Created by three young Colombians who came to Canada in search of a new lifestyle. Two architects and a former anthropologist that pursued a cooking career in Vancouver created a piece of South America, bringing to Vancouver new flavors, music and culture.
Baru Latino is a comfortable minimal space where the passion for food and design came together. This is one of those small wonders, designed for appreciative eaters who want to be part of a new South American experience, where flavors from Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina come together in creative way.
Went during the week to this resto on Alma near Broadway. Wanted to try Latin/South American dishes. Started witht the trio of cerviche ($30), good way to sample all of their choices. Cerviches were very good and came with a nice banana chips. Ordered the halibut tacos ($13). I didn't like the mango salsa and actually prefer the fish tacos at the major chains (Joey's Earl's) and Tacofino. A bit on the sweet side. For the main, order Paella, it was too wet and reminded me of Portuguese style seafood rice where there is more liquid. Served in a bowl versus pan and liquid was still at the bottom when we finished. Flavors were good as well as there was plenty of seafood inside. The flat bread that came with the rice was not needed. Service overall was very good so I'll give it one more try. Prices were on the high side considering the portion size/food quality.
A flavorful experience on an early Wednesday evening. The service started non-existent & ended up mediocre at best. I think the owner became more aware of our table because of my photo-taking of all the food. He did try to be more attentive so I'll give him that much. =) Our party of 4 were pretty happy with our food choices: Baru Ceviche, Latin Chips, the Steak Chimichurri, Paella, Lamb Sirloin and the Crusted Halibut. Unique flavors & presentation and the portions were not bad. The only gripe would be the price of the entrees that ranged between $20-25!! I think if they lowered each of those dishes by $5 it would have been easier for us to digest. =) For appies, drinks, entrees, & desserts our final bill came to around $172!! A bit much for a Wednesday night for sure!
But good food in a good location and fabulous atmosphere minus the teeny tables! And free underground parking is always a bonus. =) Definitely try the Quesadilla dessert though- quite yummy!
3 of us arrived at Baru on a Sunday night, and the ambience was very funky and inviting. We liked the design. The bass on the music was too loud, but otherwise the dining space was nice.
We ordered a white-wine sangria, made from sauv blanc according to the server. The fruit juice overpowered the wine, so it was essentially like drinking fruit juice. They need to use a sharper sauv. blanc in my opinion.
We started with a ceviche sampler and latin chips. I've travelled fairly extensively throughout Latin America. Ceviche is fish chunks 'cooked' in sharp citric acid (lime or lemon juice), so the protein and acid provide a stark contrast; in LatAm, it is often served with a fat (i.e. mayo) to balance out the other two elements. Salt is added by the diner to taste. The ceviche at Baru had lots of shrimp in it (I can't say it's never eaten this way in LatAm, I've just never encountered it), and if there was acid present, it did not make itself known to our palates. Sashimi works in Japanese cuisine because it is generally fatty fish, palate-cleansing acid (wasabi and ginger) and salt to stimulate the tongue and enhance the fresh flavours. Baru's ceviche was essentially sashimi cubes with shrimp, without enough salt or acid. It was ok, but it wasn't excellent by any means.
The latin chips are fried tubers (cassava, yam, plaintain.) Very oily and rich. Not bad - but IMHO, the salsas did not match the starchy fat - guacamole, for instance, is from the fatty avocado. You don't put fatty starchy plaintain with fatty, starchy avocado. It doesn't balance. The other two salsas were not piquant enough on the one hand, and too smoky on the other.
Our mains - paella, duck, and lamb; the lamb was mine, but I tried the others.
The meat was done to perfection, BUT it was served in what they call "guava mojo" - which instead of being a slightly sweet, complementary sauce to enhance the lamb, was a big ladle-full of very sweet liquid poured over the whole dish and everything was sweet, sweet, sweet. I can appreciate the sweetness of a mango chutney, cherries with roast meat, apples with pork, or even tropical fruit with lamb; but it's supposed to play a counter-role to punctuate and enhance - not to overpower or drown. It was, in a word, disgusting.
This was the only meal I've ever had as an adult where I took 3 bites, and pushed the entire dish, pretty much completely uneaten, away. The food was cooked properly, but the recipe is unacceptable - completely unbalanced. One dining partner offered to trade with me his paella - I tried two bites, and couldn't go on. The only flavour was spice, so the mussels, scallops and fish were textures, not flavours. He took one bite of the lamb and pushed it away.
