Top Eats and Drinks in Vancouver

With our primary office situated in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, and most of our staff true locals, we decided it was time to compile a list of our favourite eats and drinks for you to check out while exploring our hometown. We hope this list gets you excited to explore this incredible city of ours, and you find something unexpectedly delicious!

Rise and brunch

After a much needed sleep in and a beautiful lazy morning, all of a sudden you’re starving and it’s almost noon… the perfect combination for a brunch! My personal favourite local brunch spot is at Aphrodite’s Café. I usually order their Special Bacon Benny along with their Bailey’s Latte Bowl to hit the sweet spot. They have an incredible pie shop opposite their café, so you can pick up the perfect dessert pie for later! If you’re after a view and something quite special, then Lift Bar & Grill in Coal Harbour can’t be beat with their selection of eggs benedicts and other brunch delights.

It would also be remiss of me to not mention my favourite café, Aperture Coffee Bar (Main & King Edward location). They serve the best espresso I’ve had in Vancouver, serve great pastries and their shop is filled with retro motorcycles and motorcycle décor.

Anita deJong, our Groups and Events Manager, is on the money with her two brunch recommendations, Yolks and Jam Café! These are two of the busiest and best brunch spots anywhere in Vancouver. Neither take reservations so it’s likely you’ll be in line for a little bit, so hopefully you’ve got a friend to keep you company. From Yolks we recommend the Croque Madame, or for something without the meat, their Grilled Asparagus & Double Cream Brie Benny will hit the spot. Jam Café does the best Fried Chicken Benny we’ve ever had, and their Banana Walnut Pancakes will blow you away.

Are you after something a little lighter? Miles Walker, our Business Development Manager, says that the homemade bagels from Siegel’s Bagels is the first stop you should take. The Rosemary Rock Salt Bagel will keep you coming back for more every time, and their Montreal Smoked Meat Bagel is a sure thing for lunch.

Top lunch spots in Vancouver

Here at Worldgo Travel, we are extremely passionate fans of the Canucks, and we’re also suckers for a great burger. Inside one of the most Canucks friendly bars, The American, is located DownLow Burgers which ticks all of our boxes. The Not in Kansas Burger is always a winner, and if you’ve got a large appetite then definitely get it with a side of onion rings.

Wanting to try something really unique to Vancouver? Japadog fuses the North American staple of hot dogs and fries with Japanese cuisine. The Japanese owners moved to Canada in 2005 and promptly opened their first location. They have since built it into a thriving business, attracting people from all of the world to their store and food trucks. A trip to Vancouver would be incomplete without a stop here.

One of my favourite things to do on a nice day is to get my takeout from Thai Basil Restaurant in Kitsilano and then walk across to the beach for dinner with a view that money just can’t buy. Taking your shoes off and wiggling your toes in the sand whilst eating some of the best Thai food in Vancouver just can’t be beat. If you find that sand is coarse, rough, irritating and it gets everywhere (which rules out dinner on the beach!), then a great alternative is to head to a patio with water views. Take the adorable False Creek Aquabus ferry from downtown over to Mahony & Sons at Stamps Landing for one of the best Vancouver patios. They offer excellent pub food, a great drinks menu and some good Irish craic.

Best dinner locations in Vancouver

With so many incredible restaurants in Vancouver from all corners of the world, this was one of the hardest lists to narrow down. After much heated debate between all of us of about which spots to include, these are our top locations for dinner. My favourite place in Vancouver, Little Bird Dim Sum & Craft Beer, opened up less than a year ago and has everything you need to know in the name. They have just over 20 small plates on the menu and 10 local BC craft beers to accompany them. Every single dish is quite simply, perfect. What’s best is that everything on their menu is under $10. Another restaurant that I can’t stay away from is the Dinesty Dumpling House for their Shanghai Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao). Get there early (5pm or just after) and put your name on the list. Just trust me on this one, everything on their menu is phenomenal. They have a few locations, so it’s convenient no matter where you are.

Ask For Luigi is without a doubt the best Italian food I’ve had in my life, outside of Italy. I have nothing more to say, except “buon appetito”!

Eric Sakawsky, our Co-Founder, has recently got us hooked on Mangia e Cucina, an amazing Italian restaurant inside a quaint heritage house in Mount Pleasant. Their authentic and mouthwatering Sicilian food will see you returning time and time again. Another staff and client favourite, Hy’s Steakhouse, is the place to go for a special occasion (though it will hurt the wallet a little). Their New York Strip is heavenly, and get the Maple Pecan Carrots on the side to really treat yourself.

It wouldn’t be a Vancouver food list without sushi. Mark Salmon, one of our Corporate Travel Managers, recommends the non-pretentious and highly underrated Toshi at Main & 16th. There’s always a wait but just sign your name on the wait sheet located inside the door and head over to El Camino’s for a Mezcal based cocktail or grab a beer at the Five Point while you wait. On the topic of seafood, Mark also recommends a visit to Rodney’s Oyster House for hands down the best oysters in Vancouver. Their Slap Jack Chowder will have you cleaning the bowl.

