Chambar is a stylish and hip restaurant downtown that offers Belgian cuisine in a fun and lively atmosphere.
I went here for dinner after I found this as the most reviewed restaurant in the dinehere! We ordered mussels and they were great. The service was great and the waitress was very friendly. They also have a nice selection of belgian beer. The beer is kind of overpriced but it might worth it if you want to try some new beers.
Four of us decided to head to Chambar on a Saturday night. With just two days notice we found a reservation a bit on the early side - 6:00 p.m. (only other available was 8:30) but this place was already half full. The dining area is really just a hallway with tables on one side, sharing a wall length banquette opposite a half room length bar. All night long the servers and patrons go past your table. To use the ladies room you have to move past the waiters waiting to pickup their bar orders. The noise level rose to high as the evening went on - this is not a place for an intimate meal. Servers were attentive and helpful. We started with the olives and the bread as we waited for out fourth. Followed by the mussels in white wine cream sauce and frites. The very best part of the meal and I'm not usually fond of mussels. Could have and should have stopped here but we continued on, each having an entree. All portions were very small but well presented. Almost like four small appetizers on each oblong plate and at $26+ per entree is a bit on the pricely side. Coconut risotto least favorite of the meal. Fish was good, skin was crisp. Did not share plates with the others so cannot comment on their meals but there was not a morsel left. We followed up with the share dessert plate which is just a small amount of each of their three desserts plus special coffees. Amount for four with tip was just under $400. This included two cocktails, one bottle of wine, a few specialty beer, appy's, entrees, dessert and coffees. Will likely go back but stick with the mussels and perhaps an appetizer or two.
My friend and I have wanted to go to Chambar for a long time. In fact, one of her co-workers tease us that we always say we're going to go, but still haven't managed to for the last 1.5 years. Finally, with the hubby and son not with me, we were off to Beatty St to try the much touted Chambar.
We did not have reservations, as the on-line "Opentable" reservations option was not working for me the day before. We were told that if we try to get there when it opens for 6pm, we still should be able to get in. That Saturday, we forgot that there was a concert at GM Place so it was a bit busy downtown, and the parking lots had "event parking" prices. So we had to drive around a bit before we found parking. By the time we got to Chambar, it was closer to 7pm and it was quite busy. Because it was just 2 of us though, there were seating options still available by the bar or "kitchen seating" ,where they had these tall bar stools and tables right in front of the chef area, so we could see all the action going on. We chose the latter.
As I've already mentioned in some previous reviews, sometimes having your eggo being preggo limits your cuisine choices, Chambar was no exception, but I was mainly super excited for the mussels and frites anyways. Our server was kind enough to mention all the things that I should be aware of, such as the raw egg in the aioli for the fries, and the unpasteurized cheeses and other foods that I wouldn't be able to touch when I pointed to the big belly. So we settled for the "Les tomatoes artisanales" appy--Artisan tomatoes, spiced honey vinaigrette, arugula almond pesto & feta spring rolls to start, and the Congolaise Mussels and frites-- cooked with a tomato coconut cream and smoked chili and lime sauce with fresh cilantro. We got our mussels with a side of the bread to dip into the sauce.
Before we started to eat, I already asked for the dessert menu, as I thought we would have more than enough room to share a dessert. Much to my chagrin, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. The appy was quite good, although for me the star was the not springrolls themselves, but the sweet and fresh tomatoes that came in the salad-yummo.
The serving of mussels was huge, a big steaming pot full of them in a savoury broth. It wasn't too spicy, which was fine by me, and the flavours all went together beautifully. With the bread to dip into our sauce, I was a happy camper to plug away at the pot. My girl friend was too nice to me, she kept spooning the mussels into my bowl first, not realizing that she was giving me the largest mussels, and she was saying that the mussels were good but she noticed that they were too small. So I had thought that the Blue Fig Martini was not only making her face the horrible red that Asians get drinking, but also making her vision slightly off, not realizing that she was just giving me the biggest ones :) It wasn't until I stopped munching and she got to finish the pot that she realized that there were some much bigger suckers in the pot! We had originally asked for our frites to be "poutined", but our server kindly pointed out that the poutine had blue cheese, which baby and I couldn't eat. So we had the normal frites, and to my chagrin and most likely the server's, I wanted ketchup for "dip" since I couldn't eat the aoili, and instead of telling me what an epicurean faux pas I was making, the server just whispered that they didn't have ketchup, and that I would find dipping my frites into the mussel sauce would probably give me that "zing" I was looking for.
