Tomahawk is a family oriented restaurant that has been serving the North Shore since 1926.
I swear these places pay to get on those food tv shows. I have better breakfast at Ricky's for sure!
Went on family day because the family wanted to try it after seeing the tv shows. Walked in and thought I was in one of those old dusty kitchy truck stops you use to have to eat in during family driving vacations. You know the kind that sell tacky plastic totem poles and t shirts? Oh wait so does this place.
There was a long wait and it was unclear who to give our name to. The owner just stood there at the cash register like he was oblivious to anything around him. It was weird. It looked old and dirty and I would not have stayed if my peeps didn't want to. I went to the bathroom and I swear I have never been in a ladies room in my life, that reeked of pee - at least not in a civilized country. Gross. The fixtures and walls were nasty old and dirty too.
We waited well over the 20 minutes we were told and then were seated without being asked at the counter! We were a family of 2 adults and 2 kids. We wanted a table. But, after being told we'd have to wait another 15 we just took it. The seats were very close together and uncomfortable.
We ordered and received our food in acceptable time which was good. The only good meal out of the 4 was the mushroom and cheese omelette. It was nicely done. Served with very lightly buttered(i,e, not enough) toast and diced hashbrowns from a bag of frozen - they were not homemade. But it was ok. Served with a plastic packet of jam.
The fish and chips were bad - the fish was rubbery and fishy, the fries good. But NOT worth close to $13. The portion was small to average. The burger was declared to be not very good and had soft rubbery back bacon on it instead of real bacon. Who really likes back bacon? No one. Again average sized burger with a smallish serving of fries. Another close to $13 ch ching. The kids grilled cheese was not very cheesy nor was it very grilled - more like toasted bread with melted cheese and a few fries for well ove $8! plus another $2.75 for a hot chocolate. . A kids meal should never be $12 off the kids menu. The entrees all came with "greens" which was a 2" square piece of lettuce.
With a couple of soft drinks and a tip, a family of four had lunch for $70!! No value there at all. We paid $80 at the Whitespot last week for dinner and the adults had booze!
Some other items like some kind of pot pie seemed to have larger servings but we thought the portion sizes were almost skimpy given the price for what we ordered.
I think they should send some "mystery diners" in to these places before the food networks pump them up because once again this place is NOTHING like what it appeared to be on TV.
Glad I went once so I know not to go back.
Heard this was going to be on Triple D and we wanted to check it out before the episode aired so off we went to check it out. I wasn't sure what to expect but it turned out to be a fun evening. A smaller room than I had expected and certainly what you'd call "rustic". Cozy too though and it appealed to me. We were seated quickly (around 7pm on a Saturday night late November) and our server was by to take drink orders quickly. Sweet young lady with a ready smile and a very polite manner. Our buddy ordered the Mixed Grill which was this monster plate of breakfast with 9 (NINE) slices of bacon! I thought he was insane and bet him he'd never finish it. Hubby ordered the slightly more modest Yukon Breakfast (with only 5 slices of bacon) (very nice bacon I might add!!!) while I had the roast beef dinner. Loaded high with mashed potatoes and veg... yum!!! Gravy over all of it. Heavenly! We all wanted pie but had no room in our tummies so we ordered slices to go and enjoyed them at home a couple of hours later.
We went back again this past weekend with some out of town friends and had had another nice evening. Same charming server and same great service. The boys mostly all had the special of soup, prime rib and chocolate cake for dessert. I had the Hot-Outta-the-Pan steak and eggs breakfast this time. A little over cooked to my liking (medium as opposed to more rare medium rare) but still very flavourful and tasty. There was silence as we all dug into our generous plates of food. It is what it is though.. it's diner food but very good diner food in my humble opinion. The boys all had a dessert and they said the chocolate cake (part of the 3 course dinner) was really good. They scraped their plates clean. Even though we hung out and chatted and caught up with each other's lives, we didn't feel rushed to leave or anything at all. The cleared the plates and left us to visit in peace. We got a cheerful "thank you" and "come again" from the whole staff when we eventually got up and yes... we will be back again soon! Must be careful to not indulge too often though... though one can never over-do bacon in my eyes, my doctor may have my hide if I go too often.
