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redpandaVancouverSince January 16, 200826 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (3.2)
  • Food3.5 (3.4)
  • Service3 (3)
  • Value3 (3.2)
  • Ambiance3.5 (3.3)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 26 Reviews Found
Samosa Garden Restaurant3502 Kingsway, Vancouver
Went with coupon for $20 for 2 and was pleasantly surprised
Submitted Saturday, December 11, 2010 - 11:09am [Dine in]

I was a little worried about this place because of many negative reviews, but since we had a coupon for a 3 course meal for 2 for $20 and I was in the mood for Indian food, we decided to try this place out. I'm glad we did.

Food: Average of 3. I don't know how authentic the food is so I can't comment on that aspect. Some items like the potato fritters and beef curry were delicious. The samosas were good but not spectacular. The tandoori chicken was too salty. The naan was not bad but not spectacular. The dessert was fruit cocktail in custard cream - again, not too bad, but nothing "wow".

Service: Solid service (actually deserving of 3.5 stars since I think it was above average). They checked on the food and were nice to us even though we were using the coupon. With the coupon, you pick from among 4 set meals. Since the appies of both meals would have been the same, the waitress was kind enough to suggest and allow us to switch one of the appies with the appy from another set so we would get a better variety.

Value: The rating of 5 is based on the fact that we had the coupon. Since we told them right away that we were using the coupon, we only saw the special menu, so I don't know about the regular prices. We had a whole lot of food for $20 - that's only $10 per person for a 3 course meal! We had enough leftovers for a meal or two.

Ambiance: Quite clean and generally pleasant. The only downside is that the paint on the chairs is worn down.

Overall: We will consider returning again.

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Talay Thai Restaurant8369 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tasty... but wish the portions were bigger
Submitted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 6:28pm [Dine in]

Went with hubby to Talay Thai the other day. Ambiance and service were nice, though not quite at the outstanding level. The food tasted so good... unfortunately the portion sizes were quite small. We ordered a chicken pad thai, some sort of stirfry with bamboo shoots, and an iced tea. The pad thai was the most delicious one I've ever had, and I'm glad they don't use ketchup - so seems more authentic. Makes me wish they had a larger portion, considering we were paying almost $10 for it. The stirfry was quite tasty, though I liked the pad thai more. Again, for $10 I was expecting a bigger portion size. The iced tea was aromatic and was quite smooth with the evaporated milk and what must have been at least half a dozen of spoonfuls worth of sugar. At $2.50 it wasn't too bad, though again I wouldn't have minded a slightly larger glass.

While the taste is worth a return visit, I'm not so sure if we want to go back so soon because of the price. Maybe we'll go there for lunch since they seem to have $7.95 specials.

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Closed
Ho Yuen Restaurant8338 Capstan Way, #1226, Richmond
Sneaky hidden charges and mediocre food
Submitted Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 11:02pm [Dine in]

Hubby and I came here a few times with mom and dad. The latest time, they had some sort of anniversary promotion going on.

As usual, the food was mediocre and greasy. Considering how thin the steaks in the "pick two meats" meals were, it was a joke that they even bothered asking us how well we wanted them done.

The worst part of the meal was the sneaky pricing and poor service. According to the anniversary special, they had a special HK-style hotpot that was originally $10.95 but discounted to $4.95 - you think that's a good deal, but they seem to give you the mini version of the hotpot at the $4.95 price. That hotpot bowl looked less than half the size of a regular hotpot bowl. They also discounted the "pick two meats" meals, which include drinks. The English text said that hot or cold drinks were included, so hubby and I both asked for cold drinks. When we ordered the drinks, the waitress did not warn us about any extra charges for the cold drinks. When our drinks arrived, they gave hubby the wrong drink. It took us a while to flag down the waitress, and then it took us until more than halfway through the meal - after several reminders - before they finally brought him the right drink. At the end of the meal, we were surprised to see that they charged us each 50 cents extra for our cold drinks. Since we only read English, we looked carefully at the English part of the menu and nowhere did it say that there would be a charge for the cold drinks. When we asked the waitress why we were being charged for the drink, she rudely tried to blame us and said that we should have known better.

She's lucky my mom was paying because my mom actually gave her over 10 percent tip. If I was paying, I would have given 10 percent minus the $1 extra charge ("if you're going to charge us anyway, it's coming out of your pocket").

