A Malaysian restaurant on Broadway Street.
My girlfriend brought me to accompany her friend on a dinner date and chose Banana Leaf. Malaysian food doesn’t quite lend itself to enjoyment on a sunny day but it’s hard to resist.
As with every restaurant that offers their variation of the staple bread, we made a double order of the must have roti canai to compliment our dishes. The lamb curry was fantastic with a thick coconut broth with fork tender pieces of lamb. The sambal tiger prawns were shell off with tails intact and coated with a garlic chili sauce. The prawns were plump but I thought the sauce was a little over the top in heaviness but I liked the bit of a kick it gave. I didn’t care much for the dried shrimps but that’s a personal preference. The nasi goreng made its way to the table and is certainly better than many fried rice concoctions out there but it is heavy and just sits at the bottom of your stomach. The curry tofu and vegetables were ok on the whole – the combination didn’t seem to work for me with the big chunks of okra and peppers swimming in a thin tamarind sauce but the vegetables and tofu themselves were cooked well. I ordered off a bowl of their Hainanese steamed rice, a pillowy and fluffy mound of rice cooked in broth – a nice change from plain rice.
While our server was friendly overall speed was on the slow end. Parades of kitchen staff seem to make their way out to serve dishes but otherwise it’s a bit anxious to wait if you’re really hungry.
The restaurant works around the dim lighting but that almost seems to tone down the loud chatter from customers. Space between tables isn’t exactly spacious either but for whatever reason it feels comfortable yet fairly private still. All the while, the billowing scent of your neighbour’s dishes tend to add to the ambiance.
Banana Leaf is best enjoyed with a large group of people.
Went there with a large party and they were able to accommodate very comfortably on short notice.
I tasted a few of the dishes around the table:
Green bean dishes (two different ones that taste the same and are AMAZING)
Tiger prawns (pretty good but not mind blowing)
Rice noodles with seafood (great)
Roti appetizer (GREAT)
Calamari (really good one, we've all tried tons!)
salad (skip it)
Everyone around the table seemed really happy with their food.
They are also a bit stingy on the shrimp so do keep that in mind if you are hoping to order that as your main dish, esp if you are going to share.
Overall I really enjoyed the place and recommend it if you're looking for something different and lots of flavor (and salt)
If you are a Malaysian food snob, well, I am not sure if this will be up to snuff but its pretty good for the rest of us!
We ate here years ago and I was not that impressed. We were on Broadway on Sunday hoping to go for dinner at Rugby Beach Club but they're out of business. The car was parked and we'd plugged the meter already so we decided to find something close by.
We decided to give Banana Leaf another try and I'm glad we did. The food this time was very impressive. We had curry chicken that was nicely seasoned and very good. Mango prawns with basil were terrific. They had some sort of chile spice in the glaze and the prawns were perfectly cooked. Sambal green beans were also very good. We were very impressed with the food this time especially the prawns - must have that again.
Service was not that impressive. The server never checked to see how our meal was and never touched our wine bottle after dropping it off at the table.
Ambiance is okay. It's in keeping with the Malaysian cuisine.
We would definitely return. Our second experience is so much better than the first time we ate here.
Reservations were made on a Sat night and accomodated, table was ready. Ordered several items including the satays - nice and moist but can't tell the difference with some meats just like in asia, roti canai - nice a fluffy, noodles - nice and spicy, king prawns - a bit over cooked, beans okra eggplant in sambal sauce - very good best dish, beef rendang - beef seems a bit too lean and a bit tough. Service was good except when we had only 5 people. 1 more can later and had only a drink. They gave us the bill with a hand written correction to add the mandatory tip. I think that wasn't necessary and a bit tacky. Nice place.
I was always a huge fan of Banana Leaf - I would always bring friends for their yummy dishes like Rendang Beef, Hainan Chicken, Sambal Greens, Roti Canai, Satay, Curry Lamb & Tiger Prawns. The service was always so wonderful and food delicious for the past 20 odd years. I had lunch there recently and went home extremely disappointed. Everything tasted bland and boring and lost it's usual flair. I don't know if there is a different chef for lunch, but I do recall dinner there being much better. I think that having 3 locations now makes it a lot harder for them to maintain their quality and taste. Back in the day they used to be this tiny place with a warm family feel. If you like Malaysian cuisine, you're better off going to places like Tropica (but only the Robson location) - at least you'll go home happy.