Okay, don't kid yourself. This is a diner. Don't be expecting anything other than diner food or diner service.
We came there for a late dinner one weeknight, fairly empty as expected only a couple of tables, but one large party did come in after us.
Service was suitable, we didn't have to wait long for anything and it's got quite a quirky atmosphere.
I guess the big selling point here is the organic beef? Well, it doesn't matter if it doesn't taste good.
We had the roast beef dinner and the Skookum Chief Burger, which is basically everything but the kitchen sink burger. The roast beef was surprisingly (at least to me) came in multiple thin slices. Which was dry...failing grade. But it did come with mashed potatoes and nicely done vegetables which were significantly better, above average for a diner I would say and almost as good as the casual fine dining joints.
We were really here for the burgers. Now if you're a fan of "plain" burgers, stay away from the Skookum. It comes with onions, lettuce, organic ground beef patty, Yukon bacon, egg, aged cheddar cheese, wiener, tomato ... it is impossible to fit in your mouth unless you're a mutant. The burger seems to be a bit lost in all that. Flavour-wise, it's a pretty good, if messy, meal, but as a _burger_, it's just okay. The patty and burger are a bit smaller and dryer than what you would get at Vera's and I would say Vera's makes a better burger, with much less "fluff" hiding the burger.
Might be worth checking out for the experience (I heard Bryan Adams used to wash dishes there and it has been open since 1926...), but maybe not worth the trip for the food alone. I'd drop by only if I were in the area and had a craving for diner food. I'm not sure how often that would happen ...
Heard lots about this place and all the history around it before trying it.
The food sounded great reading the menu. Giant tasty breakfasts. Organic burgers. Etc. But honestly it didn't taste that great. In particular I was dissapointed with the burger. It sounded much tastier than it was. Don't like the way they served the lettuce on it (shredded, ugh). Made what should have been a savoury greasy burger (my favourite) taste like grass. I think some people might love the burger, I certainly didn't. The breakfast dish was better but not spectacular.
The ambience you will also probably love or hate. From the outside to the inside it is fairly unique. A bit tacky. I didn't love it, but it is interesting and different and there is a lot of history. So I give high marks for being something different. Really without the building this place would not be much at all.
I'd almost give it 3 stars overall but I actually go back to 3 star restaurants. I have no urge to return so can't give it that. I might someday if convenient but no immediate plans.
When I moved to NorthVan, I looked for the famous Tomahawk a few times because friends said it was a good place to eat. I passed the building more than once but I thought it was a band council office or something because they have no signage whatsoever. I finally found it and gave it a try. I have been an occasional eater there for the last year.
The previous reviewers are both right. The breakfasts are good, if you like diner food. They are big, filling and loaded with cholesterol. Just what you need on a rainy morning. The coffee is average, and the juices are not great. The burgers are really bad, and the fries are no good. The dinners are a mixed bag. I like the fish and I hear good things about the meatloaf. I admit, I have never heard of a chicken cordon bleu burger here. They have specials on different days, so for example 2x steak night is a big event. Personally I prefer the breakfast.
Really it is hit and miss. My advice would be to stick to breakfast if that is what you came for. As for the interior, the kitschy Indian art is what it is, and is just knick knacks not a museum. The ambience is dull and dark, and there is a subtle mouldy smell. The servers seem friendly.
If you want to eat plain diner food, okay. If you want fancy, it isn't here.
As with the many reviews, it's just a diner that serves your basic breakfasts and burgers. Had the famous Yukon breakfast and not as big as I was told it would be. Having said that, I still didn't finish it leaving the toast behind. Very good with the different type of back bacon used.
Will try the burgers next time. One pet peeve is the 2 sizes of pop. Why don't they just have the large size versus making you have a choice.
Trying to relive the past, I betook myself to the Tomahawk. First, the so-called Indian Art is pretty tacky. You would think that being next door to the reserve they could get the good stuff. As to the food, if you are going to charge $10.00+ for burgers, you should have the class to use real potatoes for your fries, not frozen cardboard, especially if you're trying to sound upscale with offerings like "Chicken Cordon Bleu burgers".
my family and I tried this restaurant about a week ago. I was excited to give it a try because it was on a popular TV Food show.
