Inspired by New York City's wine and tapas bars, Bin 941 is one of the city's first restaurants to feature small plates and tapas as a form of dining and has been around for over ten years. The menu uses sustainable, local and seasonal ingredients - freshness is guaranteed! Bin 941's menu has a handful of mainstay dishes, such as the beef tenderloin wellington with roast garlic mash and a marsala jus; it's a must order. The dishes are made to be shared and it's a fun way to explore and taste the menu. The wine selection is ample and the atmosphere is perfect for a cozy date night.
Recommended for Tapas because: The Navajo fry bread can be ordered on its own or with hummus and no matter how you get it, this fried dough is addictive!
Natasha's expert tip: The space is small and best for groups of four and under.
Yaletown L'Antipasto is a quaint and unassuming restaurant in Yaletown that will blow you away. Though it may be bold to say, Yaletown L'Antipasto has some of the best fresh pasta in Vancouver. This family-run joint will make you feel warm and welcomed with their personable service and authentic Italian fare. They combine imported products from Italy with locally sourced and fresh ingredients from British Columbia to create delicious antipasti options, salads, pastas and desserts. On warmer days, sit outside and enjoy the patio - it's great for people watching! Open for lunch and dinner, Yaletown L'Antipasto is a favorite amongst locals. The price point here is very reasonable, making it an ideal spot for a date. Wash down your meal with a glass (or bottle) of wine from their well stocked wine list.
Recommended for Tapas because: Tuck into Yaletown L'Antipasto's antipasti and enjoy their prosciutto serrano and burrata mozzarella or the beef tenderloin carpaccio.
Natasha's expert tip: Yaletown L'Antipasto is a cozy space and it's more suited to small groups or a date night.
Provence Marinaside is a go-to restaurant when you're chasing the sun with a hungry belly. Open for breakfast, brunch (weekends), lunch and dinner, Provence Marinaside is there for you any time of the day. Breakfast and brunch has all of your classic favorites, like eggs Benedict, crepes and omelettes. Feeling cheeky? Try one of their mimosas at your next brunch. Lunch and dinner offerings are comprised of French classics, West Coast inspired plates and small bites that are perfect for sharing when you're in the mood for tapas . The patio fills up quickly on those warm days when the sun is out in full force, so get there early. Lucky diners will enjoy the views of the Seawall, expensive yachts and False Creek.
Hapa Izakaya is a local favorite and the word has spread as they have opened locations in Calgary and Toronto, on top of the four locations in Vancouver. Enter the dining room in this West End location and enjoy the sleek black-on-black decor. Order some sake from the extensive list or sample a martini and take your time looking over the menu. This is a place well-suited to share dishes, of which range from traditional to fusion. Save room for the equally creative desserts such as annin tofu and almond-scented coconut and milk pudding, topped with maple syrup.
Recommended for Tapas because: Hapa Izakaya's beef tataki and ebi mayo are crowd-pleasers that hit the spot.
Natasha's expert tip: Hapa Izakaya has a few different locations around Vancouver, each offering a little bit of a different vibe.
La Mezcaleria is a sister restaurant to Vancouver's much loved La Taqueria. The newest addition to the family boasts a fun atmosphere that's great for a dinner with friends. Located on Commercial Drive, the neighborhood atmosphere adds to the charm of this Mexican restaurant. La Mezcaleria has an excellent cocktail list, complete with a wide selection of tequila and mezcal. Dishes are made up of small plates, tacos and a few larger dishes and it's best to share. The queso fundido is a hot steaming bowl of gooey cheese topped with chorizo or salsa verde and served in a piping hot volcanic rock molcajete. Scoop the molten cheese into a warm corn tortilla and prepare for a mouthful of bliss. The serving size is ample and would easily serve 4 people as a starter. The ceviche flight is another great appetizer. These dishes are just the tip of the iceburg!
Recommended for Tapas because: La Mezcaleria's ceviche flight offers variety and just the right amount of fresh fish to entice your appetite.
Natasha's expert tip: On Wednesday night they have live music.
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 Tapas because: Order Le Feast or Le Grande Feast at Nuba to try a bit of everything.
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.
For decades, La Bodega on Howe Street in downtown Vancouver was a classic tapas joint that locals had a soft spot. When they had to vacate their old location due to property development, Vancouverites had high hopes that they'd come back. Moving out of the downtown core, Bodega on Main offers an updated version on an old classic. The menu is made up of bar snacks, soups, salads, vegetables, meats, cheeses, paella, hot and cold seafood options and dessert. Wash it all down with a crisp glass of cava or a bold glass of red and you've got an equation for a good time. They also have beer, white wine and coffee available.
Recommended for Tapas because: Bodega on Main is an updated version of Vancouver's La Bodega; a Vancouver institution to the city's tapas scene.
Natasha's expert tip: Go with friends so that you can enjoy a number of dishes.
In 1993 the first izakaya opened up in Vancouver. That izakaya is what we now as Guu. They offer tasty dishes that are affordable and ideal for sharing with friends. The Thurlow location is the original space that they opened up and due to their ever-growing success, they have four other locations in Vancouver and a couple in Toronto. Each location has something unique to offer, but the concept and idea remain the same. Dishes are all under $10, unless they're offering something special on their fresh sheet. The menu is made up of familiar favorites for those that are experienced with Japanese food; kabocha croquette, ebi mayo, yaki udon, tuna tataki, tako wasabi, oden, and other grilled, stewed, fried and sweet treats. Go grab a casual and affordable bite with friends and sip a cold beer.
Recommended for Tapas because: Guu has lead the way for other izakayas in Vancouver and it is as close to the real deal as you will find in Vancouver.
Natasha's expert tip: They have five locations in Vancouver, so no matter where you are in the city, you're likely close to one of them.
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 Tapas because: The smoked sardines on toast is a classic dish and the Sardine Can nails it.
Natasha's expert tip: The space is quite small so it's best to go early or later in the evening.
Espana Restaurant brings a taste of Spain to Vancouver's West End. Like any good tapas joint, there's an array of dishes to choose from that can be enjoyed in the cozy room and washed down with some sherry. The room never fails to fill up with hungry diners, but the food comes out at a steady pace, so you're never waiting too long. Start your meal with one of the toasts - the marinated white anchovies or chicken liver pate are delicious! The crispy chickpeas make a great snack to nibble on while you wait for your next items to come out. The menu changes from time to time, utilizing what's fresh and in season. There's a cured meat and cheese section, complimented by seafood, vegetable and carnivorous tapas. It's a good thing you're supposed to order a few tapas because it's hard to pick just one dish here.
Recommended for Tapas because: Espana's menu changes seasonally and is always a treat to devour, but the churros with dulce de leche are ridiculously good any time of year.
Natasha's expert tip: The paella changes daily, making it a delightful culinary surprise.