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Vancouver Travel Guide

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 ...

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. Robson Square is a trendy shopping and business district. Granville Island’s large Public Market makes for a pleasant morning’s meandering. Just two hours away, Whistler is a world-renowned snow sports destination.

Recommended Luxury Hotels in Vancouver

All Andrew Harper-recommended hotels offer impeccable accommodations and high levels of personal service. Only the best of the best make our list, so we rate them on a scale from bird icon 90 to 100.

Best Restaurants in Vancouver

Chef David Hawksworth’s showcase moves from strength to strength. Four interconnected but distinct rooms help to create a visually compelling and sophisticated interior. The seasonal menu could include appetizers such as hamachi tartare with coconut, radish, puffed rice and a chile-lime vinaigrette. Main courses might be charred pork loin with a pork shoulder croquette, grits, turnips, lovage and salsa verde; or wild salmon with lobster agnolotti, artichoke and tomato fondue. 

Rosewood Hotel Georgia 801 West Georgia Street Vancouver US$75. Seasonal tasting menu, US$85

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 Parmesan-crusted bay scallops with tomato-caper relish, lemon butter and thyme. 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 trout caviar. The wine list has an impressive selection from British Columbia. 

1095 Hamilton Street Vancouver US$65

The stylish South Granville neighborhood is home to this congenial and sophisticated restaurant. Inventive starters might include lobster gnocchi — butter-poached lobster, potato gnocchi and a thyme emulsion — and crispy duck salad with cucumber, green beans and watercress in a sweet chile vinaigrette. Look for main courses such as Fraser Valley pork served as braised cheeks and crisp belly with Swiss chard and bone broth. The wine list is exceptional, and the knowledgeable staff are happy to make by-the-glass recommendations. 

2881 Granville Street Vancouver US$75. Eight-course “Sea” tasting menu, US$75; eight-course “Land” tasting menu, US$70; eight-course vegetarian menu, US$60

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, avocado and scallops topped with roe; and the “Great Canadian Roll” with lobster, asparagus and local smoked salmon. Also don’t miss unusual nigiri such as geoduck and isaki (threeline grunt). A main could be a wonderful preparation of halibut cheeks in a garlic-cream teriyaki sauce. Well-chosen sake selection. Closed Sunday.

1133 West Broadway Vancouver US$65. Six-course Omakase Menu, US$95

Since 1985, when John Bishop opened this charming restaurant, his focus has been on creating a menu that uses the best the area has to offer — a concept that was then way ahead of its time. The offerings change with the market, but look for starters such as pine-cured coho salmon with fennel confit, sorrel and horseradish; and main courses like assiette of Fraser Valley lamb with heirloom carrots and rainbow chard. For dessert, consider the plate of regional cheeses. Closed Monday.

2183 West Fourth Avenue Vancouver US$75
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