A Malaysian restaurant on Broadway Street.
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.
Ate at the Banana Leaf last night with a friend. I just moved into the neighbourhood and walked past this restaurant frequently since. It was always filled with people yet didn't look like much from the outside with a very odd entrance shared with a hair salon. I tried it last night and can now understand why there are always so many people inside - the food is great. Never had Malaysian food before but thoroughly enjoyed it. We have the beef curry, mixed vegetables, spring rolls, and coconut rice. All delicious. Service was good and attentive. A request for more rice came promptly. For 2 people including a soft drink each, we paid $47 for the meal in total (not including tip). Reasonable prices and very good food.
If you're looking for something a little different this is a great place to try. The staff here obviously likes their jobs and the restaurant really values the business it gets. On two seperate occasions I and all the people in line were given free appetizers because of a thirty minute delay for seating. It's rare that any restaurant is willing to do this for a mere thirty minute wait. As far as the food goes, it doesn't really compare to some of the Malaysian restaurants I've been to in Sydney Australia, but it's still a different experience from the scads of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Pho, and Korean restaurants that Vancouver seems to have on every streetcorner. Highly recommend.
Food: Very satisfying. My all-time favourite would be the Roti Canai to start for an appetizer.
Service: Great service, waiters/waitresses constantly refills water, asks how your meal is so far, and asks if there is anything else you'd like.
Area: I love the interior of Banana Leaf. The dim lights, the decorations, and background music that seeps throughout the entire restaurant.
For a fabulous restaurant that can seat around 50-60 people at a time, there are only 6-8 parking spots at the back... But there are parking meters at the front of Banana Leaf...
We decided to try the Banana Leaf tonight (Friday) after hearing great things about it. There was a bit of a lineup to get in but we did get seated fairly quickly. The servers were friendly, and we were asked what we wanted to drink right away, which I liked, as we looked at the menu while we waited. The appys (plate for 2) were great and it was nice to see a lot of local wines offered. We all ordered different entrees (1 vegetarian and 2 with meat) and got more than enough food, in fact there was enough to take home for lunch. The fried bananas for dessert were pretty good, and the sweet milk tea really finished off the meal nicely. This was our first time trying Malaysian food so we didn't know what to expect, but we would definitely go back! And the lineup was out the door by the time we left. The only thing was the lack of vegetarian foods, our daughter is a vegetarian and only had 1 choice that wasn't made with shrimp/shrimp paste. But it's not advertised as vegetarian so if we want more choices we could just go somewhere else.
This is my first time at this restaurant and I've been meaning to try it before but never got around to it. I was invited to dinner with a few family friends and we ordered the 6 person tasting menu for $26/person There were 11 items on the tasting menu and all of them were superb. It included appetizers such as roti, satays, papaya salad. Lots of yummy vegetables such as green beans, okra, eggplants in yummy sauces. Mussels, shrimps and scallops were plentiful and the pineapple fried rice was very very generous with lots of stuffing. My favourite was the Crab with sambal sauce i believe. Soooo yummy and very flavourful. Our server was awesome and had a great sense of humour. This place is great!
I've been to this restaurant twice, and left disappointed both times. While the service is fine, the same cannot be said about the food. The laksa is definitely something to avoid. They add certain spices that are not supposed to be in a bowl of laksa. The second time I visited, I brought a friend from Malaysia who had heard about Banana Leaf. When she tried the laksa (didn't listen to my warnings) her immediate reaction was "Ugh!". The nasi lemak wasn't that much better. The rice was hard and everything else was much too salty. It's possible that the other dishes on the menu are fine...just avoid the laksa and nasi lemak.
Living in Vancouver you hear such wonderful reviews about certain restaurants and the name kind of sticks. And for that reason alone i think the banana leaf was stuck in my head as a good restaurant. So i decided to check it out, isn't it funny how when the place is a disappointment you can never remember who exactly told you the place was good. Well i can honestly say it isn't very good or even worth mentioning to a friend. The food isn't horrible it is just ok and maybe if it was really cheap then ok would be fine enough. but it isn't all that cheap and it seems like they have made cuts to their budget in all the wrong places. Basic things like the pineapple fried rice tasted really oily and the chicken was tough. The service was alright but i think most places in Vancouver have decent service, it is the food that makes most places stand out. So my review: the food isn't very good and for all the folks that think big portions are a sign of good food - well this might be your kind of place
The food was really really delicious. I somewhat agree with previous reviewers that it is a wee pricey for a restaurant in that location with that kind of decor...but the prices were tolerable. EXCEPT for the dessert.
