Travel Guides

F2F Tour Weekend Vancouver Travel & Food Guide

Howdy y’all, I’m Markus Thibeau and I’ll be your guide to Regional Championship Vancouver!

I’m here to tell you all about Vancouver, the great food, things to do, sights to see, and everything else!

A little bit about myself, I’ve been a resident of Vancouver for the past 10ish years having worked in the kitchen industry the entire time. I’ve done my fair share of eating out, exploring the nooks and crannies for interesting and exciting food and seeing what Vancouver has to offer for culinary exploits. I’ve also been playing Magic since around 2003, having traveled around a decent amount for Grand Prix, Pro Tours and the like!

I’ve compiled a list of options for the time everybody will be here so feel free to check out any of Vancouver’s awesome offers for food, fun, or anything and let me know how you get on! Also, if you are wondering about a certain cuisine, style of food, or dietary restriction, feel free to reach out to me at the event hall or social media and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Without further ado…Here’s some tips, tricks and treats for Vancouver. Enjoy!

Transportation

The Skytrain is an extremely convenient and direct way to get from YVR (the airport) to Downtown Vancouver (25 minute train ride with no transfer needed) and the Grand Prix Venue. There are 4 different skytrain lines but the one from YVR is known as the Canada Line. The Expo/Commercial line goes from Downtown all the way around Vancouver and its different Suburbs. 

Uber is also an option but the skytrain would be just as fast and a fraction of the price. Do not Taxi unless you want to pay an arm and a leg

From YVR, you’ll want to look for signs leading you to the Canada Line/train.  Take the train labeled for Waterfront Station.  Once at the terminus station, walk to the Howe Street exit, go up the stairs/escalator to the top and walk down Waterfront Rd./Canada Pl. and you’ll be at the Vancouver Convention Center shortly.  

When paying for the Skytrain, there will be a $5 charge for trains departing from the YVR island.  As such, if you plan on using the Skytrain at all for the rest of the day, it may be best to pay for a DayPass for $10.25 since the normal fare is $3.10 plus an additional zone ($1.35) plus the $5 to add up to $9.45.  If you plan on training around town for the weekend, I recommend getting a Compass Card which is the universal card for all transit in Vancouver. You just need to purchase it at any of the Skytrain stops. There is a Refundable $6 charge to start and then you just add as much money as you want to it and can get it refunded at the end of your trip! Incase you have any more questions or queries, here’s a link to the transit system which has all the info needed https://www.translink.ca/ 

Site seeing

Stanley Park (~30 minutes by foot from Downtown Vancouver): Iconic park of Vancouver.  Great to rent a bike to bike around Stanley Park on a sunny day or walk around for sightseeing.

The Olympic Cauldron (Downtown Vancouver): Check out the Cauldron that started the 2010 Olympic!

Metrotown (~30 minutes by Skytrain from Downtown Vancouver) and Pacific Center (Downtown Vancouver): Two of the major shopping hubs in Vancouver

Vancouver Aquarium (within Stanley Park): Nice for a fun family outing.

Granville Island/Public Market (~20 minutes by bus from Downtown): Bustling public market with a nice mix of events, shopping, food, arts and culture.

TELUS World of Science (~20 minutes by bus from Downtown): Fun, interactive science museum.  Great for kids.

Vancouver Art Gallery (Downtown Vancouver): Art gallery with a focus on First Nations & Asia Pacific art in the downtown area.

Capilano Suspension Bridge (~30 minutes from Downtown Vancouver): Very popular tourist spot known for the bridge and the natural attractions.  Doubly worth it during December and January as they have decorated the bridge area with festival Christmas lights.  Worth the visit if it’s your first time.

Skiing/Snowboarding (~45 hours from Downtown Vancouver for the three local mountains by car, ~2 hours by car to Whistler): A big reason for many people visiting Vancouver.  There are three local mountains for skiing/snowboarding: Cypress (which was the site of several Olympic events), Seymour and Grouse Mountain. A few hours away from Vancouver is Whistler, a gorgeous resort town known for its ski resort in the winter, beautiful sights and mountain biking/hiking/other outdoor activities in the summer.  

