When it comes to restaurants, everybody loves a hidden gem. You know, when you stumble upon that surprisingly awesome restaurant that just doesn’t get all the hype. And in Vancouver, with seemingly more restaurants than citizens, discovering that hidden gem is not always easy.
Luckily, we are here to help. You can put away your magnifying glasses and cancel your Google searches, because here are 6 of the best hidden gem restaurants in Vancouver, each one with a tasty food perfect for eating in or getting delivered to your door.
One reason for the Mckenzie Room’s hidden gem status is its location. Hidden away on Powell Street, across from the famous Oppenheimer Park in the heart of the Downtown Eastside, the Mckenzie Room is a true diamond in the rough. Despite its rather rough surroundings, the McKenzie Room is an incredibly funky space with equally funky cocktails, and an impressive food menu, most of which is made using locally-sourced ingredients. The cuisine is decidedly local and North American-influenced, featuring items such as stuffed quail, rabbit leg, and sockeye salmon crudo. Everything is fresh, as evidenced by the fact that the menu rotates daily, appearing nightly on their massive chalkboard. Great food. Great drinks. Great decor.
Vancouver’s Gastown is a hotbed of much-hyped restaurants, but one that often slips between the cracks is Six Acres, a low key favourite of locals. Located in the heart of Gastown, right next to the famed “Gassy Jack” statue, Six Acres is simply and consistently awesome. It’s a relatively small space, but with a cozy street-side patio and an upstairs mezzanine, there is more room than you think. When it comes to food, Six Acres is all about sharing so it’s perfect for dates and bigger parties. From their locally-sourced cheese and sausage boards to their poutine made with St. Ambroise stout gravy to their lamb meatballs in a red mole sauce, there is something for every appetite. Little known fact: Six Acres has one of the most extensive beer menus in the city, featuring a massive array of local and international brews. That alone is worthy of hidden gem status.
Head a few blocks to the West and you will stumble onto another Gastown hidden gem: the Greedy Pig. Not very well known by those outside the neighbourhood, the Greedy Pig has three distinct qualities that make it a gem. First, it is seriously one of the coolest spaces in Gastown: all brick, dark woods, a massive bar and comfy chairs and couches. Second, it’s beer, wine, and cocktail menu are well above average. And finally, there’s the food, which can best be described as unpretentious comfort food. You like sandwiches with your beer? Try the Truffled Roast Beef Sandwich with caramelized onions, or their classic Reuben. Or maybe you prefer some Bacon Mac & Cheese or some comforting Chicken Pot Pie. It’s all there, for lunch or dinner, and it’s all damn tasty.
The best hidden gem restaurants rely mostly on a healthy dose of word of mouth advertising in order to spread the word. Phnom Penh is a perfect example of this. Located in the heart of Chinatown in a nondescript building on a nondescript street (E. Georgia), Phnom Penh is all about the food: a tasty mix of Cambodian and Vietnamese cuisine. You will find all your Southeast Asian favourites here, from noodle dishes to rice dishes, from salads to spring rolls, from soups to fish balls. But if you are feeling mildly adventurous and want your taste buds to explode, try the garlic butter frog’s legs. You can thank us later.
Corduroy has been a hidden gem restaurant and bar in Kitsilano for a few years now. Located a few blocks for famed Kits Beach on Cornwall Ave, Corduroy is a tiny spot with a lot of flair. A great post-beach destination for food and drinks, the menu is a perfect blend of the traditional and the eclectic, with favourites like deep fried chicken and waffles, baked perogies, and – wait for it – deep fried mac & cheese sticks. As an extra bonus: they have weekly rock, paper, scissors tournaments.
There is something pretty special about French food: the sauces, the flavours, the presentation. French food screams “fancy” and “posh,” and most of the time it comes with a higher price tag to match. But there are exceptions. Bistro Wagon Rouge, located just East of Railtown in Vancouver’s brewery district, is a wonderful exception. It’s cozy, it’s casual, it’s down to earth and the food is top-notch French. It’s a blue collar French bistro for those who want classic French dishes like cassoulet, terrine, French onion soup, and frites, but without the pretensions and prices of a fine dining restaurant. With an ever-changing menu, featuring local and fresh ingredients, Bistro Wagon Rouge is a true French hidden gem.
There is something fun and cool about discovering a hidden gem, or checking out a restaurant for the first time and being blown away. Whether you are eating out or staying in, these 6 restaurants give you full satisfaction, both with their food and the fact that you discovered them first. Download the ParcelPal app to get delivery from your favourite restaurants.