8 best restaurants in Vancouver for a night out 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 might experience some heated discussion about where to go. One friend might want the seafood tower experience in Yaletown, while another might want tacos near Stanley Park. Whatever the case, we’re hoping Aeroplan can help you discover some hidden gems for your fantastic and fun dining adventures. Here are our 8 best restaurants for a night out with friends in Vancouver.

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

al-portoFor those of us who can’t make it to Italy anytime soon, there’s Al Porto Ristorante, a cute Italian restaurant tucked down an alleyway on the edge of Gastown. The vibe is romantic, old-school European, and they serve up traditional Italian food, with reasonably sized plates of tomato bocconcini salad, spaghetti and meatballs, and wild BC salmon. So avoid the jet lag and 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 was started by a young man who immigrated to Canada and brought along his mother’s recipes, including a secret cake recipe. When you enter, you’ll be greeted with Afghan music and asked to remove your shoes. Get cozy in one of the traditional pillow-filled seating areas in the back and 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

holycrabIf you haven’t noticed, seafood boils have become something of a trend lately. So if you’re looking for a dining experience where you don’t mind if things get a little messy, 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 serves up a pound of your favourite seafood cooked in a Cajun spice. If you’re looking to get some great Instagram captures, this is the spot to be. It’s a true seafood lover’s delight.

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

saiwooLocated in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, Sai Woo explores modernized Chinese cuisine. Owner Salli Pateman 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 such delights as the Ling Cod Fish & Chips and the Thai Curry Prawns, which will tease every one of your senses.

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

ancoraAncora Waterfront Dining is one of Vancouver’s top restaurants, and for good reason. It boasts a well-rounded menu that has a strong commitment to fresh, homegrown ingredients. Situated right on the waterfront, Ancora offers views of Granville Island and the many boats coming and going – it’s the perfect summer patio. The concept behind the menu is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian, which may seem an unlikely match, but once the food leaves your fork, you’ll understand how spectacular it is. Try the lobster chupe or the glazed sablefish, and you can’t go wrong.

Forage Vancouver
1300 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 1C5

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Forage offers sustainable, seasonal, farm-to-table fare with a focus on fine dining. Chef Chris Whittaker puts his heart and soul into every dish, serving incredible flavours and beautiful plating. We personally love the Sunday brunch and we 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, Juke Fried Chicken is a fun and casual Southern restaurant that focuses on – you guessed it – fried chicken. Inside you’ll find a decor with lots of vintage industrial touches, splashes of neon and cool wallpaper. On the menu you’ll find an assortment of fried chicken options that will fit your heart’s desire, be it strips, sandwiches or in pieces. And the best part is, the batter on their fried chicken is gluten-free. When you’re ordering sides, get the Brussels sprouts. Amazing!

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

Sports fans need good dining options too! That’s where Second Floor Eatery comes in. Located on the corner of Bute and Robson, this is the ultimate sports fan restaurant/bar. There are TVs in almost every inch of the space – even in the individual booths! For food, you can’t go wrong with the classics, like the burgers, truffle fries and wings. Also, check out their Friday live music nights!

Did we miss one of your favourite spots that you like to visit with friends? Share it with us and we’ll add it to our next Aeroplan eating adventure.