The best bars & breweries in Vancouver

This list would be incomplete without our favourite East Vancouver breweries. East Vancouver has been nicknamed  ‘Yeast Van’ by locals as it contains some of the best breweries in BC (and perhaps even in Canada). Parallel 49 Brewing Company, Container Brewing Ltd, Andina Brewing Company, Callister Brewing Co and Strange Fellows Brewing have all made our list for the top Vancouver breweries. Another location we love is 33 Acres Brewing Company (located in Mount Pleasant) due to their ever-changing list of great beers and their incredible brunch menu.

If you’re after a down-to-earth sports bar with a large drinks menu that’s constantly changing, then Bells & Whistles might be the spot for you. With large screens to watch the game on, and a large selection of great beers to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better location that this. They also have a couple of arcade games to enjoy. Their Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a side of Garlic Fries can’t be beat, but everything on their menu will leave you satisfied and eager to return.

For something different, the Keefer Bar has just opened their Keefer Yard where you can play mini golf and cornhole while having some of the city’s best cocktails. Make sure you have a reservation as they’re booking up fast. I was here just this week and had a blast. You can order Juke Fried Chicken and Hey, Dumplings right to your table. We ordered from both restaurants (for our group of four) and everything we ate was amazing! Pourhouse has quickly risen to be one of our most loved bars with unique cocktails and mouthwatering meals. Also, you have got to try their award-winning burger, a 40 day dry-aged chuck steak with aged cheddar and pork belly!

Ben Livingston, one of our Senior Corporate Travel Managers, says a visit to Craft Beer Market shouldn’t be missed. It will allow you to discover your new favourite BC beer as they have over 100 beers on tap to choose from! Some of our other favourite Vancouver bars for something a bit more intimate include The Narrow and Alibi Room.

Satisfy that middle of the night craving

We have something for everyone with these two late night eats. Lucy’s Eastside Diner is open 24/7 and is an authentic North American diner with all of the burger, fries and shake classics, and an amazing retro interior. If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan options, then The Naam is also open 24/7 and is the stop for you. They are Vancouver’s oldest vegetarian and vegan restaurant, and we’re always craving their burritos and smoothies.

We’re excited for you to get out and try our beloved list of the best Vancouver eateries and breweries. Hopefully you’ll find lots of new favourites and experience some wonderful surprises. Happy eating!

If you’re looking for some suggestions on things to do in Vancouver, make sure to read my earlier article here.

 

Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

Note: We are not being sponsored for any of these mentions. This article has only been written with incredible love for these delicious Vancouver joints.

 

Written By: Holly Atkins
September 8th, 2020

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!

 

 

 

Make Your Next Business Trip to Calgary a Bleisure Trip

How many times have you been to Calgary and not stepped foot out of the hotel to explore the city? It can be so easy to fall into the trap of not leaving your hotel. Meetings are often on hotel premises, and most have good onsite bars and restaurants too. I’m here to show you how to switch that up and give you some new ideas and insider tips for your next visit to try and turn your business trip into an enjoyable bleisure trip. (Bleisure travel is a portmanteau of “business” and “leisure”, and, it refers to “the activity of combining business travel with leisure time”).

Okay, so a few of these you might turn your nose up at because you’re not one of “those” tourists. I get it! I often try to avoid the popular tourist stops on my travels as I don’t like large crowds of people. My idea of travelling is to just wander lesser known areas and stumble across hidden gems. In saying that, I’m a glutton for collecting kitsch souvenirs, eating delectable foods, and enjoying a good view… and most of the popular tourist destinations check those boxes! I promise you that these experiences will make you view Calgary in a new light. Keep reading and you’ll have all of the insider info to have the best bleisure trip possible.

Treat yourself to brunch

Okay, so Vancouver just got its first location of OEB Breakfast Co. which has been life changing, but OEB was actually established in Calgary in 2009. I have never before made the noises I made when I first ate at OEB. Their breakfast poutine will absolutely rock your world. If you’re in Calgary with a free morning, do yourself a favour and get over to one of their locations ASAP. I highly recommend the “Meat-less to Say” breakfast poutine (but make sure to get it with added bacon if you’re a meat eater like me!). Really though, you can’t go wrong with anything on their extensive menu. See my photo below for further proof of the worthiness of their brunch.

Stretch your legs

After sitting in meetings, you’re probably longing for a good stroll to stretch your legs. From downtown Calgary, the raging Bow River is a short walk away, flowing through the city with a mighty force from the glacial melts.  The southern bank of the Bow River heading east has a 2 kilometre (1.2 miles) pedestrian and cycle path from Centre Street Bridge all the way to East Village. This walk does not go unrewarded, as you arrive at the East Village you’ll find the Simmons Building. A former mattress factory, it is now home to an incredible bakery (Sidewalk Citizen), a craft coffee shop (Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters) and a phenomenal Argentinian restaurant (Charbar). Grab yourself a coffee from the experts and head to the bakery for their delectable almond cherry brown butter tart.

