The Best Ethnic Eats in Downtown Vancouver

Vancouver has long been known as a hotbed of international cuisine. From African to Mongolian to everything in between, city is littered with food from all corners of the globe. Of course, the some usual suspects abound more than others: Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, and Indian. “Ethnic food,” therefore, generally refers to cuisine from lesser known countries and regions of the world. With that in mind, here some of the best places for ethnic food in downtown Vancouver. All you need is a big appetite and a small sense of adventure.

And as many of these spots can get pretty busy at peak times, it kinda makes sense to use your ParcelPal app and have the tastiness delivered hot to your door. It’s not lazy; it’s just smart.


Sharing its name with a critically acclaimed 1987 film, the Baghdad Cafe on Seymour Street serves up tasty Middle Eastern fare. You will find many of your MIddle Eastern favourites here, including tabouli, falafel. Kabsa, and baclava. However, what you really want to chow down on is the shawarma, considered one of the best in the city. Whether you choose the beef or the chicken, the meat is succulent, the rice is perfectly cooked, and the garnishes are super fresh. It’s the closest many of will get to the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean.


Saj & Co is what is known as a small spot with big flavours. Serving primarily authentic Lebanese cuisine, Saj & Co is known for three things: friendly service, fresh & tasty eats, and their absolutely kick-ass hummus. Their most popular dish is actually a “sandwich” called Anton the Great: organic rye and buckwheat dough, zaatar paste with cold press olive oil, roasted kale, fresh vegetables, olives, pomegranate molasses, fresh mint, and their kick-ass hummus. It’s a Lebanese party for your mouth.


Located a few steps away from Gastown’s famous steam clock, Silvestre is one of the few places in Vancouver serving authentic Peruvian food. What exactly is Peruvian cuisine, you might ask? Think seafood, meat, potatoes, vegetables, and an assortment of Spanish-inspired spices and flavours. You will find ceviche, you will find soups, and you will find a variety of meat-based dishes. But the must-try at Silvestre are the Peruvian hot sandwiches, expecially the Chicharron: fried pork belly, fried sweet potatoes, and salsa criola (marinated onions), all stuffed into a soft roll. Your first won’t be your last.


To the uninitiated, Nepal is known for mountains, goats, and yaks, but rarely for its cuisine. Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen on Davie will certainly change that perception. They offer an array of meats like chicken, goat and lamb. Throw in Nepali staples like lentils and chickpeas and roti, in sauces rich in garlic and ginger and cumin. It is true comfort food, whether you are sharing or eating alone. Try the Daal-Bhaat Masu, a full course Nepali meal that includes, chicken, goat, daal, basmati rice, roti, salad, raita, and kheer (a sweet, spice-filled rice pudding). It’s a complete mountain feast.


When one thinks of kick-ass food, one rarely thinks of a mall food court. Think again. Canra Sri Lankan Cuisine, located in the food court of the International Village Mall in Gastown, offers some some pretty tasty Sri Lankan fast food. Similar in style and flavour to classic Indian cuisine, Canra offers up curries, dosas, rotis, and other South Indian staples. WIth an assortment of meat and vegetarian dishes, as well as different spice levels, there will be something here for everyone’s palette. You cannot go wrong with the Buryani: rice mixed with spices, spices, yogurt, onions, potatoes, eggplant, egg, raita, and your choice of chicken, lamb or fish. Fast food rarely tastes this good.


From hidden gem to one of Vancouver’s busiest ethnic restaurants, Phnom Penh serves up some of the best Cambodian and Vietnamese cuisine in Vancouver. This place is always packed, with waits of up to an hour, so getting it delivered is definitely the way to go. And with a large menu offering up everything from noodle dishes to soups to fish cakes to their famous deep fried chicken wings, there is something for everyone. Prepare to become addicted.

For most of us, flying around the world to sample global cuisines is simply not an option. Luckily, Vancouver is big enough and diverse enough that we are able to sample some of the best ethnic foods from the comfort of our phones. And if you are one of the few who don’t yet have the ParcelPal App, then click here and start chowing. The apps not available on Android quite yet, but if you sign up now you will get $10 to try the app out when its ready.