Chill Winston is as the name suggests all about relaxing and sharing in their passion for good food and friends. The menu consists of small plates and entrees utilizing local ingredients. Be sure to check out their extensive wine, beer and cocktail menu. Open for lunch, dinner and late night.
Went with friends on a sunny Saturday & sat outside on the patio. It can be very busy when the cruise ships are in town, however we got straight in.
Service: They are quick to serve you drinks, but the waiter we had knew very little about the types of beer on offer & the location of the home breweries. The beer is good but the measures were under-sized (ie. you get less than the imperial pint you order. Service was extremely slow once we finally got round to ordering. It took 30-40mins for our food to come, probably because there seemed to be only 1 chef working in the kitchen. The waiting staff are somewhat surly.
Food: There's a decent selection of food on offer, but it is expensive for what you get. I was not impressed with a very plain, basic salad for $15. Someone else complained they had not been asked how they wanted their bison burger cooked & when it came it was under-done & gristly.
Value: Poor value for money.
Ambiance: Great for people-watching & 'chewing the fat'. Even saw an accident at this busy junction ! Go for drinks, but not for food, especially if you're in a hurry !
I get the impression the staff couldn't careless. The place is complacent - they don't have to try because they have a ready clientele of cruise ship holiday-makers, who will come here once & then never again.
Despite reviews of poor service, 4 of us decided to have dinner there on a Friday evening because of the large patio. While the food was good, it didn't stand out enough to make it worth the wait. We were seated right away, but there were incredibly long absences by the server. Maybe instead of 2 hostesses there could have been an extra server instead? Or maybe it was just that one server, because the other half of the patio seemed to have decent service. To top it off, the diners at some of the other tables were rude to the point of interfering with the enjoyment of others, simply by talking loudly about people at other tables in a negative sense - I guess they were unable to contain their displeasure at the slow service. Plus, panhandlers like to hang around and harass diners around the edges of the patio. All in all, not a pleasant experience, and the food isn't good enough to warrant a repeat visit.
Chill Winston is an great place to chill out; they have comfortable club chairs, and I love that they serve Pimm's. Overall their drinks list is original and extensive, and the staff is friendly and helpful even when the place is packed. I love to go there, except for breakfast. Chill winston has these slides projected on the wall, one of them proclaiming that they have the best bennys in town. After a night out, we decided to see for ourselves. The bennys definitively fell short. Even though the place was empty on a Sunday at noon, the hollandaise was lukewarm and tasted like it came out of a can. The poached eggs were overcooked, and we practically had to beg for our waitress to bring us coffee.
That said, it's nice to have a good hangout place in gastown. There's other breakfast places in the city more worthy of the 'best bennys' claim.
Went for lunch with my friend on Tuesday. The hostess was friendly and our server came to our table quickly - she was great. Ordered the calamari and tuna tartar to share at first. Timing was good - our drinks (sparkling water) came fast. The tuna tartar was remarkable - we were in awe. The calamari was not good - the texture was the best thing about it and we kept eating it almost in hopes that the next bite will be better than the one before? Loved the idea of a pan seared calamari with capers and tomatoes - what a nice idea but it didn't work for some reason - too salty and calamari was fishy.
Our mains were the chicken club (I believe) for my friend and the special grilled salmon sandwich - both really good. My friend had fries and I had the salad (so good!) with our sandwiches.
Service was prompt - the ambiance was great. Prices good.
But... what's the deal with the male waiters wearing shorts? I'd say it felt a little tooooooo casual for me...
I will be back though and I might even give the calamari another try because it was an "off" day...
Probably the slowest service i've had in years.
First they tell us its a 15 minute wait for a table. Then when the 40 minute mark came around, we asked how much longer. 5 minutes they said... turns out thats another 20 minutes to them. An hour in total, waiting outside. 4 hostesses and they still manage to look completely unorganized and flustered. Appears they did not even know how to manage tables based on their hand written system. Not even a sorry for the wait.
5 people, 4 chairs and one ottoman.... What is this? We then ordered and it took more than 30 minutes for the food to come. Similar wait times when we came for lunch as well where it was much less busy, pretty much empty. If you are thinking about a quick lunch, not the place. Also, items on the dinner menu is slim pickings compared to the lunch. Portions were minisule. Best bang for buck was the Poutine. The worst we tried is the Fish and Chips. AVOID at all costs. Terrible, dry, flavorless, and came in the smallest portion i've seen. Pizza isn't bad.
Server dropped a beer on the ground, then later dropped an empty glass. Maybe she should try not loading up so much on her tray. It was beginning to look scary.
Not worth the trip here. Only if desperate and time is not of concern.
Just visited this past week after not being in that part of town for a while. Great time! And the fact the food is sourced as much as possible from organic or ethical local farmers is great too, given that the prices are not too much at all..(have you been to whole foods lately)? so I don't know where peoples sense of too expensive is coming from...hmmm too many dates out at Dennys perhaps?.
Fun place, real people, great food and I always like watching an open kitchen doing there thing.
Great music and not a TV in sight. Hate places that focus on being a "cool" place then sell out by sticking a TV up and playing the game. Its not fine dining but is relaxed, casual, as good a drinks as I could make at home, so what more could you ask for..
my girlfriend and I went here the other night because we had great experiences in years past. the menu had changed a lot but i figure this was a good thing. It turned out it wasnt. The turkey wings were awful, the carpaccio was mush and the pizza was comparable to delissio. the only thing we liked was the popcorn which was 7 bucks. That being said, the employees there are still very nice and the view of the heart of gastown is nice to look at. bring back the menu from 2006-2007 and you'll be much better off.
