Spotlight: Surrey BC Restaurants of the ‘Next Great Food Cities’

With a burgeoning culinary scene that tantalizes food enthusiasts with diverse and unique flavors, Surrey BC restaurants are earning acclaim as pillars of gastronomy in the Pacific Northwest.

You can imagine my foodie adrenalin rush when FOOD & WINE magazine named Surrey, BC, one of the seven “World’s Next Great Food Cities.”* You see, I already planned to tour Surrey BC restaurants during an upcoming International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association annual conference, commencing in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Elated to experience diverse, multicultural dining from hole-in-the-wall samosa joints to gourmet Afghan eateries, I was in full-blown foodie fever! I would discover firsthand what catapulted obscure Surrey, BC, into the international foodie limelight.

What I found in Surrey last month were restaurateurs from across the globe happy to share their food culture with me in this place they now call home.

In Canada, I learned so much about hyperlocal regional international cuisine that I want to pass on to you!

So here are the “not-to-miss” Surrey BC restaurants, in no particular order.

*Surrey, BC, was named alongside Kanazawa, Japan; Tainan, Taiwan; Puebla, Mexico; Marseille, France; Venice, Italy and La Paz, Bolivia as the World’s Next Great Food Cities.

Have you been to any of these places? Leave a comment below.

El Salvadoran Cuisine + Mexican Flavors = Guacamole Mexican Grill

short woman in hairnet smiles at the camera from across a counter with kitchen in back of this Surrey BC restaurant
Ana is the mom and pupusa artisan! | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo
close up of blue ceramic plate of corn chips with sauces and blue dish of guacamole behind
Chips and guac as good as they get! | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo
white plate with orange-ish soft taco and light-colored 'pancake' of corn tortilla with lemon slice and cabbage on the side
Birria taco of Mexican descent plated with El Salvadorian pupusa | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo

So why did I have to go to the Great White North to taste my first pupusa, a specialty of El Salvador, a Central American country south of Mexico?

“Pupusas are like pancakes stuffed with cheese and meat… there’s not much not to like,” says one of our Discover Surrey hosts, Jenny Mourad. We’re waiting for the made-to-order delicacies while eating chips and the house specialty, guacamole. The appetizer truly lives up to being the restaurant’s namesake, Guacamole Mexican Grill.

Once the pupusas arrive, they look like lefsa to my Norwegian eyes but taste savory. The yummy ground pork stuffed inside the corn tortillas is flavored with unique El Salvadoran spices. Marvin and Rosa Magana serve the El Salvador specialty food with pickled cabbage and red salsa. 

You’ll feel the love in every bite

Rosa’s mother, Ana, hand pats the corn tortillas and fills them with the savory filling. This is true “soul food”; you can feel the love put into every bite.

Marvin assures me, “Ana makes the best pupusas you’ll ever eat.” I am sure that is true for any other of the Surrey BC restaurants…or elsewhere across the globe!

A fried birria taco, a Mexican goody, came plated with my pupusa, and I wolfed them all down with a tall glass of cold horchata. Guacamole Mexico Grill offers a full bar and flan and tres leches on the dessert menu. Churros are made on Sunday!

Guacamole Mexican Grill
10671A King George Blvd
Surrey, BC

Nepalese Cuisine Meets Canadiana at Momo N Wings

10 small pinched round dumplings sit on plate at Surrey BC restaurants with slice of lemon
Momo, a Tibetan finger food | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo
black cermaic bowls holds potatoes, green peas and hunks of cauliflower
Vegetarian curry at sports bar | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey
young man in short hair gestures with hand while talking about his Surrey BC restaurants
Bikal Tiwari, owner of Momo N Wings

At Momo N Wings, this foodie tried another first: momo. Momo are Tibetan dumplings filled with chicken, meat or veggies.

The finger food—a sports-minded vegetarian’s answer to chicken wings—is steamed, not fried, but still has a crispy shell and flavorful interior.

The Nepalese cuisine is a delicious blend of Asian food with Indian flavors.

This restaurant concept is a sensation because restauranteur Bikal Tiwari has combined Nepalese cuisine with hockey and other Canadiana in a sports bar setting.

You can sip a Canuck brew like Molson Canadian while watching your fave sports (hockey, lacrosse and even American football), munching on tasty tandoori momo, Nepalese chow mein, or mixed vegetable curry.

You can also order a wide variety of saucy or spicy chicken wings, but this spot is perfect for groups of friends that include vegetarians. We loved the Mango Lassi!