The Broadway location has a nice decor. It's easier to get seated since they've moved to their current, larger location. The old one the next block over was too small, literally back-to-back seating. That aside, everything's tasty! Plenty to choose from and leave satisfied. A bit pricier than some other places offering similar or better fare, but still not bad to revisit here and there.
Food: had a whole lot of dishes and I think everything was really good. Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet Sour Pork Chops and Mee Goreng noodles were the ones that really stood out for me. Coconut ice cream and deep fried banana were a nice way to end the meal. Overall, much better than the other Thai and Malaysian places I've frequented before.
Service: Very attentive without being imposing.
Value: More expensive than the other Thai and Malaysian places and portions tend to be on the smaller side. They charged for tea, which we didn't know about until we received the bill in the end. We didn't even see it in the menu that they charged for tea. They also charged us a minimum service fee that I didn't know about - it wasn't mentioned to us and again, we didn't know until the bill was given to us.
Ambiance: Cramped and didn't have the ambiance that the Kits location does. Overall, ok.
Will return and may bring the future in-laws as well but careful with the hidden fees!
Been here about five times and this was the worst. Very busy at lunchtime but that's no excuse for lousy service. We were only given a table after asking three times to be seated and there were many empty tables. The spring rolls appetizer came after the main courses. We had the sambal green beans, chicken satay and prawns which were all OK except the accompanying rice was barely warm and very dry...could have been cooked a few days ago for all we know. The servers had to be reminded several times to bring items that we ordered. Will think twice about going here again.
The food was excellent, since I enjoy spicy food. The service was nothing exceptional. However, the entrees cost far too much for what they give you. Although the food was excellent, in retrospect, I paid too much. The dimmed environment is nice to have, makes it look a bit classier.
Checked out this place the other day with my sister and mom. Ordered the roti, mee goreng, chicken/pork/lamb skewers, and the beef curry. Great food, reasonable prices. Recommended.
Food - Excellent selection of dishes and the food itself was outstanding. Presentation left something to be desired but all the dishes were hot and tasty.
Service - Prompt and polite. Servers seemed to be rotating to our table so we didn't really get one server, but rather a team!
Ambiance - Nice decor, but pretty much a typical asian restaurant. Place was setup more for efficiency and volume of patrons rather than style.
Maybe I'm biased, but I LOVE Malaysian food, so my reviews of Malaysian restaurants will always be good unless I have a really bad experience!
I went here with my friend a few weeks ago for lunch. The waiter was really nice and he came by often and filled our water many times. Their ambience is cultural, but I would try to make it look better. I don't really know how to describe it. Maybe I will go to the new Broadway one soon and compare the two.
We ordered roti canai for starter. Roti is ALWAYS good no matter what. If you've never tried Malaysian food, go for roti seriously!
Then we had the coconut curry chicken dish. Their servings were big and the food was cooked well. The curry sauce is a bit spicy, so be careful if you don't like spicy food. I would have liked it if they served the vegetables in different varieties, because my friend got like only asparagus, snow peas and carrots, whereas I only got broccoli, cauliflower and eggplants.
I haven't tried the desserts, but I heard the banana crisp thing is awesome!
I eat lots of Japanese and Chinese so Banana Leaf is a nice change if you like Asian food - especially spicy and saucy. The fish is what they are known for so I have had it everytime I visit. Everything I have eaten here was great and the service is fine. They have some great exotic drinks on the menu - many non-alcoholic choices too. I've done take out here too and it's punctual and reasonable.
Had a laugh when I read the previous review. There will not be any Malay here because the food is not halal ;-)
Had the Roti Canai (Good), Chicken Rice (chicken good - but not like those in Singapore, rice not fragrant enough), Grilled Cod (bad - it was pan-fried not grilled, the chilli sauce is not bad though), Satay (Very Good).
Overall, the food here is closest to those found in Singapore/Malaysia, but that is as far as it gets. Overall, will return when craving for Malaysian food.
I don't know what they were serving but the Gado Gado was gross. It was takeout, but it wasn't fit for a dog. The best gado gado I ever had was from the island of Borneo. What I had from banana leaf was a poor poor imitation. It was a sloppy, flavourless mess.
Intrigued with Malaysian food, I've always wanted to try Banana Leaf. Today was my last day on the job before starting a new position next week, and my wonderful co-workers decided to take me to Banana Leaf for lunch. Turns out, it was a great idea! Our server was very friendly; she did a terrific job. I ordered the Mee Goreng, and it was very tasty. I would definitely order it again, as I plan to return. We all had something different (there were six of us). One of us had lettuce wraps - those looked really good, Hainese Chicken (forgive my spelling) mmmmmm.....Nasi Goreng, and a laksa dish. I sampled the calamari, which was deep-fried - it was nice and light. Lunch dishes weren't too expensive, at about $8/dish. We considered trying the sampler lunch, which is $15/person, and offers a nice variety of things, however some of us weren't as adventurous. Maybe when I come back with the family.
