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foodiephilRichmondSince February 15, 200765 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (3)
  • Food3 (3.2)
  • Service3 (3.1)
  • Value2 (2.2)
  • Ambiance3 (3.1)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 65 Reviews Found
Gramercy Grill2685 Arbutus Street, Vancouver
An unprofessional undertone
Submitted Monday, October 17, 2011 - 7:39am [Dine in]

We arrived at 8pm with a reservation, and while the very congenial server was confirming our name, the proprietor (I saw her on the restaurant website) came over and interrupted the server, and was not very friendly at all.

This particular night, we ordered a pretty expensive bottle of wine - $150; the proprietor offered to decant it. She came over to our table with a decanter with wine already in it. She poured out the other wine into a small carafe, and poured our $150 wine into the decanter!!! Just like that!

What, you don't have a clean one? You can't rinse this one? I found it a breach of service etiquette, wine etiquette, and just plain common sense. If you plan to do that, why would you do that in plain view of the customers? And as the owner, can you wear nothing better than jeans?

Our server outside of the owner was excellent, and we enjoyed our dinners. The food was very good - but we had dishes you can make at home for less than 1/10th of what they charge. I don't mind paying for good cooking at a restaurant, but the price is way, way out of line for the things that come on your plate. One single mushroom tart - $12. Waaaaay too expensive. The beef had mashed potatoes, literally a spoonful of peas, and 1/2 of a small carrot. The portion was right, but not for $20, thanks. Maybe for about $13.

In the end, one tart, 2 roast beef, 2 pastas, 2 desserts (4 people) - no coffee or anything. It was $130 if you don't count in the wine (that was poured over other wine - sorry, I just can't quite get over it.)

I *would* have been back if only the owner or the price had been an issue - but with both, I'll save my money for someplace else.

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Tavola1829 Robson Street, Vancouver
Aggressive service
Submitted Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 9:57pm [Dine in]

When I sat down, the server sat down next to me and my dining partner to talk about the menu. I personally don't like that very much... but I can live with it. But he kept saying over and over, "Do you know what I want you to have?" "Do you know what I want you to try???" etc.

It was all about him, and not about us at all. So we went with his recommendations anyway, considering that we would have ordered more and spent more, we thought, 'ok, let's spend less, then.' So we did.

The antipasto was ho-hum, though the way the server talked about it, you'd think heaven had opened a restaurant on Earth. It wasn't *that* great, buddy.

The main WAS excellent - rabbit. It was cooked so very well - it was beautiful. And I did appreciate the wine list. I thought it was well done, and varied. The server did know his wines.

The waiter came off as very aggressive and tried to get us to order a certain amount - maybe afraid we wouldn't order all that much; we had come out with the intention of dropping some coin and eating some good food - so his strategy backfired. It left us both feeling very uncomfortable - and with no intention to return, despite the fantastic main courses. Tavola is not Vancouver's only restaurant.

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Baru Latino Restaurante2535 Alma Street, Vancouver
Nice staff, but food is thumbs down in a big way
Submitted Monday, November 15, 2010 - 1:05pm [Dine in]

3 of us arrived at Baru on a Sunday night, and the ambience was very funky and inviting. We liked the design. The bass on the music was too loud, but otherwise the dining space was nice.

We ordered a white-wine sangria, made from sauv blanc according to the server. The fruit juice overpowered the wine, so it was essentially like drinking fruit juice. They need to use a sharper sauv. blanc in my opinion.

We started with a ceviche sampler and latin chips. I've travelled fairly extensively throughout Latin America. Ceviche is fish chunks 'cooked' in sharp citric acid (lime or lemon juice), so the protein and acid provide a stark contrast; in LatAm, it is often served with a fat (i.e. mayo) to balance out the other two elements. Salt is added by the diner to taste. The ceviche at Baru had lots of shrimp in it (I can't say it's never eaten this way in LatAm, I've just never encountered it), and if there was acid present, it did not make itself known to our palates. Sashimi works in Japanese cuisine because it is generally fatty fish, palate-cleansing acid (wasabi and ginger) and salt to stimulate the tongue and enhance the fresh flavours. Baru's ceviche was essentially sashimi cubes with shrimp, without enough salt or acid. It was ok, but it wasn't excellent by any means.