All in all, good food with good service. You get what you pay for, we enjoyed ourselves, and my half of the bill as I didn't have any alcohol, including tax and tip-- came to $23. My friend's was higher because of the martini, which she said was exceptional. So for $23, I could handle going back there again, maybe after baby is born so that we can try the duck and beef tartare.
We've been a number of times to Chambar. It's a social restaurant (read: loud) but it's the food that keeps bringing us back.
FOOD: I was about to give Chambar a much deserved 5-stars BUT, what's with the pastry chef? Avoid their desserts... UUGH! Have a look at their dessert menu on their website and you'll see their inventions are ambitious in mixing dessert ingredients but execution was a mess with ours. My wife order the La Bombe d'Alaska and it looked like a dog's breakfast (she almost lost her dinner on the account of it). I had the Tarte aux griottes and nothing better there either!
Their Lamb Tagine served with Moroccan couscous is excellent. As are their moule frites. Our table of eight order one of each of their 3 styles as appy's and couldn't finish them.
They also have a very inventive drink menu.....
SERVICE: Can be spotty. For this occasion, our group of eight qualified us for their mandatory 18% service charge; on our bill of $680, that's a $120 tip. I don't think we got our money's worth of service.
VALUE: That's relative. Food is excellent and worthy, skip the dessert and you're good.
AMBIANCE: Another reason to come, it is loud but the they have a great lounge at the front of the house. Dining room is the back is nicely lit and well designed.
All in all, we had a great Christmas dinner; my wife and I will definitely be back... oh and did I mention to skip dessert?
I finally made it to Chambar last week after hearing a few friends rave about the place. However, other friends have told me it's totally over-rated... I decided to find out for myself, and called in to make a reservation for four in the dining area two weeks in advance, and the reservation was confirmed by phone... I was already impressed.
Upon arriving, two of our party were sitting in the front area of the restaurant, about as far from the dining area as one could be. We asked the server what had happened to our reservation in the dining area, and she informed us that they would try to fit us in when a table came available! They did move us to the dining area after a twenty to thirty minute wait, but what was the point of requesting the dining area in the first place.
Throughout the night, we had to ask for our server every time we wanted something! This would invariably lead to a five minute wait for him to arrive. To top it off, a beer that was ordered when the main courses arrived that would have paired very nicely with the meal arrived AFTER the coffees were brought at the end of the night! When I'm in a restaurant paying $100 per person for the meal, I expect the service to be top notch! I have never experienced such poor service in any restaurant as what I experienced at Chambar...
Now to the food. We ordered the Moule Vin Blanc, and they were delicious... plump and seemingly fresh until we found two unopened ones at the bottom of the pot. In a restaurant that prides themselves on the quality of their mussles, one wouldn't expect this. I've never found unopened mussles in any restaurant I've eaten at before, and I've had many bowls of steamed mussles. We mentioned this to the waiter, who reluctantly retreated with the bowl and came back with TWO opened mussles... say no more.
Now the food... The foie gras starter was good, but I couldn't taste any truffle in the brioche. The lamb shanks were slightly dry and the sauce was too heavily spiced. And don't let the "tajine" fool you - I watched the chefs simply assemble the food in it as opposed to actually cooking the food in them. The duck breast was very good and the accompanying butternut and ricotta gnocchi were to die for. My steak was cooked as ordered and was very good, but the roasted king oyster mushrooms were nowhere in sight, substituted with seared scallops that did not appear on the menu... good thing I'm not allergic to shellfish. However, I question serving a Bourguignon sauce with what turned out to be a surf and turf entree.
All in all, an interesting evening... I won't return. Fine dining? Definitely not. Upscale pub food in a noisy bar setting for affluent youngsters who have the time to wait for service at their table? Yup.
