Vancouver is one of the dining hubs of world, with amazing seafood and a plethora of fresh ingredients to choose from, as well as a dining culture that seeks to bring the best to the table. It’s home to a wide array of restaurants covering almost every kind of cuisine imaginable, and even longtime residents would have tried only a fraction of Vancouver’s ever-expanding edible repertoire.
But what this city seems to lack is a large number of restaurants with unique dining experiences. As diverse as the food selection may be, Vancouver restaurants offer mainly traditional service and atmosphere. So we’ve compiled a list of five must-try restaurants that offer weird but memorable experiences.
1. EXP Restaurant + Bar
This joint is every gamer’s paradise. At EXP Restaurant and Bar, the menu and decor are all inspired by video games, with regular live music and gaming community events hosted in-house. You can check out their extensive collection of game memorabilia and play video games while you wait for your table. On the walls of the restaurant are TVs playing video game footage, with a large screen overhanging the entire restaurant. EXP is the perfect hangout for meeting other gamers and getting involved in the gaming community, with game release parties and live e-sports viewings. Check it out and unlock your inner gamer!
EXP is to gamers as what Catfé is to cat-lovers. As Vancouver’s first and only cat cafe, locals and visitors alike are lining up to come and visit the adorable cats as they sip Moja coffee and snack on cat-themed treats. In a special partnership with the BC SPCA, the cats at Catfé are available for adoption, meaning you could walk away with a fluffy friend, as well as a fuzzy feeling in your heart. Reservations are strongly recommended, as available walk-ins fill up fast.
3. The Elbow Room
How would you like to dine at a restaurant where you are constantly berated by people who seem to be the most opinionated servers in the world? At the Elbow Room, the sassy banter is a big part of the playful experience that diners either love or love to hate. With huge portions and fresh ingredients, the breakfast there is worth putting up with the attitude for. Just make sure you read the “rules” and try to not take the funny service too personally!
4. Dark Table
Dark Table is a symbol of unique dining in Vancouver, having established a reputation for its concept in other major cities around the world. In partnership with CNIB, the idea revolves around sight deprivation enhancing the other four senses for engaging with food. Blind servers guide you to a room devoid of any light, leaving the interactions between you and your companion, the utensils, and the food completely transformed. The restaurant combines fine dining with a dark atmosphere for an extraordinary experience.
5. Top of Vancouver
The classic revolving restaurant may not be unique to Vancouver, but it’s certainly a must-try for the vibrant city with a glimmering skyline. The Harbour Centre offers a separate viewing deck for tourists, but rather than paying the ticket price for admission, why not just head up to the Top of Vancouver for dinner and get a slow and relaxed view of the whole city? While the food may not be the most original, the experience of seeing the sun set along the horizon and the emerging city lights alone is worth the experience. You have not truly experienced Vancouver without a trip to the Top.