Although they couldn't be more different in size, climate, and geography, Toronto and Vancouver seem to inspire the most rivalry when it comes to Canadian cities. For a time, when it came to dining out and all things cosmopolitan, Toronto was the default answer. Not so anymore, as Vancouver—known for its chilled out, hippy, west coast vibes—has found its own way to express itself. It's not the next Toronto, because it doesn't need to be. If anything, an additional restaurant city makes Canada ever more appealing as a culinary destination.
A great restaurant scene should have diversity—of cuisines, price points, and geography—and in Vancouver, there's no better place to start than at Granville Island. Don't let the touristy vibe put you off—a lot of the city’s top purveyors can be found here, both in the sprawling Public Market and the surrounding warehouses. In the Market, Siegel’s Bagels serves some of the chewiest Montreal-style bagels (i.e. cooked in a wood-fired oven) imaginable, and Oyama Sausage Co.’s charcuterie, terrines and, of course, sausages, are the stuff of local legend. Apart from a huge permanent range, they have a menu of exclusive seasonal items that changes each month. No gourmand’s picnic basket would be without their goodies, from bresaola to wild boar head cheese. Outside of the market, still on Granville Island, is Artisan Sake Maker, one of the first sake breweries to ever open outside of Japan. Their lineup, presented under the label Osake, includes a sake made with Canadian rice, making it truly 100% Canadian, from grain to sake cup.