Best of Vancouver, BC
This is a little embarrassing, but Andrew and I went to this cafe twice during our ten day stay. To make it worse, those two days were sequential. But, we're not crazy—if you have been to the Edge cafe you would understand our obsession. This casual brunch/lunch joint is the perfect place to relax on a lazy Saturday morning. There are huge windows facing the bustling downtown area, and the most comfy booths you could ask for. The Edge is a hybrid of a trendy cafe and a mom-and-pop eatery, serving classic choices like eggs benedict and hearty omelettes alongside mimosas and carbonara scrambles. Andrew ordered the same thing both times —the meat omelette. Served with four slices of hearty olive toast, a barrage of jams, and thick cut potatoes, his plate was seemingly too large to conquer both times. Yet, both times he conquered it. I ordered the Edge Hash on the first day which was an unholy mix of chorizo, corn, peppers, onion, salsa, guacamole, hollandaise, and poached eggs paired with thick slices of toast. The second day I tried the more traditional eggs benedict which was stunningly simple and filling. Anything that can be mixed into a tornado of savory chunks and dipped in ketchup is alright in my book! I really can’t brag enough about this cafe—it was welcoming, hearty, and delicious. Breakfast is done right at the Edge cafe.
MOST UNIQUE SELECTION
Indian food is a touchy subject for Andrew and I. For one, Andrew is more sensitive to spice than anyone I know. Once he complained that a breakfast sandwich was too spicy thanks to an especially heavy dose of ground pepper. Secondly, my Aunt makes delectable homemade Indian food and I rarely come across restaurants that can live up to her traditional flavors. Lucky for us, Vij’s Rangoli was a perfect middle ground that pleased us both immensely. Our wonderful AirBnb host Tanja had written in all caps on a list of recommended eateries “JUST GO”, so on our last night in Vancouver we hopped on the bus and took the 30 minute ride to this small, jubilant, and sparkling Indian restaurant. Vij’s Rangoli was full and lively, decorated with fantastic orange and yellow accents matched by tin cups and antique tableware. It smelled strongly of cardamom and cumin which made our stomachs turn with excitement! I ordered a wonderful chai tea with almond milk and Andrew got a fresh mango lassi. Thank goodness for that lassi because Andrew ordered tender chicken with naan and basmati rice and it just crossed over his spice threshold. That sweet smoothie soothed the fire between bites. I ordered lamb in a light curry sauce with rice, salad, and naan, and was more than satisfied. The lamb was tender and not gamy at all, pairing wonderfully with the sweet peppers and onion that topped the curry. It was all presented in a cute dish right in the center of my plate. The staff was incredibly nice, the ambiance was relaxing, and the food was impeccable. Let me tell you, the minute we left I was pining to go back and try other menu items—but alas, we had to go home sometime.
At the tippy top of Queen Elizabeth Park, hidden in a shroud of flowers, bushes, and bees sits Seasons in the Park, a first-rate restaurant that overlooks Vancouver's beautiful skyline. This restaurant is highly sought after for it’s spectacular view and classical ambiance. Every table is clad in white cloth, set with candles, and placed with more utensils than I know what to do with. As funny as it is, whenever Andrew and I travel we end up at a place similar to Seasons in the Park—somewhere way out of our league. If you haven’t noticed already, we are two young adults at first glance, but under this carefully-planned facade we are no more than giddy kids. Seasons in the Park was different than most fancy restaurants though—it was welcoming. We didn’t feel out of place at all while ordering our foreign glasses of white wine and our locally brewed pale ales. Our dining experience was wonderful. Our server was on top of it, never skipping a beat. I ordered a crisp and flame roasted Italian sausage pizza, and Andrew chose a seafood linguine carbonara (which I can truthfully say was the most fantastic seafood pasta I have ever had the pleasure of taking a bite of). More than anything, the view really did make this experience unique. The giant looming mountains and vast blue sky covering the urban sprawl down below was simply mesmerizing. It runs a little pricey, as you could expect, but was more than worth it for a romantic date night.
