What are the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Vancouver?
October 7, 2013 11:12 AM   Subscribe

I will be visiting Vancouver, BC for a week. Where should I eat that I might not find on TripAdvisor (or similar websites)? I won't have a car, and I will be staying here. I am open to all kinds of food (in fact, the more obscure the international cuisine, the better!).
posted by torisaur to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Not exactly obscure but this Iranian kebab place on Lonsdale has excellent food, big portions and affordable prices.

The Ethiopian restaurants on Commercial Drive are pretty good.

If you like Japanese and Korean food the 3 blocks of Robson street at the 1400-1800 block (near Denman) are full of BBQ places and authentic Korean food.

The japanese ramen place at Denman and Robson frequently has a line out the door.
posted by thewalrus at 11:43 AM on October 7, 2013

Phnom Penh. It's not exactly super obscure but it's not really on the typical tourist track either. The chicken wings used to be out of this world. Not sure if it's got the same vibe as once did.
posted by barnone at 12:11 PM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Check out Chicha on Broadway -- new Peruvian tapas-style place that just opened up at the beginning of the summer. Tiny place, great food -- was there twice while on a visit out west, and loved it. Peruvian is the hot style in the restaurant cuisine world, apparently, and these folks have created some really great dishes.
posted by liquado at 12:14 PM on October 7, 2013

Not obscure, but excellent and shockingly close to where you are staying (across the street and the end of the block, in fact) is the Templeton, which is where I eat (breakfast, usually) at least once on every trip to YVR.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:18 PM on October 7, 2013

Falafel Maison at Robson and Richards. Plan for take-out as there's a tiny, tiny amount of seating, but the chicken shwarma plate is delicious and usually served by an angry Lebonese grandmother.
posted by jess at 12:24 PM on October 7, 2013

I had one of the finest meals of my life last weekend at Peaceful Restaurant near Broadway and Cambie. My understanding is that it has become somewhat famous and crowded since Guy Fieri visited with his tv show, but we only had to wait for a little while at about 8 on a Saturday.

I had the Peaceful Beef Wraps, Dan Dan Noodles, and Mu Shu Noodles and recommend those dishes very highly.
posted by Kwine at 1:01 PM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

House of Dosa is delicious and has $5.99 dosas all day on Mondays. It's about a 40 minute bus ride from where you're staying (but google tells me you can do it in one bus.)
posted by vespabelle at 1:07 PM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll focus my favourites downtown and nearby (no further than Broadway)

Northern Chinese
Peaceful Restaurant (Broadway & Cambie),
Legendary Noodle (Denman & Comox)
Lin's (Broadway & Fir)
Avoid: Bao Bei - hipster fusion crap

Southern Chinese (Cantonese)
Congee Noodle House (Broadway & Main)
Dynasty (Broadway & Laurel)
Avoid: Hon's (yuck) & Sun Sui Wah (overrated)

Phnom Penh (Chinatown)
Viet Sub (Robson & Seymour)

North Indian (Punjabi)
Grounds for Appeal - weekday lunch only! (Cambie & Robson)
Vij Rangoli's (11th & Granville), the cheaper cousin (same owner & cooks) of Vij's
Avoid: Vij's (way overpriced)

South Indian
House of Dosa's...indeed this is a bit further afield...but sooo good. Especially their "Chicken 69" dish.

Sushi: Toshi's (Main & 16th), Fujiya (Burrard & Pender...this is a supermarket, not a restaurant!)
Izakaya - Guu (Burrard & Thurlow)...multiple locations but this has the funkiest atmosphere
Avoid: Japadog (unique but disgustingly greasy)

Pasta: Campagnolo - Main & National
Pizza: Sciue (Davie & Pacific or Pender & Howe), Yaletown Brewing Company (pizza + beer special on sundays)

Stackhouse (Granville & Davie)
Vera's (everywhere)
Avoid: Fatburger (yuck)

You can also look in the food reviews section of The Georgia Straight
posted by wutangclan at 3:25 PM on October 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Well, reviewers of food in this city (and consumers of food reviews) are borderline obsessive so there may not be many secrets. First, get off Granville around where you are staying, which is largely a repository of $1 pizza and overworked pub food.

Off Robson at Thurlow is Guu, for Izakaya, entertaining if you're solo. Further up Robson is Santouka, my choice for Ramen (quality over quantity). The seafood pancake at Jang Mo Jib is a favorite. Belgian waffles at Nero, which is literally a hole in the wall, are really good. Ukrainian Village on Denman for Eastern European (near Stanley Park). On the other side, Davie Street close to Granville has Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen (easy to miss second floor entry), and passable neighborhood Vietnamese cafes (Pho Goodness is decent - although if you really wanted something worth eating, Pho Japolo in North Van is better).

In the rough vicinity of Granville Island is Bob Likes Thai Food on West Broadway - the six bites is a nice change from the pad thai/green curry usuals. Further up the street, Goldilocks is a busy Filipino bakery worth checking out.

It's probably better, provided the weather works out, that you get to different neighborhoods and see what appeals -- Commercial Drive and Main Street are riddled with small places, hipster and international. My personal rule of thumb is busy = go, line up out the door = probably reviewed/ranked and not worth the wait.

(On preview, some agreement with wutangclan)
posted by skermunkil at 4:22 PM on October 7, 2013

A hearty second for Toshi Sushi. Expect a wait, but Oh Jesus is it worth it.
posted by space_cookie at 7:41 PM on October 7, 2013

The Flying Pig (yaletown) is just couple of blocks down. Delicious.
posted by aeighty at 9:14 AM on October 8, 2013

East is East! From the website, it may now be bigger than the hole in the wall that it was when I knew it five years ago; but the food and the lassis are amazing.
posted by jlibera at 9:22 AM on October 8, 2013

Mainly focusing on their "hole-in-the-wall"-ness, here's some places I'd recommend.

Lions Den Cafe - Japaribbean - Jamaican/Japanese (Kingsway and Fraser)
Hawker's Delight - Singaporean (Main and King Edward)
La Tacqueria - Mexican (Hastings and Hamilton or Cambie and Broadway)
Budgie's Burritos - Mexican Vegetarian (Main and Broadway)
Pizzeria Farina - Hipster Pizza (Main and Prior)
posted by metaname at 4:37 PM on October 8, 2013

If for some reason you find yourself in the area (Burnaby), check out the falafel at Pita King in the food court of Brentwood Mall. I'm serious.

I also really miss Bon's Cafe, very good Vietnamese food on Main St and 33rd ave (I think, near Queen Elizabeth Park/Nat Bailey Stadium)
posted by wats at 8:05 PM on October 8, 2013

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