The latin chips are fried tubers (cassava, yam, plaintain.) Very oily and rich. Not bad - but IMHO, the salsas did not match the starchy fat - guacamole, for instance, is from the fatty avocado. You don't put fatty starchy plaintain with fatty, starchy avocado. It doesn't balance. The other two salsas were not piquant enough on the one hand, and too smoky on the other.

Our mains - paella, duck, and lamb; the lamb was mine, but I tried the others.

The meat was done to perfection, BUT it was served in what they call "guava mojo" - which instead of being a slightly sweet, complementary sauce to enhance the lamb, was a big ladle-full of very sweet liquid poured over the whole dish and everything was sweet, sweet, sweet. I can appreciate the sweetness of a mango chutney, cherries with roast meat, apples with pork, or even tropical fruit with lamb; but it's supposed to play a counter-role to punctuate and enhance - not to overpower or drown. It was, in a word, disgusting.

This was the only meal I've ever had as an adult where I took 3 bites, and pushed the entire dish, pretty much completely uneaten, away. The food was cooked properly, but the recipe is unacceptable - completely unbalanced. One dining partner offered to trade with me his paella - I tried two bites, and couldn't go on. The only flavour was spice, so the mussels, scallops and fish were textures, not flavours. He took one bite of the lamb and pushed it away.

The duck meat was done beautifully, but the sauce with it was much like the lamb's; duck lends itself to sweet flavours, I admit, but the herbed rice they served with it (I think it was supposed to be savoury) had sucked up the sweet sauces they poured over it, and it was not a pleasant combination by any means.

I must credit the staff at Baru: they were very apologetic that I didn't like the lamb, and they bought us dessert. They were very friendly, and did a good job at making us feel welcome. They greeted us promptly, seated and served us promptly, checked on us at the right times, and saw us out the door with more apologies.

Having said that, the desserts were awfully, awfully sweet, and the total bill (without the desserts) was $160 before tip. O U C H!!!! And I didn't even eat my dinner. The value is REALLY REALLY not there.

The recipes were made by cooks, not chefs. Executed well, but completely unbalanced, unprofessional in terms of flavour profile, and not cuisine by any stretch of the imagination. But you pay cuisine prices.

Final note - after we left, 2 of the 3 of us had very uncomfortable tummies. You couldn't pay me to go back to Baru.

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Dan Japanese Restaurant2511 West Broadway, Vancouver
Hard to rate - good and uninspiring all at once
Submitted Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 8:50am [Dine in]

When we arrived at Dan, there was one other table of 4. But because one side of the restaurant was set up for a large group (who never showed up the whole time we were there - 1.5 hrs), we had to choose between being seated upstairs or at the bar. Upstairs was stifling, stifling hot and the bar wasn't much better, but we chose the bar.

We had wakame salad, cali. roll, sashimi, sushi, halibut & yam tempura, veg. tempura, egg plant, grilled smelt, chicken karaage, and duck breast. We ordered the food in waves so the salad came first, then the raw fish, then the grilled, then the fried. Service was fast, efficient, friendly, and competent.

Every order we had was better than average. Particularly, the roll had a very thin layer of rice on the outside, making it a nice, delicate dish, instead of the giant fists of rice on less refined rolls around the city. The tempura was done with barely any batter around it, but just enough to protect the inside. The chefs have skill, and each plate was beautiful and done with the right proportion of ingredients.

But.

