These are the best restaurants in Vancouver of 2019

Photo courtesy DownLow Chicken Shack

Vancouver Magazine has been recognizing excellence in local dining for 30 years now, and for those who dine out in pursuit of the best of the best, the publication’s annual Restaurant Awards are key.

Pulling up a seat a tables at Vancouver’s hidden gems, buzziest newcomers, modest mom-and-pops, and splashy high-profile places, the 15 industry-expert judges spend meal after meal tasting the city. Full disclosure, I was honoured to have been part of the Restaurant Awards judging panel for the first time this year.

On Monday, April 29, the wait was over, and in a well-attended ceremony held at the Sheraton Wall Centre and hosted by CBC Vancouver personalities Anita Bathe and Lien Young, the winners were revealed, and all nominees were celebrated.

This year there were a few surprises, like Stem Japanese Eatery in Burnaby nabbing the Best New Restaurant (and Best Japanese). Powerhouse spots like Boulevard Seafood & Oyster Bar shone in multiple categories (Best Seafood, Best Dessert, Best Upscale). Off the radar places like Hey, Dumplings!, Mumbai Local, Chancho, and Moltaqa made their presence known. And it’s still going to be pretty tough to get a reservation at St. Lawrence, and the line will keep being out the door for that hot chicken at the Downlow Chicken Shack.

Stepping into the limelight for some solo awards were Chef of the Year J.C. Poirier of St. Lawrence, Bartender of the Year Amber Bruce of The Keefer Bar, and Lifetime Achievement awardee Chef Leung Yiu Tong of Hoi Tong in Richmond – the latter who, at 81, finally agreed to retire this year and shutter his acclaimed Cantonese-style restaurant.

You can pick up the May/June 2019 issue of Vancouver Magazine to read all about the winners, runners-up, and spotlight honourees for this year, but we’ve got the full list of awardees right here for your quick perusal. Get ready to make your dining out plans for the next 365 days right now.

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Photo courtesy St. Lawrence

Here are the 2019 winners of the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards:

Restaurant of the Year

St. Lawrence

Chef of the Year

J.C. Poirier – St. Lawrence

Best New Restaurant

1. Stem Japanese Eatery

2. Pepino’s

3. Ugly Dumpling

Honourable Mentions: Elisa, Como Taperia

Bartender of the Year

Amber Bruce – The Keefer Bar

Sommelier of the Year

Shane Taylor – CinCin

Producer of the Year

Glorious Organics

Best Upscale

1. Boulevard

2. Hawksworth

3. The Pear Tree

Honourable Mentions: Botanist, Bauhaus

Best Casual

1. Downlow Chicken Shack
2. Chancho Tortilleria
3. Fat Mao Noodles

Honourable Mentions: Hey, Dumplings!, The Tuck Shoppe

Best West Coast

1. Burdock & Co.
2. AnnaLena
3. Nightingale
Honourable Mentions: Farmer’s Apprentice, The Pear Tree

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Spicy octopus at Burdock & Co. Photo Sandra Thomas

Best of the Neighbourhoods

North Shore
1. Terroir Kitchen
2. Orto
3. Olive and Anchor
4. Lift Breakfast Bakery
5. Zen Japanese

Downtown
1. Nook
2. Tetsu Sushi Bar
3. Mumbai Local
4. Heritage Asian Eatery
5. Amici Miei

Chinatown
1. Bao Bei
2. Kissa Tanto
3. Upstairs at Campagnolo
4. Chinatown BBQ
5. Torafuku

Gastown
1. St. Lawerence
2. Ask For Luigi
3. Dosanko
4. Pidgin
5. Moltaqa

East Side
1. Burdock & Co.
2. Kishimoto
3. Joojak
4. Savio Volpe
5. Masayoshi

West Side
1. L’Ufficio
2. Au Comptoir
3. AnnaLena
4. Grapes & Soda
5. Landmark Hotpot

Best Victoria

1. Wild Mountain
2. Part and Parcel
3. Olo
Honourable Mentions: Agrius, House of Boateng

Best Whistler

1. Alta Bistro
2. Grill Room
3. Araxi
Honourable Mentions: Bar Oso, The Red Door

Best Okanagan

1. Waterfront Wines
2. Raudz
3. Liquidity Bistro

Best Chinese

Chef Tony

2. Hoi Tong

3. Dynasty

Honourable Mentions: Jade Seafood, Sanbo

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Stuffed crab claws at Hoi Tong (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome)

Best French

1. St. Lawrence
2. Le Crocodile
3. Au Comptoir
Honourable Mentions: Café Salade de Fruits, Tableau Bar Bistro

Best Italian

1. Savio Volpe
2. Giardino
3. CinCin
Honourable Mentions: La Quercia, Ask for Luigi

Best Indian

1. Swad
2. My Shanti
3. Dosa Corner
Honourable Mentions: Vij’s, Sachdeva Sweets

Best Pan-Asian

1. Kissa Tanto
2. Heritage Asian Eatery
3. Longtail Kitchen
Honourable Mentions: Torafuku, Penang Delight

Stuffed crab claws at Hoi Tong (Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome)

Best French

1. St. Lawrence
2. Le Crocodile
3. Au Comptoir
Honourable Mentions: Café Salade de Fruits, Tableau Bar Bistro

Best Italian

1. Savio Volpe
2. Giardino
3. CinCin
Honourable Mentions: La Quercia, Ask for Luigi

Best Indian

1. Swad
2. My Shanti
3. Dosa Corner
Honourable Mentions: Vij’s, Sachdeva Sweets

Best Pan-Asian

1. Kissa Tanto
2. Heritage Asian Eatery
3. Longtail Kitchen
Honourable Mentions: Torafuku, Penang Delight

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Photo courtesy Pepino’s

Best Steakhouse

1. Hy’s
2. Elisa
3. Victor
Honourable Mentions: Gotham, Black and Blue

Best Vegetarian

1. The Acorn
2. Aleph Eatery
3. Virtuous Pie
Honourable Mentions: The Arbor, Heirloom

Best Bar

1. Grapes and Soda
2. Upstairs at Campagnolo
3. Juniper
Honourable Mentions: Trans Am, Shameful Tiki

Best Chain

1. Cactus Club
2. Joey
3. Nook
Honourable Mentions: Tacofino, Earls

Best Dim Sum

1. Golden Paramount
2. Chef Tony
3. Dynasty
Honourable Mentions: Fisherman’s Terrace, Yue Delicacy

Best Pizzeria

1. Via Tevere
2. Pizza Farina
3. Bufala
Honourable Mentions: Corduroy Pie Company, Ignite

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Photo courtesy Via Tevere

Best Ramen

1. Marutama
2. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
3. Danbo
Honourable Mentions: Motomachi Shokudo, Ramen Koika

Best Seafood

1. Boulevard
2. Coquille
3. Landmark Hotpot
Honourable Mentions: Oddfish, Blue Water Cafe

Vancouver is Awesome