Food Love in Vancouver

On my flight from Chicago to Vancouver, I sat next to Felipe from Brazil. Felipe ended up being a good friend in my three days in Vancouver. I definitely encourage chatting with those around you particularly if you travel alone. That person could very well be your new travel buddy.

I had not planned anything to do before arriving in Vancouver because the goal of my trip was to renew my student visa. I arrived on Sunday evening and took the Canada line train to Waterfront station and then took a bus to my AirBnB home.

My appointment went well on Monday morning and the first thing I did when I walked back to my apartment was google things to do and places to eat. I LOVE food and happen to live in a city with a dearth of nice restaurants, so I wanted to really treat myself to delicious foods. Yelp also became my best friend because users reviews really do matter.

After extensive research, I wrote a list of restaurants in my journal and started off at Forage up the street from where I stayed. I stayed on Robson street (west end) which ended up being the perfect location for me. I read in reviews that you can ask for half portions on the menu at Forage, so I requested. Interestingly, my waitress did not actually know that it was possible so she had to ask the chef and he was totally fine with it.

I ordered the French Toast and the Eggs Benny and there were both delicious. The French toast was the fluffiest I’ve ever had.

After brunch, I decided to go on a long walk without a plan. I walked up and down the Coal Harbor, plug in to my Bluetooth earphones and listening to music on Spotify premium for about 4 hours. After walking a few miles, I headed home to rest and decided on Tavola for dinner, which was also located on Robson street.

Tavola, an Italian restaurant makes their pastas fresh. I decided on the Bucatini and man, I still taste it as I write this post. It was extremely delicious. Traveling solo ensures that there is always room at the bar and as a result there is no wait time. Also because you’re solo, you can easily chat with the bartender and get some great insider tips. I showed the bartender my restaurant list and he helped me narrow down the restaurants I should try and suggested a few more.  After dinner, I met up with Felipe at Bella Gelateria around the waterfront area. The long line proved how popular this spot was and it was well worth it.

Speaking of Felipe, he flew to Vancouver to take English classes for about seven weeks. It was fun teaching him new words and phrases. I appreciated his ethic in ensuring that I explained anything he did not understand.

 

#personaltip: Take a notepad to write directions back home in the event that your phone dies as mine did.

On Tuesday morning, I enjoyed a light breakfast that my hosts left out for me. I had decided to walk the 10km+ around one of Vancouver’s must do attractions – The Seawall. But before the walk, I wanted to grab a cheap but great meal. So I went to a hole in the wall ramen restaurant called Hida Takayama once again on Robson street and I happily obliged. Btw, if you like Hida Takayama’s page on Facebook or Instagram, you get more meat. The meal was exactly what I needed to fuel up for my walk around The Seawall.

It took me about 2.5 hours to walk around because I stopped to rest, take pictures, and to soak in the breathtaking views. My legs were tired after the walk so I took a break to catchup on the bachelorette (don’t judge me) and joined Felipe for dinner at the Sardine Can. The food was beautiful but it really lacked in the hard hitting taste I expected. It was also quite pricey for the tiny portions you got.

#personaltip: I definitely recommend making the Seawall walk in comfortable clothing and shoes.

Later on that day, I discovered Gastown and I LOVED it. It is a beautiful part of town clearly catered to rich tourists. Walking in the area around 8pm made it feel very romantic. After dinner, I walked home around 10:30pm. It was really cool to see the city late at night and still feel its energy. It was unsurprisingly still busy and bright so I had no fear of my safety.

On Wednesday morning, I slept in a bit and started my day with brunch at Café Medina. In my google searches, this was a mainstay on every list I read and was consistently ranked as the best place to get brunch in the city. The wait time was upwards of 30 minutes for groups of 2 or more but I was immediately seated at the bar. THIS is what you call an amazing brunch.

I started with the waffles accompanied with White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater sauce. Then I ordered the Fricassée (a Yelp favorite) consisting of 2 Sunny Eggs, Braised Short Ribs, Roasted Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Seasonal Greens with Grilled Focaccia. Goodness gracious was it delicious! Again, I showed the waiter my extensive list of restaurants and he helped me narrow my options to two spots for my final dinner in Vancouver.

After my amazing brunch, I went to the public library (beautiful!), Yaletown, Chinatown, and back again to Gastown. I got 9 miles in and finally caved and got a roundtrip bus pass to the Granville Island Public market with my new friend Felipe. Markets make me happy so I had a good time walking around the little island.

I chose Bao Bei, a Chinese restaurant for my final dinner in Vancouver. This was a great decision. The food was really good! I really like spots where meals are made to be shared. We ordered the pork belly (SO GOOD!), chicken wings, prawn dumplings, and the steamed bun with braised beef.

The alcohol was very pricey, so I opted out for the freshly squeezed lemon juice, which they make daily. It was a match made in heaven for me. My final meal in Vancouver ended in the best way possible.  As I was about to pay my bill at the restaurant, I noticed 4 Black girls, who were all #TeamNaturals next to me. I squealed because I had seen very few Black folks in Vancouver, so seeing black girls traveling too makes my heart very happy.

#personaltip: Budget about $25 for dinners, bring a good camera, put your phone on airplane mode to conserve battery especially if you use it to take pictures too, use Yelp reviews but also LEAVE Yelp reviews for others, and lastly, it is good to make one friend so you can eat a variety of meals at a cheaper cost.

Until the next destination food experience!

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