As much as all the dishes were better than your average, none were a best example. None of them inspired awe or surprise, and there were no moments of, "Wow, is this ever good!" I believe Dan is trying to maintain sophistication through simplicity, which is a foundation of Japanese cuisine; but IMHO, you still need to have a twist. The seasoning of the food was not there... the chicken karaage was just fried chicken - nothing more, nothing less. It came with Japanese mayo for a dip. For $10. The salad was greens and a vinaigrette. Period. No seasoning, no other vegetables than arugula. For every dish, the contrasting balance element was missing. You need acid to offset fat, for example. You need sharp to offset subtle, salt with sweet, piquant with bland, and so on. The food had no contrasts, and was utterly monotonous.

So with all due respect to another poster who compared this place to more high-end, refined cuisines, I'm afraid the style of food relegates Dan to nothing more than a good neighbourhood Japanese restaurant. They charge high-end prices, mind you, so the value is just not there.

The dining space is nicely decorated, but when we were in, it was stifling hot and stuffy. We were not comfortable. This is why I gave the ambience rating a 2.

I want to like Dan. But I don't.

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Closed
Cafeteria2702 Main Street, Vancouver
We had a very nice time... I don't know if we got lucky, or...
Submitted Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 12:06am [Dine in]

A couple of the other reviews sound pretty down. We had a good meal, but maybe it was the night we went(???)

We started with bocconcini salad and mushrooms, very nicely done. We moved to tomato fennel soup, and then mains, which included a bacon-wrapped pork chop and a perch dish. They were all very nice.

We found the wine list to be quite nice, and we had a great time. The service was professional, and not pushy in any way.

I guess what I'm trying to say is we were not left wanting anything, and so it was a great dinner experience. It isn't the cheapest restaurant in town, though, I'll admit.

We enjoyed the food; the service was professional and friendly, though not *very* friendly - kind of distant friendly, like 'we are here to do our jobs, and we will do them properly' but I mean, hey, what do you want? The value is pretty much there I guess. The ambience is ok for what it is... and it is called "Cafeteria" so keep that in mind.

Well, I wouldn't run right out and go back to Cafeteria in a heartbeat, but it'll be on my list of 'try again' restaurants.

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Nirvana Indian Cuisine2313 Main Street, Vancouver
The word "Rip Off" definitely crosses my mind
Submitted Sunday, September 19, 2010 - 8:42am [Dine in]

We entered Nirvana, and ordered dinner and drinks. For $6, you get Lassi with rum, and such things. When it came to the table, it was a tiny, tiny little portion - like a water glass, but on a stem so in essence, half a glass. For $6!?

The veggie pakoras were undercooked and so mushy and a bit raw on the inside. They served it with salsa - as in Mexican chips 'n salsa salsa.

The Malai Kofta was *okay*. It wasn't amazing. The vegetable Jalfrazee was a solid mushy dish, not sophisticated in any way; something your kids could throw together from leftovers in the fridge. The naan was okay I guess. Not incredible.

The service was friendly but a bit weird... they removed our sideplates and put our cutlery directly on the uncovered table top in order to serve us our mains. Not best, I guess.

The prices are mind-blowing for what you get (i.e. $11 to $13 per dish, which is a small cafeteria bowl (ceramic, not heated metal) of food), and the food is utterly forgettable.

There's no way I'd go back.

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De Dutch Pannekoek House8031 Leslie Road, #120, Richmond
Really, really expensive for what you get
Submitted Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 11:42am [Dine in]

The Richmond location's ambience and service were just fine when we went the other day. They've updated it since I've been in there last (some years ago), and it was clean and nice.

Service was polite and competent, with a smile. They kept the coffee coming.

But for 3 pancakes, one with fruit, and two with eggs and ham, the total was over $50 (coffee is something like $3 a cup, and for three people, that puts you over $10 once you figure in HST and tip).

The pancakes were fine. The ham and eggs were fine. The fruit was melon and berries, nothing special, nothing bad. But the sticker shock on the bill was way too much to handle. The pancakes are thin, European style (crepes more than anything) and the toppings are nothing to rave about. Just ok. Starbucks prices for fast-food coffee is a bit much.

Anyway, that's my last Dutch visit, sad to say. If prices were about 1/2 of what they are, I'd be a regular, but not at $17 or $18 per person.