2kms not enough, or coffee not your thing? You could also head west along the Bow River (on the northern bank) and you’ll find yourself with the best views of the city at the top of McHugh Bluff. You will also be able to treat yourself extra for dinner after your calorie-burning adventures!

It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere

What better way to explore a city than to drink your way through it? If you’ve got a free afternoon or evening, make the most of it with a brewery tour by the beer geek experts. You can choose to visit 3 or 4 breweries and you’ll get a flight of beers at each stop. Calgary Craft Collection are the guys who will look after you. Don’t want to join a group? You can easily Uber to each brewery for your solo beer crawl.

Heart racing adventures with windswept hair

Ever been on a motorcycle? What about in the sidecar of a motorcycle? If you’ve answered no, now’s your chance. Tours departing daily from Calgary, and you can opt for a shorter city tour if you’re on a time crunch or do a full day tour into the Canadian Rockies. Check out Rocky Mountain Sidecar Adventures. I’ve been riding motorcycles for 14 years now, and I still absolutely loved it. Trust me, being in a motorcycle sidecar is an unforgettable experience.

Motorcycles not your thing? There’s mountain biking tours with Alberta 66 Mountain Biking, hot air ballooning with Sundance Balloons, white water rafting tours with Wild Water Adventures and Calgary even has Segway tours with River Valley Adventure Co!

Delight your appetite in Calgary

Had a long day of meetings, but all you’ve been thinking about for hours now is what you’d like for dinner? Say no more, we have you covered. Few things are as satisfying after a long day as tacos and a cold beer. Moose and Poncho is a small restaurant with communal style seating (we love their no frills approach!), and they will satisfy this craving for you and have you thinking of it for months to come. If you’re still hungry, they do some of the best churros outside of Mexico.

Want a meal without the meat? Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House is a small vegetarian and vegan joint that uses old authentic family recipes that are also gluten and MSG-free. How about something a little “extra”? Get dressed up and enjoy a nice evening out with a little mystery added – Betty Lous Library is a speakeasy that requires a phone reservation to get the password for entry! Cocktail dress encouraged, but not mandatory. However, baseball caps and jerseys will need to be checked, so don’t dress too casual.

Views for days

The amount of people I’ve talked to who have been to Calgary and not visited the Calgary Tower is too high! The Calgary Tower is a must-see in my opinion, whether you’re a tourist, local or a frequent visitor to the area. If you can get up there on a clear day, the views out to the Canadian Rockies are out-of-this-world stunning. Seeing the Rockies from such a height while the rest of the land lays flat and quiet really is something else. At 190 meters (623 feet) it’s less than half the size of the CN Tower in Toronto, but out here such a height isn’t necessary because of the flat landscape beneath you.

Get your culture on

Studio Bell is set inside one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture and spans across five floors. The exhibitions are hands on and you can play some amazing instruments (with video tutorials), try out some karaoke, and have a museum experience like no other. Studio Bell is fun, creative and won’t make you yawn or want to tap out early.

If music isn’t your thing, how about a sports museum? Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame is located at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park and has been around for 65 years. They’ve got 12 galleries to stroll through with lots of interactive exhibits and you’ll find your inner kid coming out to play.

Extend your stay a little while

For boutique hotels, I absolutely adore Hotel Arts. It’s modestly priced and it’s a really funky little spot with well furnished rooms, excellent dining options and centrally located. Got a larger budget to play with? The Hotel Arts Kensington is the place for you with only 19 large sized rooms and impeccable service. Their onsite restaurant is a must-visit too. Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire is a popular choice for our business travellers, along with Le Germain Hotel. Both offer great service, comfortable rooms and bit more luxury. For something no-frills the Best Western Plus Suites Downtown is a great option with stunning Calgary skyline views and an included hot breakfast.

We hope that next time you head to Calgary for business travel, you will be able to fit some of these great stops and eats in to upgrade it to a bleisure trip worth remembering!

 

Reach out to a Worldgo Specialist at 1-888-236-1566 or by email at travelrequests@worldgo.ca

We would love to plan your next Calgary trip for you.

Written By: Holly Atkins
July 29th, 2020

Holly Atkins has been working in tourism for many years as a travel manager, tour guide and on the front desk in a couple of hotels. An Australian Canadian citizen that now permanently resides in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Holly can’t think of a better place to call home with the vast mountains and her oceanfront dwelling. Touring on motorcycles for the past 14 years has allowed her to see places that few discover, and get off the beaten path to experience all that the open roads have to offer. Visiting a vast amount of the Oceania region, trekking around Europe, discovering BC and most recently travelling to Jordan and Egypt, she’s always looking forward to the next adventure!