My advice would be to avoid this restaurant - there are other HK-style cafes with better service and more honesty in pricing.

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Closed
Bowl of Stars3608 Kingsway, Vancouver
Cheap and tasty noodle soup
Submitted Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 10:45pm [Dine in]

We've been to this place several times. We were sad when we thought they had gone out of business - but it turns out that they were forced to renovate because of a leak from an apartment above them.

It's a small restaurant but very clean. Service is pretty good by Asian restaurant standards and your noodle soup comes out quickly.

The best part of all is the value - for only $5.95 you get a big steaming bowl of soup (or a non-soup rice dish) where you get to pick the soup base, the noodle, and 2 toppings, plus a very small cup of cold "passionfruit" drink. Extra toppings cost an extra $1 each. Recently, they also have special "set" noodle soups for $7 (also includes the drink) - some of the choices include laksa, beef short rib in curry soup, and seafood in milk soup.

My favorites are the laksa and the "hot and sour" soup base. Don't be mistaken - the hot and sour soup is not your typical Chinese-style hot and sour. It's actually a coconut-based spicy and sour soup base somewhat like the laksa's soup base. One time, hubby ordered the seafood in milk soup - it came with generous slices of fish and some prawns. The milk soup was addictive and was definitely hubby's favorite. Apparently, their soups are made from scratch every day. That's why they're so delicious.

My only minor quibbles about the place are that their "passionfruit" drink cup is too small (well, it's included in the price) and that the "set" noodle soups all come with "rice spaghetti" - I wish we could choose the type of noodle for those ones as I prefer the yellow noodles.

All in all, we're looking forward to our next visit and we've been recommending this place to our friends.

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Closed
Le Bistro de Paris751 Denman, Vancouver
Poor service ruined birthday dinner and waitress tried to write her own 21 percent tip
Submitted Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 10:27pm [Dine in]

The title says it all.

The food averaged out to solid - some of it was better than expected, some not as good as expected. The complimentary fries were piping hot but a bit on the soft side. The smoked salmon appy was the best part of the meal. My chicken was nicely done, though the sauce was bland - although the tasty garlic mashed potato made up for that. Hubby's lamb bourguignon was not bad either. The chocolate mousse had a gritty texture, meaning it was poorly done.

The value was not bad for French food - entrees range from just under 20 to around 30. The complimentary fries were a nice touch.

The ambiance is not bad - a typical bistro ambiance, but nothing high end.

Unfortunately, the service stuck out like a sore thumb, which was too bad because we went to celebrate hubby's birthday. In the online reservation, I mentioned that it was hubby's birthday. When we arrived, I told the hostess that it was hubby's birthday, but there was no acknowledgement (and the hostess wasn't that friendly either). Our waitress seemed a bit friendlier (at first), but was extremely slow and inefficient. There were long waits (up to half an hour) between our courses (after they had cleared the dishes for that course) - our neighboring table also complained about the long waits. Our waitress didn't do much about that - she just paced back and forth for no good reason around the bar area. When we ordered dessert, I asked if she could put a candle in the dessert because it was hubby's birthday and she said yes. Dessert came (after another long wait) - no candle, not even a happy birthday. After dessert got cleared, we had to wait a long time to get the bill, and when it finally arrived I was shocked. The waitress had handwritten a 21 percent tip for herself - that's 21 percent of the after-HST price! Needless to say, I crossed out the tip amount and gave a much lower tip (still more than she deserved) and wrote on the bill my reasons for such a low tip: the rudeness of writing a tip for herself, the extremely slow service, and the lack of even verbal acknowledgement of a birthday even when asked several times.

If it weren't for the poor service, I would have wanted to go back to try some of the other dishes. Since there are so many other restaurants in Vancouver and enough French restaurants with much better service, we will not be returning.

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Closed
Ginger & Garlic7771 Westminster Hwy, #180, Richmond
Cranky server ruined an otherwise blah experience
Submitted Sunday, August 8, 2010 - 7:29pm [Dine in]

My parents were regulars at the old Honolulu cafe and they still go to Ginger and Garlic sometimes. We went with them sometimes and the most recent visit was very disappointing. Overall, it seems like this restaurant is going downhill.

