By KRISTEN MORAN
Nestled in the heart of East Vancouver, Commercial Drive boasts nearly 350 shops and restaurants along a 22-block strip, but we focussed on a few blocks in the centre of the action
The delightful scents rolling out of Escents draw you in to get a better whiff. The West Vancouver company has gained international status, especially after its stress relief line was featured on The Dr. Oz Show. Find a hidden treasure at Mintage. This large vintage shop boasts a wide variety of hand-selected pieces to suit even the most fashion-forward individuals.
Paranada Traders lets you channel your inner hippie and shop for gorgeous Indian-inspired, organic clothing and accessories as the soothing music and incense-filled air relax you. Or head down on a Tuesday evening and join the djembe drum class to learn West African rhythms. Trendy Exposure Home stocks a mix of modern and vintage-inspired furnishings, making it the ideal spot to find the perfect feature piece for your house.
No place better captures the essence of the neighbourhood known as Little Italy than Caffé Roma. A recent renovation saw the addition of a brand new Italian-style bar, a full liquor licence and a new chef who studied culinary arts in Tuscany. Cassia Cupcakery makes it easier than ever to treat yourself to something sweet, with gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options in a variety of flavours. Who said vegans can’t enjoy delicious baked goods?
La Mezcaleria is Canada’s first restaurant offering small-batch mescal, tequila and cocktails from different regions of Mexico. This authentic Latin restaurant opened just last year, but it has already become a neighbourhood favourite, with nightly line-ups to prove it. The Dime boasts cheap eats ($4.95 per plate) and a laid-back vibe, making it the perfect addition to this tight-knit community.
Long-time Commercial Drive gem Lombardo’s Pizzeria & Ristorante offers mouthwatering thin-crust pizzas that are made with fresh, local ingredients and cooked in a wood oven. La Grotta Del Formaggio is a delightful little deli that serves more than just your average sandwich. Choose from an array of delicious toppings like roasted red peppers, tapenade and havarti cheese, and create an unforgettable custom-made sandwich.
Want to sample all the Italian delicacies from the neighbourhood? Sign up for the Little Italy Food Tour and nosh on food and drinks from 10 authentic eateries.