8 Best Restaurants in Vancouver to Have Fun with Friends

From low-key casual to more elegant options, Vancouver’s food and drink scene is rapidly evolving. So when you’re planning a dinner out with pals, you know there can be some heated discussion on where to go. One could want the seafood tower experience in Yaletown while another could want a handful of tacos near Stanley Park. Whatever the case, we’re hoping that Aeroplan can help  you discover some hidden gems that might make for some fantastic and fun dining adventures in the future. Here’s our 8 best restaurants to have fun with friends at in Vancouver, you can thank us later:


Al Porto Ristorante
321 Water Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1B8

For those of us who can’t make it to Italy any time soon, we may just have to make our way to Al Porto Ristorante. This cute Italian restaurant tucked down an alleyway on the edge of Gastown.

The restaurant has a romantic, old school European feel – which just adds to the vibe. On the menu, they serve up traditional Italian food, with reasonable sized plates of tomato bocconcini salad, spaghetti and meatballs and wild BC salmon. So rather than worry about jet lag, eat dinner here. Your stomach will thank you.


Afghan Kitchen
115–16120 24th Ave.
Surrey, BC V3Z 0R5

If you’re looking to experience Afghan cuisine in the most authentic way possible, head out to Surrey where you’ll find Afghan Kitchen. The restaurant started with a young man who immigrated here to Canada and brought along his mother’s recipes in hand, including a secret cake recipe. As soon as you enter, you’ll be greeted with Afghan music and asked to remove your shoes. Then cozy up on one of the traditional pillow seating areas in the back.  Order the lamb shank or try the green avocado dream dip. You won’t regret it.


The Holy Crab
1588 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 2G5

If you haven’t noticed: seafood boils have become a bit of a trend this past year.  So if you’re looking for a dining experience that’s a bit fun and well – dirty, this is it.  Located in the city’s West End, The Holy Crab rolls paper across your table, hands out plastic bibs and gloves and then a pound of your favourite seafood cooked in a cajun spice. This place has a super laid back vibe and if you’re looking to get some great captures for the ‘Gram, they this spot will be the one to hit.  It’s a true seafood lovers delight.


Sai Woo
158 E. Pender Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 1T3

Located in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, Sai Woo explores modernized Chinese cuisine. Salli Pateman, owner of Sai Woo, wanted to open a space that would reflect the neighbourhood’s history and with Executive Chef Keev Mah they created a whimsical menu that is dedicated to fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. With Mah’s Malaysian roots and French training, the menu features the Ling Cod Fish & Chips or the Thai Curry Prawns which will tease everyone of your senses.


Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio
1600 Howe St #2
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2L9

Ancora Waterfront Dining is one of Vancouver’s top restaurants, and for good reason too. With a well-rounded menu, that has a strong commitment to fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Situated right on the waterfront, Ancora is surrounded by lovely elements like boats and gives way to some fantastic scenery like the Granville Island. It would be the perfect patio to hang out on during the summer, that’s for certain!  The concept behind each of the dishes is Japanese and Peruvian, which may seem like it doesn’t match. But you’ll have to try it for yourself to understand just how spectacular it is. Try the lobster chupe or the glazed sablefish, you won’t be sorry.


Forage Vancouver
1300 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 1C5

As a sustainable, locally sourced restaurant, Forage features a seasonal menu with a focus on fine dining. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, their farm to table fare has been operating for five years now. The heart and soul of Chef Chris Whittaker takes over the plates at Forage with an incredible tastiness of flavors and beautiful plating.  We personally love the Sunday brunch here and can’t live without their turkey sausage hash.


Juke Fried Chicken, Ribs and Cocktails
182 Keefer Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 1X4

On the edge of a rapidly changing Chinatown, you’ll find Juke Fried Chicken. This fun and casual Southern restaurant focuses on—you guessed it — fried chicken. Inside the restaurant, you’ll find lots of vintage industrial decor scattered about with neon and cool wallpaper. On the menu, you’ll find an assortment of different fried chicken options that will fit your hearts desire. Be it strips, sandwiches or in pieces, this team has got you covered. Best part: all the batter on their fried chicken is gluten-free friendly. Oh, and when you’re ordering sides: get the Brussel sprouts. They are good!


Second Floor Eatery + Bar
808 Bute Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 1E1

Hockey season is coming up and we all need somewhere to root for the home team? Look no further than Second Floor Eatery. The sports bar, located on the corner of Bute and Robson, this is the ultimate sporting fan fantasy. The restaurant has TV’s in nearly every inch of the space, including inserting into the individual booths. For food, stick with the classics here like a hamburger, truffle fries and wings. Also, check out their live music nights on Friday! Did we miss one of your favourite spots that you like to visit with friends? Share it with us in the comments and we’ll add it to our next Aeroplan eating adventure.


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