With the immensely diverse population of Vancouver, the dining choices are endless. You’ll find traditional Canadian fare, countless Japanese restaurants, and enough Indian and Chinese cuisine to set your mouth ablaze with the best curry and szechuan dishes around. You’ll find dim sum spots all over the city, seafood joints littering the coastline, and bakeries that will make your mouth water. There’s Greek, Thai, Vietnamese, German, and every other type of cuisine you could hope for, but where is the most unique spot to grab a bite? There’s no shortage of selection in Vancouver, but there are a few spots that are stranger and much more interesting than the rest. Check out some of these unusual spots that will make your evening’s dining experience as unique as Vancouver’s food scene itself.
Laurence and Chico Cafe
Laurence and Chico Cafe is the culinary creation of Laurence Li and Chico Wang, fashion designers and creators of the Laurence & Chico womenswear and accessories brand. The cafe holds all of the same bizarre and daring beauty you would see on the runway, but in the form of furniture and home décor rather than wearable fashion. The space is a Burtonesque explosion of color and over the top decor, including monster chairs, kooky mannequins, and outlandish wall murals. The menu features cocktails, specialty coffees, and a selection of treats both sweet and savory.
The Rumpus Room is a seriously groovy joint to pop in, chill out, and enjoy some satisfying grub. This 1970’s rec room themed restaurant serves up homemade comfort foods, including dishes like the Pickleback, the Peanut Butter Burger, and Chicken ‘n’ Waffles. Head to this funky establishment for a relaxed hang within the vintage decor, or come on one of their board game or movie nights for some good ol’ fashioned cocktails and fun.
Another establishment jam-packed with far out decor is the Eatery. Suspended from the ceiling is an octopus, a shark, a dolphin, and a bunch of other freaky creatures from under the sea.The menu features a combination of classic and creative Japanese dishes, such as the Miss Piggy Roll, the Roe Money Roe Probrem, and the X-Rated Roll. This funky fun joint is a hip place to grab a bite, but it’s no passing trend. The Eatery has been operating out of the Kitsilano area for over 30 years and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
As the first Afghan restaurant to open in Canada, the Afghan Horsemen has been dishing up Afghan cuisine to Vancouverites for over 45 years. When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by a welcoming aroma of exotic spices and smells. The dining area allows you to sit at a table and chairs, within curtained booths, or on floor level cushions surrounding low tables. The interior design is draped in a variety of fabrics, everything is warmly lit by chandeliers, and Afghan artwork can be seen on every wall. The menu features chicken, lamb, beef, and vegetarian options, as well as traditional Afghanistan dishes such as kabuli palaw and dahl chalaw.
Dark Table is a dining experience unlike any other. When you arrive, you can review the menu and place your order in a lit area. You’ll then be led to your table by a server, all of which are blind or visually impared. No cellphones, flashlights, or light emitting devices are allowed within the room to ensure all diners remain immersed in full dark. The appetizers and desserts are always a surprise, and for your main course you can choose between a variety of dishes such as steak, fish, and lamb. You can also fully embrace the unknown and opt for the surprise main course. The idea behind Dark Table is that without the use of your sight your other senses, such as taste and smell, will be intensified, allowing you to enjoy your meal from a completely new perspective.
Ludica Pizzeria & Game Room
At Ludica Pizzeria & Game Room you’ll be invited to grab a slice, settle down at a table, and choose a board game from their massive collection. You can peruse the list of titles on their website before you arrive to help you make your choice from the endless games they have available. Their spreadsheet is conveniently color coded to help you find exactly the type of game you’d like to play. Their menu features Italian favorites such as pasta, gamberoni, prosciutto wrapped caprese, mixed olives, gelato, and a large selection of classic and signature pizzas.
Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant
At the Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant, every seat in the house offers you a panoramic view of the city of Vancouver. This fine dining establishment sits 553 feet above the ground and completes a full revolution every 60 minutes. While you dine you’ll be treated with vistas of the coastal mountains, the waterfront, and the bustling city below. Their menu features steak and seafood options like Cajun halibut, steamed stuffed BC salmon, New York steak, and a duck breast and confit duo.
Salt Tasting Room
Are you a huge fan of wine and cheese parties? If so, the Salt Tasting Room will be your dream come true. This establishment is half restaurant, half tasting room. Their menu is loaded with artisan cheeses, small-batch cured meats, and delectable wines. The structure of the menu allows you to create your own tasting plate by choosing 3 meat and cheeses, 3 condiments, and a flight of 3 wines you’d like to taste. If you’re feeling adventurous, let the staff choose for you and they’ll pair all of your selections perfectly. Don’t worry if you aren’t a wine lover, their menu also features some excellent beer, cider, and cocktail selections as well.
Moose’s Down Under
Moose’s Down Under is an Australian bar and grill specializing in authentic Australian cuisine. Their menu includes Aussie meat pies, the vegemite & cheese sanger, or the Roo on a Stick (kangaroo skewers). You can wash these Aussie eats down with some Australian beers, like James Boags, Cooper’s Pale Ale, Toohey’s Extra Dry. Their entertainment is Australian themed as well, with live AFL, NRL, Union, and Cricket sporting events.
Foodies with an appreciation for locally sourced ingredients will enjoy a visit to Wildebeest. Their farm to table menu is crafted by working closely with the surrounding farms and farmers. Everything can be perfectly paired with their extensive list of Old and New World wines. This establishment is located within one of Vancouver’s old, 19th century buildings and the decor on the upper and lower levels involves exposed brick, concrete walls, soft lighting, and handsome wood furnishings. Wildebeest is a unique collaboration of a hip urban vibe with rustic, country cooking.
Their unique flair may come from a menu filled with outlandish yet delicious dishes, or it may be the mind boggling atmosphere and decor they’ve put together. Whatever their gimmick, every one of these restaurants will provide a different type of experience than what you’d expect at your average restaurant. The food scene in Vancouver is phenomenal, but these places take it just one step further by adding unforgettable elements of intrigue, awe, wonder, and wackiness.