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2.5
  • Food3
  • Service3
  • Value2.5
  • Ambiance3
  • Reviews29

Central Bistro & Lounge

1072 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC V6G2M8
Tel: (604) 689-4527 Reserve Online
Fax: (604) 251-4604
Neighbourhood: West End

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 29 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Brunch Bummer
By diner40 of Vancouver (95 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 12:56am [Dine in]

Stopped by Central Bistro yesterday by default. My dining partner and I wanted to enjoy a nice brunch at another Denman location but it had too much of a wait line so we walked down Denman until we came upon
Central Bistro.

I was really in the mood for a good meal of waffles, french toast or something along those lines and after looking at the menu the Banana Bread French Toast really sounded like a hit. The description in the menu including the fresh raspberry compote whipped cream or yogurt had my mouth watering. After a reasonable wait our meals arrived. You talk about a let down.

My plain white plate contained three small "spam sized" slices of Banana Bread with a trickle of raspberry compote and the smallest dish of plain vanilla yogurt I have ever seen. This dish has sooo much potential but unfortunately the person putting this together fails it in every way. The banana bread was just fine, nothing remarkable about it whatsoever and you could barely tell it was fried like 'french toast'.

I am not sure what is going on with some Vancouver restaurants lately but portion size is ridiculous and quite frankly an absolute rip off. I am not looking for a massive plate of food that I absolutely could never finish but I want some value for what I am paying for. I want to walk away from a restaurant satisfied, not thinking to myself I'm going to need a snack in about an hour and a half and that is how I felt after this poor excuse of a breakfast. Are restaurants in Vancouver feeling the effects of the recession and therefore skimping on portion size? The Banana Bread french toast cost, check this out, thirteen dollars! Sorry Central folks but you ripped me off.

My dining partner enjoyed his Egg and Salmon Scramble but again the portion size was very questionable.

Service was solid. The server took care of us well and I had my coffee cup filled a few times. We have no complaints about the service.

Ambiance of the restaurant is mediocre if you are sitting at the back of the restaurant. It is very dark and you are an elbow length away from the next table, not really my cup of tea.

Not many reasons for me to head back to the Central Bistro. Not for the food and especially not for the prices. Two breakfasts with a coffee and tea cost us $40.00 including tip. Not good value at all. Next!!

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Weekend Brunch
By bordercollie of north vancouver (268 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 9:54pm [Dine in]

I have walked pass Central Bistro many times, and decided to check it out. I was greeted by a warm & Friendly server. The place was busy, but I picked a good time, as a few tables became available.
I ordered their eggs, toast and hashbrowns with coffee, and my meal arrived quickly. I definately like their coffee, great blend and had a nice taste. My meal was good, filled me up and enjoyed the flavour and people watching. I will have to return for lunch one day and explore their menu.

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Saved my life
By thecritic of Vancouver (376 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, February 12, 2009 - 11:08pm [Dine in]

I came here a little hungover looking for some breakfast to get me through the day. I ended up having one of the best eggs bendicts in memory. Eggs were cooked perfectly and the hollandaise was very good. I also had a caesar and again, it was excellent. The service was friendly and prompt. I will definitely return next time I need my weekend breakfast fix.

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Nice room
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 1:27pm [Dine in]

Central is a great place to sit, relax and chill with some friends over drinks. They have a great drink list and good wines at a good value. Try the wine flight which changes daily. 3 glasses of 2oz wine (choice of white or red) for only $11. Couple of those, and you'll be set for the night!
Service was good - attentive and kind, not pushy at all. I felt very comfortable being there.
I did find it funny how they used tealight candles to light up the fireplace - first time I've seen such a thing!

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Rude, inexcusable, and inconsiderate.
By ace k of vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, January 19, 2015 - 4:29pm [Dine in]

I booked a party of 10 here for a Friday night. About 3-4 hours before the reservation the restaurant called me and told me that there would be a birthday party there that night and that it would be loud. I thought "OK, birthday parties and a loud setting are not unusual for a restaurant - its not like that never happens in other restaurants."

