Chambar is a stylish and hip restaurant downtown that offers Belgian cuisine in a fun and lively atmosphere.
One of the best places to eat downtown whether dressed up or in jeans. My favourite place before the show or a game. Can walk from Yaletown. Best plate of mussels and frites in town! Love the staff who are consistently great and uniquely beautiful yet down-to-earth.
The first thing you notice about chambar is how its hard to find, and dark inside. It gives a great european feeling where all the good places to eat are down narrow alleys and such. The decor makes you feel very comfortable, very warm.
For the most part, most items on the menu are good...but its the mussels I enjoy the most here. They rate a 4/5 in terms of taste and quality, but the atmosphere accompanied with a bottle of wine completes it. Desserts are here excellent...I strongly suggest you try the dessert here if you get a chance.
I've decided I'll be back here every year for DOV. Although I frequent this place several times a year, I just can't say enough about their DOV menu. First of all, it's $25 - WHAT A STEAL. Seriously. The food is still excellent, and not lacking in quality one bit. You could not tell that it was DOV at all - which is always the way I judge a truly great restaurant during DOV time. The only complaint I would have about the food is that the mussels should include the pomme frites as it does when you order it on the regular, non-DOV menu. The mussels were HUGE, even larger than when I've had them during non-DOV times haha. The beef short ribs tasted fantastic, and although I'm impartial to the Belgian waffle... wow, the matcha pot de creme was FANTASTIC.
Seated promptly upon arrival and the room was amazing. Larger than I had thought and an beautiful view outside the back window. A delish crab and corn soup, a urn of mussels in tomato coconut sauce (enough to feed all 3 of us) with the matcha pot de creme for dessert. Now I am not normally a fan of matcha (too strong of a flavour usually) but this was very light and a very soothing end to a very delish meal. The hubby had the venison carpaccio which he greatly enjoyed, the braised shortrib (which he LOVED!!) and the belgian waffle (which he also loved!). Our server was very friendly and charming. It was crazy busy but we never felt neglected and that was very appreciated. We will be back for more for sure!
You know the restaurant is good when you're waiting for your food and you and your companions exclaim, "I am SO coming back here for *that*!" while patting you on your arm.
The food was amazing at Chambar. I had the Arctic Char and followed up with the cafe cafe cafe dessert - a trio of coffee-infused desserts, presented beautifully with their own separate garnishes.
My companions had the mussels, lamb tagine, and another had the meat (can't remember what it was). The rest had the Arctic Char. The entree was *so* good. This is one of those restaurants which leaves you wanting more, so that you play into their sly, crafty, little hands and order more food, more dessert, and beverages.
I'm not complaining. If I was independantly wealthy, I'd be a regular at Chambar.
The restaurant is designed in a trendy manner. It looks nice, but does nothing to absorb any noise. As a result, you have to shout or repeat yourself throughout the meal in order to carry on a conversation.
I'm going back for mussels / lamb tagine, and the peach and rosewater dessert (a brule and a pastry, I believe).
... of the sea scallops. It was my long-time friend's birthday and we decided on Chambar as I had been reading all the great reviews on this place on this site. We shared 3 appies - Ostrich Carpaccio (wow!), Bay Scallops (I had to order another one when I saw how good it looked when it came to the table 'cuz I knew that I didn't want to share it) and the Endive Salad (I will pass on this one next time). I must say that the scallops and ostrich carpaccio were absolutely AMAZING. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Such great flavors.
Dinner was good - I had the veal while my friend had some kind of white fish. I didn't think my veal was as amazing as the appies. I could of had another round of those in place of my veal.
Dessert was YUMMMY!! I had some kind of mousse-type dessert. It came in a tea cup with a couple of "chocolate cigars" with piped dark chocolate through it. Wow! (again...). Next time I go to this place, it's going to be appies and dessert all the way.
Our server was a bit cool in the beginning, but warmed up as we told him how much we were enjoying the food. All-in-all, a great dinner out.
Our recent Dine Out dinner at Chambar was 4 stars across the board and I'd rate the overall experience a 5 based on the incredible value at $25 per person. All 3 of our party thought the food excellent and the DOV deal ans exceptional value.