I haven't been to Banana Leaf in ages as I don't live in the neighbourhood, but I was visiting with my sister (who just moved into the neighbourhood), so we thought we'd catch a bite of dinner at their Broadway location.
We ordered a couple of fruity lychee drinks that were absent any visible pieces of lychee, but was refreshing (and minty!?!) at the same time. It was nice, but not at all what we had expected.
For dinner, we ordered roti, a mixed seafood platter and veggies with eggplant and okra. The roti was delicious, as usual. Nice and fluffy with a wonderful peanut-type dipping sauce. The seafood platter had nice flavors to it with lots of fish (cod I believe, possibly halibut), mussels, squid and prawns. The veggies were spicy, but good and flavorful. We did, however, notice that there was something distinctly missing from our veggie dish - the okra. As we had ordered this dish specifically for the okra component, we asked our waiter what had happened to it. He apologized and brought the dish back to the kitchen. He came back a few moments later with the dish with the okra in it this time. However, when we dove into the okra, we noticed that all they did was toss the okra in. It was flavorless. Because they didn't make the dish with the okra, it did not get a chance to soak in all the wonderful spices of the dish. It was quite disappointing. I would have hoped that they would have seasoned the okra before putting it back into our dish. Because of this, I only give the food a 3 star instead of 4.
I've visited this location several times and have always enjoyed the meal.
Food: Brought out very quickly, fresh, and in big amounts. They have [had?] lunch specials for about $6 or $7 that were a pretty good deal - you get a decent amount of food for that price.
Service: Can be hard to get a seat since it's so busy but never had any problems.
Ambiance: Nice decor, but crowded.
My friends and I come here when we're having a craving for malaysian curry or that amazing roti canai.
We surprised a family member with a birthday dinner here--we were a group of 9. Because this place is very busy, reservations are definitely recommended. The space is small, clean, and nicely decorated with art and dim lighting. As the night filled with diners, the room gets very noisy, making it hard to hear each other. The service was good overall; water was set at our table without us asking for it and our glasses were refilled once through out the evening. Our order was taken early with an unsmiling server who did not show her happy face much throughout the evening. Our dishes came after a table that came well after us; in addition, our dishes came so sporadically that we forgot what we ordered when the last dish came. We tried a variety of things, including the Thursday night crab special; it was sweet, fresh and tasty. The black cod was saucy and tender, but a bit too sweet. The Sole Filet Grilled in Banana Leaf was odd--the fish was battered in small pieces and looked deep fried and then ladened with a sweet sauce, not grilled as the description implied; the presentation was not attractive: pieces of fish on leaves and tin foil. The Kari Lamb and Curry Boneless Chicken had well rounded flavours that was delicious on our steamed rice. The Seafood and Chicken Fried Rice in Pineapple Boat was aromatic and fresh. The Hainanese Boneless Free Range Chicken (comes skin on) sits in a mild soya sauce; it was also fresh and tender. We ended the evening with Pisang Goreng: a delicious dessert of bananas and ice cream to share. Sweet and salty flavours were very apparent with this cuisine; we found ourselves needing water to stay hydrated. We will definitely return, but in moderation.
If you want to go to Banana Leaf, do yourself a favor and go to the Kits location instead. Food, service, and decor are a few notches higher at Kits. This Broadway location cramped us into a small table and expected us to eat with our elbows tucked in. Food was oily and not very malaysian, more like Chinese. Gave us the bill at 9pm without us asking for it, guess counting money is their top priority? Worst of all, service seemed to have stopped after they have dropped off the bill, no water refills no nothing. The place is small and cramped. Waiters running around like headless chickens. They sure were working hard but not smart, but it is not probably just bad management. The manager was seen at the cash register all night...yes counting money and what not.....GO TO THE KITS LOCATION. Period.
Love this place. I've been to most of the branches. The food is great and definitely something I miss when I'm away! I always make sure that I go when I go back.
Ambiance depends since other locations are really nice especially the downtown branch else it's all good and decent since I'm not there for the decor but for the food! Service is also good since they are all very helpful and patient with us while we vote on what we want. =P