Cobblestone Streets and Cocktails: Gastown's Best Restaurants

Gastown is Vancouver's oldest neighborhood, but one that has seen a lot of new growth over the last few years. It's here that you'll find one-of-a-kind boutiques, cozy cafes and some of the city's best restaurants.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria was the first to bring VPN certified pizza to Vancouver and continues to be a favorite amongst locals craving thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza. While pizzas are a must-order here, they also have salads and antipasto to start.

L'Abattoir Restaurant is excellent across the board. With a solid cocktail and wine program that's paired with wondrously creative dishes, diners are in good hands. The intimate ambiance and chic decor make this the perfect spot for your next date night.

If you're dining with a mix of vegetarians, vegans and carnivores, Nuba Restaurant is the best place to go. With something for everyone on their Lebanese menu, all will leave happy. Should you be in the mood to try a few different things (it's really the best way to eat here), order La Feast or Le Grand Feast–you'll be pleasantly satisfied and full.

After dinner, take a stroll around the cobblestone streets and make your way to your next haunt and grab a post-dinner drink.


Step inside this cozy space and grab a seat at the bar and sink your teeth into some delicious Spanish tapas. Don't forget to wash it all down with a glass of sherry! Traditional Spanish tapas can be hard to come by in Vancouver, but there are a couple of places where you can get your fix; the Sardine Can being one of them. On the menu you'll find dishes like chorizo con jerez, gambas al ajillo, albondigas and estufado de pulpo to name just a few. The prices are reasonable and most tapas are in the $8.50 and $11 range with a few hitting the $13.75 mark. With so many delicious dishes available, going with a big appetite and a couple of friends is the best way to sample a decent amount.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: Start your meal off with Sardine Can's smoked sardines on toast; they are excellent.

Natasha's expert tip: The space is quite small so it's best to go early or later in the evening.

Read more about Sardine Can →

Tuc Craft Kitchen has comfort written all over it from morning until night. Located in the heart of Vancouver's historic Gastown, Tuc is a local favorite. The casual and cozy atmosphere lends itself well to everything from date night to a meal out with friends. At Tuc Craft Kitchen they support local vendors so diners can expect the menu to change seasonally. They take inspiration from around the world and carefully craft their own versions in the kitchen. The starters, nibbles, bites and sides are great for sharing, while the main dishes will leave you satisfied. The dishes are hearty and comforting and it's hard to choose what to order because it all looks (and smells) so good. Tuc is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on the weekend.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: One of the best brunch's in Gastown is found at Tuc; the chicken and waffles is to die for.

Natasha's expert tip: They take reservations for brunch.

Read more about Tuc Craft Kitchen →

Wildebeest combines adventure and comfort in each of their dishes and in their decor. The menu focuses on using all of the animal and there is a good mix of familiar and not-so-familiar items. Wildebeest's team is passionate about sourcing ingredients from local farmers so that they can ensure that they're supporting ethical practices that are both good for the environment and the animals being consumed. The menu changes seasonally, but you can expect the concept to remain as smaller plates that are meant to be shared, while pushing the culinary envelope. The wine list is comprised of New and Old World bottles, but if you would rather order by the glass they have a 12-bottle "By The Glass" machine.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: Wildebeest's smoked Castelvetrano olives are the perfect pre-dinner nibble.

Natasha's expert tip: This off-cut, meat focused menu won't appeal to your vegetarian friends. However, carnivorous diners should note that they offer special menus for groups if ordered in advance.

Read more about Wildebeest →


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 ingredients (where possible). 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 Gastown's Best Restaurants because: Nuba's Najib's Special is a must-order that will entice the carnivores at your table.

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 →

Nestled in Vancouver's historic Gastown, the Pourhouse Restaurant is a local favorite when it comes to good food and well-made cocktails. Lovely vintage pieces of furniture in the bar area complement the reclaimed wood used to build the bar. Grab a seat at one of the 25 seats that are ready for you to sit down, relax and sip on some of bartenders magical creations. If sitting at the bar isn't your thing, the crisp white table linens and comfy chairs are welcoming. The food here is comforting with plenty of things to share or order to yourself. Start with tasty bites like a devils on horseback with BBQ sauce, chicken liver pate with red wine prunes, or crispy fried cheese with curry ketchup. For mains, make sure that the Pourhouse burger finds its way to your table.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: Pourhouse's burger, served medium rare is one of the best in Vancouver.

