This is where locals go on pretend vacations: “That’s not Vancouver’s endless rain out there. It’s un peu de pluie in Paris, and we’re going to sip cappuccinos and eat steak and frites until it stops.” This is French bistro at its best, with refined food and service that’s accessible and friendly. Walk-ins only. (BTW, Au Comptoir is just as nice when the weather’s fine.)
Au Comptoir, 2278 W. Fourth Ave. Vancouver, B.C. V6K 1N8
Whether you know your oolong from your pu-erh or like yours with cream and sugar, you’ll find your cuppa here. Rethink Earl Grey with Silk Road’s blend that includes real bergamot, or learn about the many shades of green tea. There are also herbal blends, skin-care products and a seriously tempting collection of glassware.
Silk Road, 2066 W. Fourth Ave. Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1M9
When Terra Breads opened in 1993, it was one of the few Vancouver bakeries using sourdough starter to make its breads. Today, it’s known for its toothsome loaves with a burnished crumb, and it has expanded to include sweet and savory pastries. While times have changed, its methods haven’t. Each loaf still starts with Terra’s “mother” levain, fermenting for three days. The green-olive loaf is especially popular, and the fig-and-anise has a cult following.
Terra Breads, 2380 W. Fourth Ave. Vancouver, B.C. V6K 1P1
You’re forgiven if you assume Vancouverites are issued a uniform at birth — Gore-Tex on top, Lululemon on the bottom and Toms on the feet — and you’ll find redemption at Gravitypope. That limited-edition collab you’ve been drooling about? The footwear that distracted you from the perfect Instagram shot in Soho? You’ll find it here. Pop next door for equally style-savvy clothing.
Gravitypope, 2205 W. Fourth Ave. Vancouver, B.C. V6K 1N9
Zulu is a bastion of anachronism in a city that’s becoming shinier by the minute. Here you’ll find new and used vinyl, vintage turntables and stereo gear, and serious opinions about what you should be listening to. If celluloid is more your thing, then check out Videomatica’s collection of rare and cult movies.
Zulu Records, 1972 W. Fourth Ave. Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1M5
It’s hard to find a more iconic view of Vancouver than this: sandy beaches punctuated with reclaimed timber, water lapping the beach and the snow-capped North Shore Mountains looming. Walk the waterfront to Vanier Park to visit the crab fountain outside the H.R. MacMillan Space Center and Museum of Vancouver, pop in the Maritime Museum or let the kids go nuts on the playground. Kitsilano Pool, a 450-foot-long, heated saltwater pool, is open during the summer.
Kitsilano Beach, Cornwall Avenue and Yew Street. Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver has abundant cheap-and-cheerful sushi, but is that really a good thing when it comes to raw fish? Octopus’ Garden is one of the few sushi joints run by Japanese folks. Owner and chef Sada Hoshika has been wielding the sushi knife amid the red ceiling and walls here since 1987. In addition to the regular menu, there’s a multi-course omakase that changes daily. Reservations are highly recommended.
Octopus’ Garden, 1995 Cornwall Ave. Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1C9