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3
  • Food3
  • Service2.5
  • Value3
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews41

Cafe Calabria

1745 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC V5N4A4
Tel: (604) 253-7017
Neighbourhood: Grandview-Woodland

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 41 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Great food and ambiance.
By lindarose of Vancouver (172 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, July 7, 2012 - 7:28pm [Dine in]

I have been here a few times for some coffee and ice cream, today was the latest visit.

A friend and I each had an ice cream ($3.50 each) and an Americano ($3.50 each). The bill would have come to $14.00, but we used an Entertainment coupon, which stated "50% off one food item with the purchase of a regular item" (or words to that effect). The owner/server gave us a full $5 off, making the total $9.00. Great Deal. I would have still been satisfied with the price at $14 due to the quality received and the overall ambiance. I rated "three stars" based on the price without the coupon - I would have rated it "incredible" with the coupon.

The ambiance is a bit cheesy - but great fun. Lots of statues, marble top cafe style tables. It feels nice to be in there - like a trip to Italy.

I found the service efficient and friendly.

The ice cream is tasty and generously portioned. The americanos had an incredible crema and were hot and delicious.

I would return again and enjoy coffee in such a nice environment.

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A good place for a coffee
By chasiubow of North Van (675 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, December 29, 2006 - 2:34pm [Dine in]

I've been going to the Calabria for years, with my most recent trip a couple of days ago. The statues are funky and the ambience is typical Italian-American cafe. The place is always inviting and super-clean. There are a couple of dozen or so places just like it in Toronto, but Vancouver only has 2 or 3.

The coffee is fantastic, and I especially like the espresso. There is also a food selection of gelato, and it is usually great. The other menu items are average good. I agree with the previous reviewer though: The staff needs to work on their people skills.

Despite the personality issues, I still recommend Calabria for cafe lovers out there.

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too expensive to return, but the ice cream was good.
By eating good food of Vancouver (128 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, September 28, 2008 - 11:01pm [Dine in]

Came here actually 3 weeks ago. I actually paid $3 for an oreo scoop in a little cup. It was ridicoulous. I have to admit, that the ice cream did taste really good, but there is no way that it was worth $3.

The Ambiance wasn't all that bad, actually I would have rated it 1.5 (in between poor and decent) but it wasn't that great to warrent the ambiance a 2, and I was more geared towards a one than a two

Will not return, due to small quantity and price.

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Step into Casa Mia
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 4:30pm [Dine in]

Wow, the instant you step into Calabria Bar (also known to some as Cafe Calabria), you feel like you've left Vancouver behind and walked into Italy. It's obvious they've spared no expense creating this atmosphere. From statues, to wonderful chandeliers, to great bistro tables and chairs. You just can't help but to sit back and relax with your cup of cappucino or latte.
They also served yummy looking paninis and a wide selection of gelatos and desserts.

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no surprises really....
By Italian-guy of Downtown&Burnaby (60 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 4:49pm [Dine in]

I have to chuckle when I hear about the bad/indifferent service at this place. These guys despite having some of the best coffee in Vancouver are first and always wops. I don't mean Italians, I mean wops, the kind we Italian/Canadians always cringe at and are ashamed of in their midst. Here is a little anecdote, I took a relative from Italy there to show him a Italian/North american coffee bar, Kitsch and all. When he tried to take a picture, The old man owner freaked out!! Not even a trace of civility, just pure anger!! Oh well, it is there place but it is indicitive!
P.S. The biscotti are homemade and the best!! go and have fun and please don't tease the wops!!

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Service won't make u return
By 360 of Vancouver (31 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 10:38am [Dine in]

It doesn't make me anyway. There's a variety of food like gelato, pastries, cookies, coffee, & sandwiches but none of them have prices listed so I don't think that's right. They can charge whatever they want whenever they want & they don't even give you a receipt. Something else that seems to be "stereotypically Italian" is the pride. I got a burnt sandwich & it was tiny too! I think it was the same price as my bf's but it's half as small. It had thick black marks on both sides. I ate one that was already fairly burnt because I didn't want to be an annoying customer but there was no way I would eat the other half which was way more burnt. I gave it back to the man who made it & said "can you make me another half only? It's burnt." I didn't even tell him the other half was burnt too but I ate it. He scoffed & didn't think black marks meant burnt food. Then he went on to say that he couldn't do anything about it. I suggested something but he didn't even bother to listen to me & walked away with my dish as I was speaking to him. What a terrible attitude. You think you're such a great cook that no one can criticize you? It's definitely one of the brothers. I don't think it matters which one.