Food: The food, as usual, was blah. The "steaks" that hubby and my dad ordered were super-thin slices of beef that must have had beef tenderizer in them - no wonder they don't even ask how well you want it done. The "black pepper" sauce had very little taste and lots of oil floating on it. Mom's beef and bitter melon rice had beef that tasted of beef tenderizer. My "sweet and sour fish nuggets" were probably the best of the entrees - not bad. On the bright side, the mango bubble tea was tasty.

Value: The "2 meats for 8.95" special wasn't too bad considering BBT was included, but the food lacks the quality so the value isn't as good as you think. My "Taiwanese set meal" wasn't good value. It was $8 with a small main dish, rice, and a couple of tiny veggie sides. Typical Taiwanese restaurants would charge less than that. I wanted to order a hot pot, but it doesn't come with any sauces and it's $8.50, which again is steeper than Taiwanese places.

Ambiance: Blah (though I might actually give it 2.5 stars). The bench seats are getting torn. The floor is not the cleanest. A bunch of large TVs around the room is another minus, though typical of HK style cafes.

Service: This was the kicker. Our server was a rude young guy. When I asked if the Taiwanese hot pot came with sauce, he said "no" and was pretty annoyed that I had bothered to ask him. The kicker was when he brought the soup. As he was coming with it, he slammed the plates (that come under the soup bowl) at a neighboring table and yelled "quiet!" at the kids there before picking the plates back up immediately mixing up our soups with the next table's soups (we had 2 soups - they had 4). I have never seen a server act so rudely to a customer before! It took us a while to get his attention and tell him that our soups were mixed up. He then unceremoniously switched the soups without even an apology to either table. Luckily, cranky server got off his shift before our meal was over. While not as rude as him, the next servers made their faux pas too. One server dropped off the bill before we were even finished. Another server tried to take away a plate that still had food on it without even asking first. They were slow in taking the change back to us. What's worse is that there's a message on the bill that suggests tip percentages (how rude). They were lucky that my parents were paying - otherwise they might not have gotten any tips.

Needless to say, I'll avoid the place unless/until service and food quality go up.

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Observatory, The6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Big view, little food
Submitted Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 7:49pm [Dine in]

Hubby and I went here for DOV. The best part of the experience was going up the skyride and being able to see the beautiful view of the city during the first half of our dinner. Sadly, clouds rolled in and covered that view during the second half of dinner.

Service was solid - they explained the dishes and checked on things, but they did not ask if we wanted fresh ground pepper or do anything above and beyond the call of duty.

The food was not bad, but was not as good as we expected for a $38 DOV. Our appies were not bad, but hubby's "soup" was two spoonfuls of broth and a small piece of sablefish. For the mains, hubby's pork had a small piece of pork belly, a small piece of pork loin, a couple spoonfuls of cabbage, and one nugget potato sliced thinly. My main had 3 scallops that were tasty (and not overcooked, thank goodness), but they were accompanied by a small portion of over-salty risotto. Dessert was tiny too. My dessert had a small sliver of apple pound cake, a spoonful of grated apple (supposedly soaked in ice wine - but couldn't tell), and a tiny panna cotta. Hubby's dessert was a small piece of chocolate mousse cake that was underwhelming too.

I'd give the value a 1 star as the food and portion sizes are totally not worth it, but since the skyride was included I'll give the value a 2. (Normally the skyride alone costs more than the $38 DOV price - what a tourist trap!)

The verdict: We won't be coming back.

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Five Sails Restaurant999 Canada Place, Suite 410, Vancouver
Enjoyable DOV 2010 experience
Submitted Friday, April 30, 2010 - 9:10am [Dine in]

Hubby took me to the Five Sails this week for DOV 2010. After reading mixed reviews of the place on various review and blog sites, I was worried that we would be underwhelmed. I'm glad that I was wrong.

The best thing about this restaurant is the incredible view of the harbor, the convention center expansion, the north shore mountains, and of course, the sails of Canada place. Luckily we were there on a sunny day. Although all window seats were taken, the tables in our row were arranged in such a way that they too provided a great view.

We started off with an amuse-bouche of butternut squash soup and salmon gravlax. I'm a butternut soup fan, so this was a pleasant surprise. For appies, I had the pasta and hubby had the chowder. While they were both quite good, there was no "wow" factor. For mains, I had the halibut and hubby had the wild mushroom ravioli. While both were very good, I thought the halibut was the winner. The halibut was moist and one of the accompanying sauces was addictive. Both desserts were excellent. The chocolate opera slice won for presentation, but the luxe lemon mille-feuilles won for taste. I read reviews that complained that the portions were small, but this was not the case. I thought that the portions were just right - you're full, but not uncomfortably stuffed.

