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JCLGNorth VancouverSince January 23, 200910 Reviews
Average Rating
3.5 (3.7)
  • Food4 (3.9)
  • Service4 (3.9)
  • Value3.5 (3.4)
  • Ambiance3.5 (3.7)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 Reviews Found
Salsa & Agave Mexican Grill1223 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver
Yummy food + speedy service + ultra-friendly staff = awesome dinner
Submitted Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 9:41pm [Dine in]

A friend and I were craving Mexican cuisine, and we happened upon this place while checking out Yaletown. We appreciated the menu on display outside, which was surrounded by a small group of people. Luckily since it was the two of us we got seated right away, even though it was the peak of dinnertime @ 7pm. The restaurant itself isn't very large, with a couple of patio tables, so I think it's reasonable to wait a bit for seating to become available if you're with a larger group.

Admittedly, I've had more the salsa that accompanied the tortilla chips to be a bit on the watery side, but it was still flavourful. We weren't complaining since we were starving; the starters didn't last in their bowls very long!

We both had the carné tampiqueña with horchata, which all came incredibly fast. I wasn't timing it, but it took perhaps all of 10 minutes from order to service. The food was all pretty amazing; I was never a fan of beans in particular, but these ones were seasoned really well, and I found them really tasty. My friend was a huge fan of the chicken enchilada. Our meals also came with 3 warm, soft tortillas each, so I had a good time tasting my food in its individual elements, and combined into a wrap.

The prices are really reasonably considering the amount of food you get, and that it's also prepared well and served expeditiously.

The staff were incredibly friendly and courteous, and had a quick sense of humour that I really enjoyed, livening up our meal a bit. They were attentive without overbearing, asking us how our meal was going, whether we enjoyed the food, etc. They seemed like genuine people, which made them easier to converse and joke with.

All-in-all, I'm really glad I stumbled across this place; I will definitely be recommending it to my friends and anyone else who's looking for solid, authentic Mexican cuisine

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Closed
Sanafir1026 Granville Street, Vancouver
Trendy, Ethnic, Vibrant: A True Downtown Vancouver Experience
Submitted Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - 6:32pm [Dine in]

I came across Sanafir while searching for a nifty downtown restaurant to throw a birthday dinner at. A combination of favourable reviews and a really intriguing menu and atmosphere convinced me to try it out. The reservation process was really well-organised; the waitress immediately informed me that there was another party of 12 who booked the place for 9pm, so we managed to steer clear from a double-booking catastrophe.

First impressions: I was earlier than the rest of the group, so when I got to the outside entrance (there was a podium) the receptionist immediately offered me a seat inside to wait for my friends, since it was raining quite heavily at the time. The lower level was quite dimly-lit, which surprised me, because the pictures online showed it to be quite bright. I am going to assume that it was because they were playing a movie, projected onto the wall above the bar: 'lo and behold, it was "The Two Towers," which I thought was incredibly nifty, adding to the restaurant's exotic atmosphere (there was no audio, and the wall was partitioned, so I think the movie was more for the dynamic visual effects rather than to create a cinema-like atmosphere).

We were seated at our table (a large semicircular booth on the lower level) with no fuss, and the waitresses even offered to store our coats and bags (some of us just came from classes). Our waitress was also really accommodating to the fact that my friends have no sense of timing and were all various degrees of tardiness, so she suggested she waited until they all arrived before explaining the menu and taking food orders (we just got drinks). I was thoroughly impressed with her level of patience, and her demeanour was still professional and courteous.

We started out with appetizer platters of naan bread with garlic hummus: presentation-wise, it was already stunning, decorated with a stick of incense on a wooden plank. The naan was deliciously-seasoned, the hummus fantastic, and it even came with these amazingly tender cloves of roasted garlic.

Everyone ordered a different tapas trio (chicken, prawns, beef, vegetarian, calimari) while I got the halibut myself. The basics of how the tapas trio works: you choose one main ingredient, and then it is prepared three different ways: Asian, Mediterranean, and Middle-Eastern/Indian. The tapas style is brilliant because it allows you to try a little bit of everything and you'll never get bored with your meal (the waitress recommended sharing the platters, but I kept the halibut to myself ;) ).

