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DevoreVancouver (downtown)Since May 11, 201016 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (2.8)
  • Food3 (3.1)
  • Service2.5 (2.5)
  • Value3 (3)
  • Ambiance2.5 (2.4)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 Reviews Found
Golden Oscar Cafe & Restaurant3868 Rupert Street, Vancouver
HK-style diner/greasy spoon
Submitted Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 10:37am [Dine in]

It's not a fancy place, and ratings reflect the style. Definitely don't expect some high end super attentive service, and it might a while to catch someone's eye, as is typical for such an establishment. They'll take your order, bring the food and bill, and are a friendly bunch. Expect fare typical of the HK-style diner, with cheap western-chinese "fusion" dishes, with a good helping of grease. Portions are good size, too large, really, the quality of the meats is so-so. Particularly, beef brisket is about average, not too much fat, good amount of red meat. I would substitute out honey-garlic sauce for something else, like black pepper or garlic sauce, because I think they take the name a bit too literally.

Lunch menu is quite extensive, and a good sampling of the full dinner menu. Lunch specials come with the day's soup (either some kind of cream soup or chinese borsch, ie vegetable soup) and a hot or cold drink. While the soup is plain and never anything special, for drinks I recommend hot milk tea, as it is typically very good, though does vary day to day a little; sometimes it is too strong. Food can be a bit bland, but I think that's due to underuse of salt/MSG, a good thing surely! so you can salt/pepper/soy sauce to taste.

One thing of note food quality-wise, chicken steak can be somewhat undercooked sometimes, a trend I notice here recently (early 2014). Never had any issue with any of the other meats (beef brisket, short ribs, pork, fish).

In summary, a good place to hit for lunch, and good value for money. You will part with $10-11 for the specials, after taxes and tips.

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La Belle Patate1215 Davie Street, Vancouver
Promising
Submitted Monday, June 14, 2010 - 1:50am [Dine in]

With such a thin selection of Montreal eateries in Vancouver, this is certainly a welcome addition. We will see how it fares, as it is very bare bones and temporary and disposable inside.

The poutine menu is tremendous, and anyone who has visited Montreal will recall the late-night greasy hole in the walls. In the end, I went with the "plain" poutine, and a steamy. The poutine is quite generous in size, with tons of tasty gravy, and a mountain of good cheese curds. Not gourmet, but passable for western Canada. I devoured the steamy, and poked away at the fries while sitting at the open window and people watching.

You can also wash down this tasty cuisine with a bottle of La Fin du Monde, as the place is licensed, to round out the meal, and you will be bursting at the seams.

The downside? Prices are a little steep. What they charge for a steamy is criminal, but at least they are pretty decent.

I am worried about the permanency of the place, which would be sad, with great unique hangouts like the Zizane having closed some years ago. What is up with the lack of French culture in Van? Are we too snobby?

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Pho Central1161 Davie Street, Vancouver
Good Pho
Submitted Monday, June 14, 2010 - 1:25am [Dine in]

A recent addition to the neighborhood, Pho Central serves up some good Pho. The place does look a little lived in, which surprised me because I did not recall seeing it there before, just two doors down from Stephos. It is very tight, with about 8-9 tables. All 2 seaters, but can be combined for larger groups.

Back to the food. I had my usual, which is rare beef Pho. It came with a good helping of sprouts, a lemon wedge (I assume lime is not in season and at premium?) and sliced hot peppers, which is becoming a rarity. I also sprung for an iced coffee, and spring rolls. Spring rolls are also available in vegetarian. They are not the generic store bought variety, and have quite the unique taste. The dipping fish sauce comes with the shredded carrots and some pepper flakes, and is quite spicy.

The soup finally arrived, and it was a generous portion. The noodles were glumped together, and I had to tease them out. There was a good amount of green and sliced onion, and the beef slices were first rate. The broth was rich and flavorful, maybe a little too much (wink wink), but I was not particularly thirsty after, so who knows. The soup also had a copious amount of ground black pepper on top, which is something I have never seen before. If you do not like the taste of it, or don't like the spice, make sure you tell them to hold the pepper from everything.

The place also seems to do a good amount of take out business, and looked fairly popular. For now, I'm calling this the best Pho in downtown, although I have yet to try the place @ Burrard and Pacific-ish. Happy noodling.

