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zach_foodVancouverSince January 24, 200833 Reviews
Average Rating
4 (3.8)
  • Food4 (3.9)
  • Service3.5 (3.7)
  • Value3.5 (3.6)
  • Ambiance3.5 (3.6)

Reviews

Displaying 21 - 33 of 33 Reviews Found
Closed
DB Bistro Moderne2551 West Broadway, Vancouver
Identity Crisis but still some tasty bites
Submitted Friday, January 16, 2009 - 1:13pm [Dine in]

I'll be honest. I had extremely high expectations for DB and to be frank, they were not met. Don't get me wrong, this is still a four-star place and for an 'affordable' option, it does its self quite well, but after two visits, I am not convinced of its superiority in the Vancouver dining scene. It's caught in limbo between fine dining and authenticity and at its worst, feels like an upscale chain but for me, its more of a reliable option that fails to draw me there unless a guest loves the DB angle or I am in need of a safe fall-back option. Negotiating the menu is a chore, since there is little direction and comparing your options can be daunting. The menu, in my opinion, could be chopped in half and as long as we were left with the DB creations, then I would be happy. Recommendations include the tarte flambee, chicken/escargot fricasse, caesar salad (if you like anchovy), DB burger, chacuterie platter (especially the house made terrine), daily soups, and coq au vin. The one area of the menu they could mostly remove, for my money, is the non-traditional mains. The tuna with hummus was good but not great. The pork duo was limp -- very little wow factor on that plate for my taste, not to mention the star of the dish, pork belly, was average. The Poulet forestiere gets embarrassed by the au vin, and the steak frites barely competes with other I have had in the city. Desserts were elegant and tasty, though again the menu seems to shoot for the widest group possible. The room and service are great and the wine list does a good job of mixing value with quality and unique finds. Had a Spanish white (only $43) that was wicked and a great recommendation. A suitable option indeed but disappointment that it failed to capture my attention enough to move it near the top of my faves list.

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La Quercia3689 W 4th Ave., Vancouver
A surefire favourite
Submitted Friday, January 16, 2009 - 12:31pm [Dine in]

This restaurant has all the necessary pieces to make it a hit in the Vancouver dining scene. First of all, it’s in an out of the way location, tucked between a flower shop (which is bigger than the restaurant) and a bank in lower Kits. The room is small, apparently can fit 32 but that would be tight, the kitchen is open, and the serving staff an experienced team of two (who messed up our reservation but juggled tables so we would get to stay). A daily board of fresh offerings supplements a short menu and on my first visit our table had a sampling from both. The wine list is a bit hard to navigate if you aren’t familiar with Italian varietals, but they gave good advice and the bottle we had turned out to be quite nice and not that expensive – lots of options under $60. The food was a big hit. The soup that night was a thick pea soup with seared scallop, enjoyed by all, and the vitello tonnato (veal with tuna mayo) was indulgence at its finest. One guest had the squid, sublime texture and nice chili heat, as a secondi while all the pastas sampled were done with great ingredients and a classic Italian restraint. Polenta gnocchi were pillowy soft and adorned with a ragu of sausage and pea, while the carbonara was impressive since it is a dish one has likely had so many times. Mains both came off the chalkboard, one a roast loin of lamb on white bean ragu and the other a black cod dish with Japanese mushrooms that was indeed tasty, semi-local but not very Italian (the only clear departure from the theme that night). By the time dessert rolled around, it was time to share and the lemon cream (almost like a panna cotta) was perfect in both texture and tartness, while the almond and pear tort came with a wicked caramel. Dinner for three was $240 ($75 on drinks) and worth every penny.

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Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar1095 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Standard DOV - worth it, if you aren't expecting the real thing
Submitted Friday, January 16, 2009 - 12:06pm [Dine in]

Contrary to the previous review, I had a solid to outstanding (using dinehere terminology) outing last night at Blue Water. First of all, the outstanding side of the visit. The service was as good as I’ve had for regular dinners and the room had a nice buzz last night as early as 6:30, no doubt due to Dine Out and some pre-Canuck people. Dine Out is a decent value but it still costs $60 per person for food, wine, tip/tax, and parking (at a $38 dollar joint) and there are enough restaurants where I can do that and order what I want, that DOV isn’t tops on my list of must dos. Food was what I expected. Well prepared but not extravagant. I thought the veloute was a nice, rich soup, with the salty pancetta and earthy truffle oil playing nicely against the white bean texture. The salad looked OK but nothing special there. The Artic Char was actually quite rich with the sauce, and the fish and vegetables were perfectly cooked. The Braised pork shoulder was tender (I only had to use a fork), and the jus and BBQ sauce had a nice kick to it. The vegetarian dish was a big hit, great saffron sauce and a well-built vegetable tian made it the surprise of the night. Desserts, however, were the low light. Cheesecake was sour, not key lime, and marshmallows did nothing for the dish. The meringue had average flavour, though the texture contrast was nice. They were also more than willing to sub in a dessert due to dietary restrictions. All in all, what I would expect from DOV at a restaurant of Blue Water’s pedigree. For $38 dollars (just slightly more than the price of an entrée on a regular night or less, in many cases), you can only expect so much and either you except that and enjoy or have unrealistic expectations and leave disappointed. They did a good enough job, in my opinion, to entice a patron back for the real thing, knowing there is still more to experience on the food side of things.