Food

Vancouver is known for having a great food city.  It’s known for exceptional food from the Asian region, but there’s so many great options for people of all tastes.

Grocery Store/Essentials

For those looking to get some essentials, snacks, or just wanna cook your own meals, there’s a few grocery stores around the Convention Centre. 

T&T and H-Mart for your Asian options, both also have bakeries, pre-packaged meals/snacks for easy stuff. T&T is 4 stops away from Waterfront station on the Skytrain or an 18 min walk. H-Mart is roughly about the same distance as well.

There’s an Urban Fare about a block or 2 away from the Convention for other various groceries

There’s also the Waterfront Centre right across the street from the Venue which has a food court for some fast food options and a Rexall for essentials and other things

Restaurants Near Downtown Vancouver

Japanese

@guu_with_garlic

Guu Garlic (1698 Robson St.): A Vancouver institution, Guu is a izakaya-style restaurant that has five locations in Vancouver.  It has a nice mix of traditional and fusion izakaya dishes and is a great place for a group of people to sit down and hang out for a few hours.  Chicken Karaage, Kabocha Croquette and Yaki Udon are some of the classic dishes here.  Guu Garden (888 Nelson St.) is also an excellent option. 

Zakkushi (823 Denman St.): Also an izakaya-style Japanese restaurant but with a focus on skewer dishes.  They offer some unique skewer options and are a great place to just munch on multiple skewers as the hours go by in no time with a group.

Miku (200 Granville St. #70): Just minutes away from the Vancouver Convention Center, Miku is a high-end casual Japanese restaurant with a focus on seafood dishes.  Their aburi sushi (flame-seared, already comes seasoned and therefore does not require soy sauce/wasabi) is the highlight, with the aburi salmon sushi being one of the best dishes in the city in my opinion.  Its sister restaurant Minami in Yaletown (1118 Mainland KoreanSt.) is also an option

Santouka Ramen (1690 Robson St.): One of the two best ramen spots in Vancouver.  Go here if you love traditional broth ramen.  However..

Marutama Ra-Men (780 Bidwell St.): If you prefer something off the beaten path, Marutama has some top-notch chicken broth ramen.  It offers a different experience with its creamy, rich chicken broth versus your traditional broth ramen.  A must try in my opinion.

Kita No Donburi (423 Seymour St.): Solid Japanese restaurant that’s conveniently located within walking distance from the convention center.  Has your typical lineup of donburis, currys, tempuras etc.

Chinese

Victoria Chinese Restaurant (1088 Melville St.): Decent dim sum place within walking distance from the convention center.  However, if you are willing to trek to Richmond (conveniently 25 minutes away via one Canada Line ride from downtown) there will be a lot of solid dim sum options here as well.

Dinesty Dumpling House (1719 Robson St.): Solid mainland Chinese cuisine.  Xiao Long Baos are excellent.

Vietnamese

@mikurestaurant

Phnom Penh (244 E Georgia St.): A bit far from downtown but everyone in the city knows the place and the place is always full for a reason.  Would highly recommend trying the chicken wings and the butter beef at a minimum.

Chau Veggie Express (Granville Island – 1689 Johnston St.): One of the newest but most popular vegetarian/vegan options. Some vegetarian/vegan food has the problem of trying too hard to imitate meat.  Chau does not have a problem.  The food feels noticeably fresh and is satisfying even for non-vegetarians.

Western

Meat & Bread (1033 W Pender St.): Hearty, fresh meat sandwich place made daily.  The Porchetta Sandwich is a classic and a must try.

The Flying Pig (102 Water St.): Solid Beers on tap. Good portions, good food. Good for Groups but expect it to be busy

Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar (1055 W Hastings St.): Notably, its happy hour is $1 oysters! Excellent, extremely fresh seafood since it’s right next to the water.

