A bunch of foodies were asking on the TripAdvisor Olympics forum for some Vancouver restaurant recommendations.
Listing the proverbial favourites such as Vij's, Tojo's, C, Bishop's, West, etc. the topic eventually evolved into budget restaurant recommendations. Budget relatively speaking, of course. Not "UBC student" budget, but "Maybe we'll do Market tomorrow" budget.
There was one person who was planning to visit 20 of Vancouver's crème de la crème restaurants, yet somehow they had Stepho's on their list. So I wrote:
As a local, I don't know if I'd recommend lining up at Stepho's. It's famous because it's cheap and the portions of food are huge, but that's about it. That's why people line up - for the quantity. Don't waste your time.
My personal favourites for budget:
East is East (on Broadway in Kitsilano). A really cozy exotic atmosphere (pillows, tapestries, etc) - great smoothies and a nice selection of Indian/Afghani curries and stews which you have on a platter with rice, lentil soup, salad, or rolled up into a roti. Excellent chai (which they'll give you a sample as you walk in). Very friendly staff.
Nuba (two locations downtown) Their Gastown location is more of a sit-down where their Seymour St location is more of a take-out, but very fresh, tasty Lebanese food.
Babylon Cafe (locations on Robson & Granville and on Denman Street by English Bay). Lebanese take-out. They have arguably the best chicken shwarmas in the city!
Falafel Maison (Robson at Richards) another Lebanese take-out, smaller portions than Babylon Cafe but more authentic ingredients and run by a very friendly family. (Edit:
Japadog (hot dog stand on Smithe and Burrard ) A bit of a novelty to have a hot dog with Japanese toppings, but very tasty. A tad more expensive than your typical hot dog, but worth it.
Legendary Noodle (on Denman in the West End) A tiny hole in the wall with cozy ambiance where they make their own noodles. Not fancy, but very comforting.
Vancouver Art Gallery Cafe (at Howe and Robson) Cafeteria-style but classy with an always changing selection of hot entrees, gourmet salads, paninis, homemade sandwiches, and the best selection of fresh, homemade desserts downtown! Oh yes, they also do wine by the glass.
Burgoo (several locations) They do comfort food so well here - Kentucky burgoo with biscuits (as immortalized in my photo above), ratatouille, lamb tagine, etc. Rustic, cozy atmosphere. Best visited after being outside in the cold.
Go Fish (on the seawall around the corner from Granville Island) Sustainable seafood takeout shack (with some outdoor seating) located across from the wharf of fishing boats. The people who run Go Fish also run Bin 941 & Bin 942 tapas restaurants in Vancouver. Fish tacos, chowder, fish & chips, salmon burgers (on Portuguese buns with wasabi mayo, coleslaw, etc). Tasty stuff!
Oh, and not really "budget" but on Davie Street, consider a meal at La Brasserie for French/German food - very reasonable prices, excellent food, great staff.
Also, a trip to Vancouver would not be complete without a visit to an izakaya restaurant of which there are many.
So those were my immediate "budget" recommendations.
Knowing there will be thousands of foodies infiltrating Vancouver in, oh, a MONTH, what would you recommend for a tasty meal that won't break the bank?