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Asa Sushi2178 West 41 Avenue, Vancouver
Falls short
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 4:54am [Dine in]

I used to work in this Kerrisdale area for a few years, and had a chance to sample extensively the food offerings nearby. Eventually it came to be Asa's turn.

In truth, I am of two minds about the place. On the one hand, I think (most) of the food is good. I am no sushi expert, but both nigiri and rolls are adequate. It is run and staffed by Japanese people (mostly), but I do not see that reflected in the customer demographics, maybe because of the residential locale.

On the other hand, the service is terrible and the overall decor and ambiance lacking. Unlike some other reviewers, I like the open "garage door" style window during summer, and almost always seat myself at the window bar.

I particularly like the beef udon soup, it has the right balance of things I like, and tastes good. The rolls, nigiri and sashimi comes in generous portions, but not too big.

But there are many service related downsides. It often takes a while to be acknowledged when you walk in, the chef sometimes has to yell at the staff to pay attention. Return visits to check up are very rare. I have never received a soy sauce dish, and even the udon seasoning is hit and miss, I usually have to ask for it. Clean up and bill, very rare too, but that may have something to do with my sitting at the bar.

One of their strengths/excuses could have been lower prices, and indeed the prices were reasonable, but a couple months ago they raised them 10-20% across the board, and there are at least 3 other sushi options as good or better in close proximity.

They really need to clamp down on the service and hire staff that know what they are doing, because neither their location nor their prices are setting them apart.

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Cafe Truong Thanh2096 Kingsway, Vancouver
Decent
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 3:58am [Dine in]

I'd like to echo Mr C's assessment, in late hindsight ;)

This was my first Vietnamese place in Vancouver, I had just moved here, and took my car to the nearby Canadian Tire for inspection to register/license. It was going to be a 1/2 hour wait, so I decided to go down the street and visit one of the many Vietnamese places I passed on the way, being a huge fan of Pho. This was the first one, so truly a random stumble. I walked in, and felt a little out of place, as there were only Vietnamese people there, watching some sporting event on the TV (always with the TVs...).

They did not have any Pho at the time, but kindly helped me out with the menu, and I settled on a pork floss baguette, which was very delicious and inexpensive. Then I went back to Can Tire, where I was informed that my 2 week old car was indeed certifiably in fine shape, and that'll be $100 please.

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Closed
Vina Vietnamese Cuisine851 Denman Street, Vancouver
Disappointing
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 3:35am [Dine in]

Time after time I see "wholesome" ethnic food places, such as Vietnamese or Greek, go upscale. It never works. You just can't dress up the food enough straight up to justify the sticker price. It CAN work in a "fusion" setting, and there is such a place I found in my travels, in Rimouski Quebec of all places. Oh my!

Nevertheless, my craving for Pho took the better of me, and hit up Vina, it being one of the very few Vietnamese restaurants downtown.

At the time I was there, I was the only actual sit down customer there, along with two people in and out for take out. Considering this, the service was meh, but friendly (and good looking!).

Looking at the menu and sensing what I was getting into, I decided to stick to Pho, so I ordered a bowl, like usual, plain, rare steak only, no tripe no tendon. It arrived after a short time, in a sizable bowl, with a good amount of sprouts and lime, but no peppers as I recall, not that I typically throw them in anyways.

The soup was tasty enough, but not spectacular, and the beef was in sufficient quality and quantity.

It was fairly dark inside, despite it being middle of the day, but the decor came across as upscale on the cheap. I was obviously overpaying for what I was getting.

I do not see myself going there again, unless it was with 2-3 other people for a sitdown, and travel was out of the question. Otherwise, I'd go the other direction, and hit up One Saigon instead.

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One Saigon979 Hornby Street, Vancouver
Nice little place
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 3:12am [Dine in]

I don't know if I will be able to stretch it to the minimum word limit ;) but will try.

I've found this little hole in the wall only recently, after complaining about the lack of good Vietnamese places in downtown. Not surprising, it's not the type of food one would pay a lot for to justify paying rents in the area. I consider the food the epitome of cheap (the good kind): it's affordable, hot, tasty, nutritious, filling and quick.

