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winenutVancouverSince December 18, 20066 Reviews
Average Rating
3.5 (3.5)
  • Food4 (4.2)
  • Service3 (3.2)
  • Ambiance3.5 (3.3)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 Reviews Found
Il Giardino1382 Hornby St, Vancouver
Pleasantly Surprised
Submitted Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 10:20am [Dine in]

For years Il Giardino has never been my first choice when it came to fine dining in the city. I think it’s because it has the image of being frequented by obnoxious, unsavory, chain smoking Howe Street types. That being said, I had always remembered the food there to be quite decent. So the last weekend before Christmas, my wife and I decided to go to Il Giardino and have our pre-Christmas celebration. We were seated in a cozy 2 person table under a picture window overlooking the courtyard, and surprise surprise, there was a table of 5-7 loud broker types that seated along the wall behind us. Each had a half empty wine glass in their hand and for some reason continuously high-fived each other, just as what I remembered! Our server told us that this group had been in the restaurant since lunch and were about to leave…thank goodness. After the broker crowd filed out, the restaurant began to slowly fill up with more subdued patrons that were there to have a good dinner, I must admit, at that point, the atmosphere of the place totally turned around. I had the beef carpaccio and some prawn dish which was not overly memorable, my wife, however, ordered a hearty minestrone followed by a fantastic pheasant with blue cheese stuffing - done to perfection. The service on that busy night was actually quite attentive, maybe it’s because we had an older seasoned waiter that was able to juggle the demands of multiple tables without breaking a sweat. Overall, it was a good experience and I hope to be back sooner rather than later.

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Tojo's Restaurant1133 W Broadway, Vancouver
Good food but what happened to ther service?
Submitted Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 9:42am [Dine in]

The décor in Tojo’s new location was very Zen, tasteful, but a little cold, both in terms of temperature and atmosphere. We had the omakase at the sushi bar which was an experience in its own. If you’re not familiar with Tojo’s omakase, they charge based on a sliding scale. If you stop after 5 courses, it’s one price, if you keep going, it’s another price and the sky’s the limit depending on how much you eat. My wife and I were both very hungry and as a result, our meals cost $170 each not including drinks. Chef Tojo sources some of the best ingredients in Vancouver and therefore their sashimi and seafood is top notch. Where they fell apart was in the service and atmosphere. First, the server never came once to refill our tea and sakes. Secondly, my wife requested for no shellfish, and lo and behold one of our courses was fresh oysters in the half shell. Third, after the 5th or 6th course, the server started to ask us whether we wanted to “keep going” (i.e. have more food), but he does this on every subsequent course which becomes extremely annoying, almost feels like I’m begging for food. You have to give Chef Tojo credit for bringing fusion Japanese to the mainstream in Vancouver, but for some reason, I just don’t feel welcome when I’m eating at his restaurant, maybe it’s his demeanor, or the service, or a bit of both.

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Pear Tree, The4120 Hastings Street, Burnaby
Strange reaction to a simple question
Submitted Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 6:16pm [Dine in]

As a self proclaimed "wine nut", I take my wines pretty seriously but must admit that I am the last person to proclaim that I know everything about wine and would often rely on the advice of the sommelier. Having been to the Pear Tree before, I know for a fact that they don't have a real sommelier on staff. So when it came time to order a bottle of wine, I was having a difficult time deciding whether the 1997 Opus One ($400) or the 1996 Opus One (also $400) was better. I then asked one of the servers whether she knew which one was better or if she's not sure, maybe the chef would know. The reaction I got blew me away, this lady got red in the face, took a step back with a hand to her chest and told me that "she's never had ANYONE tell her they wanted to speak to the chef about wine"...to me that's is a strange overreaction. She then went on to say that "if you really want to speak to the chef, you could, would you like me to get him right now?" Seeing that she already disapproves of my initial question, I didn't dare say yes and possibly create a scene in the restaurant. I then politely said that I didn't know which wine was better and maybe she would give me some advice. She then went on to tell me that according to Wine Spectator, 1997's climate was perfect and that 1996 wasn't as good, but the "only" advantage the 1996 bottle had was an extra year's vintage. So I took her advice and ordered the 1997 bottle. So after the meal, I went home to check Wine Spectator's website and to my surprise, I found that the bottle of wine I had actually had a lower score (94/100) whereas the 1996 bottle was rated (96/100). This got me a little mad, not because I chose the bottle of wine with the lower score, but that someone would actually give me such a rude reaction to my simple wine question and at the end of the day not even getting the facts right herself.

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Octopus Garden1995 Cornwall Ave, Vancouver
A rare gem in the city
Submitted Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 12:38pm [Dine in]

Been to this rather quirky Japanese restaurant a couple of times and each time the food was excellent. But I really didn't know how good this place was until I tried their Omakase tasting menu. Good sashimi is relatively easy to come in this city as it only requires fresh ingredients, but good cooked foods and creative dishes is all based on the skill of the chef and I think Octopus' Garden has both. This is one of the friendliest sushi places around and I would definitely recommend sitting at the sushi bar to get the full explanation of each dish from the chef.

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Coast1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver
So far so good
Submitted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 3:33am [Dine in]

I've been to this restaurant about 5 or 6 times and so far I have not been disappointed. That being said, the only thing I've had at Coast was fish and seafood so I can't comment on their meat dishes. A sure bet for me is always the special (which is usually a fish). The service that night was quick and attentive, they even informed us of when our taxi was waiting outside. The only drawback is the temperature in this restaurant can sometimes be too warm, especially if the chef is cooking in the communal table. All in all, good food, good service, reasonable prices, highly recommended spot for a casual dinner with good friends.

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Le Crocodile909 Burrard Street, #100, Vancouver
Since we're on the topic of service
Submitted Monday, December 18, 2006 - 4:25am [Dine in]

Let me first say that I've been a long time customer of Le Crocodile, back to the days when Jean Pierre and Ben were waiters there. Lately the restaurant has been staffed with young and inexperienced waiters, and as a result, I think the service suffered. To give you an example, I was part of a table of 10 a couple of months back, when we entered the the door, no one asked to hang up our jackets. We then proceeded to sit down (in a long table they had set up in front of the bar), I had realized that the bench seating didn't give me a place to hang my coat. I then asked a waiter if he could help me put aside my jacket. The response I got was a strange look (as if what I was asking him to do was beneath him) and he then pointed to the coat hooks on the wall (i.e. implying, you hang up your own jackets here). The food that night was above average, but the service overall was less than impressive.

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