WakWak Burger (Food Truck) Usually close to the Convention Center. Check their Instagram or Facebook for location. Japanese Style Burgers on the Cheap (in comparison to most places). Interesting toppings, friendly employees, Award winning as well. Def worth a try if you can see them.

Pubs

Steamworks Micro Brewery/Pub Food (375 Water St.): Very popular pub/brewery that’s always busy but accommodating. Wide beer selections and solid pub menu.  Added bonus that it’s right beside the Waterfront skytrain station for convenience.

The Den (1348 Robson St) Barcade. A little “diveish” but charming in its own way. Lots of pinball and other arcade fare. They don’t really have food there but you can order from another place and bring it in, just as long as your drinking of course

The Warehouse (156 W Hastings St) Casual bar with Cheap eats for hanging out. Good for bigger groups just looking to chill

Lions Pub (888 W Cordova St.): British-themed Pub with numerous TVs for sports. Solid Beer with a mostly british menu (cornish pasties, meat pies) as well as other pub classics. Scotch Egg is great.

Elephant & Castle (385 Burrard St.): Another English pub. Great energy, wide Beer selection, and a great place to watch the games.

Pourhouse Restaurant (162 Water St.): Cool Great Gatsby/Speakeasy vibe, good cocktails and a great way to spend the night. (Try the Grapefruit Gimlet – my favorite!)

Korean

Sura Korean Royal Cuisine (1518 Robson St.): Traditional Korean food. Flavored Sojus are great (dangerous as they dont taste like alcohol). Always bustling every time I visit.  The set menus are pretty safe for new people to Korean cuisine.

Tå Bom Korean Cuisine (1536 Robson St) Cool spot for groups. Different hot plates of various marinated meats along with Cheese, Corn, Egg and other variations. I really like the Signature Tteok-Bokki one!

Breakfast

Cafe Medina (780 Richards St.): One of the most popular and trendy breakfast spots in the city.  Mediterranean-inspired brunch is the concept with a ton of fun skillet dishes. Downside is the long wait but it’s generally worth it to try.

Jam Cafe (556 Beatty St.): Popular diner-style breakfast place with generous portions.  They are so popular that there’s always a line (they take no reservations) and are opening a second location to accommodate.  Try the chicken waffle/pulled pork pancake!

Brekka Bakery (740 W Hastings St) Several of these around town. Lots of options from sandwiches, baked goods, coffee, etc. Also open 24/7! Always busy however so don’t expect a table all the time

Higher End

L’Abattoir (217 Carrall St.): One of the true Vancouver mainstays.  Great if you want some Canadian fare with a French touch in a more higher end, intimate setting.

Hawksworth (801 W Georgia St.): Another Vancouver mainstay.  Rated as the #3 best places in Canada to eat at one point! Textbook fine dining experience. The Seared Foie Gras is extremely good.

Gotham (615 Seymour St.) and Hy’s (637 Hornby St.): Two of the go-to steakhouses in Vancouver.  Nice setting and conveniently close to the convention center.  Get the cheese bread at Hy’s.

Mexican

Gringo Gastown (27 Blood Alley Square) Cool Tex-Mex spot open super late. Really chill place for cheapish eats and drinks. It’s literally a colorful hole in the wall down an alley, what’s not to love? 

Vegan/Vegetarian

@meetgastown

MeeT in Gastown (12 Water St.):  Popular vegetarian/vegan restaurant with three locations in Vancouver.  Mac & cheese and the rice bowls are highly recommended.

Virtuous Pie (583 Main St.):  Popular vegan pizza joint. Thin crust pie is great and they also have excellent vegan Ice Cream as well! Warning, however they use cashew cheese so apologies to the folks with nut allergy.

Nuba (207 W Hastings St.): Fresh and interesting Lebanese menu.  Great options for both the meat-lovers and the Vegetarians/Vegans near downtown.

Italian

Ask for Luigi (305 Alexander St.): Likely the best Italian food in Vancouver. The wait generally begins even before the 5:30 PM opening but worth the wait. Super authentic hand made pasta.  The optimal line for locals is to put your name down and walk by to a nearby bar until they call you.

