One of my favourite parts of the West End is Denman Street, which is the main artery between Coal Harbour and English Bay, connecting W. Georgia Street (just before entering the causeway through Stanley Park) to Davie Street. This is the perfect stroll for an after dinner walk, whether it’s with out of town guests, or on your own, particularly if you haven’t yet indulged in something sweet.
There is a five block stretch of Denman Street known locally as “Dessert Row”. If you can’t find something to satisfy any sweet tooth here, you’re not trying hard enough.
Starting at the corner of Haro and the east side of Denman Street is True Confections (866 Denman Street). It’s probably one of Vancouver longest run restaurant/bakeries and well deserving of its reputation as the “go to” place for amazing (and huge!) slices of cake and cheesecake of all varieties. This place will ultimately satisfy if you’re having one of those “dessert instead of dinner” kind of days, or is especially good for listening and commiserating with a girlfriend, over a massive slice of cheesecake.
Going south on Denman, still on the east side of the street, is Mondo Gelato (1094 Denman Street). This is the BEST place in Vancouver to try true homemade Italian ice cream, know as gelato. Don’t let the line-ups out the door dissuade you, especially in the heavy tourist traffic months of May through September. The number of flavour choices is amazing. They make the gelato in small batches, fresh everyday and have far too many different flavours to have all of them available, all the time, so visiting often to try different choices is fun. The best part about choosing is that you can ask for a sample of as many different flavours as you like. You can also have half scoops of different flavours; so if you only want to purchase one scoop (in a cup or a cone) you can have two flavours. Two scoops can get you four different flavours!
About half a block further down on Denman is Cookies by George (1114 Denman Street). This chain has been around for more than twenty years in Canada. It’s a good spot to grab a cookie on your way to English Bay beach. The cookies are a good value for their size and how yummy they are. Also a good place to pick up a hostess gift of gourmet cookies or a “hope you feel better soon” gift.
Directly across the street is Acacia Fillo Bar Restaurant (1103 Denman). A good place for pastries, especially fillo treats. They serve Bulgarian food and have excellent prices on breakfast and lunch items too (mostly made fillo pastries).
Across the street (back to the east side) and down a block is Cupcakes (1168 Denman Street). This is definitely my daughter’s favourite dessert destination. It was started by two local women after volunteering at Ground Zero in NYC after 9/11. They noticed how the little things, like sweet and pretty cupcakes, could brighten anyone’s day. They original storefront is the location here on Denman, but they are expanding and now have half a dozen locations in the lower mainland. Their cupcakes will not disappoint featuring many different flavours of cakes and butter cream frostings, and three different sizes. They also do full size cakes.
A few doors down is Marble Slab Creamery (1184 Denman Street). This is a great ice cream destination. A popular chain known for mixing all kinds of exotic treats into the flavour of ice cream you choose. The number of choices and add-ins is extensive.
Last but not least on our sweet little tour is Beard Papa’s, a wonderful little bakery specializing in cream puffs. Located right next door to Marble Slab, this little place should not be missed if you prefer your desserts on the less sugary side. There is usually a filling of the day flavour for the cream puffs, but the vanilla is the best. The chocolate filling is disappointedly not very chocolately. But the option of a chocolate dip on the vanilla flavour is delicious.