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doublemagnumCoal HarbourSince September 15, 200911 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (2.9)
  • Food3.5 (3.3)
  • Service2.5 (2.6)
  • Value3 (3.2)
  • Ambiance2.5 (2.6)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 Reviews Found
Jang Mo Jib Korean Restaurant1575 Robson St, Vancouver
Appalling experience - avoid this place
Submitted Sunday, December 28, 2014 - 11:00pm [Dine in]

I write many reviews of restaurants on this site as well as others. Generally I am an easy going person, understanding of "extraordinary circumstances" and pretty generous in my praise.

Until now.

I have just had the most unforgivably awful experience at Jang Mo Jib on Robson Street near Cardero in Vancouver's West End.

This place has been around for a while and is a favourite haunt of Asian students here to learn English, and a generally younger Korean crowd. I live 2 blocks away, so I've visited before, and while never overly impressed, I was never treated like this. Because I have vowed never to return, I won't give them the chance to repeat this performance.

Let's start with seating. A 15 minute estimated wait on a Sunday evening turned into 45 minutes for our party of three, during which time the host (over our objections) took an empty table of four which had just cleared, split the table in half and seated 2 couples who had arrived long after we did. Not impressed.

Now let's discuss cleanliness. We were seated in a "back room" area where the adjacent table and floor looked like the food fight scene from Animal House. Staff were sweeping food into piles at our feet as they cleared this nauseating mountain of leftovers. As for our table, we arrived to a soaking wet surface reeking of chlorine bleach. How appetizing.

On to service... We ordered three pretty simple items. One arrived fairly soon. The next was much later. The last - well we still don't know what happened to the last one, although the table seated beside us received exactly the same dish even though they had been seated 15 minutes after we arrived. By now we were well over 90 minutes into our dinner.

A server arrived to sheepishly inform us that they had made a mistake and our third dish had been "cancelled".

Enough. I informed the host at the front that in 60 years living in this city I had never had such shoddy service.

And for the first time in my life, I also informed him that we were not going to pay ANY of the bill and he could sue me.

I often browse the "Terrible" or "One Star" ratings people submit, just to see if the reviewer was a one-off crank with an axe to grind. I have dined all over the world in restaurants grand and modest. Let me assure you that this place richly deserves the drubbing I have given them above. They need to smarten up. All the ESL students in the world aren't going to save your business if you lose touch with basic customer service, hygiene and attention to detail. I sincerely hope your experience is superior to mine if you choose to go to this place. Caveat emptor.

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Sushiholic836 Denman Street, Vancouver
Our New Go-to Sushi Place
Submitted Friday, December 12, 2014 - 11:22am [Dine in]

Denman Street, like most of Vancouver, does not lack for small sushi restaurants. They seem to pop up like spring flowers, only to fade and disappear before you know it.
I hope that Sushiholic survives this "blossom and die" phenomenon, because it really deserves to based on quality and value.
Two recent visits have been very impressive.
The menu is apparently the same as their Broadway and Rupert location, and reviewers there have commented on the excellent array of special maki rolls. At only $7.95 their signature Awesome roll (a California roll of sorts topped with baked salmon and mounds of thin crunchy deep fried yam strings and a spiced mayo) is appealing to the eye, mouth and wallet all at the same time.
Other makis are also very well priced and extremely fresh.
Their nigiri choices include all the usual favourites, plus several seared and innovative combos. The majority are priced from $1.00 to $2.00 and the top end is about $3.00
Two of us shared a special maki roll, a regular maki, 6 pairs of nigiri and soup for $30. Great value and presentation. Many places will cover a huge lump of rice with a thin sliver of fish and call that nigiri. Sushiholic seems to go the other route - a relatively small rice ball topped with a very generous portion of fish or shellfish.
The ambiance is OK - this place has seen many restaurants come and go including Roosters Quarters if you remember that far back. There is a main dining area near the sushi bar, and a raised mezzanine area where most of the seating is.
Service is a bit slow at times, and they will need to add a second server if it starts to develop the kind of following that I think it deserves.
Give it a try, and I'll be interested to see if other reviewers opinions match mine.

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Adesso Bistro1906 Haro Street, Vancouver
An Italian Renaissance
Submitted Monday, February 4, 2013 - 11:45am [Dine in]

I live a short stroll from Adesso in its improbable but charming location on the lower floor of an old building on quiet, leafy Haro St. Past incarnations at this location included Delilah's, Parkside and Altro Buca.

If you scan the reviews below you will see a demarcation line that separates the older "ordinary" reviews from more recent "extraordinary" ones. It turns out that line was crossed in March 2012 when a new Chef arrived from Italy to inject sizzle into what had become a tired and disappointing dining experience.

