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On this heavenly West Coast, nature’s bestowed us with beauty and clean, fragrant air. And during these pandemic years, restaurant patios have helped keep us al fresco and sane.
With patio weather upon us once again, let’s review some of the best local outdoor wining, dining, socializing spaces, oft scented with eau de nature. I’m using the word patio liberally – some might very well be terraces, decks, or verandas. Point is, they are al fresco dining spaces. And I’m sure one day, science will explain why food always tastes better in fresh, outdoor air. But as you know, it does.
1931 Gallery Bistro
Where: Vancouver Art Gallery. 750 Hornby St., Vancouver
A majestic setting with the patio abutting the impressive 1906 neo-classical building and its columns. Transports you to old Europe. Lunch, brunch and dinner. For the latter, you have the option of a set menu or a la carte.
Where: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
The reward for hiking the Grouse Grind? Replace calories expended with a beer and a burger on the patio 3,700 feet up with those eyes-wide-open views to Vancouver Island, mountain peaks. and Metro Vancouver. You can, of course, ditch the Grind and take the gondola up… but no fries with your burger.
Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio
Where: 1351 Bellevue Ave., West Vancouver
The name reveals its allure. Waterfront. Part of the Grosvenor development in Ambleside, Ancora’s patio sits in the shadow of the 30-foot-high Douglas Coupland sculpture, Tree Snag, standing in the galleria between buildings.
Beach House Restaurant
Where: 150-25th St., West Vancouver
Ocean waves crash a few meters away on Dundarave Beach from this raised summer pop-up patio with striped umbrellas, surrounded by a sprawling lawn. Has all the feel of the Hamptons.
Where: 9194 Glover Rd., Fort Langley
The restaurant is in a charming vintage house, and in summer, the front yard comes alive with colorful umbrellas, diners and live music on some evenings.
Cactus Club English Bay
Where: 1790 Beach Ave., Vancouver
Only a sidewalk separates you from First Beach. You could stroll to the sand and dip your toes into English Bay between courses. As you can imagine, there is fierce competition for beach-side tables.
- Brix and Mortar courtyard patio.
Brix and Mortar
Where: 1137 Hamilton St., Vancouver
So gosh-darn romantic! It screams date night. Enchanting glass-covered courtyard patio with chandeliers and twinkly lights next to the brick heritage building. There is a lovely second patio downstairs too.
Where: 568 Beatty St., Vancouver
It’s very urban, but the 1912 heritage building the patio is attached to has character with muscular timber, brick and glass cladding. Leather banquettes and greenery softens the space.
Where: 322 West Hastings St., off alley, Vancouver
In front, at Taqueria, it’s tacos in tight space. Around back, in this hidden, thrumming back-alley patio operation, protected by a chain link fence crowned with barbed wire, there’s much more, and cocktails. Rustic.
Where: 1253 Johnston St., Vancouver
The name is a big clue to its waterside location at the Granville Island Hotel. White canopies and white furniture shimmer, as do the boats bobbing in the marina in front. A quiet getaway on busy Granville Island.
Where: 1375 Bellevue Ave., West Vancouver
It’s one of Earl’s more ambitious builds, and like Ancora down the street, the street-side patio faces Ambleside Beach with a full-on view of Burrard Inlet.
The Galley Patio and Grill
Where: 1300 Discovery St., Vancouver
At Jericho Beach, or as some say, Jerry’s Cove, this patio on the second level of the Jericho Sailing Center has a stunning panorama of ocean and mountains. Dress code? Flip flops and shorts.
Where: 1328 Hornby St., Vancouver
Amazing what a screen of greenery and flowers can do. At Giardino, they encircle a Florentine-style patio with tiles underfoot and stonework along a wall.
Where: 1505 West First Ave., Vancouver
So what if it’s a modest fish shack and very basic patio. It’s totally funky and charming having fish and chips at this fisherman’s wharf off Granville Island. Just ask Seth Rogen.
Where: 615 Seymour St., Vancouver
A calm and elegant downtown hideaway protected by lush greenery. The centerpiece in this Mediterranean-inspired space is a dramatic fireplace. DJ-energized some evenings.
- H Tasting Lounge patio.
H Tasting Lounge
Where: Westin Bayshore Hotel, 1601 Bayshore Dr., Vancouver
A luxe four-season patio. Glass domes for protective dining in winter, and in warm weather, you’re in the cooling breezes off Coal Harbor. Enjoy drinks and snacks or, if a tiny bit hungry, a Tomahawk steak.
Joe Fortes Steak and Seafood Restaurant
Where: 777 Thurlow St., Vancouver
A rooftop oasis of calm at busy Robson and Thurlow, spacious and tastefully appointed. Seafood and steaks or nibbles.
Where: 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Soaring high and overlooking Burrard Inlet, it’s like you have boarded a cruise ship. Across the inlet, Vancouver’s skyscrapers point fingers into the sky.
Where: 1118 Mainland St., Vancouver
A lovely space at the back of the restaurant, surrounded by greenery. Tables, comfortable couches, and elevated Japanese food.
Where: 15869 Croydon Dr., Surrey
Indian restaurants aren’t known for lovely patios, but it’s great, I say, to dine al fresco because the food can be intense. Sister restaurant, Vij’s, in Vancouver, also has a lovely rooftop oasis.
Pac Rim Patio
Where: Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, 1038 Canada Place, Vancouver
A summertime pop-up on the hotel plaza which will open sometime in June. Expect fire pits, umbrellas, lounge area, live music. Sip cocktails, beer or wine and order food off the Pac Rim food truck.
Reflections Garden Terrace
Where: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, 801 West Georgia St., Vancouver
Tucked away on the fourth floor, a chic, modern lounge with tapas-style dishes.
- Teahouse in Stanley Park patio.
Teahouse in Stanley Park
Where: 7501 Stanley Park Dr., Vancouver
This iconic spot with a proud heritage building never gets tired – English Bay, manicured lawn and hedges, mature garden, cooling trees, and charming, experienced servers. That’s why.
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