The fork tender beef short rib stacked on creamy garlic mashed potatoes and topped with a caramelized onion was the highlight for me and my brother. My wife loved her mussels and, because the portion was a very generous one, I got too sample some too. We enjoyed the wine pairings very much as well. Dessert was the Belgian waffles all round.
I think there was a nice mix of a few items from the regular menu and some were DOV specials. It showed off what the kitchen is capable of producing within the DOV price range. We will return soon.
Service was unrushed and low key. I had heard the back part of the restaurant was very noisy but that was not our experience,
Like the previous review, this was my second time here as well. The first time was for drinks when they first opened. We were well received on a Sunday afternoon even though we were decidedly underdressed. Even got some free drinks on that occaision. We went there for dinner a few nights ago and were squeezed in without a reservation. The service was prompt and friendly and the food was excellent. We ordered Flatiron Steak and the Lamb Tagine. Excellent preparation and presentation. All the elements on the plate were disctinctly flavoured and individually prepared to perfection. Interesting contrasts in tastes and textures in the steak plate. as much as I like the food, though, I have a few complaints.
I somewhat understand the previous review about feeling unwelcome there. Besides the two times I've gained entrance, twice I showed up when they were full and there was no room. Twice I was made to feel very unwelcome and even stupid for not having a reservation by the same very abrupt and arrogant hostess. Also, I can't get over the feeling that the place is just a meat market reedeemed and sustained by good food. Everytime I've been there I've felt immediately scrutinized and could almost feel my wallet being weighed by both customers and staff as I entered the restaurant.
I probably will go back but pick times without the hostess from Hell and the gold diggers in attendance.
This was our second time to Chambar. Our first visit was just after they had opened, and we weren't that impressed then. But we kept hearing so much good stuff about the place, decided to try again.
Well our return visit was even worse than our initial one. This time we were treated like a nuisance. Yes, they were busy, and I admit I normally try to avoid restaurants during their busy times. But still, the customer is how they;re supposed to make their money.
The food was ok. The mussels were bland, tasting like they forgot to put any seasoning in the dish.
And their famous lamb dish tasted like my moms stew, and she was not a very good cook.
The room is very plain, and VERY loud. We had to yell across our table to just talk to one another. Felt like we were in a cafeteria, not a high end restaurant.
Well, we have given them a couple tries spread out over a couple of years. Wont try them out again. I dont know what it is people like about the place, but 2 visits were too many for me,
Was here with a 6-person party and had a pleasant experience. Service was excellent and classy; due to a need to change tables, 3 members from our group were given complimentary sparkling wines by the glass to make up for the trouble (which really wasn't any trouble at all). Our male server was also helpful in the selection of our drinks and food items - professional and friendly.
The restaurant has a trendy and Yaletownish feel to it with the brick walls and bulbous light fixtures. Very cool laminate wood grain tables.
The wait for the food was a bit long - approximately 30 minutes. But then again, it was a very busy night in spite of it being a Wednesday. I had the Moules Frites Vin Blanc...and shared a tarte tatin with a friend. The mussels were well done, plump and juicy..and there were many of them in the pot to make it satisfying. The white wine leek broth was also tasty and demanded to be dipped with bread. The crispy french fries were also very good and had a good amount of salt on them - all well balanced with the accompanying aioli. I did not have a problem paying 17.00 for this magnificent meal of mussels.
The tarte tatin was good...not too sweet, and not too bitter (the bitterness coming from the peel of fruit preserves I believe). My only gripe was that it was too small for the price. We had a laugh while sharing it.
Chambar is one of those places that deserve real attention when you want to go out for dinner at a casual yet cool spot with good food. Great selection of interesting beers too.
I went to Chambar for dinner and was very curious to see what all the hype was about. The restaurant itself is beautiful with nice big booths for big parties and cool lighting.
We decided to share a couple of dishes (the portions are very small) to start and then order a main. We shared muscles and fries and a mixed green salad. The muscles were amazing and a very good deal for $12. For a main (or what I thought was a main) I had a prawn and scallop dish that consisted of 2 prawns and 1 scallop. The highlight of the meal though was the dessert - a chocolate fonde dante and a rose water creme brule which were both delicious.