My wife and I moved to the lower mainlaind a couple of years ago. We were excited about the prospect of trying a new dining experience a month. We've eaten at some great places, but keep coming back to Chambar b/c we know what to expect of the food and service. The mussels are a particluar favorite of mine and great to share, I like all three offerings. Their selection of Trappiste beer is top notch. It may seem silly to pay 10+ dollars for a glass of beer, but what a wonderful accompaniment to any meal. My favorite is the WESTMALLE TRIPEL. It is the fact that they have a unique and inspiring selection of brew compared to most places. The deserts are also very well done. I honestly have yet to get better anywhere else. My wife loves the belge waffle, though they do refresh the menu so dishes come and go. I like them all. The atmosphere is always buzzing and it makes it a fun place to be. If your wanting a quiet evening to chat, it will be difficult to find it here. The last word is about Chambar's service; Warm, professional, friendly. Whether we've spent a little or a lot, the service has remained consistent.
Went to Chambar last Saturday night, didn't have reservations so ended up in the high table lounge across from the kitchen. As soon as you enter, you notice how loud the place is. Its a long and somewhat narrow restaurant, the front has a lounge, the bar, and dinning tables. As you walk past the kitchen area to the dining room in the back, there are high top tables with bar stools which is where we dined and it was much quieter and we actually enjoyed sitting there between the two dining rooms and we just might request the same table (they consider this the lounge as well so no reservations required) the next time we go to Chambar.
We experienced very good service, yes it was busy but our server did get around to us and besides we were not in any hurry. With regard to the ambiance, you feel as if you were in NY in an old Manhattan warehouse style restaurant with open beams and piping, it was quite nice and different from granite, glass, and steel. The food was absolutely fantastic. The famous mussels did not disappoint. My wife had the lamb, and I had the arctic char, both were super flavorful and delicious. And did I mention the cocktails? They have the most unique blends of cocktails, very cool. Bottom line - some of the most delicious food you can find in Vancouver and very reasonable prices. We had two cocktails, mussels, two entres, a desert, and two americanos total bill with gratuity was $135, super deal!! We are already making plans to go back next weekend!!
I came here for my birthday earlier this year with a small group and the food was incredible. The famous mussels didn't let us down, the appetizers were a treat, and everyone was satisfied. Our waiter was professional but not exactly friendly - understandable, they're busy. The decor is just right - not over done, small and intimate, yet trendy in the most appropriate way. I will be returning soon for a 2nd round!
The hubby and I went out to Chambar for our 2 year anniversary. I had been once before so I knew exactly what to expect. This was my husbands first time. I must say, it was much noisier than I had remembered it! The menu must have changed. I thought I had ordered something that I had before, but clearly it wasn't what I had before and I didn't enjoy it AT ALL!!! On a higher note, the steaks we had were AMAZING!!! So yummy I finished my entire steak... including the onion on top! I drank the Fee de Bohem all night long which was an amasing drink made with absinth!!! mmm, so good. Dessert was also great.
All in all, a solid night out and one the hubby and I will remember from years to come. Would I go back? I would... with a large group of people though (the best way to enjoy a noisy ambiance is with a large group of people). Excellent!
Went to Chambar last week and the food was good, the service was good but the tables are too close to each other.
l'assiette du chasseur (venison) is very good with nice flavors.
mussels are a very good idea to share.
Chambar is a good restaurant, we will be back again.
All around great dining experience from the friendly woman on the phone making our reservation to the pleasant waitress. Food was beautifully presented and even better tasting. Prices were right on the money for the portion and the location. Overall just a wonderful little neighborhood place with a friendly staff and great kitchen
I initially went here for a company dinner, which is always a good time try and share dishes. There were six of us and everyone was more than satisfied with their orders. We shared a beautiful Mussels Congolaise where you can taste all the flavors and love that went into it. Hints of cilantro, ginger, and a bit if spice (was it cumin?) in a tomato cream sauce. I had the Arctic char on a bed of greens which melted in my mouth. My colleague had the much heartier tajine medley (really too much food if you decide on appetizer as well). On a return visit, my partner and I had the octopus appetizer, interesting but good. I also tried the steak, well-cooked but without much taste. I tried the lamb as well, much better than the steaks. Dessert of course was ice cream, dreamy. My bill on the second visit came to almost $100 for two including tips and no drinks, hey this is Canada after all. The wines at about $12 per glass seemed a bad value, best to drink before or after you go. Service was knowledgeable, cheerful, and timely. Would definitely go back, when I have more money.
