From Andrew Harper

This lovely modern city lies between snowcapped mountains and the Pacific.

The old city, the heart of Vancouver, juts into Burrard Inlet and culminates in Stanley Park, a 988-acre rain forest and one of the largest urban green spaces in North America, also home to the first-rate Vancouver Aquarium. Gastown, the city's oldest neighborhood, has been reincarnated as a fashionable enclave where cobbled streets now wind past thriving restaurants and nightspots. Vancouver's dining scene is stellar and offerings are diverse, mirroring the city's rich ethnic variety, including a sizeable Chinese population.

Robson Square is a trendy shopping and business district. Granville Island's large public market makes for pleasant morning meandering.

Just two hours away, Whistler is a world-renowned snow sports destination, which hosted most of the ski events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. 


All recommended hotels in Vancouver

Vancouver, Canada
Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver
Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver

Impressive 119-room hotel occupying 15 floors of a 61-story landmark building downtown.

Wedgewood Hotel & Spa
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa

Family-run downtown boutique hotel across the street from Robson Square and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

British Columbia


All recommended restaurants in Vancouver

Blue Water Café

This welcoming restaurant is located in a converted warehouse in the lively Yaletown neighborhood. Chef Frank Pabst is known for his skill with seafood. A great way to start is to choose from the raw bar or to opt for one of the “first” plates, such as local scallops baked with tomatoes, olives and capers. Entrées might include sablefish in a miso-sake glaze with baby bok choy, edamame, quinoa and shiitake mushrooms; or Arctic char with braised leeks, fennel, wakame seaweed, Dungeness crab, vermouth and chervil butter. The wine list has an impressive selection from British Columbia.

1095 Hamilton Street
Vancouver V6B

Beautifully situated on False Creek, this dramatic restaurant has two-story floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a great view of the marina. Chef Robert Clark is passionate about seafood. Starters include dishes such as seared bay scallops with a rabbit terrine and carrot panna cotta. Among the main courses, look for the roasted halibut with carrots, sugar snap peas, potato galette and a rich clam-butter sauce; or red pepper-marinated sablefish with couscous, heirloom tomatoes and fennel chips. The wine list is particularly strong in the crisp whites from Germany, Austria and the Loire Valley that go well with seafood.

2-1600 Howe Street
Vancouver V6Z 1R8
US$70. Eight-course chef’s menu, $95.
Hawksworth Restaurant

Chef David Hawksworth’s showcase is one of the most impressive new restaurants to open in Vancouver in some time. Four distinct but interconnected rooms help to create a visually compelling and sophisticated interior. The seasonal menu could include appetizers such as yellowfin tuna ceviche with avocado, pecans and cilantro. Main courses might be a striploin with smoked oxtail and crisp potato balls with a natural jus, and Pacific halibut with a rich brandade, beets, horseradish and dill.

801 West Georgia Street
Vancouver V6P 1C7

Chef Hidekazu Tojo’s big, open space has a display kitchen and a lively sushi bar. His sushi rolls put Tojo’s on the map and include the “Pacific Northwest Roll,” Dungeness crab and avocado topped with scallops and herring roe; and the “Tojo Roll,” his take on the California roll, with crab, spinach, egg and avocado. Expect main courses such as a wonderful preparation of halibut cheeks in a garlic-cream teriyaki sauce.

1133 West Broadway
Vancouver V6H 1G3

The stylish South Granville neighborhood is home to this congenial and sophisticated restaurant. Inventive starters might include a Dungeness crab salad with marinated rhubarb, shaved fennel, charred grapefruit and cucumber jelly. Look for main courses such as a milk-poached smoked sablefish with charred spring onions and spaetzle in a clam reduction broth. The wine list is exceptional, and the knowledgeable staff is happy to make by-the-glass recommendations.

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver V6H 3J5
US$75. Seven-course “Sea” tasting menu, $74; eight-course “Land” tasting menu, $78.