Epic Views and Dreamy Patios: The Best of Vancouver's Outdoor Dining

Thanks to Vancouver's mild weather, patio season starts early-even if it's with the help from patio heaters. From waterfront restaurants to fine dining experiences to casual outdoor eateries, you've got options when it comes to outdoor dining. Pair great food with epic views and it's easy to see why Vancouverites love dining outdoors.

Whether you're celebrating something special or just in the mood for something fab, Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio is the place to go. This waterfront restaurant is an all-around treat. The menu blends Peruvian and Japanese cuisines to make for an incredible meal-this alone makes it worth a visit. However, when enjoyed on their lovely patio that overlooks False Creek, it tastes even better.

You know it's officially warm out when you find yourself at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House's beautiful rooftop patio–it's truly one of the best in the city. Despite it's location on one of Vancouver's busiest streets, the secluded patio makes you feel as though you're in a garden outside of the city. While you enjoy the warm air, tuck into freshly shucked oysters, a cold glass of white and wistfully dream that this moment could last forever.

For something much more casual, head to the Gallery Cafe & Catering. Located on the second floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery, this patio is a welcome reprieve from the bustle. Neoclassical architecture, beautiful greenery, and soothing music are enough to draw you here, but the house-made desserts and crisp sparkling wine may be what makes you stay. This cafeteria-style restaurant is open from morning until early evening, serving freshly made salads, sandwiches, soups, baked goods, quiches, and entrees. Quench your thirst on a hot summer's day with a cold drink coffee, tea, or boozy treat.





Go Fish!

This brilliant blue corrugated steel shack beside False Creek regularly serves up a variety of fried fish including cod, salmon and halibut. Each serving is accompanied by crispy chips and a tangy slaw. On any given day you'll find devotees lining up to order and sit at the outdoor picnic tables that create the "dining room" - even when the temperature dips! The secret? The light, non-greasy batter uses local beer from the Granville Island Brewery and the freshest of fish. The daily soups are nothing short of delicious and will warm you up on a rainy Vancouver day. Although Go Fish! is a popular summer eatery, they are open all year.

With neoclassical architecture, soothing music, and plenty of lush greenery and bright blooms, The Gallery Cafe & Catering is one of Vancouver's best patios. This casual cafe calls the Vancouver Art Gallery and it's open from morning until early evening. Service is cafeteria-style where you go up to the counter and order your ready-made dish, pay for it at the till, and take it to your table. On the menu, you'll find freshly made soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches, hot entrees, and house-made desserts. They're fully licensed so you can enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer with your meal. During the summer months, the patio is the place to sit. Large umbrellas help shield the sun and there's plenty of seating-enough to seat 165! When the weather's less than desirable, head inside to the 60-seat indoor dining area.

This hotel restaurant gets points for its Granville Island location and its microbrews, which are crafted on the premises. The indoor fireplace adds instant appeal, but the patio is by all accounts one of the best places to hang out. The large space offers sweeping views of the cityscape and the water. It's such a beautiful spot, you could easily spend hours here. When the weather cools, the outdoor fireplaces and heated cabana helps keep you warm. The drink menu has plenty on offer to keep thirst at bay, while the food menu is made up of small and large bites. Tuck into dishes like Dockside's crab and shrimp cakes, chili prawns, pizzas and Saltspring Island mussels, to name just a few.


Beach Bay Cafe and Patio has one of the best locations in the city, hands down. Perched at the edge of Denman Street, it overlooks English Bay. The view is unreal. Throw in an epic sunset with tasty food and you may as well just call it a day. When it comes to the menu, Beach Bay Cafe focuses on locally sourced and ocean-friendly ingredients on their West Coast menu. Because they source locally and are inspired by the seasons, the menu changes based on what's available. From fresh fish to roasted meat, there are many tasty options to choose from. They're open for happy hour, dinner and weekend brunch.