Over a year ago I had sworn off any further visits to Adesso until a friend highly recommended it based on a recent visit. On the strength of that recommendation, six of us dined at Adesso this week. We were amazed and thoroughly impressed by the experience. It's hard to discount the unanimous praise of that many diners, given the wide variety of menu choices sampled. You know every single dish is a hit when normal conversation is replaced by a raptured chorus of "Mmmmmmmmmmmmm". The food and presentation are inspired, and none of us could find fault with any of our choices.

I'm not going to repeat the menu - that's available on Adesso's website, and frankly I doubt you could find a dud among the offerings. Selections track the seasons and avoid the boredom of an unchanging printed menu. The wine list is extensive without being overwhelming and presents some good values at reasonable prices. Gracious and friendly service was never the problem at Adesso, and the service remains excellent.

As someone who had written Adesso off, I'm happy to say I've changed my mind, and I can't wait to return.

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Closed
C Restaurant1600 Howe Street, #2, Vancouver
The kitchen still shines while the rest of the place is looking badly faded
Submitted Friday, September 30, 2011 - 11:26pm [Dine in]

Two of us had the Groupon 4 course tasting menu which (for $20 as a Groupon 1/2 price deal) was good value.

Service was attentive and smart without being snobbish.

And the food was sublime, though goodness knows how many thousands of these identical Groupon meals the kitchen must have churned out of late. Enough boredom in that routine to tax the enthusiasm of even the most committed of chefs! But there was no hint of fatigue in any of the dishes we sampled.

What was noticeably lacking, and in many cases really SAD for such a renowned restaurant in such a stellar setting, was the decrepit condition of the premises. From the rusting exterior awnings supports and chipped terracotta tile steps to the white tile dining room floor that was in need of a good mechanical cleaning and polishing, the whole place reeked of deferred maintenance and neglected attention to details.

The wooden bar top is stained and needs to be sanded down and refinished. Martini glasses behind the bar rested on a very dirty and stained looking towel. The bizarre cladding on the supporting dining room pillars ( looks like a school project made of cardboard scissor cutouts) had been damaged or caved in at the base and no attempt made to repair it. The space between the exterior window and the kitchen prep area was a hideous mess of old food and grease, all clearly and nauseatingly visible to departing diners.

I have seen this happen to too many restaurants. A steady increase in shabbiness resulting from complacency. Reputations need not only to be built but maintained, and the physical space is as important to the dining experience as what the kitchen is turning out.

C needs a facelift. Get a good interior designer in there (and a good cleaning company too) and spruce the place up a bit.

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Closed
Vina Vietnamese Cuisine851 Denman Street, Vancouver
The mystery is how it survives
Submitted Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 5:36pm [Dine in]

There was a time years ago when the various Vina locations around town were breaking ground by introducing Vancouverites to the then fairly novel idea of Vietnamese cuisine - and if memory serves they did it rather well too.

Fast forward to 2010 and although Vietnamese is not as well represented in the West End as other Asian foods, Vina is no longer alone in its genre.

Which then begs the question how their Denman Street location can keep slogging along year after tired year, unchanged, unimproved and unimpressive in every detail. Why hasn't competition put them out of their - and our- misery by now?

I stopped by for lunch recently; probably my first visit in a year or more. One thing hadn't changed - we were greeted by exactly the same overly loud Muzak-style piano music (the sort you'd hear being played in a hotel lobby or a mall by one of those grand pianos that don't need a human being sitting at them). Utterly inappropriate for such a restaurant.

The next thing we both noticed was the smell - not the smell of yummy food, but the smell of a carpet that hasn't been cleaned or replaced in a long time. Very revolting. The baseboards, chair rail adjacent to the tables, front entrance and washrooms are all filthy and in need of a good cleaning and a coat of paint. Why is this situation so prevalent among restaurants? See my recent review of Tanpopo - same filthy conditions, and I am no neat freak.

OK the lunchtime combo food is passable. Price consistent with what you get. But nothing to excite the senses or make you yearn for a return visit.

This place has a GREAT corner location! How does it keep limping along, usually 90% empty? Let someone else have a crack at this location and create a venue that has us lined up out the door and begging to return to. While we wait for that, I'm not going back to Vina....

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Tanpopo1122 Denman Street, Vancouver
Two strikes and you're out...
Submitted Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 10:46am [Dine in]

This is a follow-up to a review I submitted on Sept 15/09. At that time I complained that Tanpopo was looking very shabby, was in need of a makeover or at least a good cleaning and a coat of paint, and the food was well below the already modest standards of most AYCE sushi joints.

The other day because my party of 4 was in a hurry and because our first choice of Akira on Denman was full, we opted for Tanpopo for lunch, and despite flashbacks to my last experience I silently went along with the choice.

Bad idea.