From what I could gather, everyone was incredibly pleased with the flavours and presentation (we were debating over which style we liked the most), though some noted that it wasn't very filling (I disagreed, and I'm a pretty fit 20 year-old guy).

Some of us also got dessert trios, which were equally tasty and I yearned for more (kept in check by the amount of cash in my wallet)

Overall, service was efficient and quick; there were no surprises because our waitress told us about how food would be sent out as soon as it would be made by the chef. Once again, kudos to the organization and courteousness.

Just some notes: if you want to get the beds/sofas upstairs in the "lounge" area, I was told that you'd either have to order group platters/drinks. Also, debit cards are not accepted (there is a nearby ATM with a $2 service charge, and for large groups like mine they automatically add an 18% gratuity to the bill.

In closing, I would highly recommend this place for anyone looking for a trendy, eclectic night out whether it's with a small -or large- group of friends - excellent food, really unique atmosphere, and fantastic service. I intend on coming back for another experience; I'm curious to see what other movies they might play, and I will definitely check out the upstairs lounge.

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Cafe for Contemporary Art140 East Esplanade Ave, North Vancouver
Funky Art and Fantastic Coffee
Submitted Thursday, August 13, 2009 - 6:32pm [Dine in]

North Vancouver's latest addition to the coffee shop scene has created its own niche that sets it apart Starbucks' cookie-cutter look and feel. I discovered the café (wittingly acronym-ed "cafca" by its staff and clientèle) while perusing a local coffee shop review blog. Being a fan of 49th Parallel Roasters and the Elysian Room on the West Side, I was really pleased to find a café on my side of the Burrard Inlet.

This is a place that definitely caters toward coffee geeks and aficionados (like myself). They serve up a rotation of 49th Parallel and Intelligentsia coffees, though they have brought in other notable guest roasters on occasion. I think they're the only coffee shop in North Van that brews coffee on the Clover, a fancy (and now somewhat rare) machine that brews coffee by the cup to exact specifications, maximizing the beans' potential.

Because the coffee is specially brewed on the Clover, the prices are about a dollar more, but it is well worth-it for those looking for a truly exceptional cup of coffee and don't mind waiting a couple minutes for it. Micro-lots from 49th are offered at a slightly higher price, but they're well-worth the cost. Warning: those looking for a quick-drip cup of Tim's, SB, or 7-11 to-go need not bother coming.

Like a typical café, light dessert/snacks are available, as well as a decent tea selection for non-coffee consumers. Also, panini sandwiches of prosciutto and Brie, salami, and vegetarian are offered Italian-style on ciabatta bread served with a side of olives.

I haven't even touched upon the espresso yet, but they use 49th Parallel's organic espresso blend in their coffee, and their staff are very competent when it comes to making drinks.

The staff as a whole are knowledgeable about their coffee, but they are in no way stuck-up or condescending as can be found in some higher-end coffee shops. They're fun to talk to, and they'll even give you a free coffee sample if they recognize you as a fellow "coffee geek."

Being a unique fusion of art gallery and coffee shop, cafca has a pretty unique environment. Upon entering, the store could look like an abstract VAG exhibit. The tables and chairs are mismatched to create a quirky feel, but not at all uncomfortable like the previous review said. Paintings of local artists adorn the walls, and there's even a small children's play area with an "easel" in one corner.

cafca has attracted its fair share of attention in the coffee community. Boasting superb drinks, a neat atmosphere, and great staff, cafca is definitely a place I will be coming back to often.