At first things were going fine - service was tolerably punctual and food was alright (nothing to write home about). About an hour into our night they turned up the volume ***LOUD** - and I mean painfully loud so that our ears hurt, louder than any other places, including ones like the Lamplighter or the Blarney Stone or any club I've ever been to. It was loud to the point where even shouting as loud as possible at a friend right next to me we could not hear each other. At first we though they just really love the song that was playing and we suffered through it. When it continued for the third song we finally asked them to turn it down a little. After 10 minutes the volume does go down a bit and we think that its finally over....

Next thing I know, a very rude bartender/server named Stephanie flops down next to me without saying excuse me for interrupting the conversation I was trying to have with my friend. First thing she blurts at me is "I called you." She then proceeds to lecture me that she called and warned me that it would be loud. She repeats this over and over again that she called me 3 times that day (as if the number of times matters - and I have voicemail anyway). At some point I did mention that it doesn't matter how many times she called me especially since she was calling during regular business hours and I was still at work. At this point she makes an obscene gesture and says "Well im SORRY i don't memorize your work schedule!"- I was shocked to be treated this way.

I tried reasoning with her that I'm not asking for the sound to be completely off just to turn it down a little so it doesn't hurt (we were seated right under the speaker too). She tells me that there's a favorite customer having their birthday party and that there's "50 people at the bar" (there were actually more like 20 people at the bar). I tell her they shouldn't be favoring only one customer that they have customers both at the front and the back of the restaurant. She then has the audacity to tell me "Well they're making us a lot more money than you are."
Again, I was shocked to be spoken to that way - our party of 10 ordered full meals and drinks. I finally told her to stop giving me attitude and get her manager. She simply stormed off like a petulant child.

Her manager comes out a minute later. He apologizes for the server but continues to be completely unreasonable telling me that this insanely uncomfortable volume is just what they do at central bistro - that its a "party" kind of place. I point out there there is no dance floor, there are table and chairs and we are trying to sit and socialize. He starts lecturing again that they called and "warned" that it would be loud. I answer again that "loud" is one thing, that birthday parties and loud restaurants are not unique - its not like other restaurants are quiet like libraries, and that the level of loud we're talking here is well beyond that. I mentioned to him that they also put us right under the speaker and he didn't care at all. I also said that since we were treated so poorly and so rudely by the restaurant and by Stephanie especially we should not be forced to pay the 18% automatic gratuity - he tells me that that's a "totally different thing." --- I dont see how: If the 18% GRATUITY it meant for appreciation of good service then they sure as hell did not deserve it since we got bad service topped with rudeness.

He kept repeating that they called and I said that the next time they "warn" someone they should explain that it will be ear piercingly and uncomfortably loud beyond any reasonable point, not just "loud". He just said "well I'm sorry our message did not convey that."

The manager, although unlike Stephanie he kept his tongue in check, was not helpful, inconsiderate, and he just didn't give a damn about our party of 10.

As someone who has worked as a server in restaurants for 5 years I am appalled that this kind of treatment of customers in considered ok.

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Agree with the other reviewers
By dreww_ of North Van (9 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 6:46pm [Dine in]

Had I been asked a couple of months back about Central, I'd say that I don't know where all the negativity is coming from. But these past couple of times I have last come here for brunch, I have left with a dissatisfaction more than anything else. The food seems to have gone downhill, and with that, the service. I don't know about you, but I'm not really willing to wait more than 40 minutes to get mediocre, cold food. My smoked salmon tasted burnt and the central benny, which used to be my favorite, was just not right. I do not consider myself to be a confrontational person but when the waitress mixed up my order, she did not even apologize. Drinks are alright though. I have a feeling you are paying more for the ambience than anything else.

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So So Meal
By Digby_Scallops of out there (50 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 7:10pm [Dine in]

With the myriad of restaurants on Denman, one tends to look for something out of the ordinary. Over the freezing cold holidays, we decided to give The Central a try on a Sat night before Xmas.

The atmosphere was inviting enough and we were dining early, so the place was not busy. Srervice therefore was quite attentative and our waiter friendly.

Portions were ample, although I though a bit pricey at $9 for an order of Yam fries . Martinis were the same price. Food generally tasty but nothing special..

Unfortunately the restaurant was quite cold with the coming and going of patrons & the outside winter conditions.

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Pffft.
By moussy of Vancouver (60 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 2:30am [Dine in]

Went here after a day at the beach.

Ordered the sharing platters - the satay and the pita with dip...and spicy fries.

