Linking downtown to the West End , Robson Street  holds the city’s largest concentration of eateries, ranging from Joe Fortes, one of Vancouver ’s finest seafood restaurants, to the city’s Hooters franchise. In addition to a number of fine-dining restaurants, dozens of cafés sprinkle the sidewalks with outdoor tables—perfect for people watching.
Half a block off Robson, Joe Fortes Seafood & Chophouse (777 Thurlow St., 604/669-1940, daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m., $19–46) is named after one of Vancouver’s best-loved heroes, a Caribbean-born swimming coach and lifeguard at English Bay. The comfortable interior offers elegant furnishings, bleached-linen tablecloths, a rooftop patio, and an oyster bar where you can relax while waiting for your table. At lunch, the specialty grilled fish goes for $15–20. The dinner menu is slightly more expensive, although there are usually at least a dozen different types of fish offered, most of which are under $30. Eat between 4 and 6 p.m. and pay just $28 for a three-course dinner.
An innovative menu and views across English Bay make Raincity Grill (1193 Denman St., 604/685-7337, Mon.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., daily 5–10 p.m., $17–33) an impressive choice for a meal. The menu changes with the season but always includes seafood and carefully selected local meats, such as free-range chicken from Fraser River Valley farms. Lunch entrées (the salad of scallops and spring vegetables is a particular treat) are $13–19, dinner (such as roasted bison sirloin with organic beets) is more expensive, but also more creative. Sweet treats include a tasty crabapple sorbet ($8.50).
The Chef and the Carpenter (1745 Robson St., 604/687-2700, lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily from 5 p.m., $19–28) serves up great country-French cuisine in an intimate yet relaxed atmosphere. Portions are large, but save room for the delicious desserts.
Named for a traditional Italian toast, CinCin (1154 Robson St., 604/688-7338, daily from 5 p.m., $21.50–35.50) is a Mediterranean-style restaurant with a loyal local following. The centerpiece of the dining room is a large open kitchen, with a wood-fired oven and a rotisserie in view of diners. The heated terrace fills up quickly, but is the place to watch the Robson Street  action from above. The specialty is traditional pizzas (around $16), but the oven is also used to cook dishes such as AAA cuts of beef. CinCin also does a wicked antipasto ($19.50 per person). This restaurant has been honored by dozens of awards, including for its wine list, featuring more than 300 well-priced choices.
The atmosphere at Tapastree Restaurant (1829 Robson St., 604/606-4680, daily 5–10 p.m.) is inviting and cozy, and the service faultless. But it’s the food that really shines; the tapas-only menu features choices such as vegetarian antipasto and seared tuna with Chinese mustard, which are mostly $7–15. It’s one block along Robson from Denman.
Around the corner, Café de Paris (751 Denman St., 604/687-1418, Mon.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., daily 5:30–10 p.m., $18.50–30) is an intimate yet casual city-style French bistro. Classic French main courses (don’t dare call them entrées at this very French restaurant) are under $30, but the daily three-course table d’hôte is the best value at around $40. Wines offered are almost exclusively French.