Kitsilano is a lovely little neighbourhood in Vancouver full of local restaurants, cafes, boutique shops and easy access to the water! According to Tourism Vancouver, back in the 60s, Kitsilano was considered ‘Vancouver’s hippy hangout.’ There’s a far more relaxed vibe and atmosphere in this neighbourhood which sits just over the Burrard Bridge from downtown Vancouver.
During my anniversary weekend to Vancouver this fall (2019), Mike and I found ourselves in “Kits” several times. There’s obviously *way more* than just four spots you could eat in Kitsilano but below are the four places we tried and loved when we visited this lovely neighbourhood, plus two other fun things to do.
4 Places to Eat in Kitsilano
Located at: 1864 West 4th Ave., Vancouver, B.C.
This pie shop’s exterior mural is what initially caught our eye! “I ONLY HAVE PIES FOR YOU” it reads, and as we went to grab lunch across the street at Ramen Danbo first, the eye-catching and punny Instagrammable Wall was stuck in my mind so after lunch I suggested we mosey over to the The Pie Hole for some dessert!
Inside The Pie Hole you’ll find even more fun signs and Instagrammable Walls with phrases like “STUFF YOUR PIE HOLE” and “SLICE SLICE BABY.” The Pie Hole has actually been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and it’s Kitsilano location is its third in Vancouver and Burnaby.
The shop features both sweet and savoury pies, a rotating selection from over 100 different recipes like beef bourguignon and bacon cheeseburger, or raspberry cream and sour cherry crumble.
We ordered the bacon cheeseburger savoury handpie and the slice of sour cherry crumble with vegan ice cream (apparently restaurants with vegan options is a very “Kits” thing lol). Perfect crust and flavourful fillings. We were really happy about our decision to come try pie at The Pie Hole!
Located at: 1833 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, B.C.
When in Vancouver, ya gotsta eat Japanese food and while sushi and sashimi are definite go-tos, we always make sure there’s a ramen stop on our visits.
For this visit, we tried Ramen Danbo, a tiny little soup shop we didn’t actually realize was *so* popular until we walked in 17 minutes after they opened and had to put our name on the wait list. lol. It’s just really small with maybe 20 ish seats that apparently fill up real quick! It only took maybe 10 minutes for us to get a table but but by time we sat down, there was a line-up of at last 20 people down the street!
Ramen Danbo serves “fukuoka kyushu hakata style Tonkotsu ramen” which uses thin noodles, housemade broth, original spicy tare sauce and ramen-dare soup base (full of umami). The original Ramen Danbo opened in 2000 in Japan and Vancouver was its very first location outside of the country.
What I really liked about Ramen Danbo was its customization / build your bowl style of menu. You can pick which soup base you want, at what spice levels, what type of noodles, what kind of broth thickness, noodle firmness, richness (amount of lard they put into the broth) and how much karadare umami sauce. They also have a nice lunch box set where you can also get gyoza plus a drink, white rice or an extra topping.
It’s a bustling ramen shop where the chefs are fast and servers are efficient. The broth and noodles were delicious and they have an option with all their broths that includes a more generous serving of pork (chashu-men—6 pieces of braised pork belly).
I mean, it was really good ramen and we had a lovely lunch, but I’m at a point where lining up for food isn’t really of interest so if you’d like to try, make sure you’re there RIGHT for when they open!
Located at: 2198 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, B.C.
We got some great suggestions on my social media for where to eat in Vancouver and while we tried to visit some of the recommendations, we also liked the idea of just happening upon a place as we’re walking through a neighbourhood and deciding to go in to try it! That’s what happened with Lucky’s Doughnuts in Kitsilano even though we realized after that it was a popular spot people had recommended (and we get why—delicious doughnuts!)
It’s actually called 49th Parallel Cafe & Lucky’s Doughnuts, and the coffee company came first, but man are their doughnuts popular.
These doughnuts are made from scratch daily, and were created based on the concept that really good doughnuts should be had with really good coffee.
The Old Fashioned is one of their most popular flavours and comes in a bunch of varieties including cinnamon sugar, salted caramel, vanilla, chocolate and mulberry. They also offer seasonal flavours and vegan gluten friendly doughnuts too. I found Lucky’s Doughnuts not too dense, not too sweet, and not too crumbly.