The duck meat was done beautifully, but the sauce with it was much like the lamb's; duck lends itself to sweet flavours, I admit, but the herbed rice they served with it (I think it was supposed to be savoury) had sucked up the sweet sauces they poured over it, and it was not a pleasant combination by any means.
I must credit the staff at Baru: they were very apologetic that I didn't like the lamb, and they bought us dessert. They were very friendly, and did a good job at making us feel welcome. They greeted us promptly, seated and served us promptly, checked on us at the right times, and saw us out the door with more apologies.
Having said that, the desserts were awfully, awfully sweet, and the total bill (without the desserts) was $160 before tip. O U C H!!!! And I didn't even eat my dinner. The value is REALLY REALLY not there.
The recipes were made by cooks, not chefs. Executed well, but completely unbalanced, unprofessional in terms of flavour profile, and not cuisine by any stretch of the imagination. But you pay cuisine prices.
Final note - after we left, 2 of the 3 of us had very uncomfortable tummies. You couldn't pay me to go back to Baru.
I come here often for either a glass of wine and a snack or when I'm craving fantastic carpaccio - their approach is unlike any other and it definalty worth trying - one of my favorites in the city.
The food is tasty and the service is warm and friendly.
The last time I came here I had a glass of wine that was just awesome - it's called Trio and it was from Spain - sooo good and fairly priced - the couple next to us had a bottle and highly recommended it to me, I haven't seen it around so it was great to find something new. This time we ordered the muscles to share and the foccacia bread, it was so good and spicy but enjoyable. The rooms was pretty packed last time I was there but didn't have to wait too long for a table, about 5 mins. I think for "new latin cuisine" it's awesome! Influenced from all latin countries these restaurant is one of my favorites for latin food.
Maybe go in a smaller group?
I went with a larger group of people (10) about a week ago. We had made arrangements in advance, but the kitchen seemed understaffed - the food, while delicious, took *forever* to come.
The waitstaff were friendly, knowledgeable, and very accomodating to our table - she explained and recommended dishes, and in the end, we were happy with our food choices.
We enjoyed the empanadas, ceviches, and salads, and the halibut that I ordered was delicious and filling.
I felt sorry for one of my companions who ordered the guava glazed pork chop though. It was essentially 1 pork chop sliced into about 5 pieces (and thus it dried out) and arranged atop vegetables. For $20, this was not filling or economical at all - in fact, I don't think it would have filled me up.
However, everyone seemed happy with their food choices. We would have ordered more, since we were starving by the time the food came, but seeing as though we would have been sitting there for another hour if we had ordered more food, we opted to leave half-full.
The decor is nice but not well thought out. They needed to soften and pad the room with something that would soak up the noise! They attempted to install some padding on the ceiling, but it does little to barrier noise when there is hard tile, stainless steel, and walls which the noise bounces back and forth from.
For the long wait and the noise issue, I had to give an overall rating of 3. Me and my bf spent over $100 - we expected better decorum, more food, and faster service.
Ordered 2 appies instead of a main course. Started with the braised short ribs with cilantro rice and a sweet guava mojo sauce - generous cuts of meat, very tender and the cilantro rice and sauce all tasted very well together. $13 not bad value.
Also ordered the $15 Baru Ceviche which had halibut, shrimp, avocado, tomatoes, onions, and lime juice - refreshing and the pieces of seafood weren't too tough from the acid soak. The deep-fried corn cakes underneath the ceviche were a bit oily and strange as an accompaniment to seafood. Also tried my friend's coconut tuna ceviche which I didn't like - a ceviche should be refreshing, not rich in my opinion. Some of the main courses being sent out were all of fairly large portions - which is good value since most entrees were in the $20-$25 range.
Service was friendly and attentive. The group of us had a good time at Baru's. A decent restaurant, worth a try, but not a place I would go out of my way to revisit.
I loved the decor at Baru, but that's about it.
I had high expectations going in and that was perhaps my downfall. We started off with plaintain chips and the Baru ceviche - tasty. This was then followed by paella and the duck dish. The mains were ok, nothing special, nothing i couldn't cook for myself at home.
It was an experience, wasn't atrocious but didn't leave me wanting more.
We had some friends in from Spain and took them to Baru. We were impressed with the cerviche, creative cokctails, and friendly SA service. Great food, lovely room, and atentive service. Dishes are very creative and a nice selection of intresting Chilean wines.
Made a 6pm reservation for last night, and the chap who took it, and who also greeted us at the door was quite pleasant. Showed us to our table, took our wine order, brought the wine, so far so good.
Then he disappeared for 25 minutes, re-appearing only very briefly to tell us they were out of something. Well I guess he didn't disappear entirely, we could see him looking after everyone else. Finally flagged him down to order, and he sent over another girl to look after us.