Tip: Make online reservations at least a few days in advance. Maybe a week in advance for the weekends!
BEST HEALTHY CAFE
The Tandem Bike Cafe combines two seemingly unrelated things into one masterpiece. For the uninitiated, a bike cafe is a cafe or coffee shop that doubles as a bicycle repair shop! The idea encourages exercise by selling healthy, delectable snacks and seeks to create a hub for the bicyclists in a city by offering services like tire and chain repair, adjustments, and much more. As the first bicyclist-centric restaurant in Vancouver, The Tandem Bike Cafe has created a great environment for anyone to stop by for a heart healthy snack, to repair a flat tire, or both if you need! With a wide selection of different sandwiches (many of which include fresh brie), homemade, veggie-filled soups, as well as an array of delicious aromatic coffees, it’s hard to go wrong!
All along Cambie street you will find a slew of great restaurants that come in all shapes and sizes. Pronto is one of those many restaurants, yet it stuck out like a needle in a haystack to me. Offering authentic Italian cuisine, Pronto delivers a sizable selection of pastas, salads and antipasto. You may call us crazy, but we actually went for the sandwiches. Upon finding Pronto, Elise and I loved their logo featuring an anthropomorphized pig alongside the words “Panini” and “Porchetta”. Elise got the panini and I got the porchetta, wanting to please the sign, and we both absolutely loved our meals. I had never had a porchetta sandwich before—honestly, I had never even heard of porchetta before. For those who don’t know what porchetta is, imagine a Swiss roll cake but instead of cake, it’s savory, juicy pork, and instead of cream, it’s stuffed with a concoction of different spices. Delicious! For the price, the portions seemed small at first, but we were both full of porky goodness after a short while. Not full enough to skip dessert though. The first thing we noticed after being sat was Pronto’s selection of beautiful desserts. We each had our eyes fixed on all the different sugary treats, passing speculation as to what we thought each one was. I chose a hazelnut espresso tart (two of my favorite things combined into one), and Elise chose a lemon tiramisu. In the end, both our meals and our desserts were to die for, and I would highly recommend trying what we had!
I am a huge, huge icecream fan. Not only do I have a massive sweet tooth, but ice cream truly my dessert of choice—this coming from someone with a rather unfortunate lactose allergy means that I have to pick my battles. After all, Lactaid pills can only do so much. All that being said, I ate a double scoop from Rain or Shine twice in the 10 days we were in Vancouver! But can you blame me? Rain or Shine is a locally owned, homemade ice cream shop with one goal in mind: to put a smile on your face! They certainly achieved that goal after serving this happy customer. One of the great things about Rain or Shine is their unique selection of flavors. Sure, they have the classics—your chocolates and vanillas are all there, but the true fun comes when they introduce something with a little more spunk. Rain or shine has played with many interesting flavors that will leave you somewhere between confused and watering at the mouth. For example, you could try their Apricot Sour Ale flavor, a scoop that tastes just like a sip of your favorite beer. Have you ever had balsamic dressing and thought: “Wow, I wish this was served to me in the form of a cold dairy treat on a cone?” Then maybe their Blueberry Balsamic flavor is right for you. Honestly though, they have a flavor I may consider the best ice cream flavor I have ever had, and that is Malted Milk Chocolate Honeycomb. Delicious dark chocolate covered honeycomb and malted barley is mixed into a sweet and creamy milk chocolate ice cream creating a cavalcade of great taste and pleasant textures. And while their flavor menu has countless other hidden gems, you'll just have to try for yourself because they don’t end there. They offer a huge variety of amazing toppings from the enticingly strange olive oil to my personal favorite, candied hazelnuts. With so many different flavors and toppings to choose from, you’re guaranteed an ice cream experience like no other at Rain or Shine.
P.S. We ducked inside during some summer showers only to be met with a packed house. Turns out their name applies to their lines as well as their hours!
Thank you so much for reading about our crazy food endeavors during our recent trip to Vancouver, Canada! We hope you are more hungry than ever. Let us know in the comments below where you would like to stop for a bite!