Service varied from solid to impressive (hence the average rating of 4). The hostesses and the co-owner (the wife) were very friendly and accommodating and wanted to make sure that our experience was a pleasant one. The waiters were polite but much more reserved. There was nothing special about their service.

In terms of value, I would give a 3 based on the $38 DOV menu. The drinks are expensive - a juice is $5. The regular menu is quite expensive.

All in all, a very enjoyable experience. If my wallet gets a bit too heavy, I might consider returning for a special occasion.

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Closed
Han Gu 韓榖3365 Kingsway, #1, Vancouver
Not bad for an inexpensive meal
Submitted Friday, April 30, 2010 - 8:49am [Dine in]

We decided to check this place out last week because it's less than 10 minutes away from our home. The room looks spartan, with benches along each wall and tables along those benches. There's a big empty area in between, which makes the room look even sparser. Then again, you don't come to this small restaurant for the ambiance - you come for the food.

I thought my Korean kimchi hot pot was quite tasty and very filling - I had leftovers. The hotpots are great on a rainy day. Hubby's beef meal set was just OK in my mind, but he liked it. I also enjoyed the seaweed appy we ordered. At $6, the hotpot is a great value. The meal set was also around that price - also a great value.

Service was solid for an Asian restaurant.

All in all, this is a place we will go back to when I have a craving for a Korean-style hotpot when the pocketbook is light.

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Kawawa Ramen4700 Kingsway, #E15, Burnaby
Yummy ramen in Metrotown
Submitted Monday, August 3, 2009 - 4:01pm [Dine in]

Noticed a new ramen joint open right inside Metrotown mall, so decided to try it twice last week - once with hubby and once with a group of friends. It sure beats going to Denman in the sweltering heat and having to find outdoor parking.

Food: The ramen broth is almost as good as some of the best ramen places on Denman. The noodles are nice and chewy. Having tried the "original" (tonkotsu, I guess), shoyu, and miso bases, I have to say that my favorite is the miso. I also tried their cold ramen and the sweet vinegar based sauce was refreshing for a hot summer day. A friend tried the curry soup base and liked it - I shall have to try it some other time. The Kawawa ramen that hubby had tasted pretty good, but we had a couple of pieces of pork that were 80% fat - would have liked to see more meat on those pieces. The gyoza weren't so good. Although they were advertised as "crispy", they were not crispy at all. Then again, ramen is the main reason you eat here.

Service: Not bad. The wait staff were friendly enough, but sometimes service was a bit slow given the number of people in this part of the restaurant.

Value: Reasonably good, but not outstanding. The bowls of noodles were big enough. At $6.95 for a no-frills ramen you get only 1 thin slice of pork, although at $7.95 you'll get 4 slices (so ask for the "cha shu" ramen rather than having the ramen and then adding slices at $0.50 per slice).

Ambiance: Nice and new. Comfy seats that have chair backs (unlike other Ramen joints). The semi-private round tables are neat for a group. The down side was that they had a big TV and on our first visit some annoying poker show was on. At least the TV was off on our second visit.

Conclusion: Since we're much closer to Metrotown, we'll go there to satisfy a ramen fix instead of driving 40 mins. to Denman.

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Monk's Grill4555 Blackcomb Way, Whistler
Impressed by Dine in Whistler menu
Submitted Monday, May 25, 2009 - 8:24pm [Dine in]

Went with hubby for a getaway to Whistler last week. We were in luck because they were having Dine In Whistler, which is like DOV. After perusing the various 3-course menus online, we decided to try Monk's Grill as it was the most interesting one. We were not disappointed.