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Sweet Chili Cafe5438 Victoria Drive, Vancouver
Very nice dinner
Submitted Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 9:40am [Dine in]

It's important to re-iterate that this is a tiny, simple space. Comfy, but not elegant. But you are here for the food.

We had spring rolls - very nice; roti canay - a pretty small portion, but flaky and oh-so good; a salad - which I liked very much, but my dining partner thought was too thick in texture for his tastes; a red chicken curry which was good; a baked fish which was out of this world excellent; we topped it all off with turmeric rice, and it was really, really good.

We had ordered with the idea of taking 1/2 of it home for lunch the next day, but we couldn't stop eating it, so that tells you something. The food is not oily, fatty, or greasy like I've experienced at some other Indonesian places, and it's much tastier and complex than, say, Banana Leaf (not Indonesian, I know, but similar in style.)

Our total bill was around $53.

The owner, Angie, talked with us for a while and told us how she got established. Very friendly lady.

I am looking forward to going back again.

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La Brasserie1091 Davie Street, Vancouver
Unforgettable food - we need more of this in Vancouver
Submitted Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 8:47am [Dine in]

We had oysters to begin, and they were some of the best I've ever had.

We moved onto onion tart and pate, which were excellent.

We also enjoyed suckling pig, rabbit, and mushroom ragout.

The portions were just right, and the flavours were outstanding.

There were little details - like they heated the plates and cups before food service - so they are paying attention.

The dining room is pretty crowded, and though we were comfortable, the table next to us was terribly crammed in, so that we felt bad and gave them one of our tables. Well, it means this place is popular.

Our server was really tired (she told us) - and she didn't crack a single smile the whole evening, and we were a bit put out by her. At the end (tip time, you see...) she apologized, saying that normally they had 3 servers, but this night, they only had 2. I find this an unacceptable reason to be icy cold - hey, this is your job. We can understand slightly bumpy or slightly slow service if you are understaffed, but unfriendly? The other server seemed friendly enough, but alas, we weren't in her 'section' I guess.

What's more, I personally *do* find the other diners can add or detract from the experience of an outing... and whereas we dressed in collared shirts, dinner jackets, proper shoes, etc., pretty much all the other diners were uber-cazh in t-shirts and flip-flops, and what have you. This level of food merits more respect by the diners in my view. Vancouver has some of the best food on Earth, but we really lack a dining culture, and it was particularly acute at this place. Appropriate dress, people!

Anyway, La Brasserie isn't cheap by any means, but it's not a rip-off either. You pay a bit, but you get what you pay for, so it's satisfying.

We will definitely go back - but we will go early again like we did this time - for on a Monday night, buy 7pm, people were standing at the door, waiting for tables.

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Kingyo871 Denman Street, Vancouver
This can be a regular treat
Submitted Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 4:23pm [Dine in]

It is good.

The service was very helpful and friendly. Smiles, efficiency, recommendations, and please-and-thank-yous. What more can you ask for?

The food was very strong, indeed. I most particularly enjoyed the salmon sushi. I found it to be the most authentic in Vancouver, yet. Every dish that came was enjoyed by the 4 people in our party. I found one of the sashimi dishes to be a bit slimy in a sticky way, indicating to me that it could use a stronger acid counterpoint in the presentation (they do serve their sashimi on a bed of greens and vinagrette, so a sharper vinagrette would have been nice). But this is the only point to note.

We ate, and ate and ate and ate. We kept ordering this and that - fresh, grilled, meats, fish, you name it. We had a bottle of wine, too. It came to less than $170. For 4 adults who got full, with booze, that's not bad at all.

The ambience is really nice, though I'd give it a 5 if it didn't have those infernal wooden benches to sit on, and that seem to be all the rage right now. :(

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I will absolutely be back. Soon, too, I hope.

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Salt Tasting Room45 Blood Alley, Vancouver
You *pay* - no, really - you PAY for the concept, and that's about it
Submitted Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 4:07pm [Dine in]

Give me a great concept, and I'm willing to pay for it, as long as the food, wine, and service deliver.

