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jmnowikNorth Vancouver, BCSince May 28, 20106 Reviews
Average Rating
3.5 (3.3)
  • Food4 (3.8)
  • Service3 (2.8)
  • Value4 (4)
  • Ambiance2.5 (2.4)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 Reviews Found
Gyudonya500 Robson Street, Vancouver
Cheap, Fast, No Fuss
Submitted Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 6:26pm [Dine in]

I was craving a tonkatsu Japadog... just my luck, they were sold out of just about everything I wanted to eat when I walked in the door. Gyudonya was right next door and looked fairly busy, so I decided to try it out. The place was clean, neatly laid out, and we were attended to right away. We had a seat at the counter closer to the window, since the actual bar was almost full when we arrived. The server handled our order fast, and we got our food quite quickly too. The food itself is just average: the beef, while stringy, was balanced by the perfect bowl of rice with just the right amount of seasoning. I opted for the pickles, and although I was expecting saltier, more authentic Japanese pickles, they were okay. The miso soup the meal came with also had some wakame and mushrooms, which I always like, but otherwise there's nothing that differenciates the meal from every other decent Japanese restaurant. In all, it was just the kind of experience I was expecting: a cheap, speedy dinner with a meal that had no surprises. Actually, there was one surprise: Coke in glass bottles. It's expensive, but I've always preferred glass to aluminum cans, plastic, or watered down fountain pop.

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Brazza Gelato & Coffee1846 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
#1 choice for espresso
Submitted Monday, December 13, 2010 - 4:05pm [Dine in]

North Van is undulated with Starbucks everywhere, but Brazza manages to shine over every other coffee shop in North Van, and even stands its own ground in a very competitive Vancouver market. The lattes, the macchiatos, and the mochas are all incredible, with perfectly sweet and smoky espresso, perfectly steamed milk with silky smooth foam, and usually good latte art. The owners will always do latte art, and most of the baristas will too, but there are very few hired baristas who make their latte art as splendid as Tony and Lino. Despite the attention paid to each and every drink, this is a very unpretentious coffee shop, with a very homely atmosphere that makes it easy to sit down and enjoy yourself. However, you might not enjoy yourself too much during the summer, as the store on Lonsdale lacks air conditioning.

On the side of food, the pastries are typically very good and many of them are made from scratch and in-house. Their gelato is also made in-house, and the lemon gelato is a refreshing summer treat. I also have cravings all the time for the chicken brie sandwich they have. Their panini press isn't so great, but the sandwich is a real winner.

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Gen Sushi1933 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
What is up with the chef?
Submitted Monday, December 13, 2010 - 3:43pm [Dine in]

I like Gen. I really do. Except lately, the service has just taken a nosedive. I went in for what I hoped would be a fast dinner with my boyfriend and another friend of mine. The place was absolutely dead, though I wasn't surprised because the weather was terrible. After placing all our orders, I got my tempura relatively quickly, and it was what I was expecting. My boyfriend also got his teriyaki at a timely pace. However, where was our sushi? We waited, and we waited, and we waited... it must have been at least 40 minutes for a sushi order that wasn't even that large or complex, seeing as we hadn't even ordered rolls. What we got was "prettied up", except it felt incredibly out of place and I can't believe I'd waited so long for someone to practice their plating. The fish wasn't even cut that well; my boyfriend commented that some of his salmon had tough slivers of skin left on. I might still come in for takeout, but this is a skip if I have to endure another stupidly long wait for my sushi again.

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La Galleria Fine Foods3055 Highland Blvd., North Vancouver
My Favourite North Shore Deli
Submitted Monday, December 13, 2010 - 3:32pm [Take-out]

North Van isn't so great when it comes to finding a nice place to eat, but La Galleria is definitely something outstanding. I go in for sandwiches and the staff is very accommodating to special orders, something I appreciate as I don't eat red peppers. I always get my sandwich within a reasonable time, no matter how busy it gets (and it gets VERY busy). However, I found that some of the newer hires aren't quite as good as the older staff and lately my bread has been over-toasted, or just plain dry. It has been happening more often but I still love the sandwiches, especially the pastrami and the prosciutto. I also do get some of the soups and pasta dishes and have consistently enjoyed them. The lasagna is absolutely perfect, and the prices are reasonable.