Food: Really it should be 4.5 stars. For appies, I had the fried soft-shelled crab and hubby had the risotto. The risotto had a mouthwatering aroma and an equally delicious texture. The soft-shelled crab, while good with its crispy soft shell, could have been better. A panko crust would have worked better than the tempura batter and the accompanying sauce was a touch bland. Our mains were cooked to perfection. Hubby's steak was tender and the tastiest we've had this year. His mashed potatoes were also delicious. My sockeye salmon had the perfect texture. This is one of the rare places where I didn't find my sockeye to be overdone. Since we weren't able to doggie-bag anything (being that we were out of town), we barely had room for dessert. Hubby's fruit and goat cheese "strudel" (made with filo pastry) was large and came with a nice scoop of ice cream. The contrasting flavors and textures worked well. The highlight of the meal was my trio of strawberry, chocolate, and banana creme brulees. I don't usually like banana desserts, but this one had the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity and brought out the smooth texture of the cream. The chocolate one was sinfully rich, and the strawberry one was refreshing.

Service: When we arrived, there was nobody at the hostess desk. I think the hostess was late for work. That was the only downside. Seeing that nobody was at that desk, our friendly waiter (who at that point was doing double-duty as bartender) came and seated us. He was efficient and friendly with service, checking on every dish and even apologizing when the kitchen was only a couple of minutes late with a dish. I was especially impressed when he came to check on our entrees and realized that hubby hadn't tried his steak yet. He came back to re-check a couple of minutes later.

Value: The 5-star rating is specifically for the "Dine in Whistler" menu. At $29 for a 3-course menu, it's a steal. The portions were large and we barely had room for dessert. It's also good that they weren't charging crazy prices for our juices. The glasses were pretty big and cost $3.

Ambience: It's at the base of Blackcomb. We got a window seat and had a nice view of the nearby mountains. The decor is comfortably upscale.

I look forward to going again next year when they have Dine In Whistler.

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Motomachi Shokudo740 Denman Street, Vancouver
Yummy ramen on a foggy night
Submitted Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 7:53pm [Dine in]

Went with hubby last week for the first time. It was a foggy night - perfect weather for a steaming bowl of ramen.

Food: Hubby's charcoal ramen was incredible. My shoyu ramen was pretty good too. The best part is that you don't feel all greased out after the meal because they use an organic chicken soup base. Looks like others ordered spicy chicken miso ramen - maybe I'll try that next time.

Service: They were so friendly and polite - always smiling and coming by often to ask if we wanted more water. They are a great example of what service should be. Also a plus: food came out really quickly.

Value: Very good, considering how tasty the ramen is and how the ingredients are organic. That's why the prices are higher than at other ramen joints.

Ambience: Nice and clean. Very interesting decor. Small, though - so you'll probably end up at the common table.

Overall: We'll definitely return. Can't wait to try the spicy miso chicken ramen...

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Boathouse Restaurant, The1795 Beach Avenue, Vancouver
Lobsterfest: food good, service not
Submitted Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 7:47pm [Dine in]

Went with hubby yesterday to use the $24.99 3-course meal coupon.

Food: Very nice. The lobster bisque for appie was the best part. Hubby's steak had the right doneness and the sauce was very tasty. My salmon had the right texture. The mud pie for dessert tasted good but came out half-melted. The key lime pie was good, but I've had better. (Minor quibble - the "candied lime peel" didn't work well for the key lime pie.)

Service: While friendly, service was slow. Our waiter also made some mistakes: not filling our water glasses for a long time (while other waiters were filling other tables' water glasses). He also failed to check on any of our courses, while he checked right away on the main course of the next table. Talk about favoritism! Maybe it's because we were using a coupon and they weren't... On the other hand, it looked like other waiters/waitresses were friendlier.

Value: The coupon is great value because you get 3 courses and 2 of them have lobster! Unfortunately, the tea is a rip-off - 3.69 per cup is way too much! All in all, it averages out to "3" when you have the coupon.

Ambiance: Yes, it was DOV, so it was crowded - but the tables were maybe a bit too crowded with people squeezing by because we were in the center aisle. On the other hand, the evening view and decor are pluses.

Overall: I'd go to Boathouse if I have the lobster fest coupon, but maybe I'd go to a different Boathouse location.

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Timbre Restaurant2068 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Great choice for DOV 2009 $18 menu
Submitted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 9:04pm [Dine in]

Went for DOV since they had an $18 that served elk! Since they don't accept reservations, we came right at 4 p.m. and were the first ones to eat from their DOV 2009 menu (as DOV started tonight).

