Diners on a more limited budget need not despair. Vancouver is, after all, a place where everyday people spend most of their lives. From Chinatown and Main Street to local cafés and grounded venues along Commercial Drive, South Hill and Marpole, there are countless restaurants that put hunger first without sacrificing style.
Vancouver has also taken a few cues from its US neighbor, Seattle, and stepped it up a few notches. It's a city soaked in caffeine, from its trendy coffee shops and everyday restaurants to the upscale restaurants in Yaletown.
The West End is largely residential, and the restaurant district that has sprung up here caters to these locals. Robson Street is the busiest restaurant district, and it has a few fine-dining venues that are well worth checking out.
Vancouver's authentic Chinatown doesn't house as many local Chinese as it once did. They've moved on to outlying communities. This is still where they take their families for a night out, and it remains the best place in Vancouver for Chinese cuisine, be it fine-dining on dim sum or inexpensive noodles.
The main destinations within East Vancouver are Commercial Drive, Punjabi Market and South Main Street. This area boasts an arts district with a convivial café scene as well as a few ethnic neighborhoods with great exotic cuisine.
Yaletown has blossomed into a trendy dining district with a range of posh restaurants, slick cafés and a brewery. It is also home to one of Vancouver's hippest after-hours scenes, with a few ultra-modern lounges and nightclubs. Yaletown is, by all rights, connected to the Central Business District and enjoys access to the dining options found there as well.