May 19, 2024

What are the best restaurants in Vancouver of 2024?

What was the most exciting restaurant to open in Vancouver last year? Where can you find the best sushi, Indian food, or steak in Vancouver?

The 35th annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards were announced Monday, May 6 at a ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, recognizing the best and the brightest in the city in a broad spectrum of categories. Over 70 awards were announced in a jam-packed ballroom; many categories featured the opportunity for the recipients to go up to the podium to give a few remarks.

This year, the Van Mag Awards returned to its pre-pandemic scope (and then some), with a few noteworthy changes. Primarily, while the judging panel had its work cut out for them with a roster of 20+ categories and several special designations, the awards were able to bring back crowd-pleasing favourites like the best of the neighbourhoods, cuisines, and even dishes (like ramen or tacos) through a brand-new Readers’ Choice voting format.

Another noteworthy change for 2024 includes Cactus Club officially “retiring” from eligibility in the Best Chain category; this year, the North  Vancouver-born brand has been inducted into the newly created Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards Hall of Fame. Your winner for Best Chain is Nook, by the way. The Chain category looks for locally-based multi-unit restaurants with at least three locations; runners-up for 2024 include La Taqueria, Tacofino, Joey, Maruhachi Ra-men, and Nuba.

Surprise announcements during awards ceremony

Additionally, to recognize that award-winning dining in some cuisines can span a broad range of pricing and experiences, the Chinese, Italian, and Japanese categories have been divided into two segments: Upscale and Casual.

It was in one of those categories that brought the exciting afternoon one of its jaw-dropping moments, when Pino Posteraro, chef/owner of the iconic restaurant Cioppino’s noted its win of Best Italian – Upscale was “bittersweet,” as he announced the acclaimed establishment will close before the end of the year.

Restaurateur Shira Blustein (The Acorn) also used podium time to announce she and Meeru Dhalwala (Vij’s) are joining forces to open a new restaurant in the coming weeks. 

Major awards highlights

One of the most-watched categories is always Best New Restaurant, and given the array of debuts during the qualification period (with a cut-off date of November 2023) there was much to consider for the awards, with the Gold going to the Fraserhood’s seafood-centric gem Bar Bravo. Restaurant of the Year went to AnnaLena for the second year in a row, however, Chef of the Year went to Lee Cooper of L’Abattoir. 

Pastry Chef of the Year went to Kenta Takahashi (Boulevard), Sommelier of the Year to Kristi Linneboe (Savio Volpe), and Bartender of the Year to Max Curzon-Price (Suyo). 

The Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards are chosen by a panel of industry experts comprised of predominantly food media and insiders (full disclosure: I served as a judge once again for this year’s awards). You can read a detailed explanation of the judging process published ahead of last year’s awards by Van Mag. 

Here is the complete list of winners of the 2024 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards:

Judged categories

  • Restaurant of the Year: AnnaLena
  • Chef of the Year: Lee Cooper (L’Abattoir)
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Kenta Takahashi (Boulevard)
  • Sommelier of the Year: Kristi Linneboe (Savio Volpe)
  • Bartender of the Year: Max Curzon-Price (Suyo)
  • Producer of the Year: Sunrise Soya Foods

Premier Crew (Front of House staff)

Ashwan Luckheenariain (Como Taperia); Shirley Fong (White Spot); Daniel Maguire (Kissa Tanto); Chris Hashimoto (Botanist); Antoine Dumont (Magari by Oca); Hannah Acton (Burdock & Co)

Best New 

Bravo

Finalists: Gary’s (Bronze); Missing Chopsticks; Sushi Mahana (Silver); Seaport City Restaurant

Best African and Caribbean 

Arike

Finalists: Baby Dahl Roti Shop; Fassil (Bronze); Gojo Little Ethiopia; Harambe; Kilimanjaro Snack House and Catering (Silver); Simba’s Grill

Best Casual

Chancho Tortilleria

Finalists: Douce Diner; Fat Mao Noodles (Bronze); HK BBQ Master; La Grotta Del Formaggio; Motonobu Udon; Say Hey Café and Deli; Street Hawker (Silver)

Best Chain

Nook was named Vancouver’s Best Chain Restaurant of 2024. Photo: @nookrestaurant

Nook

Finalists: Earls Kitchen and Bar; Maruhachi Ra-men; Nuba; La Taqueria; Tacofino Restaurants (Silver); Joey (Bronze)

Best Chinese (Upscale) 

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

Finalists: Chef’s Choice Chinese Cuisine; Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant; iDen and Quan Ju De Beijing Duck House (Bronze); Mott 32 (Silver); Sea Harbour Restaurant; Seaport City Restaurant

Best Chinese (Casual) 

The Fish Man

FInalists: A.Bento; Bao Bei; Chinatown BBQ; Max Noodle House (Silver); Shanghai Wonderful Restaurant (Bronze); Yuan’s Garden Restaurant

Best Contemporary 

AnnaLena

Finalists: Bar Gobo; Botanist; Elephant; Folke; Kissa Tanto; L’Abattoir (Silver); Published on Main (Bronze)

Best French 

St. Lawrence

Finalists: Au Comptoir; Café Salade de Fruits; Collective Goods Bistro and Grocer; L’Abattoir (Silver): Le Crocodile (Bronze); Tableau Bar Bistro

Best Indian 

Dhaliwal’s Lounge

Finalists: Sachdeva Sweets and Restaurant (Silver); Sula Indian Restaurant; Tasty Indian Bistro (Bronze); Tatta Chulha; Vij’s

Best Italian (Upscale) 

Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca

Finalists: Acquafarina; CinCin Ristorante and Bar (Bronze); La Piazza Dario; L’Ufficio (Silver); Lupo Restaurant and Vinoteca

Best Italian (Casual) 

magari-by-oca-vancouver-menu-gnocchi
Magari by Oca was named the Best Casual Italian Restaurant. Photo: Lindsay William-Ross/V.I.A.

