As the head chef at popular Vancouver hot spot Nightingale, Phil Scarfone is accustomed to the fine-dining experience. But while he loves the creativity and “pursuit of knowledge” in the kitchen, he’s also a guy who knows what he likes—and that includes pasta, pasta, and more pasta.

When it comes to eating out in the city, Phil cites the amazing diversity of the food, and counts everything from fried chicken and sushi to classic Italian sandwiches and ramen as some of his favourites. Here are Top 5 restaurant recommendations when hitting the town.

Marutama Ramen

Is there anything better than a big bowl of comforting ramen? At this high quality noodle shop, which originated in Japan, it’s all about authentic flavours. Homemade noodles soak up all of the goodness that the equally delicious broth has to offer, making this joint a must-try for noodle and soup lovers alike.

“Their chicken ramen is ultra-rich and stacked full of umami,” Phil raves. “The noodles are off the charts.”

 

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See more: Top Chef Canada Restaurant Guide

Phnom Penh

On the city’s east side sits this family run establishment, which hocks buzzworthy Cambodian and Vietnamese fare. The award-winning dishes have developed quite the following since the restaurant’s opening in 1982, back when it was just a little noodle shop down the street. Phil certainly counts himself among those followers.

“The chicken wings are ridiculously delicious,” he says. “Try the butter beef as well!”

La Grotta del Formaggio

High-quality products line the shelves of this upscale deli in the heart of Little Italy, where locals congregate and hungry citizens stop in for all kinds of nibbles. Phil notes that the eatery, which has been around since the late 70s, uses the same supplier as Nightingale and slices all their meat to order.

He recommends the Full Focaccia, “with extra meat, all the veggies, and no red onion.”

 

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The Downlow Chicken Shack

When it comes to hot chicken sandwiches, Phil says the medium spiced “Sando” at this popular chicken shack (which features never-frozen, hormone- and antibiotic-free poultry) is probably the best he’s ever had.

“I’ve heard their ‘Side of Milk’ is no joke,” he says. “[This place has] proper chicken and genuine hospitality from my man Doug Stephen.”

 

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The Chicken Sando with some of our Signature Pulled Ribs, only available on Thursday’s!! A necessity when hungry!

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Temaki Sushi

Vancouver boasts a slew of sushi restaurants, but when it comes to picking just one, Phil is all about Temaki Sushi. “Hilary is the sushi chef there and he’s a genuine bad-ass behind the counter,” he says. “The rice, the fish, and the seasoning are always spot on.”

Not a fan of raw fish? This spot also features a slew of elevated Japanese staples, like tempura, udon, and barbecued proteins.

Watch Top Chef Canada Mondays at 10 PM E/P on Food Network Canada.