The food is just average. I've had good paninis at coco et olive with much better service. Calabria does give hearty slices of meat & a lot of cheese though. But it doesn't make my mouth water at the thought of eating it. I don't like how the coffee drinks are served in a glass mug. You end up with a lukewarm drink. There's tons of space in the cafe & quite beautiful because of the statues but it's also silly to ask for a key to go to the bathroom to wash your hands. I have to eat a sandwich after all! Coco et olive is also better there. Not gonna return.

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I should have read these first.
By Notafan of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 10:28pm [Dine in]

I just went to Calabrias today. I had stopped by for a quick latte . I like most others found the dark haired fellow quite rude . Not to go into detail but when I mentioned a problem with the order he pretended like he didin't hear . as I repeated , he seemed to swear under his breath then whisk mine away . It tasted awful . I think he had scalded the milk . I frequent a lot of places on commercial and this was my first time there. This will be my last .

It's no wonder the place is empty with the terrible service and horrible coffee. I figure the rudeness is the frustration watching your dream die in front of you. There are so many other nicer restaurants on the drive with better service and more value , pass this one by .

Rude service
No prices on menu
Empty run of the mill interior

Old world coffeee house (zzzzzzzzz)

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First and Last time I will ever set foot in this place
By dexiie of van-commercial (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 12:47am [Take-out]

The man behind the counter was so rude. He's going to run this business into the ground if he continues to treat his customers this way.
I live in Vancouver and I like to try out places I haven't before. I decide to try Calabria on Commercial Drive.
There were two people ahead of me, so I patiently waited and noticed he seemed to know them by the way he was conversing with them. Then it came to my turn to place my order.
I asked how much his small and large lattes were (because there are no prices listed on the menu board) and he sighed really loud, like he didn't like me asking, anyways I ordered the large latte . I told him he had a really nice place, just so he could (maybe) be a little friendlier, cause by this point I was feeling uncomfortable there.
He then made me the coffee and really fast too like he wasn't going to put an effort to make it taste good, (I always order Lattes wherever I go, and I hadn't had a bad one yet) but he took no time at all to make this one, in fact it was shocking at how fast he handed me the latte.
I took a sip and it tasted like hot watered down coffee,( I think he must of used mostly hot water instead of milk in it). I already didn't feel welcome there, so I didn't want to upset him anymore by complaining about the taste.
So I asked him if he had some cream, and I told him it was because it was a little hot, he abruptly said no, rolled his eyes and replied that he only has milk, as he held up the jug that contained very little in it, so I said o.k and passed him my coffee, he then dumped a quarter of it out, I said "why would you do that?" He said "cause it was too full", and then he said angrily ,"look, here's your money back!", and dumped the whole cup down the drain.
So there I was, not only shocked at his behaviour, but also out of time for my break and no coffee :(

I called him about it later that day thinking he might of realized how rude he was and apologize, but instead he said he had other things on his mind at the time, and continued to make excuses for his bad behaviour, never once admitting that he shouldn't treat anyone in such a way, he was also very defensive.
I asked him why it was he was nice to the other people in front of me he replied because he was familiar with them.
I don't always take the time to write reviews but I thought this deserved one.

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Horrible Experience, been going there for years
By flamenkita of vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, January 3, 2011 - 6:31pm [Dine in]

After reading other people´s reviews of rude customer service at Cafe Calabria, I feel the need to write a review about this place as well. I have been a faithful custumer for about 4 years now, and have always brought business to this family, because I have always had a good experience.
Today, I came in with a friend. I was completely shocked and confused as to why he was treated the way he was. I ordered my usual coffee, while I waited for my friend to arrive. When he did, he sat for literally 2 minutes before the "Dark Haired Brother" ( as someone else commented) came over to ask him what he wanted, something they have never done before, because I usually go up to the counter to order. My friend needed just a few moments to relax and think about what he wanted to order, so he asked him for an extra minute. After LITERALLY 1minute he came back, pressuring my friend to order, and forced upon him to order a mineral water, in an extremely pushy and arrogant manner. The tone of his voice was borderline abusive, extremely sarcastic and with an air of superiority for absolutely no reason, it was as though he had a personal problem with my friend.
We left feeling completely mistreated, disrespected, specially me, I felt embarrassed that he would treat my friend this way after all these years of me going there.
I would like to say that I will NEVER be back to Calabria, and I made it clear to "the brother" who attended us, that I will never recommend his place to anyone. I will also add that he was sarcastic and unapologetic with me as well when I confronted him.
I will be making a copy of this and the other reviews people have submitted and mailing it to Calabria tomorrow. I can only hope they realize that it takes ONE bad review to damage a business, and that it is SHAMEFUL that they would allow such rudeness towards the people (US! the community) who sustain their business on The Drive. Because people rarely remember a good experience... but they will remember a bad one!