Concept - in a reasonably simple dining space, enjoy small helpings of charcuterie, cheese, condiments (i.e. mustard, honey), and wine. You can mix and match food items, and do wines by bottles, glasses, or 2 oz. flights.
Concept = +5 points

Food - see concept; charc. & cheese - what can I say? They're cold, and obviously you serve them fresh. Not much in the way of complicated. Nothing was wrong, but the portions were uber-diminutive for the price. Actually, the portions were just right for an appy, or if you just want a snack. But the prices are full meal prices. This could work IF the concept were very unusual or the food items quite rare and the experience overall were unreplicable. But you can easily reproduce at home what they're doing here.
Food = +5 on taste, -5 on value, so 0 points

Wine - good wine list; everything's available by the glass or flight. That's hard to do at home. You get a flight of 2oz x 3 for... $15??? What? Well, $15 is pretty darned steep for 6oz. of wine - so I'm expecting something quite nice for that price. We asked the server to make recommendations, and unfortunately I didn't find his selections matched the food. I should note here that I'm a certified wine teacher, and am halfway through the WSET diploma program, so I know a thing or two about wines and pairings. I was left feeling I should have just done it myself, though I figured the server knew the food better than we did, so could have paired the wines best.
Wine = +4 on selection, -5 on value, so -1

Service - the guy was friendly and efficient, if almost a bit too chummy. He sat down with us to talk about the food order, and I don't appreciate that, but whatever. His pairings were off in my opinion. We ordered a sherry aperitif, and we'd hardly had 3 sips before he comes over to get us to order food, which we did, but comes with our wine pairings before we've finished our aperitifs. The place wasn't packed, so they didn't need to shove us through the process faster, and we weren't all that slow with the sherry either, so the experience was almost pushy, though not quite.
Service = +5 on friendly and efficient, -3 for bad pairing, -2 for aggression, so 0

The concept is really the only thing metaphorically above water, here. It's all a bit pretentious, really... and for the high price, you leave feeling you could have had a MUCH better experience somewhere else. Some grainy mustard (which I have at home) and honey (which I have at home) and some corned beef (which... ok, you get the point) don't merit the French dining prices.

I won't be back.

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Me & Julio2095 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Mickey Mouse experience
Submitted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 3:52pm [Dine in]

A Mexican buddy and I hang out a lot. We are really choosy about food, and he very much so in regards to Mexican (well, yeah.)
He says, "Hey, there's this place I heard about on Commercial that's supposedly Mexican. Wanna give it a try?" I agree, we hit it.

The service is good, at least this night - friendly, fast, and professional. No complaints.

After getting over the sticker shock of $16 tacos (um, Mexican street food? hello?), we go for the lower-priced taquitos and queso fundido.

The presentation is very Food Network - a fancy swirl of sauce on a plate here, a ramequin of corn salsa there, but not imaginative. I'm sure the chef's mom is impressed.

Under the taquitos is this swirl of brown sauce - same colour as mole - which I love. So I swipe a taquito in the sauce, put it my mouth, and...

...AARGH!!! It's Heinz BBQ sauce from a bottle. YUCK!!! And the meat has no flavour otherwise.

The cheese is very watery, and the tortilla chips (deep fried from flour tortillas in house, presumably) have been sprinkled with cayenne pepper powder.

My Mexican friend says it reminds him of Mickey Mouse food - you know, what they might serve at Disney under the Mexican banner for fun, but doesn't really have any relation to Mexican cuisine 'cuz it might scare the gringo kids.

The chef doesn't know Mexican cuisine, and doesn't know the complexity of flavours, or the fundamental methods that underlie the cuisine.

With the bill comes two pieces of Dubble Bubble.

My buddy laughs - it just confirms what he has said - that it's Mickey Mouse.