We ordered the fried banana--tasty but way over-priced for the serving size; as well as two different ice creams. Each of the ice creams was about $5.50, so we expected a little oomph other than ice cream. Well, to our surprise, our $5.50 got us 1 single scoop of ice cream plopped in the middle of the dish. Not impressed.
Do try the food, but don't order any dessert!
(The service is a little frustrating and decor leaving something to be desired, so this shouldn't be your "first-date" restaurant.)
We were extremely disappointed in the food - we couldn't eat it. This was surprising given the good reviews. We had the spinach calamari, eggplanr and rice. The eggplant wasn't even cooked and couldn't be eaten. The calamari was over cooked and equally couldn't be eaten. Not to mention, where was the spinach?? The only think I liked was the chili sauce. We will not be going back.
Let me tell you something about Banana Leaf Restuarant. My family is from Malaysia and this is not real Malaysian food. It is just ok-above average. Have you ever noticed that most of the patrons are Caucasian? If it was so good and real, where are all the Malays?
Second of all, the waitress we had was by far the rudest server we've EVER encountered. She gave us nothing but attitude and complained about her tip. I won't even go into details because the thought of it is just sickening. Anyway, their cendol is far from real and is way to sweet. Pineapple rice boat is good and the chi-chi's. Roti is excellent. Other than that, it's ok.
My fiancee and I went here to try out their Dine Out Vancouver Menu and we were not disappointed! For $28 a person we were able to try 9 courses. The food was as follows:
Papaya Salad - fresh, vibrant. It came with fried garlic pieces, crushed peanuts, pineapple, tomato, papaya, lettuce - it was sweet, spicy and tart. A perfect warm-up for your tastebuds.
Roti Canai (layered bread w/ curry dip) - light, and fluffy. It tasted almost like an Indian croissant (naan x croissant), it was flaky and slightly buttery. Delicious!
Chicken Satay x 2 - meat was tender, moist, and had just the right amount of spice. Very flavorful, and the peanut dipping sauce was very good as well (though could have used a tad bit more spice). My only complaint was that we only got one satay each (it was that good).
Spring Rolls (we substituted for spring rolls in place of the Mussels appie) - Your standard Thai style spring rolls, glass noodles with veggies. Very good, but not the best spring rolls we've had. The dipping sauce however was delicious. It was sweet and spicy like one would expect, but also vinegar-y and slightly salty.
Rendang Beef - This dish was the star of the meal. Chunks of beef slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices until the meat is falling apart tender. Again, the only complaint is that we wanted more (it was plenty for 2 people, but again, it was that good).
Sambal Green Beans - Crunchy green beans with chunks of tomato and shrimp paste. My girlfriend really enjoyed this dish. Very strong flavour coming mostly from the shrimp paste. If you're unaccustomed to the taste of shrimp paste, this is probably not the dish for you. I liked it, but the overwhelmingly shrimp-y flavour got to me after a while (I like shrimp paste, but usually in small doses).
Scallops & Prawns in Gulai Sauce - Scallops and prawns with veggies in a thin curry like sauce. Very tasty, big prawns and lots of scallop.
Black Cod in Ginger Sauce - fluffy yet meaty, the skin was crispy and light -fried to perfection, it almost melted in your mouth, the sauce it came in was thick and sweet with a bite of ginger. This dish was very good, though it did still have a few bones in it.
Pisang Goreng (deep fried banana w/ ice cream & peanuts) - delicious! just the right amount of light crispy batter, the cooked banana was very fluffy and light (not dense like banana can sometimes be) - just perfect with the creamy vanilla ice cream it came with.
Service: we had about 4 different people serve us. It wasn't distracting or annoying, just strange. They were all very nice and seemed to be genuinely happy/friendly throughout, except the lady who served us water (would it kill ya to crack a smile?)
Value: for $28/ per (DOV menu) and 9 courses, we were stuffed. Very good portions throughout without skimping on ingredients or quality.
Ambiance: Colourful! Tables were spaced well, there were Malaysian inspired artifacts throughout the multi-colored room, and the music was unobtrusive. Very nice, but not what one would consider fine dining.
Overall a great experience. I am so glad this place is participating in DOV, we were able to try so many things we wouldn't normally get, but we really enjoyed. Be sure to make a reservation though; we went on a Tuesday night at around 5:30pm and the place was already getting pretty full.