This place is filthy. There is no other way to describe it. The floors are dirty as are the baseboards. There are dead bugs all over the window sills (the windows are dirty too). The front entrance looks like you are entering a rundown flophouse. I didn't check out the restrooms - I'd want to update my tetanus immunity before trying that.

The service is slow, chaotic and indifferent. We ordered off the regular menu - a few very basic items. They came at haphazard intervals so that the four of us basically began and finished our meals alone. I had exactly the same dish as one of my friends, with the sole exception that mine came with "tempura prawns" and his did not. Otherwise identical. His arrived 20 minutes before mine and I finally had to ask 3 servers where my meal was. It finally arrived. A mixture of 2 prawns and the rest vegetable tempura - not as described. And the excuse was that "the tempura takes a long time".

Hello? They are slinging tempura out of the kitchen of an AYCE place on a non-stop basis.

There is simply no point wasting your time, money (and possibly your health until they clean it up) going to Tanpopo. This place needs new owners, a staff training course and about $100,000 of TLC to get it up to square one.

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Closed
Taiko on Denman689 Denman Street, Vancouver
A new star in the crowded West End sushi scene
Submitted Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - 9:02pm [Dine in]

This place is locationally challenged, being at the corner of Denman and Georgia. Conventional wisdom says you don't want to site a resturant in the corner of a city where there is little walk-by traffic, and even less parking. They claim to have parking in back, but realistically this is a venue for those on foot. And being upstairs (despite the terrific 40+ seat patio) makes it all the harder to stumble upon. It's predecessor Yoshi limped along for several years then disappeared right after the Olympics. I was never a big fan of Yoshi for a number of reasons, and was worried that the former owners had done a "bait and switch" by simply changing the name.

The new format however is an AYCE, competing with Tanpopo (see my dinehere.ca review of it) and Kisha Poppo further up Davie, but in my opinion following a first visit, Taiko easily outshines them both.

Right now they are running a "Grand Opening" 20% off deal which reduces the already competitive $23.95 adult dinner AYCE tariff down to quite an affordable level.

The staff are attentive and smiling, the front of house sushi chefs (3 of them on our visit) are welcoming and enthusiastic as one would hope, and the food variety and quality was really surprisingly and refreshingly good.

Sashimi includes the usual salmon and tuna, but also singles out sockeye as an alternative to the farmed variety, and it is fresh, deep deep red and sweet. Other sashimi choices include things you don't often see on AYCE menues such as tako and hokkigai and several others. It would not be hard to imagine having an all-sashimi meal here and not being at all bored.

And the presentation is first rate. Artfully arranged on attractive glazed earthenware dishes with all the garnishes and attention to detail you would expect if paying full shot for a sashimi main dish elsewhere. Many AYCE places just slap 6or 8 pieces of sashimi on a plastic tray.

There is the usual assortment of nigiri sushi, udon and yakisoba dishes and a couple of desserts, plus a very nice assortment of robata and deep fried items, again some of which you do not see on typical AYCE menus, such as scallops.

My litmus test for a decent AYCE menu is the tempura prawns. I criticized Tanpopo's (further down Denman) as being limp, oily and soggy. Taiko's were textbook good, with delicate crunchy battering over fat juicy prawns (not shrimp masquerading as prawns).

Partly because Taiko is close to where I live, but also because I was very pleasantly surprised by the value and quality of the place, I will certainly be going back soon, and will tell my sushi-loving friends about it too.

(Oh yes, they also have a cool private tatami room that seats 12 and would be a great venue for a birthday party of similar small gathering.)

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Closed
Toyotomi Japanese Restaurant4121 Hastings St, Burnaby
Never EVER settle for the "Back Room"!
Submitted Monday, January 25, 2010 - 8:12pm [Dine in]

This is a duplicate posting to the one I left for "Toyo Tomi" (2 words) - apparently the same place is being reviewed under 2 different names, so here goes again:

Lunched at Toyo Tomi on the advice of a friend who works in the neighbourhood. All we wanted was a bento box, but the lunch hour crowd had packed the visible seats in the front of the restaurant. There was a table right by the door that was empty, but to their credit they advised us that the cold air from the front door opening and closing would make that table unpleasant. So we waited and waited, expecting that the staff was expecting one of the tables would leave as 1 pm was approaching. Instead we were finally told that a table was being set for us "in the back". Led down a long hall past the kitchen in the general direction of the bathrooms, to find ourselves in a dimly lit windowless cavern with a couple of tables (less than half of them occupied, so why the long wait at the front desk??). This was a depressing, charmless room devoid of music or any redeeming quality at all. The overhead lights were some sort of industrial vapour lamps that gave off a weak but sickly blue light - the kind that make even healthy people with tans look cadaverous. Why they have the front seating area squished into about 1/4 of the total floor space of the restaurant is quite beyond me. Whatever the reason, the experience of eating what turned out to be an otherwise tasty and fairly priced bento box in a room that only an undertaker could enjoy was just too much. I'd go back for the food and location, but I won't sit anywhere but up front. Nor should you.

