Submitted Thursday, November 13, 2008 - 6:37pm [Dine in]
El Barrio is definitely one of the best Mexican restaurants that I have eaten at in Vancouver (and I have tried more than half a dozen). Still fairly new to the culinary scene (having opened this past summer), this new East Vancouver gem is ready to takeover. The 2 owners both local to the area have been in hospitality industry for years and have realized their dream of owning their own place.
The passion of these two can be experienced throughout the meal. Service was excellent, and both times visited we were served by one of the owners. Incredibly friendly and prompt to get you anything that you need. The food was fantastic, our first visit was on a Thursday where they have a Burrito & Beer combo for $15, but dont expect ground beef, because what you will get is tender Mexican-style braised beef...But of course you have your choice of filling (and most things on the menu have a vegetarian option!). But I can say that my taste buds were won the moment the homemade Frijoles Voltedados (refried beans) touched my tongue...the beans were like satin...Bar-none the best I have ever tried! We were later told that they were Chef's (also one of the owners) mother's recipe. Also the house-made Habanero hot sauce is a must try if you like your food spicy!
So if you want to find a new favorite check this place out. They front end is more like a bar-like setting with high tables and stools, or sit at the back at a regular table. Wednesday's they have a local artist playing live acoustic music, and the vibe is geared to be hip rather than stereotyped. I think they just started serving brunch on Sat-Sunday's too...cant wait to try it!
I will be back again...and again...Don't think they wont notice, as on our way out the door both owners thanked us for our returned visit.
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Submitted Saturday, February 2, 2008 - 10:10pm [Dine in]
I live a stones throw away from this little East Van gem. This comfy little place is run by a couple, a Japanese and Jamaican duo. With the walls covered in a hodge-podge of Jap-Jam decor, including numerous Bob Marley tributes, Samurai, and a large beach mural painted on the one wall you really feel like your sitting in a little beach shack restaurant in Jamaica.
The menu reflects both owners in its creation...its got the Caribbean staples of Jerk, Roti, and Akee & Saltfish...and the usual Japanese favs of Teriyaki and sushi. And of course you can't be true fusion until both of these flavors meet. The ingredients are fresh, and your meal will come out piping hot. You can even find a $3.95 breakky served all day.
So if you are looking for a small chillaxed hideout where you can even squeeze in a game of table-top Pac-Man check this place out. But beware you can blink and miss it, as it only seats about 15.
The Lion standing high on the ledge watches over this den; go and join him for some great eats.
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Submitted Saturday, February 2, 2008 - 9:44pm [Dine in]
We went here on a recommendation as we were told that it was possibly the best Jamaican food around. We should have known before we even went into the place- being that it was empty at 700 on a Saturday night. The 2 people working there were nice, but overall ambiance was destroyed by the CD that skipped for 10 minutes before being turned off.
After we ordered our server put our order into the kitchen at which point I promptly heard the microwave kick into gear and 2 minutes later out came the appy. Although the CoCo bread was nice the jerked chicken patty was anything but house made, and was tasteless and processed. The microwave cook off continued and soon our meal came to the table. Jerked chicken, and Veggi Roti for me. Both were lacking in flavor (which is hard to accomplish with a jerked meal), and frozen peas and corn just don't cut it for me.
So all in all it was an awful meal.
If you are looking for a good Jamaican meal go to the Reef on Main , or try the Jap-Jam fusion of the Lions Den (not fancy, but at least fresh veg and full of flavor). I have been working in the restaurant industry for over a decade, and am a lover of great food and fine wine. I can appreciate a quick dirty meal for what it is. But I give Riddim & Spice no dice!
Was this review helpful? 9 / 16 users found this review helpful.