Where to Have Fun in Vancouver, According to a Restaurant Design Guru
Phoebe Glasfurd is the creative mastermind behind some of Vancouver’s best restaurants. Here, she shares her favorite places to eat, drink, and explore the city
If anyone knows Vancouver’s dining and shopping scene, it’s hospitality branding pro Phoebe Glasfurd, half of prolific design firm Glasfurd and Walker. Originally from Australia, Glasfurd has spent the past decade helping restaurants and retailers with everything from interior decor to menu design.
Glasfurd loves the new Exchange Hotel, located near the waterfront. “It sits at the bottom of the old Stock Exchange building,” says Glasfurd of the hotel, Vancouver’s first LEED Platinum–certified heritage conversion.
Glasfurd & Walker with Ian Lanterman
“Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie has become a Vancouver institution,” says Glasfurd of this convivial, no-reservations Chinatown restaurant and bar she helped design. “It’s casual, busy, and with its own special charm.” Go big with dumplings, fish, and fried rice paired with cocktails. For a more subdued daytime food experience, try Caffe La Tana (pictured above) on Commercial Drive. “It’s a small but beautifully designed cafe and Italian grocer,” says Glasfurd. “Visitors can go for coffee and lunch, but the pasta is impressive enough that I sometimes take it home for dinner guests.”
Glasfurd pulls up a stool at Grapes & Soda (pictured above), Vancouver’s first natural-wine bar—which also offers cocktails and a tight list of international whiskies from Scotland to Japan. “The bar is warm and lively and the seasonal menu is impressive.”
“Neighbour in Gastown is a carefully curated selection of international brands,” says Glasfurd. “The secondhand book/magazine collection always surprises me, and I rarely visit without wanting to buy it all,” she says.
“Walking through either Pacific Spirit Regional Park or the Stanley Park Seawall (pictured at top) is an easy way to breathe the fresh air and get a small taste of the nearby Pacific Northwest rain forests without leaving the city,” says Glasfurd. “Quiet and magical—it’s a nice contrast.”