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Hurricane Grill, The999 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
Service will blow you away
Submitted Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 11:21am [Dine in]

My friends and I were heading out for a birthday party, but our original dinner plan didn't work out, so we were scouring all of lower North Vancouver for a restaurant that would take a party of 10 on a Friday evening. Everywhere we called had a 1 hour (or longer) wait list, until we decided to try the Hurricane Grill. The waiters were very nice and exceptionally accommodating - all the inside seats were taken, but they let us sit outside at the patio tables until a space inside was freed up - they even surrounded us with the heaters, because the night was a bit chilly. As soon as a place was readied, we were let inside. Inside as well, the waitresses were very friendly.
Food was pretty good for a place like this; I had the Brandy Peppercorn steak (medium-rare) with a half-order of Caesar salad. Unlike the previous reviewer, yes, my salad did have croutons; the Crisp Greens salad my friend had looked delicious as well, but I was craving a Caesar, and they did a decent job. The steak was also very nice - it might have been cooked a "medium" rathern than "medium-rare," but it was still very tender and juicy. The sauce they had over it was quite strong and spicy, but nice. I wouldn't say the food was mind-blowing-ly amazing, but it was very good.
The only reason I gave service 4/5 was because it took a bit of a wait until we got our food; nevertheless, we were extremely grateful that they found a spot for us, so the wait was worth it.

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Guu Original838 Thurlow St, Vancouver
Original, delicous, and fun: a true Japanese experience
Submitted Friday, January 23, 2009 - 11:34pm [Dine in]

Sushi bars are so North American. Welcome to the heart of downtown Tokyo (or Osaka or any other major Japanese city)! Here is a chain of very unique Japanese-style "tapas bars," aka. "izakaya." If you're looking for traditional sushi fare, you won't find it here. Prepare for an experience if it's your first time!
Immediately upon entering the somewhat small - yet eternally packed - place, you're loudly greeted by the staff, in Japanese (side note: there was one Caucasian girl who spoke perfect Japanese, which I thought was awesome). Take a seat; the bar is "where it's at," they claim, but if you're with people, tables are also available.
As I previously mentioned, the food is tapas-like; thus, you order a 3-4 small dishes priced anywhere between $5-$8. About half the fare is served raw "sashimi" or "carpaccio" style, though they also have a selection of cooked dishes one would fine at an izakaya in Japan (wiki it). One of my favourites is the seared Ahi tuna steak, but since the fish is slightly endangered, I don't get it often. I would replace it with the seared salmon sashimi with garlic ponzu sauce, which is equally amazing.
What's unique about the food here is that some of the dishes are a combination of European and Japanese cuisine. An odd - yet tasty - dish is their "pumpkin croquette ball" which consists of a hard boiled egg wrapped in pumpkin and deep-fried, drizzled with "original sauce". My friend, who normally hates eggs, loves this particular dish.
My suggestion: check out their menus for a better idea of what they offer. The selection is too diverse to do justice in this review!
I personally love the atmosphere of the place, though it can grate on people's nerves if they don't like loud noises. It pretty much consists of the staff calling out orders to each other loudly (in Japanese, of course). I find it to be both exhilarating and hilarious, but this probably isn't the best place for a *quiet* romantic date (but it's definitely date-worthy).

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Poncho's827 Denman St, Vancouver
Mmm... flaming coffee...
Submitted Friday, January 23, 2009 - 11:20pm [Dine in]

So here we come to a little Mexican nook on Denman street. I've been here plenty of times with friends because we love the place so much.
Highlights: the food (of course) and their special "Poncho's Coffee!"
We almost always start out with their "Sopa Azteca," which is essentially chicken soup with tortillas, spices, avocado, and cheese. Simply put: glory!
I bounce around their main course items, all of which (so far that I've tasted) are really good. The meat is always cooked to perfection, the flavours are bold and well-balanced, and the portions are hearty.
But, the highlight of the meal comes last, with Poncho's Coffee. For $7 a glass, you get a live performance by one of the owners, flambé-ing shots of Gran Marnier, Kahlua, and brandy into a glass with coffee and rimmed with a mixture of lemon, sugar, and cinnamon. Nothing draws attention more than flaming glasses! And it's done with panache.

There's also a live guitarist who plays and sings in the evening, which adds a nice "homely" touch to the place, which is decked with lots of typical Mexican decorations.
The servers are decent, need to be prompted sometimes and aren't the greatest at taking orders, but hey - they get the job done eventually. The food and drinks are more than worth the service. Recommended.