I must say it has been a while since my first visit to Chambar but I remember the great feeling of the room and have always wanted to go back It is comfortable and relaxing with an upbeat vibe.
I also remember just being somewhat satisfied with the food. It seemed somewhat uninteresting to me. I always like to give a restaurant a few tries and will venture that way again soon!
We unexpectedly showed up at Chambar with a group of friends after eating a large meal (and drinking several bottles of wine) at another downtown restaurant. We had no idea we'd be at Chambar, otherwise we would have saved our appetite!
I knew of the noise, the menu, and I had walked past a few times before, but all things considered, I expected nothing when I walked through those doors. Needless to say, everything was perfect.
The decor was warm and inviting. Trendy? Sure, but it works. Steps above the typical trendy try-hard scene you'd find elsewhere in this city. Lots of deep reds and gold. Very classy.
Service was fantastic. Prompt, professional, friendly, and attentive, but not snobbish or annoying or forgetful.
The blue fig martini is divine. Comes with a side of Danish blue cheese. The sprig of anise on plate was a beautiful touch.
The Belgian beer selection was tempting.
We shared the duck foie gras. The foie gras was perfectly firm and absolutely scrumptious. It was served with frozen berries and the most delectable toasted briche flavoured in truffle oil. The brioche was like eating the most delicate cake ever made.
The fresh bread and butter served before the entree was fresh baked out of the oven and the smell was addictive.
For the entree (keeping in mind this was AFTER we already ate at a previous restaurant), we decided to share the venison, after spying on our friend's plate. Tender morsels cooked perfectly rare. The sausage was juicy and flavourful and the mushrooms/bean concoction went very nicely.
Too full for dessert, but the dessert menu will certainly be taken advantage of next time. We did have a nice espresso - the perfect end to a great night.
Our experience at this restaurant was mediocre. The ambiance in this restaurant is wonderful.....comfortable, modern, and a great view if you are lucky enough to sit beside the window or in one of the booths. It can get a little noisy...but this didn't really bother us at all.
The food was great. We had the ostrich carpaccio, which was well presented and very tender. We then ordered the pommes frites, (which were just very expensive french fries, but still very tasty), a flat iron steak, which was cooked to perfection but came with an extremely dry mashed potato (thank goodness for the french fries) and a lamb tagine with couscous. The lamb was delicious, tender and very flavorful. The beer selection is great and the basil cran martini was surprisingly yummy!
The service was NOT great. Basically our waiter was snobby, rude and clearly thought he was something special (which I promise you he was not). At the end of the nite we had to go in search of our coats after he disappeared without offering to retrieve them for us. He was attentive, however his bad attitude and rudeness was appalling. I wanted to complain to management, however the rest of the people working there seemed to have similar attitudes.
Overall, the food was good and so was the atmosphere, but this restaurant needs to brush up on their service, smile and have a little fun!
Highly enjoyed my dinner at Chambar.
Food was wonderful. Their Foie Gras was truly authentic with a raspberry compote for a bit of "zing". Asparagus Truffle Salad was soft and delicious. Lamb Tagine was excellent, especially loved the delicate fig pieces in the cous cous. The Halibut was also nice. A large and fine wine selection also.
Ambience was nice. Decor is gorgeus, paintings and the loft stye is nice. Only complaint was that the tables were inches apart making it difficult to have an intimate dinner.
Service was prompt and excellent. High class!
For a nice dinner this restaurant is a definate, for a romantic evening, I might look somewhere with a bit more division between tables.
i love it, its a little expencive i think but its really good and worth it, i went there with a friend and was great, the food is really worth the price, the service also is really good so you will definitely want to go again there. the ambience is good to, its simple but looks great.