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Why did i hang out here for so long??
By maria... of vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, October 14, 2010 - 2:56pm [Dine in]

Ya know, i want to start out by saying this place is great, the family is nice(which some are) and the coffee is delicious, but i just cant do it! I have been hanging out here for years and have brought many friends to this place, and have given Calabria Bar alot of business, but i give up. Its not worth it. I am always nice with everyone and i cant understand why these guys got such a chip on their shoulders. I know "its business" but doesnt mean you treat your supportive friends like they are garbage and let everyone else in the bar know it. Oh thats right, they yell at people! They try to embarress people but really are only hurting themselves and their business. Unfortunately for them, there are other great family owned cafes down the street where they treat you like friends, not enemies. Oh and by the way, the coffee is mediocre, the flavor isnt that great, and especially not for the price. Try Continentals or Giancarlos for a nice Americano, you wont be disappointed!

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Ciao, as in, goodbye
By HoundByte of Vancouver (east) (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, August 23, 2010 - 8:44pm [Dine in]

This place has been around for a long time, and is something of an institution on Commercial Drive, and if there's any better example of what can be uniquely wrong with The Drive, I can't think of one. I don't think they would have survived in any other neighborhood, but this area has an amazing tolerance for bad service, awful food, and an aggressively self-defeatist attitude.

Generally, the service is either passable (if you get brother #1), or sullen-to-hostile, if you get brother #2.

I don't get how this place has survived. The food is pretty much poor - the panini are at best mediocre, and the pizza is worse - soggy crust, next to nothing on it, and nothing is prepared fresh. They seem to buy or prepare in huge bulk and then just leave the stuff in a pile as it slowly dwindles. A 'Taste of Italy' this ain't. In 3 months in Italy we were never once served anything this bad, anywhere. Not even close.

So, okay, the coffee here is pretty good, but this isn't exactly unique on the drive. As long as you avoid Starbucks (for coffee-centric places) you'll do well.

Tonight was the last time I'll set foot in this place - I ordered a decaf Americano, with a shot of milk (their standard style). Apparently, this offended brother #2, because that's not what I got. It was full-on caffeinated and no milk. And the total: 2 Americanos, 1 stale, biscotto: $9.25. I guess the prices are high to pay for the cheezy decor - lawn-ornament quality statues, and pictures of people who've mostly not been there.

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Cutomer service = Terrible!
By marmar of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, September 14, 2009 - 6:47pm [Dine in]

Horrible experience! My friend and I were waiting in line to order coffees and I took a few bites of the sandwich I bought from the bakery next door. The owner very rudely told me that I should have read the sign and cant eat inside. (I missed it!) A little upset at the way he spoke to me, I bit my tongue and put my sandwich away and still ordered drinks. We sat inside for a short time and moved when a table opened up outside on the sidewalk. Reading the sign "No outside food inside cafe" I figured I could eat my sandwich. (I really did not know) The owner ran out and proceeded to scream at me and told me to read the sign. I repeated it and said that it didn't state anything about being outside. He told me it was common sense and I should know that. When I mentioned that it wasn't common sense to me because I don't run a restaurant, he said a person like me shouldn't anyway. I angrily asked him if he was calling me stupid and he replied with "Maybe you are stupid!" He told me to get lost and went inside. Outraged at the way he treated me, I went back in to speak with another employee. He also did not want to listen to my shocked but calm explanation and told me "He was nice to you." The owner came over and yelled at me as I was trying to explain my frustration. I asked him why he was trying to personally attack me by calling me stupid and he replied with "You are attacking me" and yelled "Get out of here" more than once in front of everyone! I have never been so mortified over and honest mistake. If he had just told me nicely, I would have eaten my sandwich later. I don't know how they get away with it..

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Thought it was a statue store
By Pao13 of East Vanistan (3 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, April 2, 2009 - 1:11am [Dine in]

I've been there at least a dozen times. Rude service, good coffee(milano beans) poorly made, never order an espresso from the dad he makes a really bad coffee. No prices posted for those on a budget. Sandwiches are good so is the ice cream but way over priced. Will only go there again if I have to meet someone. I much prefer GianCarlo's up the street. If this place was in Italy only British tourists would go there.

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Customer service = 0
By Food123 of EastVan (11 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, September 1, 2008 - 4:28pm [Dine in]

Some of the previous negative reviews are right on. I was meeting a friend on the Drive for coffee and pastry and decided on Calabria, a supposedly 'authentic' coffee place, not like the "S" across the street.

When I arrived, my friend had already tried to get seated inside, but they would not until I had arrived. Considering we were meeting at a specific time, especially considering my friend walks with a cane and could not remain standing until I got there, they would not seat her! And, didn't seem to really care about us as potential customers.

