**I realize I've rated this restaurant quite highly and I based this on my experiences at other similar restaurants**
I was really excited when I heard that North Vancouver would be getting an East Side Mario's as I have eaten at other locations in eastern Canada and loved the food. It's unfortunate how we get skipped by many of the big name chain restaurants here in Vancouver (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Popeyes Chicken, just to name a few) don't get me wrong I don't think these kinds of places are the best form of dining but they do fill a specific niche quite well.
Anyway on to my experence at our own East Side Mario's! We had a group of about 10 on Saturday night and I failed to make reservations early in the day. Despite being fully booked for the night with multiple large party groups the owner/manager Raj went out of his way to accomodate us and we were seated in the lounge right away. As I said in the title the food is Italian American and at ESM they do it right! Large portions, plenty of tasty cheese and great flavor all at resonable prices. I ordered the stuffed mushroom caps and the classic spaghetti 'n' meatballs with a few pints of pale ale;) The mushrooms were delicious, hot and creamy with plenty of baked cheese and the spaghetti was great as well.
I forgot to mention that many of the entrees come with all you can eat garlic bread, Caesar salad (not chintzy salad either, with great dressing and lots of real bacon) and a remarkable Italian wedding soup! ESM has a fairly large menu and there honestly is something for everyone on it. A real food snob may overlook ESM but Italian American has never been about flashy/trendy cuisine, it's fairly simple great tasting comfort food that reminds you of home. I won't go into detail about all of the different dishes I have tried during previous ESM visits but I can assure you that everything I have had has more than lived up to my expectations.
To sum it up, North Vancouver's ESM is excellent, great food, fast friendly service, good prices and a clean comfortably decorated interior with a great view of the water and downtown. I think the genre of Italian American food has been tarnished somewhat by large chains like Boston Pizza,Kelsey's etc., but ESM is in a league of its own. If you are looking for a great meal out or just a quick drink at a decent price before heading out definitely give ESM a shot, you won't be disappointment. You can park for free for 2hrs in the Lonsdale Quay parking lot and ESM is just up the stairs. I think we are really lucky to have an ESM here in North Vancouver and I as well as all of my friends will definitely be back! Enjoy.