Magari by Oca

Finalists: Ask for Luigi Restaurant; Autostrada; Caffe La Tana (Silver); Fiorino; Osteria Savio Volpe (Bronze); Livia Forno e Vino

Best Japanese (Upscale) 

Okeya Kyujiro

Finalists: Masayoshi (Silver); Sushi Jin; Sushi Mahana; Tetsu Sushi Bar (Bronze); Tojo’s Restaurant; Yuwa Japanese Cuisine

Best Japanese (Casual) 

Kishimoto Japanese Restaurant

Finalists: Dosanko Restaurant; Miku Vancouver; Stem Japanese Eatery (Silver); Sushi Hil (Bronze); Toshi Sushi; Yuji’s from Japan

Best Korean 

Jejudo Restaurant

Finalists: Hanwoori Korean Restaurant (Bronze); Jess’ Restaurant; Royal Seoul House Restaurant; So Hyang Korean Cuisine; Sura Korean Cuisine; Zoomak Korean Tavern (Silver)

Best Latin American 

Suyo Modern Peruvian

Finalists: Chancho Tortilleria (Bronze); Cuchillo; La Mezcaleria; Monarca Cocina Mexicana (Silver); Ophelia

Best Middle Eastern 

Delara

Finalists: Moltaqa Moroccan Restaurant; Tamam: Fine Palestinian Cuisine (Bronze); Yasma; Zarak (Silver)

Best Seafood 

Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar

Finalists: Blue Water Cafe (Silver); Bravo; Landmark Hotpot House; Mott 32 (Bronze); Oddfish Restaurant; The Fish Man

Best Steakhouse 

Elisa

Finalists: Black and Blue; C-Prime; Gotham Steakhouse and Bar (Bronze); Hy’s Steakhouse and Cocktail Bar (Silver); The Victor

Best Thai 

maenam-lunch-dishes
Maenam was named Best Thai. Lindsay William-Ross/V.I.A.

Maenam

Finalists: Baan Lao (Bronze); Longtail Kitchen; Sala Thai; Song by Kin Kao (Silver); Unchai; Zab Bite

Best Upscale 

Published on Main

Finalists: AnnaLena (Silver); Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar; Elisa; Hawksworth; L’Abbatoir; Mott 32; St. Lawrence (Bronze)

Best Vietnamese 

Crab Hot Lau

Finalists: Anh and Chi (Bronze); Bánh Mì Très Bon; Hội An Café; Mr Red Café; Pho 37; Wooden Fish (Silver)

Best West Coast 

AnnaLena

Finalists: Blue Water Cafe; Botanist (Bronze); Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar (Silver); Bravo; Burdock and Co.

Van Mag Editors’ Awards

  • Best Date Night: Chambar
  • Best Patio: Ancora
  • Best Private Room: Homer St Cafe
  • Best Business Lunch: Hawksworth
  • Best Happy Hour: The Chickadee Room
  • Best Special Occasion: Kissa Tanto
  • Best Any Occasion: Nightingale

Hall of Fame Awards

  • Cactus Club
  • Chef Robert Clark
  • Bradner Farms

Reader’s Choice Division 

Anh and Chi anniversary menu - credit Leila Kwok courtesy of Anh and Chi
Anh and Chi was named the Readers’ Choice for Best Mount Pleasant Restaurant of 2024. Photo by Leila Kwok

  • Best Brunch: Cafe Medina & Maxine’s Cafe and Bar
  • Best Food Truck: Japadog
  • Best Coffee Shop: Nemesis Coffee
  • Best Bar/Wine Bar: The Keefer Bar
  • Best Brewery: 33 Acres
  • Best Vegan/Vegetarian: The Acorn
  • Best Burger: Between 2 Buns
  • Best Dim Sum: Dynasty Seafood
  • Best Fried Chicken: Downlow Chicken Shack
  • Best Hot Pot: Happy Lamb Hot Pot
  • Best Pasta: Ask for Luigi 
  • Best Pizza: Via Tevere Pizzeria
  • Best Ramen: Ramen Danbo
  • Best Sandwich: Meat and Bread
  • Best Seafood: Blue Water Cafe
  • Best Steak: Elisa
  • Best Sushi: Miku
  • Best Tacos: Tacofino
  • Best Chinatown: Kissa Tanto
  • Best Commercial Drive: Lunch Lady
  • Best Downtown: Elisa
  • Best Fraserhood: Osteria Savio Volpe
  • Best Gastown: Ask for Luigi
  • Best Hastings-Sunrise: Dachi
  • Best Kerrisdale: Bufala
  • Best Kitsilano: AnnaLena
  • Best Mount Pleasant: Anh and Chi
  • Best Olympic Village: Ophelia
  • Best West End: Maxine’s Cafe and Bar
  • Best Yaletown: Homer St. Cafe and Bar
  • Best Neighbourhood Wildcard: The Mackenzie Room (Railtown)
  • Best North Shore: The Beach House Restaurant
  • Best Richmond: Baan Lao
  • Best Whistler: Wild Blue
  • Best Vancouver Island: Wolf in the Fog
  • Best Okanagan: Row Fourteen at Klippers Organics

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