Ordered 4 tapas to start, a basket of assorted fried plantains, etc with some condiments, pretty good. Chili Prawns .. same as everyone else, nothing to write home about. Scallops, a little bland. Halibut Tacos' mostly fruit, little overcooked halibut ... a complete dud. Ordered a 5th (empanadas) got cheese not the beef we ordered, even though she clarified with us when we ordered that we wanted them all to be beef. Would have returned them, but she never came back to do a quality check. No wine refill offered, no water refills offered.
The place is nice, good music, nice vibe but we left disapointed and won't be back.
We booked a late night dinner reservation for two here recently and enjoyed the experience very much. We used to dine at Baru much more frequently but stopped as we found that the portions kept diminishing while the prices kept going up. A few weeks back I came with a friend for a couple of glasses of wine. While we stuck to drinks I did notice that the food coming out looked and smelled amazing and the portions seemed a fair bit more generous. I figured that with the recent change in ownership, and with the menu looking so great, perhaps it was time to give it another chance. We were happy that we did!
For starters we shared a bowl of the fabulous Latin chips with 3 different sauces - a tangy in-house tomato sauce, an olive tapenade, and guacamole. We then shared a salad plate which combined avocado, cilantro, balsamic vinegar and the tastiest scallops I think I've ever had in my life. It was truly delicious! For mains, I had the halibut which was cooked to perfection, accompanied with delicious root vegetables and topped with yummy fries. My husband had the flat iron steak and loved it. We decided to forego the bottle of wine this time and instead I chose a couple of different red wines to try by the glass while he stuck with pints of the Red Truck ale. All things considered, it was an excellent meal. Prices were reasonable for what we had, service was good, and the ambiance was nice with most of the lighting being by candlelight. As is common in Vancouver, there were not many other folks eating dinner at this late hour so as a result the place perhaps had more of a bar feel. Most of the patrons were seated around the bar and the house music was cranked up. For my taste, it was a bit loud but overall it didn't dampen our experience any. We were suitably impressed and will likely not wait so long before coming back again!
The food was pretty good, the ceviches were memorable. Service was not great as there were three "waiters" who shared all the tables. The place is small but still it was hard to get their attention. At the prices they charge the service needs to be something more special. Pretty loud in there too.
Our first time at this latin restaurant. We will be back just to tryout more of the appetizers.
2 of us had the dineout menu and 1 went for 3 appetizers.
dine out menue
5* for the lamb chops (appetizer, got 2 pieces)
2.5 * for the paella (kind of too saucy, not what I am use to)
2* the dessert (flan), too creamy for my tastes
5* for the seafood ceviche (very large portion and tasty)
ordered the beef ribs but got the lamb chops( got 3 pieces)
2* for the empandas (got 3 pieces)
the services was good and we had a small child with us and they did not make us feel bad about bringing her along.
Visited this restaurant tonight for DOV (Dine Out Vancouver).
The service was excellent, our server was very attentive, was able to answer all our questions regarding the menu, and when asked to turn the music down a little, did so, but no sooner had she turned it down someone else had turned it back up.
The ambiance is nice, however I'm not sure if they are a restaurant, lounge or sportsbar. The decor is funky, rich colours, dimly light. At first you think a nice place for a nice romantic dinner. But then you notice a big screen tv by the bar a hockey game on & people cheering. Then you notice the loud music, although the music is great, it is loud, & people were shouting to hear each other. It's not a big restaurant so to maximize on seating the tables are situated quite close together, may a little too close. But then again, we were lucky as we were the only ones in our area, so my husband and I had it all to ourselves.
