Patio Season Has Launched in Vancouver

Dockside; Photo Credit: Dockside

With recent indoor dining restrictions and the shift to spring temperatures, Vancouver patios are now in full swing. Establishments have learned to be nimbly resourceful, rapidly sprucing up existing patio spaces while opening up new al fresco areas for welcoming diners.

It’s particularly important to support local restaurants right now. A delicious meal, a glass of vino, and a charming patio await.

The City of Vancouver has opened applications for spring/summer patios as part of their Temporary Expedited Patio Program (TEPP). That means, the number of patios in the city has increased exponentially, making the options extremely varied, whether you want a quick casual bite or a more elegant, multi-course meal. Many patios are now taking reservations, with others on a first come, first serve basis (tip: avoid peak times to increase your chance of getting a table, and if reservations are taken, book far in advance). Some patios are weather dependent, so check ahead before heading out.

Patios with a View

Dockside; Photo Credit: Dockside

Almost guaranteed, you’ll find a patio where there is sparkling water and gorgeous natural/city sightlines. Patios showcase the splendour of Vancouver’s setting with their sense of immediacy. The patio at Dockside Restaurant (Granville Island Hotel, 1253 Johnston Street) has been voted “Best Patio in Vancouver” ten times (Best of Vancouver Awards) for good reason. With its location on the Granville Island waterfront, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of False Creek from the comfort of elegant patio table seating or covered lounge areas.

Other restaurants on Granville Island also offer inviting patios, including The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant (1535 Johnston Street, Creekhouse #102) with their heated covered patio that makes for an inviting escape even on a rainy day, and Bridges Restaurant (1696 Duranleau Street) with their upstairs and downstairs patio.

Downtown beckons with a host of scenic patios. The Coal Harbour Marina is a jewel of the city, with Cardero’s (1583 Coal Harbour Quay) patio (heated and covered) making it feel like you are literally on the water. LIFT (333 Menchion Mews) offers sweeping views perched above the waterfront, while H2 Rotisserie & Bar (The Westin Bayshore, 1601 Bayshore Drive) boasts an expansive patio. Also in the Bayshore, H Tasting Lounge is very IG friendly with their translucent private garden domes.

Other downtown spots with a scenic patio include ARC Restaurant (The Fairmont Waterfront; 900 Canada Place) near Canada Place and Ancora (1600 Howe Street), serving its refined Peruvian/Japanese cuisine in one of the prettiest patios in the city. Outside of the downcore core, other picturesque patios range from Seasons in the Park (Queen Elizabeth Park) with lovely garden views, to Mahony (601 Stamps Landing) with their unbeatable Stamps Landing location.

Seafood Outdoors

Provence Marinaside; Photo Credit: Provence Marinaside

Stellar patio views continue at some outstanding seafood-focused restaurants in town. The Boathouse Restaurant (1305 Arbutus Street) offers soaring sightlines of Kits Beach, Provence Marinaside (1177 Marinaside Crescent) is situated right by the Yaletown seawall, and Papi’s Seafood and Oyster Bar (1193 Denman Street) is a go-to option for fresh oysters on the half shelf and vistas of English Bay.

Fanny Bay Oyster Bar is another great spot for shucked oysters (among other seafood items) on their newly minted 21-seat curbside patio, as is Blue Water Café (1095 Hamilton Street), a seafood destination situated in sleek Yaletown. And, don’t forget the granddaddy of seafood establishments, Joe Fortes (777 Thurlow Street) with their spectacular roof top patio for ultimate supping and sunning.

Elegant Dining on a Patio

The Roof at Black + Blue; Photo Credit: Black + Blue

Al fresco dining is particularly elevated at many of the more upscale restaurants downtown. Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar (845 Burrard Street), critically acclaimed for its culinary prowess, has created a large outdoor, heated, and covered seating area in addition to their pre-existing wrap-around patio where you can enjoy a special evening out. Not too far from Boulevard, Hawksworth Restaurant (Rosewood Hotel Georgia, 801 West Georgia Street) offers the ultimate urban patio with views of Georgia Street and the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza across the way. Their more casual sister restaurant Nightingale (1017 West Hastings Street) has set up a covered pop-up patio for enjoying one of their pizzas or other delicious bites.

Other downtown spots with inviting patios include Glowbal (590 West Georgia) that has ramped up their elegant outdoor space, Brix & Mortar (1137 Hamilton Street) with two covered patios (the courtyard one is particularly magical), and the recently reopened Tableau Bar Bistro (Loden Hotel, 1181 Melville Street) with a curbside patio and their regular always-chic patio. Vegetarian-wise, The Acorn (3995 Main Street) is incredibly excited to welcome guests on their curb-side patio.