The satays were nothing special. Didn't have any flavour...just normal ones you can probably make or buy. The mushroom ones were the best out of all. The tzaziki dip was the most decent.

The pita was alright...the dips were good too, but not memorable.
Spicy fries did not taste spicy....and the dips were just ketchup and mayo. normal mayo.....weird.

It filled up 4 girls, but I think the platters aren't worth their price at all. The entrees seem pretty pricey, and looking at the quality from the ordered plates, I don't expect much. I came here since Banana Leaf wasn't open and Raincity Grill seemed to changing up their menus.....but yeah. maybe the Lunch menu is better? I'm not sure if I would return.

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Very disappointing
By tazmaniandevil of Burnaby (7 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 10:40pm [Dine in]

This was the second time we went for dinner at Central Bistro, and it was once again a disappointment.

We started off with some mussels, which were anywhere between raw and grossly undercooked. After we complained about it, the waitress took them back to have them cooked some more. The second time around they were ok.

Both me and my wife had stakes, which were so-so. One would expect better quality meat at these prices.

The desert was just terrible - a so-called New York cheesecake that seemed to be nothing more than a mixture of butter and cream cheese and nothing else. We barely had a taste of it and we left the rest of it untouched, it was that bad.

Perhaps the biggest letdown was the bourbon eggnog, which the waitress cheerfully recommended as the special of the season. I still cannot understand why they call that thing eggnog, because the drink they brought me had nothing in common with what an eggnog should be. Oh, and on top of everything, I ordered it double, and it barely had any alcohol in it at all.

The service was ok, no complaints there, but the food and the drinks were just terrible. We will not return there again.

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A decent place for a causal dinner
By Bellybean of Burnaby (14 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, January 29, 2007 - 10:57am [Dine in]

Went there for the Dineout event. The place is small and all the tables are packed so close to each other. The music was just right not to soft and not to loud. The server was quite friendly and didn't push you for anything. We picked the lamb pocket and red snapper. I went for the wind flight for add $10. Everything was fine and tastey except the snapper itself. It was a bit hard and as if it had been frozen for a while. That was a disappointment. Other than that, it was not a bad place to hang out.

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Not Bad
By boxofohs of Coquitlam (3 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, December 22, 2006 - 9:32pm [Dine in]

The service was near perfect. It took a lil bit long for the food to come out but it was actually pretty good food. I'm not sure if it's worth the price I paid for though.. The decor of the restaurant was pretty nice.

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Great Lunch
By asianfusion of Seattle (15 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 2:53pm [Dine in]

Pleasantly surprised by lunch. Fresh and flavorful soup, fantastic charcuterie plate - much more interesting than the plate we had at Delilah's the previous night. Wine selection was pretty bland and a bit overprised for a glass. The local beer on tap was good according to my husband. Service was very friendly but a bit slow. A bit dirty looking and messy bathroom.

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Not bad, but room for improvement
By JCLG of North Vancouver (10 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, January 23, 2009 - 10:44am [Dine in]

Went here on a weekday evening, so the restaurant wasn't too busy. Had a group table reserved, but when we got there, another group had taken our spot at the banquette seats, so the staff pushed a few other tables together for us. It was kind of annoying since we had made reservations but didn't get the original spot. The waiters were apologetic and accommodating, though.
Service was pretty slow, though. Food came at intervals of 30-45 minutes each, and I noticed some of my friends were getting impatient (and hungry). The starter salad was quite nice; ingredients were fresh and there was a right amount of dressing. The short rib on cheese spaetzle was beautifully cooked, being tender and flaky; however, both the short rib and spaetzle lacked bold flavours, though.
I'm unsure as to whether I'd come here again - if I were to, I might eat something before going so the wait for food won't be so distressing to my stomach.

