This hidden gem would definitely be in my top 5 Vancouver patios. The Gallery Café is a slightly unusual choice since its in the middle of downtown and therefore doesn’t have the ocean view that’s kind of a prerequisite for me when choosing a patio. But although it lacks the ocean and mountain views Vancouver is known for, its views overlooking Robson square are iconic in their own right.
Other than the lovely cityscape, there are 3 things I love about the Gallery Cafe. The first is that it really is hidden away, nestled alongside the second floor of the Art Gallery. You would miss its prominent central location if you didn’t happen to look up. The patio is beautifully landscaped with trees and flowers.
The second element that I love which greatly enhanced the ambiance is the music. Sometimes they’ll have live music, which is a real treat. The rest of the time they play classical music – which combined with the garden setting and little birds flitting about, crates a respite from the city’s hustle
and bustle below.
Thirdly, I really like the cafeteria style restaurant. The food itself I would say is… average. I don’t have any complaints, but I’m not about to rave about it either. There is a selection of salads, paninis, and desserts to choose from. I typically get the salad with
grilled chicken. They also usually have at least one tasty gluten-free dessert – I’ve tried the panna cotta, lemon mousse, and flourless chocolate cake (not all in one sitting!), and all were pretty good. Prices are reasonable, but not steals. What’s great is that the cafeteria set-up allows you to make use of this fantastic space more often. It’s not like going to a restaurant with the tipping, and reservations, and planning. You can
drop by anytime and come and go as you please, whether you’re starving, or would just like a snack, or a glass of wine or coffee. Your friends can join you, or you can bring a book. It’s casual yet sophisticated.
The Gallery Café is where I bring out of town guests, or strategically re-route dinners/lunches to with friends who normally stick to the chain circuit (Earls, Cactus Club, etc). I can’t really think of anyone who wouldn’t like the Gallery Cafe. Highly recommended – just don’t expect to be blown away by the food.