Steakhouses are equally stylish with their patio experiences. Black + Blue (1032 Alberni Street) has a particularly lavish one: “The Roof’ is an enchanting space with sparkly fairy lights, garden installations, a pergola showpiece, and wood accents with custom millwork. The Victor (Parq Vancouver, 39 Smith Street) boasts one of the most unique patios in the city, located just by the Park’s sixth floor park space with the lights of Rogers Arena to the side. Elisa (1109 Hamilton Street), like many of the Yaletown restaurants, has a heated, covered patio for supping on one of their steak selections.

Italian Feasting Outside

Di Beppe; Photo Credit: Mark Yammine

While you’re not zipping off to Rome right now, you can can dine at Italian restaurants in the city, who are proving that pizza and pasta in the outdoors are especially delectable. For a quintessential Vancouver patio outing, visit historic Gastown where both Di Beppe (8 West Cordova Street) and Water Street Café (300 Water Street) have charming patios. Over in Yaletown, Robba Da Matti (1127 Mainland Street) has their patio overlooking the neighbourhood milieu and Capo and the Spritz (350 Davie Street) has recently launched their patio. Bufala (5395 West Boulevard) in Kerrisdale is serving up pizza on their newly constructed curbside patio.

Both of the Glowbal Group’s takes on Italian cuisine have great patios: Italian Kitchen (860 Burrard Street) features classic Italian cooking in a covered, garden-themed outdoor area, while Trattoria (1850 West 4th Avenue) has a patio ideal for fun people watching in Kits. A particular oasis in the city is at CinCin Ristorante + Bar (1154 Robson Street), where Italian cuisine soars on their heated garden terrace.

Sushi, Curries, and Noodles

Minami; Photo Credit: Minami

Unfortunately, many Asian restaurants do not have patios (make sure to pick up take-out to help them out), but there is a small contingent that do have outdoor spaces. The patio at Miku (70-200 Granville Street) could easily have appeared in the “Patios with a View” category; that’s how gorgeous the views are of Burrard Inlet from their waterfront location. Its sister restaurant Minami (1118 Mainland Street) also offers the same excellent aburi sushi in their calming garden backyard.

Meanwhile, the liveliness of southeast Asian cooking will add to your patio experiences at the many locations of Banana Leaf (various locations) where the rendang beef is rich in flavour, Do Chay (1269 Hamilton Street) who have reinvented Vietnamese cuisine from a vegan/vegetarian perspective, and The Union (219 Union Street) where their southeast Asian-inspired dishes can be enjoyed on their temporary curbside patio. If you’re craving Indian food, Tasty Indian Bistro (1261 Hamilton Street) has a modern, stylish patio for sharing curries and garlic naan.

Tacos and Tequila

Photo Credit: Lucky Taco

Sunny Mexican cuisine is particularly well suited to patio dining. A margarita and some noshing on tacos can be had at a bunch of beloved establishments in town. Lucky Taco (1685 Yew Street), just minutes from Kitsilano Beach, has a jaunty, brightly-hued patio for stand-up hanging out, in addition to their regular outdoor patio. Also in Kits, the patio of the long-running Las Margaritas (1999 West 4th Avenue) is a popular spot for enjoying helpings of chips and salsa and selections from their extensive tequila menu. Other welcoming spots with outdoor dining include the Latin American El Camino’s (3250 Main Street) with their regular and additional curbside patio and the Gastown location of Tacofino (15 West Cordova Street), which has a whimsical back alley patio (currently a two-week pop-up sandwich shop called Good Times). For elevated, yet still authentic Mexican dining, head over to Ophelia (165 West 2nd Avenue) where there are two distinct patio areas.

Casual Bites (with Craft Beer)

Romer’s Burger Bar in Kits; Photo Credit: Tara Lee

There are casual spots galore for kicking back on a patio with some appies and your favourite bevvies. Chains, like Cactus Club Café (various locations) and Earls Kitchen & Bar (locations), have gone all out with some of their patio expansions. Many of the brew/pubs also have excellent options for outdoor seating, including BREWHALL (97 East 2nd Avenue), Steamworks (375 Water Street), Strange Fellows Brewing (1345 Clark Drive), Tap & Barrel (various locations), Yaletown Brewing Company (111 Mainland Street), Craft Beer Market (Salt Building, 85 West 1st Avenue), and Pourhouse (162 Water Street).

Romer’s (1873 West 4th Avenue) has a very appealing patio set-up next to the restaurant for your burger indulgences while BeSIDEForage (1300 Robson Street) and The Flying Pig (various locations) are cranking up the comfort with their food on their patios. And finally, for a tried-and-true casual vegetarian option, The Naam Restaurant has both  heated and garden outdoor eating areas.

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