Vancouver, British Columbia is one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. There’s so much natural beauty in and around it that locals often mention that they “live in paradise”.
With its mash-up of cultures and an abundance of culinary talent, Vancouver is a food paradise where the West Coast meets the world.
In this BLACK FOODIE guide, you’ll find some of the city’s best Black-owned businesses alongside the international cuisine that combines bold flavours with fresh ingredients. Here are some of our must-visit restaurants that help give Vancouver its reputation as one of the best places in the world to eat.
Jam Café – multiple locations
This cozy all-day breakfast and lunch café is a local favourite in Vancouver. There are always long line-ups in front of this restaurant and for a good reason; the menu is jam-packed with dishes inspired by Southern comfort food but with a distinctly Canadian twist. They’ve got the best of brunch and lunch, including a wide range of Eggs Benedict and pancake options.
Customers can expect a hearty meal with generous portions that leave you feeling delightfully full. Vintage, rustic décor and cheerful staff give this restaurant a perfect atmosphere to complement its decadent food. If you’re in the mood for something new, try the chicken and French toast for a unique take on a brunch classic!
Juke Fried Chicken – 182 Keefer St.
Juke is a trendy and lively Black-owned joint in Chinatown that dishes out traditional Southern comfort food with Asian-inspired flavours in cute, quirky packaging. They offer familiar dishes like sticky pork ribs, cornbread, and chicken & waffles, but the fried chicken is the menu’s crown jewel.
At Juke, the chicken is always fresh, always crispy, and always gluten-free, so it’s a restaurant that might just become your favourite thanks to consistent quality across the board. Each order is served with your choice of different sauces and sides so your meals can always be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether you order a chicken sandwich, chicken & waffles, or straight up drumsticks, Juke’s got you covered.
Visitors can also pair their fried chicken with a killer cocktail by visiting the Chickadee Room, the über-cool cocktail bar attached to the main restaurant.
Lunch Lady – 1048 Commercial Dr.
Eating Asian food is a must when visiting Vancouver, and Lunch Lady is a great spot to start. Named for a popular Vietnamese street food vendor featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s hit show No Reservations, the restaurant has a cool vibe inspired by the street scenes of Ho Chi Minh City. The staff are very accommodating and will take the time to explain each dish in detail, so this is a good place to try something new, especially with friends.
This Vancity gem boasts a mean beef carpaccio and outstanding pho, but their unique desserts steal the show. No matter how full you are, make room for their irresistible gelato served with a choice of Asian-inspired ingredients like pandan, sticky rice, and red bean.
BeetBox – 1074 Davie St.
Vancouver is a very vegan-friendly city, so expect the plant-based options to be as innovative as they are scrumptious. Enter BeetBox, the cute little café that’s been feeding Vancouverites the very best in vegan eats.
As a sister restaurant to Juke, BeetBox offers what their team describes as “conscious comfort food” – indulgent and creative dishes without the guilt. Their Nashville fried Chick-Un sandwich will win over even the most passionate of meat-eaters, and customers rave over knockout sides like the onion rings and the chili fries. The crispy cauliflower bowl is another hit – it’s spicy, crunchy and oh so good! Before you leave, pick up a bottle of Kombucha or one of their many uniquely flavoured slushies to complete your meal.
Calabash Bistro – 428 Carrall St.
Calabash Bistro has delivered great music, art, and food to Vancouverites for the past decade. The restaurant offers a fusion of Caribbean food that draws inspiration from across the islands so you won’t find just one country’s cuisine on the menu. It’s the spot for deeply flavourful tender oxtail, curries cooked to perfection, and a wide selection of vibrant cocktails.
While the amazing food will draw you in, it’s the vibe that will make you stay. This Black-owned restaurant is known for its energetic DJ sets and live performances on the weekend, so guests usually head downstairs after eating to dance the night away or enjoy the restaurant’s gallery space. It’s the perfect spot for a date night or a fun night out with friends.
Vancouver’s laidback way of life and booming restaurant scene is the ideal setting for an amazing food experience. There’s so much to discover here; from East Asian street food and delicious fried chicken to innovative vegan cuisine. No matter how long you stay, you’ll be blown away by the culinary diversity that makes this city a foodie’s playground.
To explore all that Canada has to offer, visit forglowinghearts.ca for guides, resources, and travel tips.
Photos provided by Jodianne Beckford