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Closed
Chow3121 Granville Street, Vancouver
Yep
Submitted Friday, February 8, 2008 - 12:31pm [Dine in]

So I went again, for the early prix fixe dinner, and Chow is that good. Everything I have had at the restaurant has been of the utmost quality. It seems like JC, the chef, thinks about every item that goes on the plate, but he doesn't over think it. Flavours are bold and unique, but not over the top or ridiculously overdone. I had the mussel soup, which was perfect temperature and texture. The flavour was also very deep and rich, which was great with the mussels. The main, pork, was so good. When the waitress said it was pork loin, I almost switched to the Ling Cod (which was great, though the bulgur was just good, not great). Glad I didn't change, however, as this was the best pork loin I've ever had. Had one about a month ago at Fuel, and there is no comparison. This one was so tender, juicy, full of flavour, you'd think it was a different cut than what I got from the 4th avenue star. Nice and pink, it was also a very generous serving. At $35 for 3 courses, this pork dish is probably normally at $25-30. The sides, gnocchi (two very long ones), baby kale, mushrooms, olive oil potatoes, sunchoke puree, and jus were great, crisp when they were supposed to be, soft and creamy when it was meant to. His purees have always been amazing (cauliflower!). Desserts again were tasty, I had a chocolate mille-feuille, with nice accents of caramel and bailey's ice cream. Such a steal at $35, I will be going again and again.

ps. We also got the 'fries' to start -- such an impressive texture on the inside. Thick cut fries, that are pillowy soft in the middle, and they look like pieces from a Jenga game.

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Vij's Rangoli1488 West 11th Avenue, Vancouver
Best Cafeteria Ever?
Submitted Friday, January 25, 2008 - 12:09am [Dine in]

Been to Rangoli a number of times, and its up there in terms of places to grab a bite while out. Even if not in the area, I make sure the route takes me that way. Try to go at off-peak hours, late lunch/early dinner time seems to be the sweet spot. If its just for two, then you shouldn't have to wait long any time, but just giving you a heads up. The food is great. Similar in style to Vij's this is Indian food redux. My favourites include the spicy pulled pork, black-eyed pea masala, pakoras (whatever kind they have are outstanding) and the talipia and mussels I just had the other day were great. You can do a fancy lunch or good dinner here, though thats the only time the amibiance can go either way. Not a lot of room, nor particualrly polished, this place reminds me of an upscale Cafetria, not that I am complaining about what they are serving up. Dishes are big enough you can skip the shared treats, which makes it more affordable, or my personal favourite is one starter and one main for two.

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Vij's1480 West 11th Avenue, Vancouver
Almost perfect
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 9:35pm [Dine in]

Vij's is an institution. This is one of the best places to find indian-fusion in North America, hands down. My advice -- get over the no reservations, make the trek (if there is a trek involved), and do yourself one of the best favours of your life. You can show up early, before 5:30 and for the most part you will get a table guarenteed. I've been there early, been there late, either way you get tasty treats from the kitchen (even when seated) and their ginger-lemon drink has bankrupted me on more than one occasion. And now onto the food. Forget everything you know about Indian food and you will be floored. This is not traditional, though aspects or dishes can be, so if that is what you want, this isn't the place to be. Memorable dishes include most any of the lamb, sturgeon (etheral, though rare to see), and surpringly enough some of the best are the vegetarian dishes -- all the paneer stuff is great too. This is the type of place you can show up at 5:30 and grab yourself a plate and get home by 6:15. This is also the type of place where you sit down and live an extremely lucky existence for two plus hours, and when you leave, start counting the days till you'll be back again. I'm thinking mid-February -- what about you?

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Hapa Izakaya1516 Yew St, Vancouver
Bar Review
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 9:27pm [Dine in]

Sat at the bar with a couple of friends, and had a fun night. We had a nice selection of food, but watching it prepared kinda put me off some of the things (funny, since I'm a food-nut). Prawns were good, cones were nice (it was a special of some sort), blow-torched fish had good flavour but a not super-fresh (not bad either) texture. The salad was average, and dessert could have been skipped. They were nice though, as we didn't mind ordering a few drinks, though some of things we wanted, which were on the menu were no longer available. Since when is alcohol seasonal?

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Death by Chocolate1598 West Broadway, Vancouver
Dinosaur
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 9:17pm [Dine in]

I feel like its 1994 when I walk into this place. Menu is not very exciting, and although the dessert still taste ok, restaurants are a better place to grab a sweet tooth satisfaction. The 'fad' of dessert-only places is over, and this has to update or get out. True confections earns much higher points for quality and choice, so dont even bother with this place. Still busy enough to get sub-par help, I honestly cannot think of how they still get a draw.

