Veggie Express for vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese food. This laid-back restaurant serves hot, steamy bowls of soup and noodles that will fill you up with the good stuff.

When you want some low-key cocktails and delicious food, get yourself to Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie in Chinatown. Amongst this list, it's definitely the fanciest of the bunch, but it's still a chill spot for a solid dinner and drinks. The dishes here are ideal for sharing, making for a more interactive meal.


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When it's comforting food you want, it's Burgoo that you need. This casual eatery offers four locations around Vancouver and North Vancouver, so a cozy meal is always within reach. Known for their soups, hearty stews and sandwiches (the gooey grilled cheese, a favorite), it's the perfect spot for a warming meal. Starters like their hummus or fondue are great for sharing, while chicken pot pie and beef bourguignon can be enjoyed as a main. Can't decide between soup and a sandwich? Get the After School Special so you can have both. There are items that stay on the menu throughout the year, but there are also seasonal additions to shake things up. Dining with kids? They have plenty of options that will keep little tummies equally satisfied.

Recommended for Casual Dining because: When you want cozy, comfort food, Burgoo Bistro is the place to go. The grilled cheese sandwich here is a delicious favorite.

Natasha's expert tip: Order the After School Special to enjoy a sandwich and soup.

Read more about Burgoo Bistro →


9
East Side


Take a trip down the Silk Road and walk into East is East for a tasty meal that will leave you full and satisfied. When you walk into the restaurant, soothing music, dim lighting, rustic furnishings, and beautifully crafted rugs greet you. The menu has a vast array of vegetarian and meat options, all of which are equally delicious. For a meatless option, the peas and cheese (paneer, spices, potatoes and peas) is the ultimate comfort food. Wrap it up in a roti (they call it the Lion of the Desert) and order a bowl of their dahl and you'll soon enter a blissful food coma. They're also known for the chai tea so be sure to order a cup while you wait for your meal.

Recommended for Casual Dining because: The Chai Feast is a great way to sample a few different things.

Natasha's expert tip: In the evening, they often have live music that changes each night.

Read more about East is East →


8
East Side
Phnom Penh


What was once a hidden gem in Chinatown is now one of the neighbourhood's busiest restaurants. Vancouverites and visitors alike just can't get enough of Phnom Penh's Cambodian and Vietnamese eats. The relaxed atmosphere, reasonably priced food and large portions make it an ideal spot for a casual dinner with the family. 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 keeps the wings juicy and the sauteed garlic and green onions add extra flavor. Don't forget to dip them in the lemon and pepper sauce. The marinated butter beef is a dish of thinly sliced, medium rare beef topped with a blanet 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 Casual Dining because: Order Phnom Penh's marinated butter beef. It's made of thinly sliced, medium rare beef that's topped with cilantro, brown garlic and special sauce.

Natasha's expert tip: Go during off peak hours and avoid a wait.

Read more about Phnom Penh →


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7
East Side


One look at The Acorn's dishes and you'd expect a pretty fancy place. However, while the dishes are stunning, they keep the atmosphere cozy, welcoming and warm. The Acorn suits a romantic date night or casual dinner with friends. While their known for their beer battered halloumi cheese on a zucchini pancake with smashed peas, the seasonal menu always has something that tempts. The menu caters to vegetarians, vegans, raw and gluten free appetites, but carnivores won't feel as though they're missing out here. As you eye the menu, order one of their craft cocktails to start your meal. If you're off the booze, they also have a handful of tasty non-alcoholic options that are fun to sip.

Recommended for Casual Dining because: The Acorn's beer battered halloumi cheese on a zucchini pancake with smashed peas is a delicious vegetarian take on fish and chips.

Natasha's expert tip: Dinner is served until 10pm, but the bar stays open until 2am.

Read more about The Acorn →


6
West Side
Vij's Rangoli
Photo courtesy of Vij's


South Granville is known for it's charming boutiques and calming neighborhoods, making it a enjoyable area of town to walk around and do some shopping. There are also a handful of excellent restaurants in the area, Vij's Rangoli being one of them. Open for lunch, dinner and late night snacks, Rangoli is Vij's more casual sister restaurant. 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. Bonus? The menu is packed with flavorful options that will suit both vegetarians and meat lovers.