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Closed
Hermitage1025 Robson Street, #115, Vancouver
A comfort food haven on trendy Robson
Submitted Monday, December 14, 2009 - 11:32pm [Dine in]

Amid all the preening and faux-chic of Robson Street, its nice to find a place to eat that serves up straightforward, reliable and tasty bistro fare in an environment that makes you feel cozy and warm.
Nope, Hermitage is not Vancouver's best French restaurant. It is certainly not Robson's trendiest eatery. But it is welcoming and unstuffy - the food is all about "comfort and joy".
If the room is "dated" as some reviewers have complained, then I'd say it is just true to its genre. The best meals I have had in Paris have been in places that haven't seen a coat of paint much less a makeover in 40 years. I find the room warm and sheltering. It's a place that you could happily waste a rainy afternoon if you had the luxury of that much spare time.
The wine list could be a bit more extensive, and less ostentatious. It's a silly vanity to list 2 vintages of Ch. Petrus at $2600+ a bottle... c'mon, who are you really kidding with that. Add another 8 or 10 decent, accessibly priced wines and the choices will come closer to matching the menu.

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Closed
Tapastree1829 Robson Street, Vancouver
My favourite neighbourhood eatery
Submitted Sunday, November 8, 2009 - 11:22am [Dine in]

When you can recite a restaurant's menu like a rosary, and never tire of some of the signature items, then its fair to describe yourself as a "regular". Guilty as charged!
I am lucky to live a 5 minute stroll from Tapastree, and from the first visit 6 years ago, I have never been disappointed. Yes its a bit noisy, but that is the sound of happy diners laughing and enjoying each others' company. Don't come here to break off an engagement and be melancholy! The single annoyance of the old smoking section on the patio, and the blast of smoky air that occurred every time a server opened the sliding door is thankfully a thing of the past, and now Tapastree is perfect for me.
OK, "perfect" is so subjective, and you can see I have not given 5 stars across the board. I don't want Francis and his friendly crew to become too complacent. There are better restaurants in Vancouver, but none to which I enjoy returning quite as much as this one.
There are always tasty new wines on the menu, and I have discovered some of my now favourite cellared wines after trying one of their by-the-glass selections.
If I had one suggestion, that would be to expand the daily features a bit. The printed menu changes infrequently, but the nature of tapas style eating ought to lend itself to more experimentation. Try adding some new specials to the blackboard - many of these "specials" never seem to change! See if the new offerings are a hit and then add them to the menu.
I can't see myself becoming jaded or bored with Tapastree, but why not mix things up a bit more? I'm dangling that elusive 5th star.... go for it.

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La Quercia3689 W 4th Ave., Vancouver
Minor irritations to an otherwise fine meal
Submitted Sunday, November 8, 2009 - 10:39am [Dine in]

I love small intimate restaurants with a buzz, and la Quercia delivers on this score. You have to admire the inventive use of space in the many long narrow storefront properties that are so typical of Vancouver neighbourhoods. Size dictates seating (tight, but not off-putting), bathroom locations (a single washroom in behind the kitchen etc.) and so on.
The menu is confined to a single sided sheet the size of a half piece of paper. It does not try to be all things to all people, instead focusing on seasonal and tasty dishes of the moment.
My companion and I had different tastes in wines and so opted for the selections by the glass, but these were quite adequate and fairly priced. The wine list itself reminded me yet again why I should spend more time learning about Italian wines. There are few clues to varietals or wine characteristics unless you already know the regions and sub-regions and what each is noted for. Had we been after a bottle I'm sure the staff would have been able to select the perfect wine.
My only complaint about la Quercia is one that I (and many other reviewers) share and that is the practice of rattling off the many daily specials verbally. Not only is the sheer volume of information you receive daunting and confusing - especially when the cuisine is unfamiliar - but our server was a woman with a fairly soft voice and a very strong Italian accent struggling to be understood over the background chatter. Combine all three of these elements, and I fear that many of the goodies on the "fresh sheet" are bypassed simply because no one can understand what they are!
Yes, there is a single blackboard listing the daily specials hanging over the kitchen, but we were seated tight against a bulkhead wall and were unaware of the blackboard until half way through our meal.
Either print a fresh sheet daily, rattle off the choices as now, but refer to the blackboard, and perhaps add a second blackboard. The specials are simply too good to risk missing out on otherwise.
I did manage to concentrate hard enough on the specials to select both a starter and a main from among them, while my companion ordered from the printed menu. All of the food was outstanding, inventive, reasonably priced and oh so tasty. I will go back for sure and update this review, but I will know enough now to listen r e a l l y closely to the specials, and seek out the blackboard!

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