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Closed
Cru1459 W Broadway, Vancouver
Small room, Big results
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 9:13pm [Dine in]

Cru is one of those places that is a unique jewel in Vancouver dining. A small room, which you have most likely passed many times, houses a great culinary adventure. The innovative menu is quite fun, with the wine pairing system allowing for unique and delicious pairings, or just a great single choice. The food is always top notch, if not overly sophisticated, which is probably why they do so well. The new menu is solid, but the old favourites are still kicking around. The best place for duck confit -- its untouchable....actually at $42 a diner (or less) its quite touchable.

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Go Fish1504 West 1st Ave., Vancouver
This is Vancouver Eating
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 2:15pm [Dine in]

If you can take a tourist one place in Vancouver, Go Fish may be that place. Its not the best food in the city (but its close), nor are the people working always the nicest (did they just come of the fishing boats too?), and when the heater's propane isn't refilled, its a tad chilly at times. However, forget all of that, and absored the experience that is this fish taco, fish and chips, soup, sandwich, fry, onion ring (when they have them) heaven. I've now had everything on the menu. Quick rundown
- Taco: Great zippy flavours (salsa, crema, coleslaw), and nice choice of fish..at two for $9, hell yea.
- Fried Fish: Salmon is unique, but the buttery halibut is my go to choice for texture and goes perfect with the tartar sauce
- Fries: Often outstanding, though once or twice I've had them lukewarm due to coming from a previous batch
- Sandwiches: Buns are so good, and they do a good job of recycling flavours in different combos so not everything seems the same
- Coleslaw: Nice smokey flavour, no mayo to be found (the way it should be)
- Soups: Some are quite nice, both curry-based ones I've had were really good.

The fresh food served at the wharf is such an experience, stop reading this and go. Oh, and please dont get all annoying when waiting for your food. These people serve hundreds of orders a day (over the summer especially) so they know what they are doing. Relax and enjoy life, the food will come and it will be worth it.

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Fritz European Fry House718 Davie Street, Vancouver
This is late night eating
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 2:07pm [Dine in]

This review only pertains to late night cravings for ridiculously delicious fatty food due to entertainment or pure gastronomical desire. Get the poutine, though the extra large cone of fries is fun to walk down the street with. The toppings for the poutine are a nice addition, smoked meat was the best I've had so far (over bacon and one other I can't remember). Some of the sauces are good for diping -- I like zesty ketchups, so its nice to find a place that has some you dont have to craft yourself at the condiment bar. Do it once, and you can see for yourself -- Fritz is the place to go when you just need a hit...of fries, of course.

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Kadoya Japanese1063 Davie Street, Vancouver
Solid Sushi
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 2:03pm [Dine in]

This place is an ideal corner (well close to a corner) sushi joint, as it has good size portions which counteract the seemingly expensive prices. The quality often matches your expectations as well. I am going to have to differ from the norm, however, and recommend staying away from (if you go often) the massive house rolls. At first, they are exciting and unique, but pretty quickly I came to realize I am more satisfied with sticking to other, simpler items. Sushi is good though, and try the big rolls if you want that indulgence. I find the simpler, focused rolls (Spicy salmon, yam tempura, negitoro is a classic combo) to be just as good and much more cost efficient. Don’t get me wrong, I like to spend money on food, but I've also learnt in some cases, the strengths of a restaurant aren't always what you first think. Menu items are hit and miss, tempura has always been good, and some of the soups are worth a try. As for the gyoza, you can find better elsewhere but they are cheap enough here to make them worthwhile if you are sticking away from the big rolls. Easy to get enough tasty food for two under $20 -- that is why I keep going back.

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Chambar568 Beatty Street, Vancouver
Its just got IT
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 1:54pm [Dine in]

Sometimes you walk into a restaurant, for the first or maybe fifth or sixth, and right away you think to yourself that this place could be great. That's Chambar. Good food, focused on modern interpretations of classic or whatever Nico is into at the moment. The moule frites (mussels and fries) are obviously well-known and are something you should have as a shared appetizer or a main at some point. At around $20, it makes a second trip to try out other menu items more than feasible. I've had good experiences there with richer foods, like duck 3 ways and the beef, but outside of the mussels, I've only seen seafood served to other tablemates (though I have never had any complaints). Service is pretty good, I've had somewhat of a range from acceptable to make the night, but my big knock on the restaurant is the table size in the back room. Perfect for two, incredibly tight for four, especially since drinks are a must, and a tasting of the beer selection crowds the table quickly. Location is great, easy parking and no crowds. The 'feel' of the restaurant completes the evening, and for anyone considering a special meal out or a trip to one of the best Vancouver has to offer, cross-town is the place to go.

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