When you’re up for a night out with friends… or that significant someone, it’s always great to find a place that offers up the perfect balance of atmosphere coupled with great food and drinks. What better a way to score all three than by hitting up one of Vancouver’s many spots serving up tapas plates of epic proportions?
We’ve come up with a few you ought to add to your must-try list below.
Espana Restaurant (1118 Denman Street) This West End hot spot is pretty much always packed from the moment they open their doors. And rightly so: with a tight menu chock-full of authentic Spanish bites like cod croquettes, pita bread with squash, cilantro and feta, pardon peppers and a variety of cheese and cured meats – it more than hits the spot.
AnnaLena (1809 W. 1st Avenue) Since opening last year, AnnaLena has been making waves within Vancouver’s culinary scene – and their selection of share plates is no exception. Try their take on mixed olives served warm with buratta, garlic oil and pickled raisins and don’t miss the buttermilk fried chicken or cured tuna with togarashi puffed rice.
Bin 941 Tapas Parlour (941 Davie Street) Probably one of Vancouver’s oldest tapas establishments, Bin 941 has been around for nearly two decades and hasn’t lost its luster as a go-to place for good eats, drinks and ambiance. A must try: scallop and pork belly, lamb skewers, trio of Mezze and their pan seared gnocchi with pesto, cherry tomatoes, arugula and pecorino cheese.
Hapa Izakaya (various locations) We’d be remiss not to mention a mainstay on the Vancouver food scene. Hapa brings you tapas with a Japanese twist – and you’ll love it. From the moment you enter any one of their four Vancouver locations you’ll note the rooms are almost always full… Likely due to their stellar happy hour offerings complimented by a great beer list. Dig into their ebi mayo, chicken karaage and ishiyaki stone bowl.
Bodega on Main (1014 Main Street) This recently opened Spanish restaurant picks up where its predecessor: La Bodega left off and has hit a homerun where top-notch quality and ambiance are concerned. Just like La Bodega, Bodega has carefully maintained a menu featuring plenty of authentic tapas options you’ll find yourself drooling over. With just too many amazing dishes to mention we’ve whittled it down to a few notable mentions: their famous patatas bravas, calamares fritos, beef ‘pincho’ and blistered padron peppers dusted with sea salt.
Nook (multiple locations) If you’re craving something in between Italian pasta and pizza head to Nook to satisfy your appetite and order up a selection of their smaller plates. Always a hit: burrata and prosciutto, croistini three ways, the greens salad and meatballs will more than hit the spot. Nab a spot at the bar if you head to their Denman location – that’s the best spot for casual conversation and people-watching and the bar manager may even pour you a little extra vino when you’re not looking!
The Diamond (6 Powell Street) is arguably one of the first cocktail and light bite spots that helped put Gastown on the culinary map – right up there with the now defunct Boneta. An all time favorite for many Diamond loyalists: try their crispy pork gyoza and tasty tuna avocado tartare or dig into an order of classic charcuterie and cheese selections or keep it simple with the chorizo. You’ll dig the cozy atmosphere complete with plenty of communal seating and exposed brick. Not to mention their seemingly never-ending cocktail list.
Sardine Can (26 Powell) Tucked away in the heart of Gastown, this quaint and cozy space is big on delivery of tantalizing tapas plates. We love Sardine Can for its consistently good, no-fuss approach to classic dishes coupled with their excellent list of Spanish wines, beer and sherry available by the glass. If you go, be sure to order up the zucchini carpaccio with marinated artichoke, albondigas (Spanish meatballs) and smoked ham wrapped prunes stuffed with cheese.