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Great Breakfast
By nothin-buta--review of West Vancouver (16 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 30, 2007 - 4:26pm [Dine in]

I like to think that I am a bit of a breakfast 'connoisseur', so if you enjoy a good breakfast then check out Central, its one of the best! Bennys to die for and the croissant french toast looks amazing. I live in Wext Van but found myself in the West End (just this past Friday) after a meeting. The menu on the window outside looked promising. I decided to give it a whirl. I was greeted after a few short moments by an upbeat, pleasant server, with two long brown braids.
I chose a seat by the window and looked around the room. It has a funky decor, a colorful mural on the wall at the back is a nice added touch and the music, fun, just like the room and service.
After my bringing my o.j it was suggested by my server that I order the 'Hampton Benedict'. It had been a toss-up between the 'Black Bean Scramble' or the mouth watering 'Spicy Steak Hash' but something about chicken,swiss cheese and tomato all smothered in hollandaise, won me over. It was well worth it. The sauce was made from scratch it was quite obvious and the eggs used are alway's 'free range' which is worth the price I paid ($11, pretty decent). Over all, I give this restaurant thumbs up! My server was fantastic, the food just as good...and the atmosphere invitng.I took a look at the martini list befor I left and it's just as impressive. Mondays looks like the day to go, five dollars for select martini's, great price!

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Good Food, Slow Service, Nice Room!
By aaronalexander of Westend (10 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, January 26, 2007 - 12:24pm [Dine in]

This is a tough one, the food was good, actually really good on some accounts. I had the Risotto and yum yum, but I now have heard they've taken off the menu.......... :( The drink list without a doubt is great, love to see a place with a nice huge list of mixtures to make your head wobble! Here's where its gets a little negative........our service was so/so, not horrible in anyway, but not great. It took essentially 45 minutes for each plate to come out, and I'm not exagerating. We arrived, and sure I like to have a couple drinks, and relax, but we were there to eat dinner not sit around wondering when our next plate will come out. Litterally took 45 minutes to bring out a couple of salads and soup from the moment we arrived. Same problem with the entrees and by the time we had ordered the desert we had to ask twice to please bring out the desert so we could be on our way. So the end all is this, nice place, the food was good, but dont try and stall on the food to make a table drink or wait.

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I am sad
By I Likey Food of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 2:05pm [Dine in]

I am sad! We have been going to Central since it first opened and now I doubt we will ever go again. We went so often that we formed friendships with all of the staff and keep in touch to this day! Buuuutttt we went there this morning and I just can't handle the disappointment anymore. This will be my last terrible meal at Central. The food was really good when it first opened! Never outstanding but for a local joint close to home it was great and the service made up for what the food might have lacked. Now all of the servers have left (which is a sign people!) and this morning we went in for breakfast and it was just terrible! I ordered the egg white omelette which comes with a side salad. The salad was just a pile of not so fresh lettuce with a few sparse blobs of unidentifiable dressing here and there and the egg white omelette was just a few chunks of blackened greasy egg whites. This dish was previously a nicely dressed salad with nuts and dried fruit and fluffy omelette with sauteed mushrooms, onions, spinach and cheese. They attempted to remake it but still was quite inedible. My husband ordered the organic turkey sausage benedict (which we must have had a hundred times) and it was a big greasy mess. Homemade tasty pan fries have transformed into deep fried potatoes from a bag. The yummy hollandaise was bright yellow and highly suspected to be made from a package but the eggs were cooked properly! But the table beside us, there eggs were not. Anyway I am tired of reliving the experience so I won't go on much more. Only one more thing, when we mentioned that the food just was not as good as it used to be we got a big shoulder shrug and 'sorry we try our best' and that's it! Our bill was $30 and I didn't even eat my food. They could have cared less. So after 4 years it is time to say good bye to Central! I hope they get shut down soon and something good opens up.

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Very suprised
By tough critic 1972 of Vancouver (downtown) (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, July 17, 2010 - 1:17pm [Dine in]

My husband and I are very avid foodies in Vancouver. We were at central bistro a few months back and were not overly impressed by the food, although the service was great. That being said we decided to give the food a second chance. We were in last night and enjoyed every bit of it. To start we shared the house made foccacia, which was very good, as far a breads go. We then ate the short ribs and trout dishes which were outstanding. The highest point of the meal was the dessert however. We shared the duo of chocolate mousse, which blew us away. It was beautifully creamy and the chipotle and yogurt flavours complimented each other perfectly. Our service was fabulous again, and we cannot wait to come back and try more.