Natasha's expert tip: Pourhouse Restaurant is just a stone's throw from Waterfront Station so it's easy to get to.

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Jules Bistro has been a Gastown staple for those looking for French cuisine since 2007. Born and raised in Dijon, France, owner and chef, Emmanuel Joinville, brings his skillful love of cooking to each dish he creates. After his apprenticeship and opening his own restaurant in Dijon, he ventured to Paris where he opened a small gastropub near the Eiffel Tower before moving to Vancouver and opening Jules Bistro. Set amongst Vancouver's cobblestone streets, Jules Bistro serves traditional French dishes with West Coast touches. On the menu you'll find classic dishes like escargots bourguignonne, duck confit, moules frites and flavourful steaks served with your choice of sauce. For dessert, a sour cherry clafoutis with buttermilk-lemon sorbet does just the trick and is the perfect blend of sweet and tart. Jules Bistro is open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and weekend brunch.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: Jules Bistro's ribeye steak and frites is indulgent and packed with flavor.

Natasha's expert tip: If you can make a reservation ahead of time, it's best to do so if you're planning on going on a weekend.

Read more about Jules Bistro →

Chef Jason Sussman and Kaeli Robinsong have partnered with Ryan Spong to open their flagship location, Taco Bar, on Gastown's Blood Alley. The 3,000 square-foot space has 60 seats in the dining room and lounge, a 20-seat patio set to open this spring, and a 20-seat bar with plenty of mezcal and tequila to guzzle. On the run? Grab food to go from the adjoining Burrito Bar's take-out counter. Tacofino (Taco Bar's parent company) has been serving up West Coast-fresh, Mexican-inspired cuisine since 2009 from their original cantina in Tofino, British Columbia. Here, guests will enjoy everything from margaritas and fish tacos to salmon ceviche and crispy churros.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: Taco Bar by Tacofino's fish tacos and margaritas are a match made in heaven.

Natasha's expert tip: You can order from the full menu at the bar.

Read more about Taco Bar by Tacofino →

If you were to take a bit from the East and a little from the West, you'd get Gastown's PiDGiN. This blend comes from having worked and travelled throughout various continents and the dishes are a reflection of that. On the menu you'll find dishes like grilled octopus with an eggplant puree, merguez oil and feta coexisting with a pork belly rice bowl that's accompanied by asian pear kimchi, bamboo and quail egg. While it can be a challenge to pull off different dishes, PiDGiN nails it. The cocktail program is not to be missed as there are many vibrant and unique pairings that are the perfect addition to your meal.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: PiDGiN's late night ramen snack on Friday and Saturday night is a must order.

Natasha's expert tip: They have a prix fixe menu that's an excellent way to try a bit of everything.

Read more about PiDGiN →

Neopolitan pizza has found a large following in Vancouver and on any given night there are hungry diners knocking on Nicli's doors to get a piece of the pie, or a whole pie in this case. The pizza's are served piping hot from the wood burning oven that's made out of stone from Mt. Vesuvius. Neopolitan-style pizza has a thin crust with a slight chew and blistering on the bottom with just enough toppings so that you can taste each bite, rather than be overwhelmed by too many flavors. Nicli uses San Marzano tomatoes for their sauce and you can taste the difference. They have a handful of salads and antipastos to start with, but the main attraction is the pizza. They have reasonably priced wine and a creative cocktail list.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: Nicli Antica Pizzeria was the first to bring VPN certified Neopolitan-style pizza to Vancouver.

Natasha's expert tip: They have $5 glasses of house wine that are perfect when you're looking to save a few bucks, but still enjoy a meal out.

Read more about Nicli Antica Pizzeria →

L'Abattoir is located in the centre of Gastown between historic Gaoler's Mews and Blood Alley. The restaurant was built in the 19th century and is the site of Vancouver's first jail. Originally buttressed to the city's main butchery and meat packing district, the name L'Abattoir pays homage to the neighborhood's colorful past. Set in a refurbished brick and beam building that combines classic French tile work with industrial fixtures, natural wood, and glass and steel finishes. The restaurant offers a bar and lounge setting, elevated dining room and a plush, sun soaked atrium. The menu showcases artfully prepared dishes that pay homage to French cuisine.

Recommended for Gastown's Best Restaurants because: L'Abattoir Restaurant's cocktail program raises the bar in Vancouver.

Natasha's expert tip: Their wine list is fabulous and will not disappoint your palate.

Read more about L'Abattoir Restaurant →


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