Calabash is a Caribbean restaurant on the border of Gastown and Chinatown.
Plantains are in an uproar by their treatment in Calabash's appetizer dish. These tiny sliver-thin broken shards of plantain, coated in oil, are crying for help. Maybe the staff realize the cruelty- they highly recommend the plantain dip to go with the chips- that will be $1.50 extra.
Moving on, I was excited to try the Seafood Steamer dish. The broth was tasty but 4 mussels, 2 shrimp and a tiny piece of snapper for 22$ was overpriced. You know it is a sign when the server removes the napkins from your table before you are finished. It is time to go- and not come back.
This place lacks generosity (in spirit, service and portions). I will not recommend it.
We went to Calabash with a group for my husband's birthday for the first time. Our group ordered various appies and main dishes. I ordered the prawn and green papaya salad and the seafood roti. You know it's going to be good food when you run into your roti lady in the Resturant. The salad was excellent...came with 4 prawns with jerk spice on top of a mountain us slaw with chunks of fish. I would order that on a return trip. My husband had the crab cake appy that came with 2 good sized cakes a little salad and a bit of slaw. They were tastie as well. Others around the table ordered the jerk poutine, doubles, featured coconut mushroom soup and plantain chips. All reports back your that the food was yummy! My seafood roti was tastie and it came with a side salad that was refreshing. Make sure you add a little pepper sauce to your roti just to add a little more favour. Now let talk drinks...Yummy! We ordered many of the rum drinks. Try the coconut jumby and the one with the basil. All the drinks were amazing. The service was great and server was very knowledgable. Will be back again or sure.
Dropped in on the weekend after hearing great things about the place - and I was not disappointed. I love spicy food - and I admit that the food could have been spicer - but I understand that they have to sensitive to the palates of western diners (possibly not as accustomed to spicy and hot food). Anyhow, that's a minor point. I love the concept of the place - great food and great hang-out and listen to music (ok, it's not exactly my type of music - but it's a cool scene).
I had the fries as an app (with spicy jerk sauce) and fresh seafood curry - both great and recommended; I especially liked the fries - hmmmm - definitely will return.
Went there with my wife for a rare night away from our baby. Great experience! Great Food! Great Environment! Coming from Toronto and eaten at many places that serve Caribbean food. I was disappointed by a lot of the places in Vancouver but this place delivers on all fronts.
Loved everything we ate and we have and will be going back.!
I've been to Calabash four times now and each time I am more and more impressed by the food, drinks and value. When it comes down to it, you're getting a great Caribbean meal and drinks for at least 20% less that what you'd pay at Earls or equivalent.
Also, the wait staff is incredible, super friendly and the owners are always around lending a helping hand.
Calabash has two floors and the basement hosts a DJ booth in which there are weekly schedules where it turns form a restaurant to a dance floor with the convenience a bar located downstairs as well.
I've only been on Saturdays and they have three DJs mixing awesome reggae beats.
Not pretentious at all, great food, great drinks, great people, great ambiance... don't think you could beat this in Vancouver.
By the way, I was there last weekend with a group of about 15 for my girlfriend's birthday and it was great. From dinner to dancing until 2am, it was just a blast.
Had lunch today at Calabash. The food was excellent and very authentic.
Had the veg curry in a roti and plaintain chips. The house made hot sauce is to die for. Hopefully they will bottle it and sell it soon.
Upstairs is the main restaurant and downstairs they have a lounge with entertainment or for private functions. The place has a nice laid back vibe. It is a great addition to an up and coming neighbourhood.
Service was excellent. My only criticisim was that the food took a little longer to come than you would like at lunch. However, the food is freshly made and it was delicious - well worth the wait.
If you crave great Caribbean food, give this place a try.