Momo N Wings
7322 King George Blvd
Surrey, BC

My Shanti, Gourmet Indian Food with a Bollywood Vibe

Indian man is a blur as he mixes the next batch of cocktails at a bar with curtains of Indian fabric above
This teetotaling bartender crafts tasty cocktails | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo

The Indian-born Canadian chef Vikram Vij opened restaurants in Vancouver before launching My Shanti in South Surrey in 2014. Anthony Bourdain featured one of them in a 2008 episode of No Reservations.

Another was one of twenty featured restaurants in New York City at the 1998 James Beard Annual Gala Awards.

Food Network Canada has starred the Salzburg, Austria-trained celeb chef, who is also a certified sommelier with his own line of wines produced by Bartier Bros Vineyard & Winery from the acclaimed Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.

Okanagan Valley wine at this Surrey BC restaurant

I enjoyed the Riesling, which generally would be too sweet for my taste buds but paired perfectly with the spicy Indian cuisine.

I fell for Vij’s heavenly hot, spicy salad, Chaat, a mix of roasted eggplant, spinach, puffed rice, toasted noodles and dates with a yogurt dressing.

I was also head-over-heels for the Bollywood style décor that matched the food’s authentic flavors and colorful presentation.

My Shanti by Vikram Vij
15869 Croydon Dr
Surrey, BC
High ceilings are hung with colorful fabrics from Indian saris at one of Surrey BC restaurants
My Shanti in Surrey is decorated with fabrics and art brought from all over India | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo

Afghan Kitchen, One of My Favorite Surrey BC Restaurants

young woman in glasses wears brightly colored embroidered vest
Our server Monika sported an embroidered Afghan vest
5 dishes filled with colorful food are set closely together on a table at one of surrey BC restaurants
Food is served family style at Afghan Kitchen | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo
Tall glass of amber colored liquid topped with green nuts sits next to a stainglass candle holder in warm Mideastern motif
Chasm-E-Pista handcrafted cocktail features pistachios | UNSTOPPABLE Stacey photo

Another must-visit of the fabulous Surrey BC restaurants is Afghan Kitchen, with romantic decor expertly hidden in an unassuming strip mall.

As is customary in Afghanistan, we removed our shoes at the entry and sat on velvety cushions on traditional rugs next to low tables.* What might not be so typical in the Stans was a full bar with hand-crafted cocktails.

I had the Chasm-E-Pista crafted with orange cognac, pistachio, Earl Gray tea, lemon and vegan foam.

While we sipped pre-dinner drinks, owner Zabi Sarwari’s mother was in the kitchen, ensuring we were chock full of bolani—a flat bread stuffed with potatoes—lamb kabobs, lentil stew and Afghan rice. Just writing this makes me wish I were there now!

*Guests with mobility issues or who prefer can choose to sit at tables and chairs. 

Afghan Kitchen
16120 24 Ave #115
Surrey, BC

These outstanding Surrey BC restaurants are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg—65 similarly welcoming and delicious family-run restaurants on Surrey’s culinary Spice Trail

Read on to learn ‘Is traveling to Surrey worth it?’

Value for Price

Yes, traveling to Surrey is worth it! Surrey, BC, restaurants’ coveted location in the Fraser River delta, British Columbia’s most productive farmland, provides easy access to fresh produce.

The proximity to farmlands oftentimes eliminates the middleman and excessive transportation costs that help lower the restauranteurs’ food costs and, ultimately, menu prices. We found the pricing points fair compared to what we pay in Flagstaff or other places around the US.

Couple that with the solid US-Canadian exchange rate; traveling to Surrey, BC, for a foodie getaway doesn’t have to stretch the pocketbook.

Getting to Surrey

With so many direct flights to Vancouver, it’s not challenging to embark on a gastronomic journey exploring different cultures, flavors and innovations.

From Phoenix Skyharbor Airport, Air Canada whisked me directly to Vancouver, BC, on a three-hour, thirteen-minute flight. Hop the Canada Line from the airport (runs every ten minutes) to the Waterfront downtown. Take the Expo Line of the Sky Train from Waterfront Station to King George Station, Surrey.

It’s a quick trip when you consider the duration of flights to India, Afghanistan or even El Salvador.

Where to Stay When Discovering Surrey BC Restaurants

We stayed at the contemporary and comfortable Civic Hotel, Autograph Collection in Surrey. Our guestroom was thoughtfully designed, the Dominion Bar and Kitchen was spot-on, and the boutique hotel’s location was perfect for foodie tours of Surrey.

See the map below for more options.

Map of Surrey BC Restaurants and Hotels

Conclusion: Surrey BC Restaurants

Whether you’re a die-hard foodie or a casual diner looking for a memorable meal, Surrey BC restaurants promise an epicurean adventure, spotlighting the creativity and passion-infused in every dish and underscoring the city’s evolving food narrative.

As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

In addition, this blog, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, she will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing costs of keeping this travel blog active. Thanks for reading.

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