This place is TINY. It's the width of a couple of doors, but manages to squeeze in a couple of tables and a small bar, and does good take-out business. It also seems to be open 7 days and long hours. It manages a decent ambiance for the size, with the decor, furnishings, and appropriately ethnic staff.

I have gone in there specifically after reading a review somewhere of their sandwiches/baguettes. For those wo have not tried them, they are a uniquely Vietnamese experience, a blend of local and French influence, like much of what we know as Vietnamese cuisine.

I had sandwiches at other places, but they are not the style I am used to (I moved from Calgary a few years ago). They're always too... sour? not sure what description I'm looking for.

This place gets it right for my taste buds. The sandwich buns are glazed and crispy on the outside, and perfect dough on the inside. The BBQ beef is just perfectly done, with sweet peanut sauce, shredded carrot and silantro, and, sniff, reminds me of home.

At some point I intend to also give their other items a try, I'm a huge fan of Pho, and it is actually hard to find a good soup. This may turn out to be a regular destination for me for those "working from home" days.

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Closed
Seri Malaysia Restaurant2327 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Bare bones
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 2:53am [Dine in]

Seri is a very are bones operation. The place itself is very sparsely decorated, with only some frames on the walls, and has a very unpolished and unfinished look to it. There was obviously no effort to dress it up, just some basic tables and chairs, and a counter.

The three times I have gone there for lunch, it was just one person handling the cooking, serving, clean up, and cash, although it wasn't busy, that is still a lot of work, and the service was not bad. The chef/owner was friendly and personable, and obviously takes pride in his cooking. Prices are very reasonable too, and I would certainly not pay a premium, because you're essentially just paying for cooked food served on plate.

But the secret sauce is in the food. Simply put, it's good. My favorite is the chicken curry, which is well cooked drumsticks falling off the bone, in delicious curry sauce with potatoes, and passable rice.

Unfortunately it has the makings of a short lived operation, a trial balloon perhaps, or a temporary way to make some money, so I expect it will be closing in the near future, unless the owner gets more serious about the business and marketing side of things.

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Closed
Frenchies! Montreal Smoked Meat2546 E Hastings, Vancouver
Sadly, not worth it
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 2:34am [Dine in]

I was really looking forward to the place, after being endlessly badgered and finally introduced to "real" Montreal smoked meat in Montreal, and man, was is awesome.

But this place, while long on ambiance and decor, really does not deliver. The regular staff have not a single french bone in their body, which is surprising considering the fairly large but ignored and sidelines French population here, and ranged from rude to vaguely helpful, depending who's on duty (yes, I went twice).

The "steamies" any college student could make better at home, and the toppings? Please! cheap much? The poutine was at best a cut above A&W and thoroughly mediocre. The piece de resistance, smoked meat sandwich, was actually good, but very very tiny and very expensive, I almost did a doubletake. It may be from Montreal, but that does not quadruple its price.

Go to see what the noise is about, and you won't be making it out to Montreal any time soon, but do not expect much. Their Helmcken location downtown seems to have closed down some months ago, probably not a good sign. PHAT on Mainland is better Montreal deli fare, but just barely. There's a general dearth of french food and culture in this city.

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Stepho's Greek Taverna1124 Davie St, Vancouver
It's greek food, whaddya want?
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 2:15am [Dine in]

I think Greek restaurants suffer from the same fate as some other ethnic fare, such as Vietnamese. They just don't work fancy. It's honest, down to earth food for people working the land, that's hard to dress up and stick a large price tag on.

Stepho's does it all well. They know the business they are in, and they excel at it. The food is as solid as it can be, service sparse but helpful, considering the size and density of the place, and turnover is efficient and quick, but you never feel rushed. No reservations are taken, so you do have to line up if you want in at prime times.

If you have some time to spare, it is certainly a cut above the already decent downtown Greek selections, including one right across the street. The place does not show any signs of being complacent or going downhill.

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Closed
Bowl of Stars3608 Kingsway, Vancouver
Above average
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 2:05am [Dine in]

An occasional lunch destination for me, it is a relative new addition to the neighborhood. The restaurant is fairly small, but the table spacing and decor makes it seem quite roomy. I suppose they could easily squeeze another 3-4 tables to really pack the place.

