With the end of spring showers, Vancouver’s sunny season is starting and restaurant patios, rooftops, and terraces are poised to welcome you back. The city’s temporary patio program—which kicked off in the summer of 2020 in response to the pandemic—has some changes for summer 2022, so you might not see as many temporary sidewalk and curbside patios as before.
Here are some of Vancouver’s best outdoor dining spots, some open year-round. Get ready for afternoon tea, mountain and sea views, and the joys of being outside for cool cocktails, snacks, and meals from brunch to dinner at the city’s top spots for outdoor dining.
Joe Fortes Vancouver (West End)
This Vancouver institution has a rooftop patio with a living wall, garden, horseshoe bar, and an outdoor fireplace; awnings and umbrellas protect from both sprinkles and the bright sun. Whether up on the patio or in one of several indoor areas, enjoy a wide selection of oysters on the half shell, fresh fish and seafood, chops, and steaks aged a minimum of 28 days. Saturday and Sunday brunch also has eggs Benedicts, chicken and waffles, plus Joe’s coffee cake with mascarpone honey cream.
Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen (West End)
Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen is set in a century-old house on Davie Street, with plenty of outdoor seating options. The largest is the lantern-studded heated patio above the back alley, but there’s also a tiny one on the side of the building with good people-watching opportunities. The lunch and dinner menus focus on freshly prepared Nepali, Tibetan, and Indian dishes with lots of vegetarian and vegan choices. You’ll also find the occasional fusion dish, such as crème brûlée flavoured with chai.
Minami Restaurant (Yaletown)
Like its sibling restaurant Miku, Minami focuses on aburi, or flame-seared sushi — enhancing the texture and flavour of the fresh fish without compromising the balance and beauty that characterizes sushi. Also on the menu: Aburi-style beef and vegetable dishes, plus creative cocktails. The plant-filled garden courtyard is a hidden oasis in Yaletown and open—weather permitting.
Tap & Barrel • Olympic Village (False Creek)
From inside and out, Tap & Barrel’s Olympic Village location has views of the Seawall, Science World’s geodesic dome, the spires of BC Place, and the boats on False Creek. Choose between the covered year-round patio and the weather-permitting upper balcony, both equipped with heaters. The elegant comfort food menu here uses plenty of BC ingredients, including Fraser Valley free-run chicken, gin from Victoria, and, of course, beers from Tap & Barrel’s own brewery.
1931 Gallery Bistro at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Downtown)
Set upstairs in the Vancouver Art Gallery, this bistro focusses on Pacific coastal cuisine, often with Asian flavours. The large, 120-seat terrace overlooks the stately facades of Robson Square; it’s open, weather permitting, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Don’t miss the new 1931 Bistro Growing Freedom afternoon tea—the menu items do change, but you’re likely to find a macaron made with matcha tea and poke with ahi tuna and edamame.
The Teahouse Restaurant (Stanley Park)
At Ferguson Point in Stanley Park, the iconic Teahouse’s heated terrace has views of both the North Shore mountains and English Bay sunsets. The patio is partially protected from the elements by sun shades and glass half-walls. The menu features contemporary classics such as rack of lamb and duck confit, with several gluten-free options, too.
Reflections – Rosewood Hotel Georgia (Downtown)
Hidden on the Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s fourth floor is this swanky, seasonal walled terrace, complete with a waterfall and trees hanging with lanterns. Chefs prepare elegant tapas, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch along one side of the open-air room while bartenders concoct original and classic drinks on the other. A glass roof protects part of the terrace from any rain.
Gotham Steakhouse and Bar (Downtown)
Gotham’s sunny upstairs terrace, next to its red-walled dining room, welcomes you for lunch, dinner, and drinks with shade trees, umbrellas, and a massive fireplace. Classics such as prime-grade beef and lobster tail are paired with award-winning wines, and the special prices of the afternoon social hour menu are available in both the lounge—which often has live music—and on the patio.
Provence Marinaside (Yaletown)
Feel like you’re in Nice at this French-influenced restaurant, with views of the Seawall and the masts at the Quayside Marina. The flower-festooned sidewalk patio stretches out in front of the restaurant and is protected by awnings and overhead heaters. Open for brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and late night; takeout includes Provence at Home meal kits, which have optional wine pairings.
Havana (Commercial Drive)
Latin American and Pacific coastal cuisine share the stage at this vibrant spot on The Drive. Boozy slushies and fun cocktails accompany ceviche, tacos, tostones, vegetable bowls, and more. This is a great place for families, too — the kids’ menu includes free happy hour weekend brunch pancakes for those eight and under. Seating on the covered back patio and at the street-side tables is first-come, first-served.
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar (Downtown)
The award-winning team at Boulevard impresses with its West Coast fine dining menus and top-notch service. The permanent terrace’s tables sit atop a beautiful grey-and-white tile floor next to the Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver’s circular driveway and along Burrard Street. Executive chef Roger Ma whips up a fresh lineup of shareable dishes perfect for al fresco dining, including a salt-encrusted whole sea bream served with roasted fennel and Provençal sauce. One of the city’s best seafood towers makes for a patio-perfect starter, before or after shopping on nearby Robson Street.
LIFT Bar Grill View (Coal Harbour)
This seafood-forward restaurant is perched on stilts for spectacular views of Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, and the North Shore mountains from both indoors and out. Choose from the rooftop deck or wrap-around patio with “vanishing” fold-away windows. Some tables are protected from unexpected showers by awnings and umbrellas. Given the demand, outdoor tables are first-come, first-served.
Johanna Read is a Canadian freelance writer/photographer specializing in travel, food, and responsible tourism; follow her on Twitter at @TravelEater and Instagram at @TravelEaterJohanna.
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