2017 was a fantastic food year if I do say so myself! I officially joined the Yelp club and moved to East Van, where the food scene is seriously next level! I traveled for work and leisure, allowing me to indulge in the NYC, LA, Tofino and Ucluelet food scenes. From peanut butter covered octopus tacos to sea urchin nachos (they did not make this list for obvious reasons), 2017 was the year I dove head first into cuisine I’d never tried before.
Here is the list of my top 13 BEST MEALS of 2017, because I couldn’t pick just 10.
Where: Downtown Vancouver, Canada
Best Time to Go: 11:30am before the rush or 1:30pm after rush
A coworker of mine introduced me to Poke Guy and my god this small and busy joint cranks out some delicious lunch break poke bowls. My go-to is the Lil Guy Poke Bowl with one scoop tuna, one scoop salmon, brown rice, with ALL the fixings. Cost: $15-20
Where: Venice Beach, Los Angeles
Best Time To Go: Ask a local
I can’t even begin to describe cheesy eggs, because nothing I say will do this incredible breakfast justice. Cheesy eggs sit on Levain toast with scallions, and white cheddar. Simple done perfect. Cost: $12.
Where: Commercial Drive, Vancouver, Canada
Best Time To Go: Weeknight after 6pm
2017 marks the year I tried Five Elements and I nearly tear up out of pure joy that this place exists and is close to my apartment. This is hands down the BEST pho I have ever had in my life, and I eat a shit ton of pho. My go-to here is the rare beef pho with extra lime and a spring roll. You won’t be disappointed. I personally crave this noodle soup on a weekly if not nightly basis. Cost: $8.50
Where: Ucluelet, Canada
Best Time To Go: Summer time, Closed for Winter
Truly a gem in the small town of Ucluelet. Raven Lady is a permanently parked food truck, with it’s very own courtyard with outside dining in the center of Ukee. You won’t miss it! The tuna taco with mango salsa – you can’t have just one. The Effingham oysters are super fresh and packed with flavor. I highly recommend the oyster poboy with beer battered rosemary salted french fries with anchovy aioli if you’re looking for a bigger meal. Cost: $15-20
Where: Kitsilano, Vancouver, Canada
Best Time to Go: Before or after your movie at 5th Ave Theatre
Novo Pizzeria and Wine Bar seems to fly under the radar. This pizza is perfect. The margarita pizza is made with a fresh tomato sauce, mozarella cheese and beautiful basil. The crust is chewy and cooked to perfection! Highly recommend ordering in or take-out. Yes, it is just as good as Via Tevere. Cost: $16
Where: Richmond Night Market, Vancouver, Canada
Best Time To Go: First week of October
I am thrilled I tried Japchae for the first time this year and I owe my thanks to my sister who knew of the dish before I did. She introduced me to it at the Richmond Night Market and I’ve been craving this noodle ever since. A great option if you’re a vegetarian! Cost: $5.00
Where: 41st Ave East, Vancouver, Canada
Best Time To Go: Every day Open 24/7 – Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night
Are you really that surprised? This is my third mention of Duffin’s on my blog, because no post is complete without mention of this gold. I am in love with this incredible old school establishment. My favorite fried chicken in the city (on par with New Orlean’s Brother’s fried chicken – which is INSANE). I’ll be lining up at Duffin’s in the next couple of weeks to get my hands on a spicy fried chicken thigh. Cost: $5.00
Where: Commercial Drive, Vancouver, Canada
Best Time To Go: Week night after 4pm
Meat on meat on meat. This sandwich bun for just $6.50 is cheap eats with your choice of cheese, meat, and toppings. My go-to is the meat bun which I request capicola, havarti, dijon, mayo, marinated eggplant, roasted red peppers, and banana peppers. Bon Appetito! Cost: $6-10
Where: Kingsway, Vancouver, Canada
Best Time To Go: 3pm after the lunchtime rush
You will be sure to find your authentic tacos at this joint! My all time favorite is their fish taco and close runner up is the lamb taco. I once ate 5 in one sitting. I also can’t get enough of their free salsa variety. If you’re a first timer, don’t be overwhelmed, go straight for the avocado salsa and the Diablo salsa. Cost: $5-10.
Where: Chinatown, Vancouver, Canada
Best Time To Go: Weekday lunch 11:30am
If there is any sandwich better than a classic grilled cheese, it’s The Tuck Shoppe’s Cubano. This sandwich is packed with flavour with pork belly, ham, melted swiss, pickles and mustard. When you take a bite, the cheese stretches from the sandwich to your lips which is cloud 9 in sandwich land. For those thinking, I bet it’s super fatty because of the pork belly, you’re wrong. I almost didn’t order it due to those same feelings, but boy am I happy I changed my mind. The sandwich does not taste fatty, it’s just super flavorful. Also, I am a sucker for potato chips and a pickle on the side. Cost: $10
Where: Victoria Drive, Vancouver, Canada
Best Time To Go: Sunday at 5pm (when it opens)
I popped my Via Tevere cherry this year and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. This pizza is truly devine. The crust is perfectly bubbled with fire charred flavorful bites. I challenge you to save one slice for leftovers. I devoured the pizza above in less than 10 minutes. Cost: $13.
Where: Tofino, Canada
Best Time To Go: Summertime (book a reso)
The Wolf in the Fog was an exceptional experience from beginning to end. I was told, prior to my travels, that I HAD to try the potato crusted oyster – this was a great life decision. My mother dislikes oysters but even this little bite of heaven convinced her otherwise. Our main was a special feature that night, the roasted red pepper bucatini. Creamy, flavorful with fresh buffalo mozzarella on top. Cost: $15-70
Where: Whistler, Canada
Best Time to Go: Winter (book a reso)
I had the pleasure of being treated to one of my all time favorite meals of 2017 at The Rimrock Cafe in Whistler, BC. I’ve always been very curious about this unassuming restaurant off the highway but never had the chance to stop in, until this winter. The food here is sensational. We had fresh shucked oysters to start, then came my sablefish with mushroom risotto and roasted vegetables, followed by the sticky toffee pudding. The BEST sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever put in my mouth. If you’re up in Whistler this season, do yourself a favor and dine at The Rimrock. Cost: $25-100