I think it will be awhile though before I go back, I just didn't feel that it was worth the money, even though everything on the menu is under $20 you have to order a couple of dishes to feel at all satisfied.
The two of us went here the day after Valentine's Day, and worried that it may still be busy, made reservations for 5:30pm. We got there early and waited outside. When 5:30 came we followed another couple into the restaurant and were greeted by a very frantic and rude hostess. She said "we're not open yet, you can have a seat over there". She was clearly not prepared to work yet (she wore jeans and a t-shirt) and was very rushed. She got someone else from behind the bar to offer us the menus and show us to our seats.
While the place was completely empty aside from the older couple who came in before us, we were offered really awkward seats right in front of the bar. The other couple (and a few others who came in after us) were offered more seats in the more private dining space in the back. Very odd. Perhaps they were hoping we would be the drinking type and would be ordering a few glasses from the bar. In any case, we asked to be seated in a more private location, and the same hostess begrudgingly took us towards the back of house.
Aside from this really weird bout of musical chairs, we were finally seated and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the evening.
Food: We shared the poutine - delicious! blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette on house-made fries. Very large portion- more than enough for 2 people to share.
Duck with gnocchi, goat cheese and scallions a- divine! the sauce was some sort of hazelnut emulsion - very good- imparts a nutty flavour that was both sweet and savoury. Meat was tender and juicy and went well with the cheese. My only complaint about this dish was that this dish had a rather overwhelming amount of scallions and only about 5 pieces of gnocchi.
Lamb shank with cous cous braised in honey and cinnamon - lamb was fall of the bone tender; cous cous though tasty on its own, got lost in the juices of the lamb. Overall a bit too sweet and an unbalanced dish. The portion size was very good though.
Espresso Cheesecake with chocolate mouse- beautifully presented, rich and decadent; the textures of the silky mousse with the crisp chocolate wafers, along with the cacao gelee and the cheesecake was a delight for the palate.
Pistachio cream in a pie crust, with white chocolate ganache, sour cherry compote and lemon buttermilk sorbet- OMG delicious! This was seriously the best dessert I have ever put in my mouth. And this is coming from a chocaholic. From the sweetness of the white chocolate and pistachio cream to the tartness of the lemon and cherry, to the crumbly yet buttery texture of the pastry crust, this was like a flavour explosion in my mouth! Do not let the complexity of the dessert stray you from this one. It was literally so delicious that I became self-aware that maybe I had devoured this dessert a little too fast.
Value: Excellent. Portions were enough to make you full but not so much that you feel sick afterwards. The quality of the ingredients really showed in all of the dishes we ordered. Everything was made fresh to order using obviously only the best ingredients.
Service: Aside from the rude hostess in the beginning, the service throughout was top notch. The man that served us was very polite (but not in a snobby way), witty and knowledgeable. He was very professional in that he was able to both connect with us as individuals (made us feel comfortable), as well as a customer (brought things out in a timely manner, and explained whatever you wanted to know).
Ambiance: honestly, a bit cramped. The tables are so close together that you can listen to your neighbour's convos without even trying. Very loud by the bar, but more private and romantic near the back. The dark room, the old brick walls and 'warehouse' type construction gives this place a fun sort of vibe.
Did not enjoy my first visit here last year but was extremely happy with my dinner last night. The service was quick and friendly even though the server had a large section. The four of us shared 5 starters then two bowls of mussels. The Congolese mussels were great, just the right amount of spice. Memorable were the scallops and their version of Steak Tartare. We arrived early with no reservation, hostess was very nice allowing us 2 hours. No problem as we were off to a concert. The room had a great buzz. All in all a very good evening. The beer list was outstanding, we had a chance to try 8 different beers.