Went here on friday for the dine out menu. Its was a good menu but the ambiance of the restuarant is kind of hard to pinpoint. We were put right at the entrance so it was a pretty busy spot. I have sat in the back during previous vists where it is more like a restuarant vs a bar and the music was loud and went from headbanging to jazz.
The food was solid and tastly but in the future I would ask to be put at the back of the restaurant. The mussels are definitely the menu item to ask for at this establishment.
I looked at some reviews beforehand and had high expectations. Perhaps one problem with reading reviews is that you do have expectations and sometimes it's just best to try something with an open mind.
I went to Chambar for a birthday dinner so I got to try a few dishes. I don't drink alcohol so I cannot offer any insight on the many Belgian beers that are offered. I started with the maple glazed scallops. The plate had a diameter of about 12" and three small scallops were plated in the centre. I understand this plating technique, but my appetizer was almost a mockery of this plating style. It looked rather ridiculous. Anyways, I didn't taste any maple but the scallops were tasty nonetheless because of the salad-like mixture they sat upon.
I also tried the venison carpaccio, octopus ceviche, and lamb. I'm not too fond of venison so I don't have anything to say about the venison. The octopus was sliced very thinly and somewhat, which made it difficult to eat as it stuck to the plate. The extreme thinness resulted in very little flavor. The lamb came with lamb tenderloin, lamb sausage, and some salad. The sausage was tasty as sausage usually is, but the tenderloin was dry and tough. It didn't have a good lamb flavor either. Perhaps I'm just used to lamb chops.
For the entrees everyone except me had mussels. I don't like mussels so I had the artic char. I really did not like the fish. It was so bland. A nice glaze of anything would have helped. The risotto was dry and I found that odd as I usually like my food drier than most so for me to say a risotto was dry means it was really dry. Overall, my entree was boring.
I did try a mussel and the broth was good, but the mussel itself didn't pick up too much of the broth flavour. The Beglian fries were delicious. I love fries as these fries were nice and salty just the way I like them.
I probably wouldn't go again, but if you like mussels you should at least try Chambar.
Locals in Gastown have a good thing with Medina, Dirty Apron and Chambar at their door steps. The DOV $38 menu was fabulous opportunity to experience Chambar and their standby favorites.
For starters, my companion and I ordered: (i) Carpaccio de Thon Rouge Charred yellow fin tuna Carpaccio, shiso & sesame pesto, shaved Parmesan, Meyer lemon & jalapeño vinaigrette and (ii) the Cappuccino de Champignon Forest mushroom soup, truffle foam, herb goat cheese croquette. Beautifully plated and servings are small but appropriate for rich food with lots of flavour. The tuna Carpaccio is as good as any I’ve tried. The soup is poured at the table so the croquette stays crunchy. Pretty fancy comfort food!
For our entrees, we had (i) Duo de Boeuf Moroccan braised beef short ribs, chick pea charmoula, grilled kabob, spiced zucchini, mint & cilantro salad and (ii) L'omble de L'Arctique Crisp Arctic char, curried risotto, pickled cucumber, yogurt & eggplant caviar. The short rib came with the bone removed and quite tender in reduction juice. The lamb with humus was “gamely” but not overwhelming. Arctic char is like “salmon” but I loved the crispness of it. The risotto was a tad undercooked and salty (maybe it was the caviar?) but nothing a drink couldn’t wash down.
To end the night, we had Americano coffee with (i) Le Fromage a selection of BC cheese and (ii) Parfait au citron frozen lemon soufflé, coconut dacquoise, toasted meringue, pie crust ice cream. The cheese was gobbled up before I could taste much of it but comes with pear, blueberry jam, in-house crisps and sampling of nuts. My lemon soufflé had a light coconut crust base and complimented well with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and almond slices. You don't realize how rich it is until you're finish.
The service was attentive and we finished our 3 course meal within 1.5 hr. The atmosphere was cozy and casual. The room is small, retaining the old world charm of Gastown (brick & mortar) but has nice modern touches. Check it out if you’re in this historic part of town and want to try European cuisine.