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All was well till it wasn't.
By waffles of Kits (5 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 5:04pm [Dine in]

This is a little over due, but I wanted to post this review.
After the May long weekend, my husband and I decided to try Central Bistro. We were told about their Monday Martini special through a friend who lives downtown. We thought it would be a nice way to
wind down our weekend.
Our first impression was pleasant. Our server (Ashley?) greeted us right away with a smile. The room had a gentle buzz, and the music was at a nice level. However, things started to go awry after our 1st drink.
Number One: The menu is quite confusing. Is it tapas? Italian? West Coast fine dining? The prices clearly are. $18 for Polenta Cakes? Absurd, seeing as how polenta is commonly referred to as peasant food. Their menu seems to be thrown together with little or no format ( for example, items like hemp tofu next to Italian style calamari). My husband has had a substantial amount of experience in the restaurant industry, for years he worked along side an amazing chef @ Le Bernardin in NYC. We also dine in every genre of restaurant, 'hole in the wall' diners to well rated fine dining establishments. It is always unfortunate to see a restaurant like Central, that has so much potential, stray down the wrong path.
Number Two: For the cost of a meal at Central one would think that this establishment would not attract the obnoxious and drunk, but alas, it does.
There was a man seated at the bar (I will abstain from using the word 'gentle'man as he was far from it) who seemed to be quite intoxicated. He yelling and making what we thought sounded like continuous 'horse noises'?! Even more appalling was the fact that he was also yelling obscenities and insulting the wait staff, yet he was not asked to leave.? The 'horse noises' and crude comments continued on for what seemed like an hour. He not only interrupted our evening (along with those around us) but we felt sorry for the poor wait staff as it became apparent that this ignorant individual was an employee there.
I am surprised they did not call him a cab home or that he was not reprimanded by the manager on duty.
It is unfortunate that we were witness to this, as our drinks were fabulous as was the service.

I don't think we will be returning. The unprofessional representation of this bistro paired with the confusing menu, unfortunately overpowered the positive efforts of the staff that served us. It really is a shame.

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Disappointing
By geoffbil of new westminster (24 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 2:57pm [Dine in]

We decided to try this place for Sunday brunch, owing to the fact that it's always busy, and the menu is enticing.

Our service was a tad lackluster, but the server was also incredibly busy, so no offense taken. The ambiance was alright, once we switched from a dark seat by the smelly bathroom to one on the lovely patio instead. The coffee, however, wasn't terribly good - which is unfortunate, given that even Joe's serves an organic roast. As for the food, the portions were large, but the quality simply wasn't there. I ordered the "spicy" steak hash, which came with hollandaise and "salsa." The former was quite tasty, though there wasn't enough of it. The latter tasted like canned tomatoes (which would belie their claim that they make their food "from scratch," and with "fresh ingredients"), with little or no flavor apart from a vague saltiness and canned tomato taste. Needless to say, there was no "spice" to speak of. My partner ordered a goat cheese and pesto scramble, which featured an apparently tasteless "pesto," and she was more than halfway through before she could spot the first hint of goat cheese. One upside for both dishes was the free range eggs.

What is truly disappointing is that, for the prices we paid ($15 and $10.50 respectively), we could have eaten at the Raincity Grill across the street instead, which serves excellent coffee and some of the best brunch food I've ever tasted. The difference? One markets itself as a white tablecloth restaurant, while the other touts a more "casual" ambiance. Better value and taste can also be had across the street at the Acacia Fillo Cafe, at the Elbow Room Cafe on Davie (if you can put up with the service), Joe's on Davie and Denman, and the Score and Melriches on Davie. There's no reason in this city to pay a premium for mediocre food.

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A Really Great Time....!
By whatever-- of Victoria (4 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 11:29am [Dine in]

Headed out onto Denman St. this past Saturday with some girlfriends. All of us having past Central before decided it was time to give it a try. Upon arrival the place was packed, the doors were wide open with great tunes playing. There were five of us, and we managed to score a seat right by the front window.
They have a great martini list, it was a disappointment that is wasn't Monday as we were informed that most of the martinis are on special for $5. I guess we will try them out during the week. However we still had a great time. The service was prompt, very friendly and informative. We had a few bottles of wine (the server kept topping up our glasses which was a nice touch for this casual restaurant) and some appys. We shared a bunch of small stuff, the yam fries were great, the mussels were tasty and the wild mushroom bruschetta was towering with its toppings. Everything was wonderful ,tasty and came out in a timely fashion. We stayed for a few hours and enjoyed our evening. We are going to pay Central a visit again, maybe for some cheap martinis!

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