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Academic Public House, The1619 West Broadway, Vancouver
For a pub, good food and service - I'm impressed
Submitted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 3:37pm [Dine in]

We've been here 3 or 4 times. They have some pretty reasonable specials on each day of the week.

I've tried the appies, and I like everything with two caveats:
1) the spring rolls are SUPER good in my opinion
2) the skinny fries suck - they don't hold in heat because they are so skinny

The burgers are really nice. They are very much like homestyle - no little pressed paddies here. I've tried the desserts, and they were good. The pie crust on their berry pie is a bit over pasty.

The service has been very friendly and good. One time, our burgers arrived, and the appies never had. When we pointed this out, the server immediately apologized, ordered them for us, and didn't charge us for them at all.

Finally - some place in Vancouver that has good prices, good food, and good service. It encourages me to go out more often, and obviously more often to their establishment! (other places, take heed!)

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Chutney Villa Fine South Indian Cuisine147 East Broadway, Vancouver
Positively fantastic South Indian cuisine
Submitted Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 3:13pm [Dine in]

We have been here quite a number of times over the last few weeks after stumbling upon this place this fall.

The flavours are subtle and complex, rather than bombastic and sharp, like the food at some Indian restaurants.

We've tried the following, and have been pleased:
Chicken 66 (I don't know where they get the name), channa masala, dosa, murtabak (especially chicken).

You order Taali or a la carte for dinners - taali includes a few extras on the platter.

Personally, I've never had better lamb curry, and though I can't eat prawns, the sauce from the prawn curry is so aromatic that I want to dive right in.

For me, I enjoy this place mostly because the food is prepared fresh. Not very much comes from cans, though I suspect the crab meat for the crab and coconut appetizer might (though I'm just guessing here).

We enjoy the service, and we love the coffee pouring show at the end of the meal, though $3.00 for a small coffee is a bit much.

The prices aren't low, but the quality is there, so hope they keep it up.

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Tandoori Kona11700 Cambie Road, #170, Richmond
Not too bad
Submitted Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 2:50pm [Dine in]

We went here last week. The service was polite and efficient, so no complaints there, although it wasn't amazing, either.

We had chicken tikka masala, chicken korma, rice biryani, salad, and naan.

The chicken korma was super delicious - very savoury, very creamy. The flavours were deep and scrumptious.
The chicken tikka was ok. It didn't hold a candle to the korma, and I thought this dish was a bit too oily.
The rice biryani was no good in my opinion. It was overly sloppy, and was essentially rice mixed with some peas, stirred in with some of the same sauce used for the tikka masala, even though 'biryani' is the Persian word for fried, and Indians have adopted this Persian dish. Most Indian restaurants do a nice job, but Tandoori Kona was not up to this task.

The salad consisted of old vegetables. The naan was good.

Well, it's in Richmond, and so am I, so I guess I'd go back at some point to try the other dishes. I prefer Pisces, but Tandoori Kona has a wider selection.

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Axum1279 East Hastings St., Vancouver
Tasty food would have been excellent if it hadn't been cold
Submitted Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 10:42am [Dine in]

Based purely on the rave reviews on here, we went to Axum all the way from Steveston.

We were the only customers in the place from beginning to end. The server/cook/cleaner/(owner?) was very friendly and warm, and helpful with the menu.

After ordering, we heard the beep-beep-beep of microwave buttons and a microwave door open and close several times. For me, this is a bit of a put-off - I can nuke some stuff at home - I don't need to pay a restaurant for that. But I decided to reserve judgement until we had a chance to taste the food. And, the server did fry the chicken and mushroom dishes fresh in a pan, because the main part of the kitchen is inside the dining area. So that was good.

The injera was beautiful, served on a lovely artisanal platter - but the plates were all cold, rendering the food cold almost right from the word go. Even though the chicken dish and the mushroom dish came on cast-iron skillets, they were nothing close to hot - they were maybe luke-warm at best.

