From Canada Place

Canada: Vancouver travel guide | Itineraries and Highlights

To the point We take you on a journey to Vancouver, combining prestigious hotels and fine dining.

tells us about his experience in Vancouver. Here are his impressions:

My advice for great tables (or not) in Vancouver!

For those of you who don’t know me: on the one hand, imagine a super gourmand with a hypersensitive sense of smell. As a result, I exclaim “Mmm!” before a mouthful has even reached my taste buds. My nose is faster than them!

And this guy is also curious and candid: so he goes to the restaurant always unpretentious and tastes with amusement and delight all the best the visited establishment has to offer. Because yes, I almost never open the menu, I want to be surprised, amazed: at what price?! I often don’t know until after dessert.

Joking aside, I pay particular attention to service and atmosphere (I love it when a restaurant makes me feel like I’ve entered a bubble away from the world), and of course to the taste, execution and presentation of the dishes; without really knowing anything theoretical about it!

I had the great pleasure of visiting a number of restaurants that made the list of the 100 best restaurants in Canada. And also in a few places recommended by people I met along the way. I like to follow local recommendations.

  • To discover the best-rated restaurants, I often visit Canada’s 100 Best. However, I don’t preach only by this;
  • In addition, I often reserve a table, whenever possible, using the Open Table application ;
  • Finally, sometimes, when seats are very limited, I use the concierge service of my American Express Platinum Card®;
  • Otherwise, improvisation and discovery can always do the trick.

For breakfast

Café Medina

Café Medina : opened in 2008, this is a Vancouver institution.

High ceilings, open-plan kitchen and dining room flooded with natural light. The waitress recommends the fricassée (a kind of stew in a pan) which is the most popular dish on the Mediterranean-inspired menu.

And I recommend the tasty espresso! Because “life is too short for bad coffee”.

cafe medina-
cafe medina-


Chambar: Liège waffles are a Vancouver staple.

It’s when I ran into a long line at the Jam Café (which many people said I should try!), that I decided to open the door next to it. And this charming restaurant-wine bar offered exactly what I was craving: soft waffles spread with fig marmalade and salted butter caramel. Delicious.

For lunch

cactus club coal harbor

Cactus Club Coal Harbor : a local restaurant chain with a proven track record. With more than 30 branches in Canada, it was time to try it!

Chef Rob Feenie’s signature dish that I was introduced to is the butternut squash and shrimp ravioli. I’m not a big fan of shrimp… and it’s won me over! In addition, the view of the harbour and Stanley Park is quite soothing.

For a cocktail, the English Bay branch also offers a breathtaking view of the boardwalk, the beach and the sea.


Hydra: very hip, very chic. Situated in the middle of the city centre, the terrace is like an island of peace in the heart of the tumult.

When I went there in the afternoon, I was alone in this large, beautifully decorated space, and the owner was very friendly: he chatted with me, offered me a glass of bubbles and recommended a fresh watermelon salad. Simple, but perfect on a hot day.

I settled there for a few hours with my reading light, but the evening atmosphere is much more hectic, he told me.


For dinner


Miku: I’d heard it was a must for a Japanese gourmet meal. And I wasn’t disappointed.

BUT here’s the short story. Basically, there are three menu choices. I took the basic one. When I received my appetizer, I found a white hair and immediately turned the plate upside down.

Once is fine. The resumption of the entry arrives, hairless, well no! It was still served with hair. That’s it, I got all anxious, and I thought they wouldn’t believe me: but the restaurant manager was so upset that he offered to pay for the most expensive menu ($135) and all the cocktails I wanted.

What I saw before me was aburi-style sushi (flambéed with a torch on top and raw underneath, that’s the specialty), braised beef, tataki, cocktails and a matcha tea dessert.

Despite the terrible start, I left more than satisfied and without a bill!

miku menu –
miku menu –
miku menu –
miku menu –
miku menu –
miku menu –
miku menu –

Bao Bei

Bao Bei : the “or not” in the title of this chapter was unfortunately aimed at this restaurant in the heart of Chinatown, which disappointed me greatly.

Despite all the recommendations, very trendy, the place certainly offers a good menu (they are not the best dumplings!), a nice decor, good cocktails, but I had the feeling that I was not welcome. As if I was disturbing the small group of unwelcoming waiters.

so trendy bao bei –
so trendy bao bei –
so trendy bao bei –

St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence As far as food is concerned, it’s Quebecois revisited, and while well executed and tasty, it didn’t blow me away.