Food: The appies were OK (although the weakest course) - I had the spinach salad with pecans and hubby had the chicken noodle soup. The entrees were the best part - nicely presented and tasty. The elk may look small but it's twice as thick as normal cuts of beef. It was nicely grilled (and yes, you can tell that it's not beef, but it's not a bad taste). The mashed potato that came with the elk was the best part. There was even a spicy pepper with cream cheese in it (beware, it's not a tomato), and I like spicy food. The trout was cooked to just the right doneness and came with rice (nice, but I prefer the potato). The grilled veggies (with both dishes) were a nice touch. We had the apple pie and chocolate cake for dessert. The chocolate cake was nice and moist. The apple pie was the highlight of dessert - it's actually a large homemade tart with the right balance of sweetness and acidity, and came with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream. (Maybe they should call it artisan apple tart to make it sound more appealing.) Unlike DOV reviews from last year, there's nothing tiny about these desserts.

Service: Our server was friendly and laid-back (in a good way). He came and checked on our food. At the end, the chef came out and thanked us for coming - that's always a nice touch.

Value: With DOV, we had outstanding value, even though the prices have gone from $15 to $18 this year. Both desserts were decent sized (unlike some comments about last year's tiny DOV desserts). We left feeling full. It seems that they actually provided better quality food (e.g. elk in 2009 vs. beef in 2008) for those extra $3. For the quality and quantity of food, I could see other restaurants easily charging $28 for DOV. Would have given it 5 stars except that the tea at $2.75 was a tad pricey (they don't have specialty teas either) - hence only 4 stars.

Ambience: Nice and clean. Interesting art. Not super-fancy.

Definitely recommended for DOV 2009. Just remember that they don't take reservations, so be prepared to wait on more popular nights.

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Closed
Griffins900 West Georgia St., Vancouver
A nice surprise
Submitted Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 12:24pm [Dine in]

After seeing other reviews, we were a bit worried about trying this place. We were glad we did.

Food: They had a nice olive oil, olive, and balsamic vinaigrette mix for their bread. Hubby had the mixed grill - all three meats were flavorful and juicy. My vegetarian "lasagna" was a creatively presented stack of paper-thin potato and carrot slices with mouthwatering mushrooms on top. I'm glad I ordered that so I could really pig out on the dessert buffet. Everything was so good I wish I had more room! I liked watching the pastry chef bring out different creations. The best was the dark chocolate mousse in a dark chocolate cup. The cheesecake was also very good.

Service: Our server was friendly, even though we were using the entertainment coupon.

Value: The entrees may look average-priced for that class of restaurant, but they are actually a great value because the dessert buffet is included for all entrees! That means for $31 for the mixed grill (which includes beef tenderloin), you're also getting a dessert buffet thrown in (where other restaurants are charging $8 and up just for a small dessert).

Ambiance: nice posh seats and nice art on the wall - as expected for a restaurant in a high class hotel.

Once we lose those extra pounds and gain back some splurge money, we'll consider going back.

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Cactus Club Cafe7320 Market Crossing, Burnaby
All you pay for is the brand name chef
Submitted Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 12:12pm [Dine in]

Finally tried this place over the weekend as a "splurge".

Food: We went to see what was so great about "Rob Feenie" cooking. Turns out, not that much. The best was my yummy BBQ burger, but that wasn't even an "RF" signature dish. The "RF" rocket salad was OK and the "signature" peanut butter crunch bar dessert was reasonable, but not spectacular.

Service: They were polite (though that may have been "faked") but were S..L..O..W... There weren't that many patrons at 3 p.m. when we showed up, yet we had to wait a long time for our orders and we had to wait over 20 minutes for the bill. Giving 2 stars is a bit generous. More like 1.5 stars.

Value: Not worth it. The food is several dollars more than comparable places. You are paying extra because of the "RF" signature, but you are not getting any "wow" factor.

Ambiance: very modern and clean, although not my favorite decorations. The washrooms are interesting, though, and are above average.

Final verdict: we won't be back.

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L.A. Grill & Bistro8100 No. 2 Road, 128, Richmond
Go for the Mon-Thurs dinner specials
Submitted Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 7:28pm [Dine in]

A friend recommended that we check out their dinner specials. We're glad we went.

Food: We both had the dinner special. On Tuesdays it's garlic prawns. The food was piping hot - reasonably good overall although some parts were better than others. The prawns were slightly more salty than I'd like. They come with perfectly-steamed (or roasted) potatoes, reasonable rice, tasty garlic bread, and side salad. There was a bit too much balsamic dressing on the salad, as it seeped into the rice and made it sour. Another minor quibble is that bread + rice + potatoes means carb overload!