Lupo (869 Hamilton St.): Super homely and cozy atmosphere. Very inviting and actually in a house! Fresh focaccia. The 

Fettuccine and the Black Tagliatelle are unbelievable.

Dessert

Earnest Ice Cream (1829 Quebec St.): Delicious handmade ice cream. Also known for excellent vegan options. The London Fog is unbeatable and is a must-try.

Bella Gelateria (1001 W Cordova St.): Award-winning gelato shop.  Lots of flavors. Earl gray and Thai Coconut milk are my favorites but I honestly haven’t tasted a bad flavor yet.

Cartems Donuts (534 West Pender St.): Specialty donut shop founded by a local MBA graduate that has taken off since the opening.  The London Fog and the maple bacon donuts are must-tries.  Also notable for offering vegan & gluten-free options.

Relaxed/Chill

Pizza Ludica (189 Keefer Pl.): Group-friendly with a plethora of board games to play while you wait for your pizza or pasta, and they also have dessert pizza.

The Red Accordion (1616 Alberni St) Cool spot, built into a home. Solid drinks/food. Cozy interior with lots of character. Neat hang out spot with a few friends

The Poke Guy (420 Richards St) Decent Poke place with quite a few options. Right by Waterfront station. Solid Portions, good/fresh quality

Restaurants a little Outside Downtown Vancouver 

Anna Lena (1809 W 1st Ave.): One of the most popular and trendy spots in Vancouver.  The restaurant focuses on contemporary Canadian cuisine and has a rotating menu.  I have never been disappointed in any of the multiple visits that I’ve made.  The pâté toast and the octopus dishes have always impressed me.

Downlow Chicken (905 Commercial Dr) Some of the best, highest rated, fried chicken in all of Vancouver. Nashville Hot Chicken. Not spicy options available as well. Would recommend the Tenders with the Medium Spice but you can’t really go wrong

Downlow Burgers/The American (926 Main St) Smash style burgers, great bar food. Lots of different options (Beef, Chicken, Plant Based) as well. Same company as Downlow Chicken so in for some good food. The American is the bar it is in. Good drinks, friendly staff. Cool events during the week (Karaoke on Thursdays)

Vij’s (3106 Cambie St.): Very popular modern Indian fare.  Would expect a long wait, but it’s worth the wait for first-timers.  Its sister restaurant, Rangoli, is also a great option.

Superbaba (2419 Main St) One of the best casual dine in or take  out in Vancouver in my opinion and many others (They’ve won the award 2 years in a row). It’s my favorite lunch. Always fresh, made in house, super tasty. I love the Chicken or Falafel Plate myself but you can’t really go wrong in my opinion

All in all, there’s so many options to choose from it’s impossible to list them all but these are just some of my favs. If you go out and find a cool place or know of one, let me know! Always down to try new things.

Lastly, I’m going to plug my own business, Chaotic Good Cookies! I make everything myself and have 4-5 different flavors always on the menu as well as some experimental flavors as well! I sell them myself so if you’d like to purchase some feel free to hit me up! They are $5 a Cookie. If you were at either of the last RC’s you may have seen people eating them or myself selling them! I sold out both times after bringing 50 cookies so get your orders in early via my Instagram @chaoticgoodcookies or hit me up on Twitter @nerd_gazm.

The flavors I’ll have are:

Salted Double Chocolate (Chocolate chip/chunk cookie with Dark Chocolate Ganache filling)

PB & J (2 Crunchy Peanut Butter cookies with Rasberry Jam filling)

The Elvis (Banana, Peanut Butter filling and Bacon)

Mexican Hot Chocolate (Spiced Chocolate Cookie with Marshmallow in the middle)

Possibly a few experimental cookies as well if you’d like to try something outside of the box

Anyways, that is a general guide around the Venue/surrounding area. If you have any questions, comments or anything at all, hit me up at the venue or through social media! I hope you all enjoy the Regional Championships and Vancouver as well and I’ll see you there!

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