What impressed me most was to see chef J-C Poirier and his team bustling about the kitchen to the rhythm of a completely organic choreography; like a show where every gesture seems calculated to deliver impeccably presented plates.

I had a great time!

Savio Volpe

Savio Volpe: she’s the hostess of the St. Moritz. Lawrence recommended it to me. Definitely my favourite. I do have a weakness for Italian food!

On the one hand, Nathan’s service was extraordinary. He knew how to choose the dishes so that I could taste a nuanced range of their cuisine: tuna crudo drizzled with chives oil and creamy salad with gorgonzola and walnuts, plate of pork snacks, cannoli and pistachio gelato. Luscious!

And the pairing with a chardonnay from the Tantalus vineyards in the Okanagan: yummy.

savio volpe –
savio volpe –
savio volpe –
savio volpe –
savio volpe –
savio volpe –

Other suggestions (if you have more time): Elisa; Ask for Luigi; Torafuku; PiDGin; AnnaLena

For your spending in Vancouver’s restaurants and bars, one of these two cards will earn you 5 points per dollar spent:

Hotels in Vancouver

For me, a hotel isn’t just a hotel. So, yes, I know, it’s sometimes expensive, but when the experience is great, why not!

Being welcomed into a hotel can be like being welcomed into a friend’s home: and I make no secret of the fact that I often become friends with both the hosts and the head concierge! Visiting different hotels is for me an opportunity to discover settings, ambiences, services and ways of receiving guests, which have been designed to make their stay a great one.

For this stay, I first wanted a room with a view of the sea and the mountains: it was at the Pan Pacific that I made my choice.

Next, I wanted to take advantage of my Gold status with Marriott Bonvoy (which I earn every year with my American Express Platinum Card®), so I split time between the Westin Grand Vancouver (converted back to a Hilton hotel in 2021) and the JW Marriott Parq.

Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel

A night at the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel runs from $350 to $500; I chose a Premier Room, with a king-size bed and mountain and city views.

Located in downtown directly on Canada Place, the hotel is imposing at first sight. I felt like I was boarding a large cruise ship: the elaborately decorated interior is immense.

Everything is done very easily during the check-in, the concierge is very kind.

pan pacific hotel
pan pacific at dusk.

And the bedroom! Excuse me, the view from the bedroom. Wow.

Slanted view of the skyline, Stanley Park in the distance and the bay, with the mountains in the background. Not to mention the beauty of the sunrises and sunsets: simply magical. That’s why I liked this hotel.

Then… The pool was fine, as was the room (but nothing more for the price). Breakfast was excellent and hearty. The only complaint is the carpet in the room: an old smell (subtle, but I have a very fine nose!) that dates back to the time when cigarettes were allowed (probably)!

JW Marriott Parq Vancouver

A night at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver ranges from $450 to $800. I was upgraded to a studio suite with a king-size bed and a water view on a high floor.

Opened in 2017, the PARQ complex is located between the trendy neighbourhoods of Yaletown and Gastown, directly adjacent to BC Place Stadium. Designed by the Montreal architecture firm ACDF, the establishment houses two luxury hotels, a casino, restaurants, a gym and a spa.

No matter from what angle you look at this major project ($400 million) for the first time, it impresses! It has clearly been designed in perfect harmony with the stadium that surrounds it, following its shape.

But PARQ is also reminiscent of the natural environment surrounding Vancouver: the curved lines and very shape of the complex evoke a mountain; the glass facade impressively reflects the sky and the buildings.

I don’t know much about architecture, but it looks like a jewel to me!

jw marriott parq-

You enter a spacious lobby, under imposing chandeliers, and thanks to your reservation with American Express’ Fine Hotels and Resorts program, check-in is at noon.

Before arriving at the room, I received courteous and attentive service (velvet seat for waiting + bottle of water).

jw marriott parq – couloirs –
jw marriott parq – couloirs-
jw marriott parq – couloirs-

As soon as you step out of the elevator on floor 18, you can already feel the attention to detail in the elegant carpet and the warm, muffled lighting.

What about my Studio-suite? Beautiful. The lounge area is very spacious, furnished with a large, super-comfortable velvet sofa. A party wall stands in the center of the studio, to give a more intimate feel to the sleeping area, which includes: a TV, a very large cozy bed, a closet, a table and two stylish pink armchairs overlooking False Creek Bay.