It was a really good doughnut and a really cute space.
Located at: 1947 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, B.C.
Finally, another must-eat in Kits (for us anyway) is at RedBeef Noodle Kitchen, specializing in Taiwanese noodle soups. RedBeef slow boils beef bones with Chinese spices for 12+ hours, resulting in a beautiful, beefy broth paired with perfectly cooked, tender noodles. You can get their signature, clear or spicy broth. You can also switch up the type of beef you get, or even get dry noodles!
I did find the signature broth was more flavourful than the clear broth, though we didn’t try the spicy because we were warned it’s extremely spicy (like spicy for an Asian person with high spice tolerance lol). RedBeef also serves curries and side dishes like garlic cucumber, black fungus and sliced pork (which came in a more generous helping than I was expecting from a side dish!)
It was seriously the perfect meal especially for grey Vancouver days.
Rent Pedego E-Bikes in Kitsilano
While you’re in the Kitsilano neighbourhood, consider renting Pedego Vancouver e-bikes! The store is located in Kits and isn’t far from Vancouver’s glorious ocean view bike lanes and Stanley Park Sea Wall.
We had tried the Pedego e-bikes on a recent trip to Calgary and loved it so much, we basically want to try Pedegos in all the cities we visit
We had a fun hour zipping around on these brightly coloured, effortless electric bikes that include throttle (so you literally don’t have to do any actual pedalling yourself if you don’t want to…lol).
However we didn’t get to the Sea Wall because my skirt got stuck in the bike (lol note to self and all others: while cute, probably don’t wear a long flowy skirt to go biking or e-biking…d’oh!) But Ann from Pedego was super nice about it (excellent customer service!) and we are definitely renting again when we come back to Vancouver (I *will* bike the Stanley Park Sea Wall!!)
Thanks to Pedego for letting us ride on them (I was supposed to provide a more robust social media review of our experience but it got cut short due to my poor outfit choices!) But we still had way too much fun and we took our friends who had never e-biked before—minds were blown at how far and how fast you can go with barely any pedalling lol.
My big reason for loving biking (but specifically e-biking) through a city we visit is you are able to see the city in a way you wouldn’t normally get to from a car or even from transit. With e-bikes, you get to explore even more for not much more effort lol.
Visit the #KitsWings!
Another ‘must do’ in the Kitsilano neighbourhood is get a photo with the famous ‘Kits Wings!’
These wings (according to the Internet) are inspired by bald eagles that live near Kits Beach—they’re not actually angel wings are located at the intersection of Burrard and West 4th (basically the start of all the Kitsilano fun shops and restaurants!) and is 40-feet by 25-feet. Created by artists Steve and Sandy Pell in 2017, after being approached by the West 4th Avenue Business Association, the #KitsWings have since become one of the most iconic spots to snap a photo in Vancouver.
Where we stayed during our Vancouver trip: Fairmont Waterfront
While we ended up in Kitsilano a fair bit during our stay, we also spent the rest of our time in downtown Vancouver and near the harbour, staying at the amazing Fairmont Waterfront. We had stayed here on a past visit and this time they were kind enough to upgrade us to Fairmont Gold at a media rate.
We got access to a Fairmont Gold Lounge which includes a beautiful terrace overlooking Vancouver’s harbour and city skyline. And probably the very best perk, all the complimentary food you get! Buffet breakfast, pastries, savoury snacks, hot and cold canapes, and desserts.
We just generally love staying at Fairmonts because the service is always so good, there’s nice little touches (like our shampoo, conditioner and lotion labels included my name on it!), the rooms are always so nice, and we love the Fairmont scent you’ll smell in their lobby and public areas. So nice.
I can’t wait to come back to eat and explore more of Vancouver as well as the Kitsilano neighbourhood.
I know we barely scratched the surface here (there were sooo many shops I wanted to pop into but time did not allow for this!) And stay tuned for an upcoming post with more about what we did on this Vancouver trip!
You might also be interested in my past Vancouver blog posts: