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norvanneNorth VancouverSince October 23, 200612 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (3.2)
  • Food3.5 (3.5)
  • Service3.5 (3.3)
  • Ambiance3 (3.1)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 Reviews Found
Closed
Deuce Restaurant1617 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
A showpiece
Submitted Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 5:32pm [Dine in]

I am not big on big portions, so I have no complaints whatsoever about the quantity of food here. The flavours are exquisite; OK, perhaps the truffle oil was a tad overused, but I'm a pushover for it. The Mac-n-Cheese is to die for, and rich enough to fill any normal appetite. I suggest going with at least 3 other people so you can taste a greater variety.

The decor is visually very cool; minimalist and retro. But the seats in the front with low lounge-like tables are difficult to eat at, and exposed to the chill of the front door. The bar and back area is best if you can get a corner. The tables down the middle are small and exposed for very little privacy.

Prices are high. By the time you've tried enough items to satisfy your curiosity (and in some cases, hunger), you've spent a wad. Wine prices are not cheap either.

I've been there 3 times and will go again, but the prices will keep my visits less frequent than I'd like.

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Kefi Greek Kouzina100 Schoolhouse St, #102, Coquitlam
whole wheat pita rocks
Submitted Monday, January 29, 2007 - 4:08pm [Dine in]

I tried Kefi for a late afternoon "lunch". It was not busy at that time of day, except for a large group of what looked like real estate ladies. They were not particularly loud, but the place is badly sound dampened and their voices echoed end to end. This place must be unbearably noisy when it's busy. Lots of light from the windows for a lone diner to read by, though the only "view" is of asphalt. Can't be helped. It's the big-box store region of the burbs after all.

The food was as good as any Greek food generally is. The lunch special was a bargain; soup, pork souvlaki (unusual in itself), and the standard lemon roasted potatoes. No complaints. But the star has to be that whole wheat pita. Remarkable! I can't believe how much of a difference that makes to a typical Greek meal. Since the rest of the food is acceptable, I will definitely be back for that pita.

Service was warm and friendly. The lady who served me could have been the owner? She was visibly gratified that I was so enamoured with the whole wheat pita. Thanks, Kefi, for a healthful change to an otherwise predictable cuisine.

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Cactus Club Cafe855 Main Street, West Vancouver
Often outstanding
Submitted Monday, January 8, 2007 - 6:23pm [Dine in]

I ate at the Park Royal Cactus Club on Saturday, and it was as good as always. My experiences here are quite consistent. There are some items on the menu I really enjoy: Tuna Poke, Jambalaya, Soft fish tacos, quesadillas (all three), and some innovative salads. Service is decent too. Sat in the lounge this time. It was better than usual because the TV sound was off. Just images. Plenty of people energy and perfect for conversation.

As for ambience, I make a point of asking for specific tables. I like the booths against the openwork brick wall on the east side. The duo booths in the middle are way too small. Love the sixties modern decor! And the bathrooms are so cool. Patio in summer is excellent, too.

The only recent complaint I have is that they brought out the carpet sweepers before the place was closed. Talk about the classic "Are you leaving yet?" statement. Not a huge issue though. Also, recent problems with improperly rinsed glassware seems to be resolved. No more bleach tainted wine.

All in all, I really like this place.

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Salmon House2229 Folkestone Way, West Vancouver
The view is NOT enough
Submitted Monday, January 8, 2007 - 5:56pm [Dine in]

I agree with the previous reviewer. Ambiance here is wanting. The lounge is so worn out that you pretty much have to go after dark or have an active imagination to pretend you're in a higher end establishment. Seems that they think their view is all they need to keep people coming. Strange, since the view is so far up the hill that it's often obliterated by mist and smog.

Foodwise, my experiences at the Salmon House have not been consistent. The salmon trio appetizer is quite nice, but I've had dry, overcooked fish from the entree list before, and that's kept me out of the dining room for some time.

About your ignored letters to the manager and via the website: This is very interesting. I had exactly the same experience with Horizons on Burnaby Mountain, which is part of the same family of restaurants. I got severe food poisoning from enoki mushrooms at Horizons. I contacted them, as encouraged, via their website and got zero response. That was two years ago and I haven't been back.

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Closed
Taylor's Crossing Restaurant and Brewpub1035 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
A decorator's pride and joy
Submitted Wednesday, December 27, 2006 - 7:27pm [Dine in]

This place is a marvel of decor and atmosphere. You can tell a lot of money was spent, that's for sure. Indeed there must be a lot of money available in the Mark James empire to go through two complete makeovers and actually close the whole place for an entire season to do the last one! The result was impressive, and I love it.

Now if only they'd spent a fraction of that $ on a menu makeover. I was shocked to find the menu unchanged after all that. Don't get me wrong; nothing is actually "bad". But there's no real variety. The pizzas are quite good, to be fair. Thin crust, interesting combos, although the center of the crust tends to be a bit soggy. The spicy calamari is a winner. But almost everything else is the same old Asian fusion that's everywhere these days. Wok dishes mostly. Not very original. I'd be there a lot more often if there was some variety. The wine list was greatly improved recently. Thanks guys, for acknowledging those of us who don't drink beer with everything from brunch to snacks.

