5 Patios Old and New Are Anchoring Vancouver’s Summer Snack Scene

With the start of summer arriving on Tuesday (June 21), it’s safe to say patio season is now upon us. And if there’s a silver lining to this horrible pandemic, it’s the proliferation of outdoor dining in the region. Everyone seems to be in on the action: brasseries, fine dining establishments and take-out pizzerias.

Patios even appear on public properties, such as Sasamat Street south of West 10th Avenue, Maple Street south of West 4th Avenue, and Bute Street south of Robson Street, among others. But some of the largest dining terraces remain within the premises of local restaurants. Here are five of our favorites.

Ancora’s Howe Street restaurant patio overlooks False Creek.

1600 Howe Street, Vancouver
1351 Bellevue Avenue, West Vancouver

Both locations offer stunning outdoor patios with beautiful water views. Given Ancora’s masterful harmonization of the cuisine of the seaside nations of Peru and Japan, it’s only fitting to spend this time of year outdoors munching on Ancora’s delicious sushi pizza or digging into a main dish like seafood paella. There are actually strong historical ties between Peru and Japan – many Japanese headed to South America when the racist American and Canadian governments restricted immigration after a white mob invaded Vancouver’s Chinatown and Japantown in 1907. So it’s not hard to bring the food of Peru and Japan together on one menu.

Cactus Club Cafe’s patio at its Beach Avenue location draws a crowd on glorious summer days.
Cactus Club Cafe

1790 beach avenue

There’s not much in Vancouver that can compete with the sun setting over English Bay. And nowhere is there a better view for diners than the expansive patio of the Cactus Club on Beach Avenue. Are you curious about supply chain issues in the economy? Sit down and count all the freighters in the bay. Better yet, enjoy the Bandara salad with a Polynesian margarita. It will help you forget about inflation, rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine.

1253 Johnston Street, Granville Island

This Granville Island gem offers one of the coziest seasonal patios in the area. Apart from the False Creek breeze, it doesn’t even feel like Vancouver, it’s so damn peaceful. Not surprising straight georgia readers have voted Dockside as having the best patio for Golden Plates awards in 10 consecutive years. There’s a full lunch menu, with everything from pesto chicken salad to duck leg, so what are you waiting for?

The 1931 Gallery Bistro takes diners back to a time when life was much less complicated.
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750 Hornby Street, Vancouver

Plants, sofas and stunning views of Robson Square – the tasteful minimalist patio at 1931 Gallery Bistro is a revelation for anyone visiting for the first time. How can something so quiet exist downtown? The 120-seat terrace is part of a restaurant named for its year of founding, which evokes the history of this establishment attached to the Vancouver Art Gallery. All proceeds will go to the gallery, a vital Vancouver cultural institution. It’s a great place to snuggle up after visiting VAG’s newest exhibit, Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment.

This year, Tap & Barrel was voted best patio by straight georgia readers.
Faucet and barrel

75 Athletes Road, Vancouver

There are now four Tap & Barrel slots, and according to straight georgia readers, its best patio is at the Olympic Village location, which offers great views over False Creek to downtown Vancouver. And with the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival returning to the water June 24-26, there’s no better time to chill out with lunch on this deck. If you bring a dog, be sure to sit near the fence so the dog can be leashed nearby.

Others to visit

Of course, there are many other restaurant terraces to visit in the area. Here are eight more worth checking out: Ember Indian Kitchen (135–6168 London Road in Steveston), The Vancouver Fish Company Restaurant & Bar (1517 Anderson Street, Granville Island), H Tasting Lounge (1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver), Oakridge x Pac Rim Patio pop-up (1038 Canada Place), The Roof at Black + Blue (1032 Alberni Street), Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House (777 Thurlow Street), Lift Bar Grill (333 Menchion Mews, Vancouver) and Local Public Restaurant (2210 Cornwall Ave). Good dinner !

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