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Kintaro Ramen788 Denman Street, Vancouver
Great Noodles, Cramped Spaces
Submitted Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 10:42pm [Dine in]

Let's get this out of the way: Kintaro has excellent noodles. They do a very authentic tonkotsu ramen and their miso ramen is the boldest, most flavourful broth I've tasted. Their latest offering, the spicy garlic ramen, is incredibly bold and the crushed garlic on top adds a real kick of flavour that's unforgettable. Not to mention the boiled egg, which is cooked to perfection. The cold ramen is a great blend of salty, sweet, and spiciness that's refreshing on a cold day. And everything is priced afforably, because you WILL be full. There is no doubt that you'll be full here.

Now there's the issue of space... I love it when there's no line and I get my soup right away, but that is a rare occurance and waiting in line for 15 minutes to eat my food just as fast can be a real bummer in both the winter and summer. The servers are in a real rush to get people in and hour and clear tables almost as soon as you put your spoon and chopsticks down. And then because the boiling soup stocks are kept out front and everything is cooked in an open kitchen, it gets very humid if you have to sit at the bar, especially in the winter when they don't have the dehumidifiers/air conditioners on. This is a very in-and-out type of place, which is good for some, but Motomachi Shokudo just a block away delivers food just as good for a similar price, and is way more comfortable, and typically less busy. I love the ramen at Kintaro, but it is really hard to sit in when I know Motomachi is just as good (aside from Kintaro's brilliant miso ramen), offers healthier options, doesn't reek of boiling pork bone, and is only a minute down the street. However, Kintaro remains the #2 in my heart. Benkei is too salty, and G-men is too boring with its flavours, and I have yet to try the recently-opened Santouka, next door to Guu. Undoubtably I will return to Kintaro when they bring back their cold ramen for the summer and start turning on their air conditioning to sort out the stuffy atmosphere.

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Motomachi Shokudo740 Denman Street, Vancouver
The Best Ramen in Vancouver
Submitted Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 10:19pm [Dine in]

I've been a big fan of Kintaro's for years, but I saw postings inside advertising their little sister restaurant just a block away. The organic factor was also a big draw, as I was looking for something a little healthier than a big bowl of fatty tonkotsu ramen. Not to mention the other competitor down the road, Benkei, is way too salty for my tastes.

I have to say, it was love at first bite.

The spicy chicken ramen has a huge amount of vegetables unlike any other ramen place I've been to in the WOLRD, not just Vancouver. The leeks and lotus root were delicious additions to a great bowl of noodles and a heavenly broth that was not at all oily and MSG-free. I was impressed with the balance between vegetables, noodles, and broth, as unlike Kintaro, I almost always finish all three elements of the dish at the same time. Another important thing to me is the consistency, and Motomachi is very, very consistant. Every bowl of ramen has been just as good as the last.

On visits closer to the summer I also tried out the cold ramen, which has a surprising twist of raw egg and grated taro root, and extra noodles. The base is nice and sweet and a perfect summer flavour, but some might be put off with the slimy consistency from the egg and taro root. The texture is very reminiscent of real sukiyaki, as is the flavour, but as a delightful cool dish perfectly geared for Vancouver summers. I prefer this version to Kintaro's, but my boyfriend is more of a fan of Kintaro's style of cold ramen. Another visit included a tasting of the new-generation miso ramen, but I find the flavour is a little too meek compared to the bold offering from Kintaro. The garnishing is better, but Kintaro's strongest draw is its wonderfully flavoured miso broth and Motomachi isn't as aggressive with its broth flavour in this case.

The 3rd aspect of Motomachi is the comfort level. This is definitely more in line with Benkei, albeit within a much tinier space, but you don't have big boiling pots making the restaurant unbearably humid. All in all the comfort level is way higher than Kintaro and less claustrophobic in its layout. My only gripe is sitting at the tables nearest to the doors on a brisk day, because you can really feel the breeze in such a tiny little restaurant. The service is mid-level, with the waitresses passive-aggressively pushing the (admittedly tasty) boiled eggs, but they are fairly efficient managing customers and food comes within 5 minutes. They are also less in a rush to force you out of your seat, unlike at Kintaro with its seemingly eternal lineups. Although the price is higher than competing restaurants, I feel the extra dollar or two over Kintaro is justified by that perfect ratio of meat, vegetables, noodles, and broth, and the fact that the soup doesn't leave me disgustingly thirsty like the average pho joint or Benkei.

In short: Motomachi is a must-try for ramen lovers, especially the spicy chicken ramen. This is a definitive Vancouver-style ramen joint with its own personality, and a bowl that leaves you bursting full without leaving an oily, salty aftertaste in your mouth from cheap soup.

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