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DJJ's Wedge2924 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver
Great undiscovered local pizza place
Submitted Friday, January 23, 2009 - 11:09pm [Dine in]

The store is definitely designed more for take-out and delivery than a dine-in restaurant. That isn't a major concern, though.
Was recommended by my boss to try out this place, and since I live literally a 5-minute walk away, I decided "why not?"
I've tried 3 of their pizzas, and I've been hugely satisfied with the product and value. The pizzas are an inch wider than most other places, thus are a bit more expensive, but they're worth it.
They have a large vegetarian selection that ISN'T overpriced and costing more than the meat pizzas, and though I haven't tried them, they appear appetizing.
Will definitely be ordering from here more than the local big-chain companies.

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Closed
Capone's Restaurant & Live Jazz Club1141 Hamilton St., Vancouver
Great atmosphere, great waiter, not-so-great cuisine
Submitted Friday, January 23, 2009 - 11:01pm [Dine in]

Went in with a group of people for DOV 2009. Service was fast, friendly and efficient; our waiter was a great conversationalist. Had the starter salad, halibut entrée, and mousse dessert.
Sadly, the salad was the only good dish of the three. The halibut was indeed small (though had decent flavours) and the potatoes were equally small. The mousse was disappointing, because I like the flavours... all three scoops of it. The glass was only half-full, and most of it was whipped cream, with about a tablespoon of mousse (contrary to my friends, who had larger portions...). The pizza that my friends had was actually a decent size for a "personal," though. I don't mind small portions if the food is outstanding, but my mom cooks better halibut in much larger quantities.
Atmosphere was nice, and the jazz band sounded good (though we couldn't hear the vocals at all amongst the ambient chatter).
There are better jazz-themed restaurant bars out there in town.

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Central Bistro & Lounge1072 Denman Street, Vancouver
Not bad, but room for improvement
Submitted Friday, January 23, 2009 - 9:44am [Dine in]

Went here on a weekday evening, so the restaurant wasn't too busy. Had a group table reserved, but when we got there, another group had taken our spot at the banquette seats, so the staff pushed a few other tables together for us. It was kind of annoying since we had made reservations but didn't get the original spot. The waiters were apologetic and accommodating, though.
Service was pretty slow, though. Food came at intervals of 30-45 minutes each, and I noticed some of my friends were getting impatient (and hungry). The starter salad was quite nice; ingredients were fresh and there was a right amount of dressing. The short rib on cheese spaetzle was beautifully cooked, being tender and flaky; however, both the short rib and spaetzle lacked bold flavours, though.
I'm unsure as to whether I'd come here again - if I were to, I might eat something before going so the wait for food won't be so distressing to my stomach.

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Closed
O'Doul's Restaurant & Bar1300 Robson Street, Vancouver
One of the best modern restaurants downtown
Submitted Friday, January 23, 2009 - 9:35am [Dine in]

The first time I went there was for my birthday dinner a few months ago. I had been anticipating going to this place for months because I heard excellent reviews about it, and the (then-Fall) menu looked mouthwatering-ly delicious with an extensive and interesting wine selection. O'Doul's exceeded my expectations, and those of my friends, as well.
The atmosphere was classy, lighting was perfect and the jazz pianist that arrived later in the evening played at just the right level for "ambient" music.
Service was impeccable. Coincidentally, our waiter and I shared the same first name and place or origin, so we had a few good laughs over it. He was attentive without being over-bearing, and quick to respond.
The real highlight is the food. Wow, the food! I had a half portion of seasonal greens for starters (it's nice to see they offered both half and full portions of salads). The dressing was great, and the greens were fresh and crisp. It was followed by a seared sablefish fillet with mushroom broth and herb gnocci - it exploded with flavours, consistency of textures were perfect, and it was savoury without being over-salty. My friend had the espresso and ale barbecued short rib, and he claims it was the tastiest and most tender piece of meat he's ever had. The creme brulee dessert was also quite nice, and I had a refreshing "Pick Me Up," a mixture of Bailey's and espresso on the rocks, to finish everything off. Portions were perfectly-sized (not tiny, though not grossly large, either), and I'm sure everyone left with a full stomach. It cost $50 with gratuity for a three-course meal and a drink.
My friend and I am returning for the Dine Out menu, which we are eagerly looking forward to. I highly recommend O'Doul's to those looking for an exceptional dining experience!

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