We ordered the same entrees as what was shown on tv. We were dissappointed because the portions were not the same as what we saw on the TV. in actuality it was much smaller. The vegetables looked and tasted over cooked and the pastry on the meat pie was quite dry. Half of the fries on my son's plate were burnt and the sandwich that came with it lacked substance.
We were also disappointment when the waitress told us that two people cannot share an entree that each person must order a minimum $5 worth from the menu or there will be a $5 sitting charge for each individual who didn't place a qualifying order. My younger daughter has a small appetite and would normally share from her brother or sister, but this time I had to order her a whole entree and ended up taking it home and with another charge for the take out container.
I am giving a low rating for Tomahawk because:
#1 the dining area was small and cramped, it was litterally elbow to elbow seating. Not comfortable at all.
#2 the wait staff were rarely available for table service.
#3 the food quality and portion size was not worth what they charge for it
#4 we were made to feel herded in to eat, then hurried out so they could seat the waiting customers.
we will not be returning to this restaurant.
Please skip this review if you believe in the reality tv programs. However the paid out arrangment may be. This diner did a good con job to attract the dine in TV interview and the recent broadcast surged a wave of public interest. The truth remains this place is a poorly managed and run down diner. The glory days has long done and the present management has no clue nor has the desire to improve its image or its food quality.
The menu is very simple and yet the kitchen staff cannot produce even a marginal product such as eggs, bacon and even the bread. We ordered a regular campfire breakfast and a green salad and it took 1/2 hour (no exaggeration) to arrive our tabel. Although the waitress are running around like headless chicken, the owner just standing by the cash registrar looking more like a totem pole and doing nothing.The bacon was fatty, greasie and burnt. The butter on the bread not even spread evenly and the egg tasted it was made from egg powder. The salad is true to its wording and it is just a plain green salad.There were no colors, meaning tomato or other fruits and it was just plain. The price tag is $12 and you have to be senile to repeat this order. Another strange part of the service when we asked for a coffee refill. Instead to bring the coffee pot to the table, the waitress will give us two new cups of coffee and repeat the same. What a waste of effort and resources and I still try to figure out the logic of this process.
I suggest most customer has a mindset and prepare to venture to a "greasy spoon" eatery and to expect the food price is reasonable and in line with the setting. Not in this place when the food is totally unacceptable, poor service BUT you will be soaked with a 5 star $$$ restaurant price. I cannot remember when was the last time we have had such a bad experience in any eatery and including all the fast food chains.
Sadly the owner's world is his own oyster. So buyers beware that not everything you see on TV is true and I lost all the respect of the producer of the food show.
Heard alot of mixed reviews about the food/service here and decided to check it out. Well - I won't be coming back and WOULD NOT recommend to friends or anyone for that matter. The mushroom omelet ordered was so watery, that not only was the omelet soaked, but my toast was floating and seen paddling across my plate for higher ground. Wherever I've had breakfast,(let's count several countries for about 25 yrs) I don't order the hash browns, I ask for sliced tomato instead. NEVER have I been charged for the substitution and seeing as how our waitress didn't make any comment about it, the meal went on as usual. Until the bill came. They charged $3.25 for the sub. When I asked our server about it, she said that it was policy. When I brought it to the cashiers attention, his response was - tomatoes are more expensive than potatoes. Cry me a river! Then give me the equivalency in dollar value of tomato to potato and don't charge me extra. Granted he did take the amount off the bill, but $18 for an omelet and coffee is a bit steep. The service was OK, but nothing out of any ordinary. The wait for refills etc, was extended for counter service. We'll just write this off as a poor first time/last time.
