Cardero’s large harborside patio—with its unimpeded views of Stanley Park, the Coast Mountains, and seaplanes landing just offshore—may be Vancouver’s loveliest alfresco dining spot. The food’s nothing to sneeze at, either—although you shouldn’t be fooled by the restaurant’s motto, “We Are Fish, Chops, and a Wok.” (The kitchen here also turns out excellent red-meat fare, including chops, steaks, and burgers.) Standout dishes include crispy, Chinese-style wok squid, spiced with garlic, chiles, onions, cilantro, and ginger; and wild Pacific salmon, baked on a cedar plank with soy and brown sugar. When the sun goes down and the patio temperature cools, there’s a blanket on the back of almost every chair.
Insider Tip: Check the weather forecast before you make your reservation—and plan to book a couple days in advance.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.