Service is satisfactory, with some individuals who are really great. I'm still a regular visitor, but primarily for the atmosphere.

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Earls303 Marine Drive, West Vancouver
It's over.
Submitted Tuesday, December 12, 2006 - 1:18pm [Dine in]

I am sad to report that "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!". The yahoo factor is getting steadily worse. Thursday night at Earls has become a trial of bellowing testosterone-driven idiots and blairing sportscasters.

But we still love the food and familiarity. So, we decided to try it on a Sunday afternoon. What could be safer than Sunday? Ha! Wrong! The place was not busy, except for one big group of guys at the high-tops in the lounge. The hostess thoughtfully seated us as far from them as possible, but the Moon would not have been far enough. These dweebs had been there since 10 am, drinking bottle after bottle of wine, hooting and hollering, and being utterly obnoxious.

Finally, one of them stumbled outside on the arms of two unsteady buddies, and we hoped they'd all had enough and were heading home. Wrong again. We had to endure them for our entire meal. Grimly, we finished, paid up, and left.

Out in the parking lot the drunk guy was lying on the ground with his shirt off while his buddies and the restaurant manager stood guard. The manager had called a taxi van, which was just pulling up; I silently wished her luck extracting the rest of the animals from the restaurant. As we pulled away, we looked at each other and words were not needed. This is the LAST time we go to Earls.

We've been patient, Ohhhh, we've been patient. I admit I am prejudiced against TVs in public places, but I am clearly justified in asserting that TVs are the beginning of the end for a decent restaurant. Earls went straight down the tube after they added that wall of flatscreens. Sunday afternoon was the last straw.

I'm very sad about it all. Earls is a great place with remarkable food and wonderful staff. But much of their clientele is positively sub-human. I dare say that by next summer we'll be having lunch on their patio again, but as long as the inside is ruled by TVs and Idiots, count us out. We just don't belong there anymore.

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Wild Rice117 W Pender Street, Vancouver
I LOVE it when I can’t identify what’s on my plate.
Submitted Monday, November 6, 2006 - 2:52pm [Dine in]

No, really. When I taste something amazing that I can’t precisely identify, I am in awe and bliss. This food is exciting, with exotic and unexpected flavours.

Concerned about the rain on Friday, I needed a pre-theatre resto close to the Playhouse and open early enough to not be rushed. I was thrilled to learn that WR is open all afternoon; no reservations required. We showed up at 4:30. The place was empty, so we had our pick of tables.

Ironically, we ended up with too much time to kill. So we stretched out our meal as long as we could. In retrospect, I’m amazed how well we were treated in the circumstances. People were starting to line up and we were still occupying a primo table. Our server was exceptionally prompt, yet never implied that we should hurry. We were encouraged to take our time and enjoy ourselves.

We had the Dragon’s eye rock prawn sui mai; two prawn treatments and a crispy nest of deep fried leeks. Loved that. Then we shared the ghinko hummus. That impressed me the most. Where, oh where can I find the ingredients to make this at home? I want it every week! Finally, we shared the spicy Kung Po chicken. It was perfectly cooked with tender chicken pieces and silky, toothsome noodles. If I was a bigger eater, I'd have had one all to myself.

I’m so glad to find a pre-theatre alternative to Chambar, which was booked solid and not open until 5:30.

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Hy's Encore637 Hornby Street, Vancouver
Disclaimer: this is a very OLD memory
Submitted Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 2:03pm [Dine in]

The last time I went to Hy's, I was in a party of 4, with reservations. We asked for a table in Non-smoking. They sat us in the cigar lounge. When we complained they stuck us in the worse booth in the house, right next to the busy kitchen door. The food was only OK, and my best friend got food poisoning. Obviously, this experience was a very long time ago. I have forgotten enough to try again. For one thing, "non-smoking" is no longer an issue, and frankly, I admire an establishment that sticks to its roots, no matter how outdated. But thanks, chefdave, for the warning about the price. Over $80 per person for food alone?! I would have to be completely out of my mind to do that, especially considering my past experience. I wonder how they'd treat us if we asked to share a steak... Hmmm... uh, maybe not.

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Closed
Soho Bar and Grill7090 Lougheed hwy, Burnaby
A regular sore spot
Submitted Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 1:26pm [Dine in]

Ouch. I wanted so badly to like this restaurant, but I don’t think the people running it even like themselves. I concur with the other reviewer that service is slow and indifferent. With a little effort I’ve established a rapport with one or two of the servers; you really have to make yourself part of the process of securing good service here. For example, ask for the bill when you order your final refill. Make sure you get a menu at the door before you get your table. When you arrive, walk right in and make sure someone actually SEES you.