For years, Umberto Menghi's Giardino Restaurant was a local favorite for fine dining Italian cuisine and when the announcement was made that they would be closing the doors, it hit the city hard. Fortunately, the closure was short-lived and they re-opened just a few blocks up from their old location. The indoor space is warm, inviting and the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a decadent meal. But, if you can sit outside, you must. This charming patio is a welcome oasis from the bustle of the city. The Tuscan-inspired decor pairs perfectly when dining al-fresco on Umberto's Italian dishes.

If you've been to their Kitsilano location, you know that the LOCAL Gastown will deliver the goods when you're in the mood for casual bites, cold beer and some solid patio time. LOCAL's menu brings flavor and plenty of choice. Starters include options like tuna poke, loaded nachos and Szechuan edamame. Hearty salads and bowls nourish and satisfy, while mains like burgers, fish tacos and mom's chicken pot-pie hit the spot when your hunger level is verging on hangry. Vancouverites may remember this space from its old Chill Winston days. These guys set the foundation for Gastown's largest (and best) patio many years ago-LOCAL is the perfect restaurant to take this on. After all, their Kits location also has an amazing patio. This location's patio is at one of the neighbourhood's most popular intersections. Between the people watching and the older architecture, it's a fun spot.

Open from morning until late at night, diners can enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon bites, dinner, and dessert at Chambar. Inspired by North African and Belgian cuisine, Chambar's menu is a real treat to explore. Breakfast dishes include a hearty, spiced tagine with eggs and merguez sausage, while lunch has a fun mezze platter that's got a bit of everything. For dinner, the menu is more seasonally driven so there's usually something new to try. When patio season starts, Chambar's street level patio is a popular spot. It brings urban vibes together with plenty of greenery, making for a very chill atmosphere. The patio's also open throughout the day so you can dine outside from morning until night.

A visit to Reflections: The Garden Terrace is like taking a mini vacation from life. This secluded patio on the fourth floor of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia is a real stunner. It's the perfect blend of luxe and relaxing. The space itself combines comfortable outdoor furniture with pops of turquoise, vibrant greenery, twinkle lights (for when the sun sets) with a solid cocktail and food menu. Suffice to say, it makes for a great time. The 2018 menu is bringing back some of the previous year's favorites, but they're also adding a Mexican twist. Think tacos and ceviche, washed down with tequila cocktails. When the sun goes down, heat lamps help keep you warm. If the weather takes a turn, a portion of the patio is covered so you can continue to enjoy this outdoor area.

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House has been one of Vancouver's favorite seafood restaurants for decades. From freshly shucked oysters to lobster rolls to miso glazed sablefish, you'll probably want one of everything on the menu. When it's oysters you want though, it's oysters they've got. Serving bivalve molluscs from British Columbia, the West Coast and the East Coast, Joe Fortes has a great selection of small, medium and larger oysters. Don't worry though if oysters aren't your thing, you'll still have plenty to choose from on their classic menu. While Joe Fortes is known for their seafood, they're also known for their incredible rooftop patio. This stunning oasis sits above Robson Street, but with the lush foliage and shady umbrellas, you may forget you're right in the heart of downtown. For many locals, summer isn't complete without a meal on this patio.

Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio
Photo courtesy of Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio

Ancora's Executive Chef Ricardo Valverde brings more than a decade of culinary experience to the kitchen. Chef Yoshihiro Tabo hails from Japan and leads the restaurant's raw bar, bringing years of experience and incredible talent. This duo effortlessly blends Peruvian and Japanese cultures using seasonal and sustainable ingredients from local and global suppliers. On the menu, seafood is the main attraction here. From caviar and oysters to crudo and sushi, the raw bar doesn't disappoint. Main dishes use ingredients like dungeness crab, uni, and sablefish; diners won't be let down by Valverde's creativity in the kitchen. The modern restaurant's decor offers a gentle nod to the coast with soft blues, light wood, and sand-inspired neutrals. On a warm day though, outside is where it's at. Here, you'll find a stunning patio that's away from the bustle of the city. Perched along the Seawall, the waterfront views are something else.


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