We ordered a dish of portobello mushrooms, carrots, and spices, but the mushrooms were just button mushrooms, not portobellos. They were delicious, nonetheless (if too cold). I was promised lime with some perrier, I got lemon. No big deal - but to be fair, if you are running a restaurant and you offer (x) you must serve (x) - not (y). That's all.

Would I go back? Hmm...
If I were in the neighbourhood, I would. I would recommend if you live nearby to give it a try. But we didn't have the AMAZING experience that other reviewers seem to have had. I've had better Ethiopian on Commercial, and Nyala is much better, although Nyala is WAY more expensive.

After ordering a lot of food and being completely stuffed, we paid $34.00 including tax for two. So it is a heck of a good deal, I'll give you that.

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Rodney's Oyster House1228 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
We left angry
Submitted Monday, November 30, 2009 - 10:56am [Dine in]

Having a meeting at 8pm in Yaletown, we needed something quick. A friend suggested oysters - fast and easy.

We arrived around 7pm for our first time at Rodney's, and were seated immediately.

The menu did not have a raw oysters section, nor did they have a board stating the oysters on offering - at least not in the upper level where we were seated.

15 mins, finally someone comes by. "Drinks?" I said we were ready to order everything, and were admonished soundly. "Well, I'm taking care of drinks first." Yikes.

Drinks come, and the same server asks if we are ready to order. I guess he missed our readiness first time 'round.
But, excited about some fresh oysters, I cheerily say, "So what raw oysters do you have on tap?"
"On tap!?!?" he sneers.
Sheepishly, I reply "Oh, it was just an expression."
"Oh, is that an expression we have now?" he snidely replies.

Unsure if I was astonished more by his social or service incompetence, I asked right out: "What oysters do you have this evening?"
He emits an incredulous laugh, and his face turns red in anger. "Well!" he shouts. "We've got all kinds of oysters! We've got 12 kinds. Shall I tell you every one of them? Is that gonna mean anything to you?!"

My dining partner and I exchanged stunned glances. No oyster menu... no oyster chalkboard or list... and since this is an oyster house, I guess asking about the oysters is a pretty reasonable question. Since I don't work at Rodney's, I certainly don't know how it goes - so do you just say, "A dozen oysters" and let the server randomly select some for you? If that's true, why couldn't he just say that?

I still can't tell you what we were supposed to have done. He shouted a few sarcastic questions... "So do you like them meaty? Creamy? We have all kinds, you know. What do you want? West coast? East coast?" He was clearly incensed - though at my work, I'm delighted to have customers. I guess not everyone is.

My bad for not walking out right there. We quietly ordered 6 raw oysters and some steamed clams.

Later, another very good server (thus the 2-star rating) noted in shock that the table that had come in after us received their food first, and that our server had not given us any bread, though all other tables had some. The same, good server, when clearing the empty clam shells, was surprised that our hot clams had been served before our raw oysters, which took a good 20 mins to come. (6 of them, remember.)

We left angry, more for the demeaning attitude of the first server, and when the bill came and it was tip time, he was sweet as pie.

We tipped in accordance with our experience, and we will never go back. I guess with the Olympics coming, some restaurants aren't worried about providing a nice experience. My money will go elsewhere.

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Closed
Tomato Fresh Food Cafe2486 Bayswater Street, Vancouver
Poor, poor, poor, poor service - miserable service
Submitted Friday, September 25, 2009 - 12:06pm [Dine in]

Thursday night - we arrive around 7:30pm. It is not that busy in Tomato.

The hostess, who wouldn't have cracked a smile if you tickled her, begrudgingly sits the 5 of us all crowded into a corner of the restaurant with the only other tables with customers. For the convenience of the wait staff no doubt. After all, it's not about customer comfort.

Speaking of which, with empty tables (one long, empty one...) she sits 5 of us at a table for 4. There is not even enough room to put our menus down on the table, so we ask the waiter, whose facial expression from beginning to end, with all customers, looks like he's going through a profound personal tragedy, and he acquiesces.