Tuesday and Thursday are half-price wings and cheap beer days. Wings are acceptable, and arrive quickly. It’s a bargain for a quick lunch with coworkers. Other dishes are relatively good, but not consistent. I’ve had the crab cake a few times and it’s never the same. Instead of a creamy dip, it came once with some vinaigrette concoction that tasted terrible with crab – utterly weird and wet.

The patio is big and sunny; I like that part. You can watch the skytrain whiz overhead every few minutes and wave at the passengers. It helps pass time while you’re waiting for the waitress. I have one serious complaint though. The background music leaves a lot to be desired. Once they were playing some rap artist, super loud, and rife with the most offensive and disgusting lyrics I’ve ever heard in public. I complained in the strongest terms to the waitress, without actually blaming her. She got the point and seemed shocked herself, but then flippantly said, “I never listen to lyrics”. I told her she and the management had better start doing so, because in the daytime this is NOT a sleazy sports bar; it’s a restaurant for families and professionals. I was wasting my breath. The music remained. Sigh.

So why do I keep going back? Because there is virtually nowhere else to go in the vicinity of my office. I split my loyalty between a nearby pub, a White Spot, and the Mall food court. Beggars can’t be choosers.

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Cardero's1583 Coal Harbour Quay, Vancouver
Forget the dining room!
Submitted Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 4:14pm [Dine in]

No, really. The dining room and the bar are like day and night; two completely different experiences. The bar has a décor with character; the dining room looks like a cross between the Keg and a pancake house chain. I love the bar, hate the dining room. Yet it's the same food and the same delicious view (well, actually the view in the bar is better). Best time to go is before 4pm. We frequently go there on a Saturday afternoon, crossing our fingers for one of the two north window tables. We are rarely disappointed.

The service has always been great, especially at that slower time of day. After 2 or 3 visits we were recognized and welcomed like insiders.

The food is consistently good, especially the appies. However, some of the entrees are getting tired. Is it just me, or is anyone else in this city getting sick and tired of oriental-fusion food? Stirfry this, wok that, and everything on rice or noodles. Cardero's and Taylor's Crossing are probably the weirdest examples. These are not Asian restos. The last thing I want to eat in a rustic, nautically-inspired room is a rice-bowl.

The hummus plate is delicious, especially the variety of olives on it. The dockside platter is a rib-sticker; almost too much food for two people. My favourite item used to be the wok squid (OK, I know, I know…it’s another Wok dish), but this dish was different last weekend. The batter was thick and doughy and there was way too much of it. It was ruined for me; I will mourn its passing and stick to the appy list.

One of the best things about Cardero’s bar is No Reservations Required. Just walk in and seat yourself. No need to suffer all that hostess disarray some folks here described. If you live on the North Shore as we do, a wonderful afternoon can be had by leaving the car on the other side, taking the seabus and strolling that beautiful Coal Harbour walkway to the restaurant. The walk back might burn off a few of those dockside platter calories!

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Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub1177 Lynn Valley Rd, North Vancouver
Still Surprising
Submitted Monday, October 23, 2006 - 12:32pm [Dine in]

How does a neighbourhood pub maintain this quality for so many years? It's like stopping time. More surprising is that any ambiance can exist in a purpose-built place in the middle of a grocery store parking lot! But exist it does. The Bear theme is well executed, right down to adorable photos of grizzly cubs, and there are plenty of cozy tables for two. The designer of this place deserves a lot of credit.

More importantly, the food is truly remarkable. There is something here for everyone, from the health-conscious to the calorie-hound. I love the mussels; every version of them! The daily soup is usually a rib-sticker, and there are several "light" options for a between-meal nosh that won't spoil your appetite (or diet). I look forward to the afternoon feature sheet; there is always something exciting there.

When this place is packed, service can be compromised. To the reviewer with the bad experience, I say give it another chance. Try between 2 and 4pm for a quieter time.

This pub is perfect for the "non-pub" patron. If you hate that "beer parlour" persona of so many pubs, worry no more. Just walk straight in that door and make it your own.

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John B. Neighbourhood Pub, The1000 Austin Ave., Coquitlam
Comfort and Escape
Submitted Monday, October 23, 2006 - 11:45am [Dine in]

When my workday has been trialsome, this is where I come. It's like coming home and getting away, all at the same time. The servers are familiar folks who recognize me too; always there when I need something, even anticipating my requests. The food is really quite creative for pub fare; not as healthful as it could be, but consistent and tasty. I have my favourite menu items, and that is a comfort too. The best place is the patio. I haven't found any pub in the GVRD with such a nice patio. The water feature effectively drowns out the Austin traffic din and attracts little birds who drink and splash in the pond. When you're dining alone, these little details mean a lot. If I can criticize anything, it would be the INside of the space. Things have really gone to seed in there. Furniture, carpet, fixtures all need serious cleaning and/or refurbishing. However, when you're out on the patio, unless you are unfortunate enough to end up with a smoker nearby, life is good!

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