I finally set up an account on Dinehere.ca just because I wanted to add my experience at Casa Verde. The first time I went there were four adults and three children under the age of five. Like many parents know it's difficult finding restaurants anywhere in Vancouver were your not frustrated by your kids wanting to get up from the table and wander around while your still eating your meal. A friend read that it was kid friendly and the food was good so we gave it a shot.
For years I've seen the restaurant on Commercial Street (not drive) but have never really known if it was actually open or worth trying. I had never seen anyone entering, leaving or heard of anyone that's actually gone there. I guess part of my fear was if I went in mb I'd never come out, you know kinda Quentin Tarintino-ish. Even tho there's window on the front of the building there's no way you can really look in so you have to just take a leap of faith and open the door and walk inside. As soon as my wife and I walked in our immediate reaction was to smile at everyone, gather the children and slowly move our way backward out the door. Don't get me wrong, it's not like the place is dirty or anything, it's just that it feels like it's a very personal space. The room is not that large and there were mb three tables occupied and at each of the tables were older gentlemen some wearing fedoras others in black rimmed glasses and all of them looking like they were from the Sapranos. The furnishings are pretty bare bones. There's a TV up on the wall and some flags and some Portuguese memorabilia. I suspect Casa Verde's ambiance is authentically Portuguese. I'm thinking "wtf has my buddy got us into"? Before my imagination gets too carried away a very friendly welcome comes our way from behind the bar and we a greeted by who I believe is one of the owners. I tell her we were meeting some friends of ours there who obviously hadn't arrived yet. She tells us their waiting for us and walks us directly towards the Portuguese mafia. I'm just about to clarify the situation when she disappears behind a darkened doorway in the back of the restaurant. Wonderful. We cautiously walk through the doorway and what awaits us on the other side completely dumbfounds me. I've never had a stroke before but It seemed clear that I was in the beginning process. My vision darkened and suddenly bright white lights were floating all around me. Before I could completely black out I focused on the far side of the room and I could see our friends sitting at a large round table smiling a raising their wine glasses. I managed a slight smile back at them before I was completely immobilized......by the absolutely deafening sound of The Beach Boys. Startled I looked around and noticed the source of my stroke, a disco ball hanging from the centre of the room. The music abruptly stopped and then I noticed a man in a leather trench coat standing on a raised platform pressing buttons a small soundboard. He looks over at us and apologizes for the loud music. We sat down with our friends and had a good laugh.
We decided to order a little bit of everything off the menu. We had ceaser salad, pan fried squid, clams, flaming sausage and peri chicken a fries. EVERYTHING was excellent. Ate a fare number of Portuguese buns to soak up the sauce from the squid and clams as well. The kids had a great time too. The disc jockey played all sorts of songs for them and he kept putting on the disco light and some other lighting effects for them. When we arrived we were the only ones in the back room but by the time we left the place getting really busy. When we finished we walked out the rumpus room back into the front of the restaurant. The difference between the back room and front room is absolutely bizarre. The older gentlemen were all sitting back drinking wine and watching soccer. It almost seemed as though they were completely unaware of the existence of the back room. While we were waiting for our change I noticed a couple walk through the front door and stand there uncomfortably wondering what to do. Unfortunately for them the owner didn't make it to them as quickly as she did for us and they were back out the door.
This was our first visit to Casa Verde in the summer of 2009. We went back there last night with the same friends as before and couple that had never been there. This time no kids. We sat in the front room this time and had an equally enjoyable evening. Excellent food and drinkable Portuguese wine. I could swear the same gents were sitting at back tables but this time they were watching the hockey game. I could tell that our friends who were there for the first time were a little weary at first but both loosened up and agreed the restaurant was a Vancouver gem.
This is a restaurant that all adventurous diners should go to. It's not for people who like eating at chain restaurants or want to eat out a trendy spots. Casa Verde really seems to be a little bit of a East Van secret and the only way you'll experience it is if you take that leap of faith and walk through their front door.