Never again. Way too many places in Vancouver get good word of mouth, but provide TERRIBLE service! I have my own espresso machine at home, so I am not going for the coffee. I could make a good cup at home, but I do expect to be treated with respect, a place where our business is appreciated. It will never again be Calabria, no matter how much the anti-S crowd crows.

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a little over the top
By franko of vancouver (15 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 9:07pm [Dine in]

Beautiful, yet Bleh
The ambience is awesome when you go in. I went in late night, so the vibe was all lounge-like and the lights had a nice glow. There was a gypsy band playing and it was nice.

My friend and I were in the booth. Very comfy and spacious.

The panini apparently wasn't that great ...my friend found it too small, and there wasn't much in the sandwich. Her drink was the worst; the drip coffee was so strong that she couldnt even finish it. It tasted more like an espresso .

Service was amateurish. She was nice, but clumsy. She did not set the cutlery properly, and she spilled the coffee on the table when she brought it.
Just a place to lounge and chat....nothing to rave about in terms of eating. Maybe a nice place for drinks and dessert. I'll have to try it out during lunch. dunno why the beat makes this place sound awesome.

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Etiquette review
By Geezer of North Vancouver (31 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, September 1, 2008 - 11:18pm [Dine in]

"Considering we were meeting at a specific time, especially considering my friend walks with a cane and could not remain standing until I got there, they would not seat her!"

Miss Manners says "After arranging to meet a young person, an elderly person, or someone with a disability at a restaurant, be sure to get there first so that she is not put in any difficulty ... especially if your guest is not a regular customer of the establishment"

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Thank You - ありがとう (Arigatō)
By R Sasaki of Osaka (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 10:13pm [Dine in]

I come with my girlfriend from Japan to visit Vancouver and find this wonderful place owned by the most wonderful family. Thank you so much for your kindness and good service. We enjoyed very much the Italian gelati (?) When we come back to Vancouver we will be back for sure. "Forta Italia".

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Pretty awful..
By Katherine B of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 8:20pm [Dine in]

Went to Calabria for the first time a few months ago and was not impressed at all. The cookie I ordered was nothing special and when I went to pay, they informed me they didn't take credit or debit...?! Seriously? They also have no soy milk and clearly have no thermometers as my drink was scalding hot. Im not one to complain, but the whole experience here was pretty bad. Will not be returning, especially with JJ Bean or Continental down the street.

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Maybe they USED to be good...
By ItsAllRelative of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 1:23pm [Dine in]

But Cafe Calabria is pretty awful now. I don't want to be hassled or made to feel uncomfortable in a coffee shop. I think those are the exact opposite reasons why one would visit a cafe. But in this establishment I felt both of those and got overpriced, lukewarm coffee to boot. The true measure of any establishment is to make new and returning customers feel welcome. Calabria seems incapable of adapting to the generational change in cafe-goers. Not only that but why do the good reviews I've read have disclaimers like 'be warned not bring Starbucks coffee in, or sit for 4-5 hours'? Canadians in general are not rude people but for some reason Cafe Calabria has a higher ratio of rude people visiting them? Perhaps it's the people working there that are rude because I've never wanted to dump my coffee on the floor of a cafe before but my last visit to this cafe, with rude service from one of the brothers and overpriced coffee made me want to. It's a horrible place that I would never recommend to anyone. And the paninis at La Grotto are 100x's better so the only thing tying loyal customers to this horrible establishment is a sense of nostalgia, comfort with routine and an illogical idea of what a cafe 'should' be.

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My last time in Cafe Calabria today
By toni-di of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, August 15, 2010 - 1:54am [Dine in]

Today I brought a good friend of mind to Cafe Calabria because I have always enjoyed the atmosphere and the coffee and I like the idea of supporting a family owned business but I was so taken back when the Dark Haired brother was so rude to me just because I asked him to blend our iced coffee after they were made, his expresssion was as though he wanted to hit me. I mentioned to my friend that I was very disappointed and maybe had made a mistake going there. That same evening I spoke to a family member who had a bad experience with the same brother on the same day, he asked me if that guy was always rude and nasty? He recommended the bar to his friends so the 3 couples went there for coffee but my Nephew's wife was eating an ice cream cone and was told that she could not come in while the others were having their coffees, and that she had to stay outside, she was trying to respect their wishes and remained outside to finish her icecream cone and had planned on ordering a cappuccino once her icecream was done, but the owner came out and told her that she could not sit in one of their chairs and had to stand on the sidewalk. This so called business man lost 8 customers today and probably doesn't even realize it. Apparently he told them that he wasn't starving and didn't need their business. I read several of the comments written here and see that the Continental Bar directly across the street is also family owned and the owners are friendly and appreciate their customers so I think that they will be getting my business in future.

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