I am a fan of the rice noodle soups, have had almost all of them and they are all delicious, but cannot comment on the rice dishes. There is a decent selection of bubble tea, and it is more than passable. Being a lunch destination, we do not usually load up on appetizers, but I found their soy sauce chicken wings a pleasant surprise.

The staff is uniformly young and stylish, to go with the minimalist modern decor. They're attentive and helpful.

On the downside, everything does seem to be drenched in soy sauce, and is probably not good for your health if you are watching your salt.

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Closed
Da Rae Korean Restaurant3510 Kingsway, Vancouver
Average but dependable
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 1:53am [Dine in]

It is no frills, standard average Korean. I am always relieved to see Korean staff at a Korean restaurant, and also Korean evening customers, which to me typically signals positively.

None of the food, even the little complimentary kimchi dishes, is outstanding. Everything seems to miss the mark in some fashion according to my taste buds, although the Dol Sot Bee Beem Bob and Chicken Katsu are very solid. The kimchi is a little too salty, the kimchi hot pot a little too sour, the bul go gi soup a little too bland, the beef brisket soup has far too many mushrooms. So it is nothing special, but I would describe it as a fairly solid experience. The rice dishes come with a peppery beef soup, which is unique for me, so I cannot judge it, except that I like the taste.

The recently introduced lunch menu has lower prices and smaller portions, so that is a good way to sample.

The staff, usually just one person at the counter, is fairly attentive, and makes a couple of trips to refill tea even when it is busy. The front staff seems to change every couple of months, and sometimes language can be an issue if you have questions. The music is played quietly enough to not be obtrusive, and it's typically Korean and Japanese pop.

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Roman Ristorante3399 Kingsway, #106, Vancouver
Almost a hidden gem
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 1:33am [Dine in]

I would agree with most reviewers as to the quality of the food. The portions are generous, the food is fresh, tastes good, if a little on the bland side, and comes out reasonably quick during lunch time.

The place is very small, with only a handful of tables, and the service/owners are attentive and friendly. It is never very busy, for reasons honestly unknown to me, and they have started a bit of a marketing campaign recently including slightly cheaper lunch menu. After being such a fixture for many years, it would be a loss to see it close.

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Honolulu Cafe3340 Kingsway, #240, Vancouver
Cheao and quick
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 1:26am [Dine in]

Only really good thing about is that it is cheap and quick. They have renovated a little recently, and I think that even the quality of the food has improved, after I've spent the last couple of weeks complaining about how our regular lunch hangouts are all going downhill.

Has a good selection as typical for a cheap Hong Kong style eatery, and pretty standard fare as far as service, prices, cleanliness, taste and quality. You get what you pay for, walk in expecting nothing more.

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Gold Train Express Vietnamese Cuisine3320 Kingsway, Vancouver
Typical Vietnamese, nothing special
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 1:14am [Dine in]

A typical family-run Vietnamese restaurant, nothing fancy. Not dirty, but not particularly spotless either. It's got neon, it's got TVs, it's got tacky chairs and decor, and sticky menus, in other words: authentic.

I usually drop in there every couple of weeks for a bowl of Pho for lunch or after The Grind. The soup is good, but the beef is hit and miss. Sometimes it's very good, other times it's fatty and stringy, sometimes there's lots of it, sometimes you have to ration it. Even the soup is a little on the fatty side sometimes, although I suspect it is mostly a function of the beef.

Service is typical in such a place, nothing to write home about. You'll usually get tea/ice water when seated, rarely a follow up visit after the food is delivered. Although I have not had the other dishes there, lunch companions report it to be adequate. The spring rolls, which I have not had in quite some time, were home made and not the generic store bought type, and more Cambodian in style.

The word of the day here is: inconsistent. Even the music is hit and miss, sometimes quiet and unobtrusive, other times loud and obnoxious. Probably depends on the staff in front.

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Congee Noodle King3313 Kingsway, Vancouver
Go for the congee
Submitted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 1:03am [Dine in]

I'll keep this as short as the site allows ;)

Go for the congee, maybe some noodle soups. The non-main dish extras are ok too, like rice rolls and chinese doughnuts. Pass on the dishes, as they are very greasy and cheap, although portions are huge.

A cheap eatery, good value for the food that is good.

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