Just got in from my first experience at Chambar and I have to say I was impressed. We ordered a few share plates, salade d'hiver, Les coquilles st. jacques , and Le faisan aux morilles. The salad was a bit undertated but had some interesting flavours. The coquilles were superb, definitely not the traditional version, but perfectly done. Now is when the fun began. There was a mix up and instead of the Pheasant Tortelinni, we were served the Goat cheese spring roles. We informed the waiter of the mistake and without an argument, and with a sincere appology, the incorrect dish was removed. Within 5 minutes the correct dish was brought to the table. In addition we were offered the incorrectly produced dish at no charge!! We gratefully accepted and although I am not a fan of goat cheese, I found these to be delicate and the attenant mushrooms delicious. The Pheasant Tortelinni was worth the wait, rich and complex flavours. The deserts were also excellent, the pot du creme was nicely balanced and the expresso cheesecake was rich and flavourful. Add to that a great selection of beers, and a good wine list and I can see why this place is packed even on Monday night.
In a city were getting great service is about as likely as winning the 649, this was a refreshing and welcome change. I will definitely be back.
We stopped in at Chambar after the hockey game because we had a hankering for a beer and moules frites. We stopped going here about a year ago because of a bad service experience (i.e., being asked to leave our table on my birthday because it was "reserved" at 9pm...), however the moules frites are truly outstanding so we decided to give it another try.
As expected, the service fell flat on its face and the moules frites were fabulous. For $20, you will not have better mussels in the city. It's a bit of an insult to be charged $3 extra for bread, but the mussels are truly outstanding. The beer list is great, if not a bit expensive (most come in around $11/beer). We also had the carpaccio, which was not exactly inventive, but was tasty.
The service is a sore point, though. Our waiter seemed more interested in the leather-clad blonde at the next table - case in point - he walked straight past our table carrying our beers (and only our beers) and carried on a 5 minute conversation with this woman before bringing back our beers. The other waiters seemed to catch on and ended up doing most of the service for our table - we would have died of thirst before this guy filled our water glasses again!
Overall - good appies, great beer list, bad service, pretty pricy.
Popped by here for a quick meal prior to the game. As the previous reviewer stated, it was a bit drafty and I would have probably been uncomfortably cold if I had not worn all those layers of clothing. The food was fresh with seasonal local ingredients which I think deserves extra points! Their mixed drinks were absolutely fabulous. Why drink wine if the bartender knows what he's doing? I rated the service as solid instead of outstanding because although the waiter did everything he could, we felt a little lost for a bit. I suppose it didnt help that the restaurant was filled with fellow Canuckers all dining at the same time & leaving at the same time. All in all what good food should be about
Love the room, cocktails, and beer selections but the service is horrid and the room too loud. Tagines are not what they are cracked up to be and not authentic. Beautiful plating and presentation but otheriwse disappointing.
Went with a group in a situation I wasn't paying thankfully. Ordered a bison steak mid rare as recommended by the server. Although the service is absolutely fantastic, and the food was pretty good, until I'm old and am full off 200 calories worth of food I'll skip this place. Our portions were so tiny, and I even had a huge dessert after and was barely satiated. Definitely a pre-eating place, and I felt sort of out of place the entire time. Not because I was wearing sweat pants and couldn't afford it, but because I was wearing a dress and heels and other people were wearing very casual wear, while the servers were wearing stuff that looked like you would wear to bed or completely suited up. Had no idea how to dress!
We had looked forward to dinner here for a long time and perhaps Father's Day was the wrong evening to try, especially with a concert at GM Place as well. Most of the items we had were good, especially the mussels, but the portions were very small and the men in the group all left hungry - and they are not especially large eaters! They were impressed with the Belgian beer selections though. For the prices, I was surprised that they charge $3 for each small portion of bread ordered - it is one of the few places in town not to include bread. The service was pretty standard - the waitress did not seem especially interested in us, but we did not wait an inordinately long time for our food. The room was extremely noisy, but I would give it another try, perhaps on a quieter night.
Chambar has to be the most over rated restaurant in Vancouver. The food is easy to prepare, at a level of Cactus Club. Even so, they have trouble with the basics. A restaurant that serves the quantities of mussels they do should at least get their suppliers to provide them with calibrated sizes. In a dish of mussels at Chambar you will get some mussels that are huge (3 inches) and others that are tiny (half an inch) and every size in between. Service is harried and the room is too noisy. Their other restaurant, Medina, is better value.