Behind two large sliding doors, the luxurious bathroom is revealed. A marble shower, a decoration in golden colours, fine bath products. Everything was perfect.

jw marriott parq –
jw marriott parq – kohler bathtub and wine-
jw marriott parq – kohler bathtub and wine-
jw marriott parq – kohler bathtub and wine-
jw marriott parq – kohler bathtub and wine-

In order to make my experience “profitable”, but most of all very soothing, I decided to treat myself to a massage as well as to room service for dinner using the credits offered.

On the one hand, although the massage is only 50 minutes, the therapist was so efficient that it felt longer. And oh my! She offered to let me use David Beckham’s favorite massage oil!

A post-massage tea and snack service is also available in a relaxing lounge overlooking the bay.

jw marriott parq – spa-
jw marriott parq – spa : bernaby : bc stadium-
jw marriott parq – spa : bernaby : bc stadium-
jw marriott parq – spa : bernaby : bc stadium-
jw marriott parq – hypnose au coin de la rue-
jw marriott parq – hypnose au coin de la rue –
Jw Marriott Parq
Jw Marriott Parq

To read more Vancouver hotel reviews:

What to do in Vancouver?

In terms of entertainment, it’s clear that I’ve essentially taken advantage of the culinary scene in the metropolis. If you know me, I’m used to visiting and exploring more. Yes, yes. But since I could really feel the 200km of walking I had just done (Crossing of Charlevoix and several summits in Alberta), I stuck to the major attractions downtown… here they are.

English Bay and Stanley Park

Locals come to watch the sun set on English Bay beach: a long sandy heath bordered by tall grass, large stones, condo towers (!) and, above all, Stanley Park.

It is the third-largest urban park in North America and welcomes over eight million visitors a year! It’s definitely worth getting around, and getting lost; on foot or by bike.

english bay
english bay et stanley park

But one thing is certain: the sunset at the end of the peninsula of downtown Vancouver is a must-see. And why not take the opportunity to watch the full moon over the city centre at night?

lost lagoon-
lost lagoon-
lost lagoon-

Canada Place

There’s not so much to say about Canada Place, but it remains a great place to watch the skyline at sunset. During the day, you can watch many seaplanes take off and land. In addition, several emblematic sculptures can be found nearby on the promenade along the harbour.

from canada place-
From Canada Place
From Canada Place

Granville Island Public Market

If you like public markets, it’s a must! The food is very good, and above all it is possible to taste many local products. It’s the ideal place to buy souvenirs, gifts, or simply local handicrafts.

Outside, a public square has been laid out to enjoy the view of the bridges and False Creek Bay. Well, I can’t stand panpipes, so I didn’t dwell on it. But that’s just me!

granville island-
granville island-

Charleston Park

A walk in this beautiful park will allow you to enjoy the view of downtown and the various marinas of False Creek Bay. The (protected!) view of the mountains is soothing and if you are lucky (like me!) you can see seals basking on the docks.

This park is a real oasis by the sea!

spruce harbour marina –
spruce harbour marina –
spruce harbour marina –

Grouse Mountain

Looking for a getaway 15 minutes drive from downtown? Grouse Mountain is a ski and hiking area that rises to 1200 meters: it’s the top of Vancouver!

The steep, three-kilometer path to the panoramic view is quite physical: it’s called the Grouse Grind. But be warned, this is a one-way hike: you’ll have to return by cable car at a cost of $15. So all you have to do is climb the mountain and you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of Vancouver and its islands, a coffee and a lumberjack show (not my thing…).

Also, you will be able to observe two grizzly bears that have been saved from certain death, and that now live in captivity.

the grind view –
the grind view –
the grind view –

Davie Street

I’ll end on an LGBTQ+ note! Although it is very small, the “gay village” consists of one street: Davie Street. All colourful, very lively. The area seems to be booming: beautiful condo towers are going up, and restaurants and cafés are opening their doors.

Finally, a few perpendicular streets are pedestrianized and host artistic installations that are worth a linger. It’s just nice to stroll down this street that looks like Castro in San Francisco.

Leave with your points

For your flight, you can use Aeroplan points to purchase your ticket. In economy class, the flight starts at 12,500 points for a one-way trip between Montreal and Vancouver, according to the points predictor.


How do I earn Aeroplan Points? The quickest and easiest way to earn them is to sign up for a new Aeroplan co-branded credit card.

In her guide , Aline explains all the strategies you need to fill up on points.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
4.4 Milesopedia Rating
Jonathan has visited many countries, speaks three languages, and even on the phone you can hear the smile in his voice! He shares his travels made possible by credit card points and benefits.

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