Where there is a craving for dessert, there is always an answer if you’re in downtown Vancouver. From pastry shops, to finer things in life, this is Hanson from Nosh and Nibble, and here are 7 downtown dessert destinations from every neighbourhood in the city core.
Who says you have to go to a designated dessert cafe to get some sweet indulgences? Nightingale, recently opened in the Financial District, is a sister restaurant of Hawksworth. Normally, restaurants with their small dessert menus wouldn’t make my list but the number of options at this restaurant is sizeable. I give special recommendations to the Hazulnut Financier and Strawberry Short Cake Ice Cream Sandwich. The financier had a distinct coffee after taste and the meticulous drip of the whipped espresso crème was divine. The ice cream sandwich looked to have the highest mass-to-price ratio which can also influence your dessert dilemma.
Moving onto the pastry shop side of things, Soirette boasts a French-trained pastry chef and close proximity to the seawall — both very great things to have on a date. My dessert of choice here is the Green Tea Mousse for its clean cut, differing levels of matcha, and sweet topping of a rose matcha macaron. throw in a chewy crust and you have a great layered mousse to melt into your taste buds.
Pâtisserie Für Elise
Another pastry shop (and tea salon, too) of note is Pâtisserie Für Elise. Located inside a Victorian heritage house, this is probably one of the cutest places to have dessert and tea in downtown Vancouver. It’s also close to Yaletown which makes it a great stop after dinner. Carrying on the green tea trend, I’d recommend trying the Matcha Red Bean Panna Cotta or any of the Macarons. The Panna Cotta comes in a cute and tidy jar embossed with the Pâtisserie Für Elise logo and also makes for a great gift (keep in the refrigerator).
Nice Vice Creamery
Visiting Nice Vice Creamery in Yaletown, the first thing staff will tell you is that it’s Vice Cream, not ice cream. For anyone who’s had any common dietary restrictions, vice cream is organic, and dairy, soy, allergen, GMO, and cholesterol-free. While waffle cones are an option, they also make their own gluten-free cones in-house. It’s important to keep in mind that cones have a surcharge on the ice cream whereas a cup does not. My personal favourite was the mango, pictured below.
For those later outings in need of a night-cap, Mosquito in Gastown fits the bill. With a menu that’s big on dessert (they are on the first page of the menu), this place is one-of-a-kind! If the gorgeous plating doesn’t entice you, the taste of some of these desserts will blow you away. Take for example the Strawberry Latte. This is normally a drink but here it’s a panna cotta with different layers of flavour. The right way to eat this is to take your spoon and jam into cup, letting the espresso flavour melt into hints of strawberry and meringue.
Nero Belgian Waffle Bar
Moving into the West End, the classic Nero Belgian Waffle Bar has a variety of waffles with fruit and ice cream toppings. It’s a little tight in the space, but if you can snag a spot, my favourite is the Brasilienne which comes with hazelnut crumble, caramel, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. They even have a heated patio in the winter so that waffles are never out of season!
Located on an opposite corner from Nero, Snowy Village is the second opening of the popular Korean dessert cafe. Translated as “bingsoo”, the main desserts sold here are finely shaved blocks of frozen milk topped with various toppings. The end result is a fluffy yet satisfying chilled dessert that’s great for sharing. Thank goodness there is a green tea option here as the Matcha Bingsoo is my personal favourite.