Place like the iconic Tomahawk Resteraunt have become a rare bird in Greater Vancouver. Very few of the dozens of charming, offbeat independent resteraunts remain in a city that continues to morph at an alarming rate. For every joint like this one there's 30 ABC or Pantry franchises cranking out uninspired food in a charmless setting. So I really wanted to love this place, having a soft spot for the "good ol' days". This weekday morning the cafe was about half full. Its a cozy/cramped sort of room with all kinds of bric-a-brac hanging from the rafters and 50's/60's era Native "art" on the walls. Fun is a term that springs to mind. My 4 year old son seemed to enjoy the setting and the crayons and paper place mats to color as well. Problem one: Our server was overworked and couldnt give us more than cursory attention. Not bad service per se but as the saying goes: Personality goes a long way. Note to management. Problem two: Breakfast for two ( my son ate of my plate) came to $40. A couple plates of bacon/egg/pancake combos, 2 coffee and 1 apple juice is what we had. Not tons of food. Problem three: the food itself wasnt very good. Factor in the price and its a rip off, plain and simple. For heaven's sake, dont serve frozen, pebble-like hashbrowns to people when its so easy to produce fresh. Nothing here looked like it was cooked with love. Very, very average breakfast all things considered. Problem five: Our meals took near 30 minutes to get to our table. I can only assume the kitchen is understaffed as is the front of the house. Note to management: Clean up the grungey make-a-wish pond adjacent to the cash guy. There's a HUGE drowned wolf spider sprawled at the bottom of the pool. Middle Aged Ponytail Guy who works the cash register at the door seemed about as engaged in guest's experience as the wood totem poles out front. We had fun but agreed it was hardly worth a return trip and will not recommend this relic to my hungry friends. Sad really.
This restaurant has been in business since 1926 and hasn't chaged the menu in years. A great place to bring visitors as it is very interesting place with lots of history. They are famous for the huge burgers, Yukon Breakfast, Old Fashioned Shakes and Home Made Pies. We had a nice lunch with good service and for the first time very few customers which made it far more relaxing
A year or two ago, Alexandra Gill the food columnist for the Globe and Mail did a round of up best burger places in the Lower Mainland. The Tomahawk featured prominently along with a few other places.
Fast forward to Canada Day, 2011 and we found ourselves in a rented car driving over the Second Narrows bridge with the sole intention of grabbing a burger at the Tomahawk. I'm not sure what we were thinking but our plans didn't include circling the block a few times to find a parking spot--which we eventually did. The place was packed! In addition to hungry locals, there was a bus load or two of Shriners noshing down on breakfast (served all day). After a brief wait we were seated in the dining room and got to experience the Tomahawk in all of its kitchy glory. I was 10 again!
On to the food... I had a Chief Simon Baker burger and my friend had a Chief Dominic Charlie Burger. Mine had bacon, cheddar and sauteed mushrooms; his had bacon and Tomahawk special sauce. We both sprang for gravy with our fries. What gravy! Some reviewers claim it's canned--well, that's possible but it was pretty darn tasty. The burgers were moist and flavourful and tasted home made. I preferred mine to the Chief Dominic Charlie because I felt the beefiness of the patty came through more. Very, very tasty. I also had a strawberry milkshake with my burger--good but I was kinda disappointed it didn't come in the metal shake glass some places serve them to in. Anyway, long story short--it was a great burger in a great location and I will be back.
You should go.
You need to know what you're in for at the Tomahawk. The food is old school family diner. If you dont like that, dont eat here.
But every so often, a nice greasy breakfast is just what the soul needs. I generally eat very healthy, and mostly at nicer restaurants, but I grew up on Tomahawk, and I know what to expect.
If you want a great old fashion (80s style) family diner experience, this is perfect. They dont even have a liquor license.
It's kitschy, its old school, its great fun...dont expect some great culinary creations, or fancy service, its a diner. know it love it!
I'd heard about this place for years and decided to give it a try when I was coming back from hiking the Stawamus chief with a friend and we needed to load up on some protein & carbs.
The atmosphere is what it is,native figures etc...no complaints,except the two seater booths are a little cramped. Service is average and friendly enough.
The two of us ordered burgers with cheddar,bacon and I added mushrooms. Both came nicely done and pretty hefty sized,the fries were crisp and overall we were satiated.We saw a guy eating one of their famous big breakfasts and what looked to be half a loaf of bread toasted!
Came back a month later with my GF at dinner and tried their steak and mushroom pie. I enjoyed this much more and liked the large pieces of steak in it and the biscuit crust.It came with some nice grilled veggies and mash that was solid.
I'll be back to try the breakfast sometime...