As for the food, it was hit & miss. For our starters we ordered the chilli prawns & the beef empanadas. The chilli prawns were very good, but a little too acidic. The flavours were definitely there, but there was just a little too much lime/lemon juice. A little easier on the acid would have made the dish perfect. Also the portions were extemely small. I know they specialize in tapas, but this was unrealistically small. There were only 3 prawns in on the plate. The beef empanadas were a bit disappointing. There were 2 on the plate. The pastry was good, nice texture, very crispy. The filling however was very bland, & not sure if it was potato or a cornflour mixture, but there was so much filler you couldn't taste the beef, you could barely even see it. The mains we ordered were the halibut & the beef short ribs. The halibut was a little over cooked so it was a little on the dry side and was very bland, the roasted root vegetables were good, but the sauce that surrounded the plate was so very acidic, it tasted like vinegar, very overpowering vinegar. I didn't really enjoy the dish @ all. The beef short ribs were absolutely delish, something I would make @ home. My husband really enjoyed the beef short ribs & he said the mashed potatoes were very good also. The dessert was only one option the Flan. Now both my husband & I HATE flan have never ever liked it. Tonight though we had to eat our words. We noticed people around us being served dessert & noticed how small the portion was. Neither of us were really looking forward to it but as it was part of the DOV experience we decided to try it. It was heaven on a plate. Literally the best dessert I have ever had @ a restaurant. It was creamy and smooth, even the smallest bite caused an explosion of flavours in your mouth. We savoured every spoonful, it was amazing. There has never been a better ending to a meal. Surprising enough the portion wasn't too small, although as I sit here now writing this I sure wish I had another serving to enjoy. It was one of those things that if I never have another dessert again, it would be fine with me, because I don't think there is anything out there that can top that.
Overall, it was a nice night out. I would definitely go back for dessert, but I don't think I would be back for dinner. We ended up going through the drive through @ Wendy's as the portions were just to small to be satisfying.
we actually had a pretty good time till the bartender overbilled us.
$18 for a half l of sangrea was acceptable but $20 for two glasses of sangrea was not.
Unfortually it became pretty obvious to us that he did this on purpose.
Really to bad, cost him his tip and this poor review.
I also felt the manager knew, too bad he didn't speak up and make it right when he knew I knew.
I'd have liked to write this note directly to the restaurant but their site is down.
Overall staff were friendly, Sangrea was tasty, chef and wait staff fun and friendly. food was pretty good, pricing (other than overcharged) was ok. I actually was bumbed that we got burned.
Wow. What can I say. I guess the night started out on a bad foot when I asked the waiter if we could expand our table of 10 to a table of 12 and he said "No. I didn't even want a table of 10 in the first place." Uh. Ok. Well why did you accept our reservation then? The rest of the night went downhill as he became more and more rude as the night went on. The food was decent, although the tuna was tiny and the Cazuela Baru was awful. And when I looked at the menu online, the prices are cheaper than in the restaurant. hmmmm. Well I won't be back.....
We loved the food and the service, but the blisteringly loud and thudding noise (music?) means we won't be back. Don't restaurants realize that dining out is a social experience? How can you socialize when you and your table mates can't hear each other?
This restaurant was a huge dissapointment. I'm new to the Vancouver area and desperately seeking authentic latin food. Baru seemed promising but failed. I was was very surprised to hear one of the owners is in fact hispanic.
The food was overall bland. They took the cheap and easy way out on so many dishes. Coconut rice should never have sweet bakers coconut flakes in it! keep it on the cakes! The sangria was a joke. The one dish that was good was the empanadas. Those get the thumbs up well, for the most part.
Like a lot of ethnic restaurants this is a restaurant that tailored the food to make it understandable for the locals so it's taste was more north american then latin. If you want authentic flavors that you find in spain, south america or the islands this is not the place.
My search continues
We sampled some fabulous dishes and ingredients that we had never tried before. The dishes were cleverly constructed, but packed a lot of flavour.
Great dishes on offer if you want to share with friends, tapas style.
The ceviche sampler is a great way to check out a number of styles, and the waffle dessert is fantastic.
With live music on offer, and attentive service it is a perfect place for an intimate dinner, or a casual gathering with buddies.
The food was quite tasty. My diner and I shared 3 courses, the beef tiradito (carpaccio), baru ceviche, and a tomato coconut seafood bouillabaisse as the main course. The beef was a little on the oily side, as it was doused on with a heavy hand. It was tasty enough though, with the right amount of saltiness to make eating raw beef okay for most people. The ceviche was top rate, with subtle fresh flavours that didn't overwhelm the shrimp and halibut. The main course was incredibly fragrant... we were wanred that we would "really have to like coconut" but I didn't find it overly coconutty. There were mussels, halibut, shrimp and the odd squid, all very fresh. The coconut rice was nutty and brown... not sure how they did it but it matched perfectly. The only problem is yes the service is a bit slow... you have to keep asking for all the things you want (water, bill, more bread). It seems as if our server walked out in the middle of her shift... not sure what that was about. Nothing was ever explained to us, and the girl that was previously running food was now taking care of us (she was trying really hard and they were short staffed).
This is the first time I have been to Baru Latino. It was amazing; very fresh, flavourful, and delicious. Our servers were very friendly and the place was pretty hip however, a little cold. The seafood in the chili prawns and paella were very fresh and the latin flan was to die for. I will most definitely come back to this restaurant!