Questions about the menu are answered very bluntly, and food is thrown on the table. When offered black pepper, my friend will take it if the kitchen hasn't added it yet. So he asks, "Has the pasta been seasoned with pepper already?" The waiter responds with, "Whatever." and walks away, not giving him the pepper.

My friend and I exchanged shocked glances.

The food is excellent, by the way. But the pall over the restaurant by the waiter and hostess makes you feel upset to be spending your cash here.

The chairs are not comfortable. The tables don't have table clothes, though they charge bistro prices. The room is COLD, and there is no music. The ambience is notable for its absence, made more poignant by the rude and abrupt service.

"Is everything ok? Can I get you another drink? Would you like anything else?" These are questions that we would have appreciated. But no. Instead, once our table was cleared of food, the bill was presented, and suddenly, what do you know??? A smile! My gosh! We are thinking of tip-time now, are we???

We left a tip commensurate with the level of service, and a promise never, ever to waste our time and money here again.

Another typical Vancouver dining story. *sigh* This town is SO unprofessional...

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La Quercia3689 W 4th Ave., Vancouver
My newest, latest favorite.
Submitted Friday, March 20, 2009 - 11:58am [Dine in]

We arrived last nite (thu.) around 8:30. There was no table available, so we went next door for an aperitif. The server came over to the pub next door to let us know our table was ready. That's service.

We had the 6-course meal for $40 - they pretty much ask you what your likes/dislikes are, and do a menu for you.

We ended up with beet salad, eggplant mousse, gnocchi, pasta, cornish hen and dessert. I struggle to find something to complain about - the seasoning was right, the hots were hot, the colds were cold, the service was impeccable.

We asked for a wine recommendation based on the menu, and though it was good, it was not fabulous. The pairing, I mean, not the wine itself. We ended up with a light-bodied Italian red from Piemonte, which paired very nicely with the gnocchi, and ok with the other starter items, but I think a white recommendation would have been better, if not a very light Beaujolais-villages - but that's neither here nor there at this point.

If anything, the dining space is a bit too intimate with the other diners, sort of a la Lumiere. And, there's no space for you to wait if there's no table right away. You pretty much have to go to the pub next door, or wait outside, I guess. Next time, I won't attempt arrival without a reso.

For me, it's been a long time since the combo of competent service and food came together in such a way. I was impressed.

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Coppertank Grill3135 West Broadway, Vancouver
This review is for their new Main St. location
Submitted Sunday, March 1, 2009 - 9:48am [Dine in]

It's Sat., around 8 pm. We are 5. The place is not rockin' busy when we show up.

The server approaches us with a snarl - "Um, like, do you *have* a reservation?" For a pub? Well, no, though there are tables...

"Everything is just for 2 people right now?" (I love it when people talk in questions.) And I guess they're allergic to throwing a couple of tables together, pity the thought. She indicates a small square table in the corner for 2, though there are 4 chairs. She throws her pointed finger in that direction, "Well, you can only sit there? Or else...?" and then she actually pointed to the door.

I was floored. You know, Vancouver's got to be the only town I know where patronizing an establishment is a crime. How dare you interrupt someone's evening? If I hadn't been with out-of-towners, I would have left post-haste, but we were tired and hungry, and didn't want to start the typical conversation of, "Where do you want to go?" "I dunno, where's good?"

The beer was extra cold and served in extra cold glasses. That's an A+ in my books.

We ordered a slew of appies to share, and they delivered them all at the same time (not necessarily a bad thing - but bad when you have no table space - ok, our bad for ordering them at the beginning - but isn't *service* supposed to be where those, um, SERVERS, make it work?) Well, they handed us the plates, and each of us were left holding, in the air, a number of plates - and the server WALKED AWAY. Like, figure it out, folks. You should know better than to go out on a Sat. nite, looking to spend money at our place, and then you order FOOD? How dare you.

The food was not great. I wouldn't go back for the food to begin with, but the service galvanized it for me.

Oh, alas, why, oh why in Vancouver do restaurants hire staff members who are upset when the establishment gets business? This is a recurring theme...

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