Recommended for Casual Dining because: The portobello mushroom and red bell pepper curry at Vij's Rangoli is a fantastic meatless dish.

Natasha's expert tip: For something a little more fancy, head to their sister restaurant, Vij's.

Read more about Vij's Rangoli →




Whether you're ordering in or going out, sometimes there's nothing better than pizza. At Nicli Antica Pizzeria, expect Neopolitan-style pizza and a relaxed space. The pizzas are served piping hot from the wood-fired oven that's made out of stone from Mt. Vesuvius. Like any good Neopolitan-style pizza, Nicli's have a thin crust with a slight chew and blistering on the bottom. Each pizza is topped with just enough toppings so that you can taste the ingredients with each bite. They have a handful of salads and antipastos to start with, but the main attraction is the pizza. They also have reasonably priced wine and a creative cocktail list.

Recommended for Casual Dining because: Nicli Antica Pizzeria's classic Margherita pizza can do no wrong.

Natasha's expert tip: Order a glass of the house wine to save a few bucks.

Read more about Nicli Antica Pizzeria →


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. The vibe is super relaxed and food comes out pretty quickly. It's great when you want something healthy, delicious and casual. From fresh salad rolls to warm, comforting bowls of noodles and soup, the menu boasts plenty of healthful and satisfying options. Start with the nonla crispy rolls and then move onto the Golden Temple soup. This creamy coconut soup with plenty of turmeric, veggies, and tofu is rich and satisfying. Portions are quite large so if you're not starving, they're big enough to share. Save room for dessert or their coconut shake. If you go for dessert, the peanut butter chocolate bar is ridiculously good.

Recommended for Casual Dining because: CHAU Veggie Express' Golden Temple is the most delicious, warm and filling bowl of coconut, turmeric, veggies, and noodles.

Natasha's expert tip: If you can't make it out to the Victoria Drive location, they have a smaller shop on Granville Island.

Read more about CHAU Veggie Express (East Vancouver) →




Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie offers a Western twist on Chinese classics. The atmosphere is lively and comfortable, and dishes are made to be 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; they're refreshing and light. The petit cadeaux and petits plats chinois are larger than the schnacks and ordering a couple per person is the way to go. From the petits plats chinois, you've go to order the shao bing. This sesame flatbread with cumin lamb sirloin, pickled red onion, green pepper, cilantro and salted chilies is to die for. The cocktail, wine and beer list are an added bonus to this delightful spot. The bar area is a great place to grab a drink and snack before heading out for the night.

Recommended for Casual Dining because: Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie's food, cocktails and atmosphere are casual enough for dinner with friends, but fancy enough for a date night.

Natasha's expert tip: It can get pretty busy here so going early is a safer bed to avoid a wait.

Read more about Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie →


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East Side


This cozy and intimate Italian-inspired restaurant welcomes diners to enjoy a comforting meal in the downtown east side of Vancouver. It's a fabulous spot for your next date night. Though it's slightly off the beaten path, Ask for Luigi attracts flocks of hungry bellies. The dinner menu has plenty of delicious dishes on offer, but the main star is the freshly made pasta. Prior to digging into your main course, don't miss the antipasti selection that's great for starting with. Make sure to save room for dessert that's made in-house. Ask for Luigi encourages family-style dining so that you can explore the menu and enjoy a few bites of each dish.

Recommended for Casual Dining because: If the line-up is any indication, Ask for Luigi's freshly made pastas are excellent.

Natasha's expert tip: They don't take reservations so get there early. Groups of six are the largest parties they can seat.

Read more about Ask for Luigi →




Les Faux Bourgeois is a favorite among Vancouverites because the food is excellent, the atmosphere is casual and warm, and the price is right. You could spend a lot at other French restaurants, but the beauty of Les Faux (as locals call it) is that you don't have to spend a bundle here. Most main course dishes are under $25 and the portion sizes are generous. 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 mouth watering treats to start your meal. 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 Casual Dining because: Les Faux Bourgeois' steak frites is delicious and well priced. The charming French bistro vibes are an added bonus.

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 9pm.

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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