We finally got around to trying Banada Leaf, we've been talking about it since a trip to Malaysia a few years ago.
Great menu, we decided to share 4 different items including some Satay's (GREAT dipping sauce), Mussels (not hot enough, but tasty) Calamari and Roti. The Roti are the most authentic we've had outside of Asia.
The service was very slow at times, but at least they smiled through it all. We found the prices quite resonable for the quality.
Would we return? Yes, if we found ourselves hungry in that area of the city.
I went to this place a few times and only the first time was the best. I had a good impression on it. The seafood platter was not bad but I did not agree with the portion since the price isn't that low! The coconut rice was not bad but nothing memorable. The drinks were good! Service was standard. Place was full when I went.
I would still go back but not as often as I wanted to before. But I'd recommend to my friends.
My friends and I came here for lunch yesterday. They have great lunch specials at really good prices. A lot of the entres were under $10.00. We ordered the Roti Canai, Lamb Curry & Sayur Lemak with rice, Sambal Green bean with rice and Gulai prawns with rice. Everything we ordered were delicious. All of us are orginally from Malaysia and we can definetly declare that Banana Leaf is definetely the BEST Malaysian restaurant in the GVRD. Service as usual is outstanding. The servers are very friendly and courteous. We would patronize this restaurant a lot more often if we lived a little closer.
Have no real complains about this restaurant. Beautiful food, lovely service and the lunch specials rock. Though I must point out that not all the cuisine taste like they come from Malaysia... some were Singaporean influence.
Dishes are a bit small for the price you pay.
We tried out the Banana Leaf with the mother-in-law & friends, on a busy Saturday evening. We didn't have to wait thankfully, as there’s plenty of table space. It's very popular.
We started with shared rotis & an assortment of spicy dips, all of which rapidly disappeared !
There certainly was a huge & diverse choice of menu items. I ordered lamb curry & asked for it to be spiced up a lot. The dish was delicious. There were huge hunks of succulent lamb in a spicy hot & flavoursome sauce. The spiciness didn’t mask the flavours. Additional rice & rotis were not needed.
It does tasty draught beer & an assortment of wines & cocktails.
The service was fast, efficient & very friendly. We were even advised by the waitress, we might have ordered too much food, as we were not overly familiar with Malaysian food ! Nevertheless, we cancelled a couple of dishes & nothing was left at the end !
I would rather the waiting staff didn't remove people's plates when others at the table are still eating. It's rude & somewhat destroys the atmosphere.
It was a great night out. Good food, drink, ambiance, company & service. I’d definitely go back to try something else out of this diverse menu. I now love Malaysian food. Highly recommended.
My favourite is roti canai, the tofu apertizer and their vegetable curry on the lunch menu. A lot of vegetable with a light curry sauce with rice for 6$ in a very nice ambient restaurant. I tried their seafood soup and I hated it . It was too fishy and they food some kind of stinky sauce in there so I dont recommend it. But overall, one of the best asian restaurant in vancouver.
I have to give them credit, they have their act down solid. It feels good, smells good. The servers may be rushed, but they do take care of you. The food just starts to come out of the kitchen, and it's the flavours that bring me back. It was 3 weeks ago and I should have written this earlier. I just know the four of us left happy. Have been about six times over the last four years. Banana leaf is an experience and a reliable choice.
Having been told not to go there, I finally overcame my shyness and visited the much-appraised Malaysian chain. I'm not sure what it's appraised for-it's quite average in food quality. I ordered the roti and a bowl of noodles (with shrimp and veggies thrown in, plus one egg) while my friends ordered a variety of rice.
Firstly, the appetizer (roti) was yummy and came with an interesting dip. The roti can be described as a salty crepe; it was a satisfying prelude to the main meal.
One of the best things about Banana Leaf is the menu. It is vast and you can request the degree of spiciness. The variety of dishes share one common trait: beansprout. Nearly every dish is filled to the brim with them. Whatever the taste is, this is a cheap excuse to fill up room which should be meant for meat or noodle. My bowl looked large, but the majority is soup and beansprouts. It drowned out what would've been a flavourful dish.
Banana Leaf, therefore, can only redeem itself with its service, which was phenomenal. Extra peanuts, extra sauce-everything you can request is done swiftly and with a smile.
Final verdict: Your dollar doesn't go very far here, so I would not visit again.