Service: Solid, no complaints. Checked on our food.

Value: Amazing if you order the special. It's a huge plateful of food. It's $6.95 as long as you order a drink. Our non-alcoholic drinks were only $2, so two can dine for $18 plus tax/tip! Even the regular priced dishes aren't that expensive - NY steak is only 9.95 on the regular menu.

Ambiance: Nice and clean. Slightly darker than I'd like.

We'll be back - maybe for the NY steak special on Monday.

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Ouisi Bistro3014 Granville Street, Vancouver
Go on gumbo week
Submitted Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 7:15pm [Dine in]

Went with hubby near the end of October to use up our Entertainment Book coupon before it expired.

Food: We lucked out because it was the last day of their week-long gumbo festival. The warming and filling gumbo stew (served over rice) was perfect for a chilly evening. I had the seafood one, which came with 2 plump fried oysters, 6 large mussels, a few medium scallops and some prawns - beautiful presentation. Hubby had the lamb gumbo. Both were good, although I preferred mine (especially after I added the hot sauce). They also went well with the side of corn bread we ordered. For dessert, we shared the pecan pie, which came with a yummy bourbon sauce.

Service: I'd give the lone waitress 4 stars (very friendly and checked on our food), but the restaurant 3 stars as it should have had 2 wait staff that night as it made service slower than it could have been.

Value: Unlike some other restaurants, they let us use our entertainment coupon for the gumbo specials (both $18 - so reasonable value even without the coupon). The pecan pie was huge (easily the size of 2 pieces at other places) - and costs less than $6 (I think it's $5.45)! The 4-piece cornbread side was only $2.50, and hubby's lemonade was only around $2.

Ambiance: Not bad. Had some nice local paintings on the wall. It was a bit dark for my liking, though.

All in all, worth a repeat visit.

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Rain Flower Seafood Restaurant3600 No. 3 Road, Richmond
Dim Sum in opulence
Submitted Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 6:57pm [Dine in]

Went here for dim sum with mom and dad.

Food: Better than many dim sum places. You can actually taste the orange peel in the beef balls. The drunken chicken comes with tasty pickled melon. The flaky taro pastry dessert has a nice texture and is not overly sweet.

Service: Solid, polite, non-stuffy service. It is better than a lot of other Chinese restaurants. (Compared to restaurants in general, 3 stars - compared to other Chinese restaurants, 4 stars.)

Value: Yes, you are paying more than the "2.50 for any sized dim sum" places, but the quality of the food compensates for the higher prices. Besides, there are other dim sum places that cost more. Anyway, they give you a coupon to use at your next visit (within 4 weeks of the dining date) for a free dim sum dish from among their 10 "new dim sum" dishes.

Ambiance: Wow! The place is large and luxurious - this is the most opulent and comfortable Chinese restaurant I've been to in a long time. Definitely 5 stars in this area.

My only (minor) quibble is that the parking lot is quite full on Saturday at lunch and some inconsiderate people park their cars in the lane when they shouldn't.

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Jambo Grill & Good Morning Paan3219 Kingsway, Vancouver
Not that special
Submitted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - 9:43pm [Dine in]

We passed by this restaurant many times while driving down Kingsway. Finally decided to try it. It was a quiet Tuesday. We were the only ones there for most of our meal - near the end there were 2 more tables.

Food: We both had the daily special - the jungle short ribs. The ribs had good flavor but were on the greasy side. I had the sweet lassi, which wasn't bad and helped tone down the heat when I added a bit too much hot sauce to my ribs.

Service: Should have been better. Our waitress gave us the menu, then hung around behind the counter for at least 15 minutes without talking to us or bringing us water - and we were the only customers at that point. However, when she finally came over, she was reasonably friendly and answered our questions.

Value: The food isn't that cheap, especially for this part of town. We had the special of the day, but they don't mention it in their menu (I found it on their website so I asked them), which I find a little bit sly on their part.

Ambiance: The room itself is nicely decorated - they have African ornaments and pictures. They use "modern" lighting. Unfortunately, they use chairs that make the place look like a diner. If they just changed the chairs, the place would look so much more upscale.

I guess I can now mark it off the list of "I've tried it" but I'm not sure if I'd go back.

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