The first-ever MICHELIN Guide Vancouver is out with 12 Bib Gourmands spread across the city, from tacos and aguachiles in Gastown to fragrant lemongrass wings in Mount Pleasant. Read on to find out who is joining the guide. Enjoy your meal!
Anh and Chi
Sibs Lý and Vincent Nguyễn have created a clean, cool space with mid-century modern furniture while also giving a nod to the past – the blue neon sign by the bar is a holdover from the former restaurant. For more than 30 years, their parents’ restaurant occupied the site. The menu is a love letter to Vietnam. Chạo tôm bánh hội is prepared in the classic way, with grilled prawn mousse served with a variety of fresh herbs and of course pho.
Anh and Chi © Leila KwokAnh and Chi
You’ll have to go to the alley behind La Taqueria to find this hidden gem. The beach may be missing from this fully covered outdoor taqueria, where pebbles crunch underfoot and a shipping container dips into the bar, but the flavors transport guests to Mexico just the same. Come for the cocktail and the aguachile, but stay for other winning dishes like red pozole bouncing with carnitas and plump hominy.
Image © Ruben Nava/Chupito
Fairy tale kitchen
This popular farm-to-table cafe has been drawing crowds to Kitsilano for over a decade. During daytime hours, the team makes eggs benedict hollandaise (and variations), johnny cakes with pulled pork and tomato jam, and thick-cut challah French toast with caramelized apples and whipped mascarpone. Dinners are as hearty and satisfying as short ribs with polenta and grilled leeks.
Fable Kitchen © Jonathan Thompson/Fable Kitchen
Fiorino, Italian street food
Giovanni “Gio” Mascagni presides over this serious Italian spot, where the bread-making skills he learned in Tuscany are on full display. For lunch, focaccia and schiacciata sandwiches are hot, like the one filled with guanciale, drizzled with honey and spread with walnut crema. Dinner is mainly pasta.
Fiorino, Italian street food © Ana Kliri/Fiorino, Italian street food
Song by Kin Kao
Kin Kao Song fare is driven by the creative spirit and generosity of the region. The lemongrass wings are a special surprise. These bite-sized beauties are fried and topped with a fragrant lemongrass glaze for a tasty punch that will delight. Pad Thai may seem like a must-order, but this spicy version rivals the best in class.
Song Kin Kao © Melody Lu/Kin Kao Song
Little Bird Dim Sum + Craft Beer
The impetus behind Little Bird was longtime local restaurateur Jonathan Lee’s vision of pairing classic dim sum with local BC craft beer. Of course, there’s no missing the dumplings, and Little Bird’s runs the gamut from the traditional (ha gow) to the surprising, with sweet corn, cilantro and shrimp. As promised, beer is king here.
Little Bird Dim Sum + Craft Beer ©Anthony Pratico/Little Bird Dim Sum + Craft Beer
Like a grandmother preparing a feast for her family, Chef Nguyen Thi Thanh exudes a warm, loving presence as she looks out over her bustling dining room. It’s a long way from Saigon, where she ran a successful food stand, and she brought her charismatic cooking with her to East Vancouver. At the end of the meal, admirers quickly approach her and thank her like the local celebrity that she is.
Lunch Lady © Niko Myyra/Lunch Lady
Here, diners will discover a full list of well-crafted cocktails, local beers, and a respectable wine list, along with a menu that roams the globe. Chef Chanthy Yen brings his unique touch to dishes such as the highly original east-meets-west congee – creamy and fragrant, topped with delicate steamed fennel and puffed rice.
Nightshade © Christian Nambayan/Nightshade
Although there may be several Italian restaurants and pizzerias scattered around Vancouver, this simple pastificio invites diners to pull up a chair and sample authentic, well-prepared pasta. The tagliatelle with ragout of rabbit braised in wine and rosemary is particularly satisfying. There’s only one dessert, but you’ll already be pleasantly full.
© Oca Pastificio © @ leilalikes / Oca Pastificio
Since 1985, this family-run institution in the heart of Chinatown has been wowing crowds with both Vietnamese and Cambodian dishes. The menu is massive, offering almost 100 rices, noodles and soups, but everyone knows to stick to the classics. One could almost make a meal out of #71, thin slices of almost raw beef drenched in a pungent mix of pineapple puree and fish sauce. It’s a deliciously original act.
Phnom Penh © Phnom Penh
The food is a mixture of Italian cuisine with barbecue. The crudo kicks the appetite into high gear with sweet slices of amberjack in a caper-dill dressing, an olive-pepper-serrano relish, and wafer-thin potato chips. Don’t even think about passing up the BBQ Bolo – it’s non-negotiable. Short for ‘bolognese’, it’s a hearty dish of homemade spaghetti with pancetta, smoked pork butt and Grana Padana.
Tell Mercy! © Katie Cross/Say Mercy!
When it opened in 1994, this local staple was the vanguard of Indian fine dining in North America and continues to convincingly demonstrate the gastronomic wealth of the subcontinent. Consider the signature dish of wine-marinated “lamb popsicles” with a fragrant fenugreek sauce, or choose from vegetarian dishes such as red pepper curry, portobello mushrooms and paneer. The unique cocktail list offers the perfect foil for well-seasoned cuisine.
Vij’s © Amanda Bates/Vij’s
Hero Image: Little Bird Dim Sum + Craft Beer
© Anthony Pratico/Little Bird Dim Sum + Craft Beer
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