From its history, recommends in guide books, and numerous awards in Northshore news, I was anticipating a Guy Fieri Triple D type experience but was disappointed. I Ioved the authentic teak, diner throw back decor left in place from a different era with chocolate bars, candies, and bubble gum for sale at the till. The breakfast was lackluster with potatoes clearly from frozen, and the unique twist: "Yukon-styled" bacon, back bacon with ample marbling, not worth the trip. Felt that it was not bad but also not worth the $11 paid. Went back a second time during a weekday for the "reader’s choice" burger and was disappointed to be paying $12 for a dainty, fast-food portioned burger that failed to live up to its chieftain-inspired name (even if the beef were organic). I agree with other reviewers in adding that the waitresses not only fail to tend to your needs, they plain outright seem to be hiding from the diners behind the prep counter which ultimately robbed me of a wonderful indulgence: washing down my greasy diner breakfast and burger with cups upon cups of weak diner coffee.
This is one of those places you remember from childhood when it was a great restaurant (or your expectations weren't as high so you thought it was great.) I went back after not going for 15 years and was in for one lousy surprise. The food was downright poor and expensive. The hashbrowns tasted like they'd been in a freezer since the moon-landing. Seriously, they were the kind you'd get at Safeway and cheaply seasoned. Its an indictment on humanity that people line up to eat here. Like Sophies Costly Cafe in Kits, only worse, this place relies only on its name.
We used to come here once a month always enjoying their burgers and breakfasts. It's been years since we've been here and twice over the past couple of months have decided try it again.
When were there for dinner we were very pleased - the burgers tasted just as great now as they did years back. Pricier but in line with other places. We were glad to see our favorites still on the menu.
When we were there for breakfast we noticed that they seemed to used an awful lot of hash browns as a filler on the plate (way more than anywhere else but unfortunately their hash browns looked and tasted like they came out of a bag, not that great. The Eggs Benedict were not bad but could have used more hollandaise sauce as they put only about 1 tablespoon of sauce over each egg.
Overall it was okay. The service was quick and friendly. We'll probably eventually go back when in the mood for a burger but not for breakfast. Over $10 for a plate of Eggs Benedict that were overloaded with not-so-good hash browns and such little sauce wasn't worth the price.
This was my second visit to the Tomahawk, as I happened to be in North Van at dinner time.
The first thing that struck the nostalgia chord was the paper place mat touting the superiority of BC. I recall having lunch at different diners during my childhood years as we traveled up and down Highway 97 to visit Grandma, and they had that same cartoon menu!
Our server was be far the best waitperson I've encountered in months. She was attentive, efficient, patient, and running the whole place by herself. Oh yeah, she gave the owner/manager some friendly sass as she hustled around, which always gets marks in my book.
I had a burger, and the girlfriend the turkey sandwich. First impressions were that the salad and chop portions were too small. The turkey was genuine pieces of roasted turkey, not "luncheon meat", and the cranberry dressing was the store bought type, which "was just like Mom would make".
Burger was tasty; the bun very fresh, and the mushrooms piping hot and garlicky.
Fortunately, the portioning was small enough that a slice of pie was in order.
Raisin was the choice, and like my Mom, the girlfriend said that she didn't like raisin pie. Not even if it was a la mode.
Then she tasted it.
Then we shared it.
All in all, a simple evening. No throbbing music, under dressed servers, or complicated foods.
Next time I'll go for breakfast.
A veritable Vancouver institution and tourist attraction, the highly aged Tomahawk looks and feels like a place out of time - highly anachronistic. Sitting down and browing the menu, taking in the decor, makes you feel like you have stepped sixty-odd years backwards.
Organic beef burgers of a myriad of sorts are the specialty, named after famous local native chiefs. 100% organic beef and fresh fixings make for some of the most unique and flavourful (not to mention large) burgers that you will ever find. Fantastic and HUGE breakfasts are also extremely plentiful and popular. This place even has its own coffee (quite good too)!
The ambience is really what creates the time-travel effect; old-style booths, various genuine native artifacts and artwork, some of it decades old, bedecks the walls. A highly visible glass-doored fridge none-too subtly presents fresh-baked goods, and the friendly and attentive staff is always giving you the sensation of being at a family member's.
I appreciate fine dining more than anything, but although this restaurant does not qualift as "fine" dining, it certainly is both special and unique.