Chill Winston should be called "Gastown Joke!!" The service is unacceptable. I work in the industry as well as opened and managed several places in the city and lets just say the front of the house staff in this establishment are staff that don't care about customers experiences nor care about the well-being of the company. In this day and age with all the competition in the city a place like Chill Winston does not have the luxury of not satisfying a customers.
Let's start off by our greeting by the hostesses..when we walked up and asked for a table the hostess told us that their was no room when in fact there was an large couch of empty tables right in front of us with two young men sitting there. My friend then asked the young men if we could sit on the other side of the tables considering the two guys were sitting at a table that could seat 8 comfortably. They said we could absolutely join so we asked the hostess if that was ok and she rolled her eyes and said I guess so and reluctantly allowed us to sit there. When we sat down our server didn't come by and take our drink order. We waited for 10min before we tracked him down and asked if he could come by when he was ready. Our drinks took another 10min to arrive to the table. Twenty minutes later and we just received our first drink. When we were ready to order our second round the hostess walks up interrupts, throws down menu's and says every second person has to eat. A couple of us said we would order food but they said that wasn't good enough for there were 7 of us and that if we didn't order food we had to leave. The guys that we joined had been there for 3hours drinking and not one word of food order was mentioned to them nor anything mentioned to my other friends sitting at the high tops. I can go on and on but my point is it was a horrible experience from beginning to end and I was and am still embarrassed that I was the one that recommended to meet at Chill Winston. Three out of the seven of us work in the industry so we just said we would just get our bill. We left without the staff knowing that we were all disappointed from beginning to end but I don't want "YOU" as the possible future client to even think about going there. Not worth it!!! U can receive great food and service anywhere so go to an establishment that actually cares about you as a customer.
Food: First off the menu is very very limited. I didn't really see anything I thought would be appealing but we felt it would be rude to leave (ie:// make a mad dash for Incendio down the street).
We shared the daily pizza of the day and a featured duck entree. The pizza was so bad I would have considered the pizza a "BOMB" in my own kitchen and probably wouldn't have eaten more than 1 slice out of sheer hunger and guilt over the price. The duck was so undercooked I thought I was eating duck sashimi. We saw a poorly presented bowl of mussels go by and mused about how much we missed Twisted Fork, where we customarily get Duck and Mussels. Surprised that anyone can present a classic dish like mussels in an unappealing manner.
Service: Timing was good. Service was adequate without being cloying. No complaints.
Value: Expensive. $22 for an unappetizing SMALL entree. I've had servings at tapas restaurants like Guu that were more substantial.
Ambiance: Well we came because it was listed as one of the best patios in the city and I'll give it that. Gastown is lovely in the summer. The patio was lovely, however it was also very large, and crowded. The cocktails looked yummy but I think if I wanted cocktails of that calibre I'd just go to Refinery where they make their own bitters with local handpicked ingredients and their food is more appetizing.
Over all... would not go back again... and wished I paid better heed to these reviews... It is really terrible at Chill Winston. I can't even remember a place thats worse.
I ordered the tuna salad, it was decent. The flavour wasn't really that great, so I got a sided of their asian dressing. I was not very fond of the smoked tomatoes because the smoke flavour was way to potent. Also, the salad was tossed in a way too oily sauce : (
My friend had the pizza, it looked okay, just a typical thin crust pizza.
Service: The waitress was very nice and friendly. She brought our wine out very quickly and continually came by to pour more in our glasses.
Value: I think it was typical prices.
Ambiance: The best part of the ambiance was the bathroom lol. I liked how there was a shared hand washing area and how it had nice lighting. The furniture and colours were warm as well. My only complaint was how the actual space itself was too open and large.
Overall I would go there for drinks and atmosphere.
May I just start off by saying that a pet peeve of mine (and I don't have many) is when a hostess stares blankly at me when I enter a restaurant. Greet me. Inquire. That is your only duty. I will stare back at you until you fulfill this one simple task.
Our server seemed mildly annoyed by our presence, and generally absent. It wasn't the worst service, but definitely lacking.
The food however, was appalling. 10 months ago, on our first visit, the menu was really inventive, interesting. This time around, absolutely nothing stood out to me. I ended up just ordering one of their main salads - the grape, tarragon and goat cheese salad. It was the saddest salad I have ever seen. A pile of butter lettuce leaves, uncut, with four grapes on top (literally, there were four cut in half) and slathered with oil. I couldn't taste the vinegar at all, and it was screaming for just a dash of salt. I had to pay for bread. It was good bread (probably from Terra bakery) but was served swimming in oil, with butter on the side. It was really unappetizing to have oil-drenched bread.
My husband ordered the pizza of the day. It was mushroom, basil and ham. The ham was nearly invisible. It seemed like it was just whatever was leftover in the kitchen. No thought involved. And it was really lacking seasoning.
Now, we thought that maybe we had really missed out because some of the mains really did seem interesting. But as we were whispering about the poor quality of the meal, a couple at the table next to us said "the food is really bad here, isn't it?" They had, from what we heard, the mussels, the ravioli and something else. All of it was apparently terrible.
I am giving this place a 1 for value because we felt robbed.
The ambiance, on the other hand, is really great. So if you want some mediocre drinks (maybe just have a beer) and MAYBE some truffle popcorn, go for it.
But we won't be back.
We enjoy Chill W's. Lots of great people watching on the patio, a simple menu, but they do try to change it up. We like the thin crust pizza and the Grey Monk wine. Not usually a favorite of mine, but it's good value and goes great with all the little plates.. Nice 30 something crowd, with lots of energy in the room.
Myself and four of my friends met here last night for a meal, a drink or two and a chat. I was the first to arrive and was shown to a seat by a most accommodating hostess, then approached by a waitress who asked if I wanted a drink while I waited which was promptly delivered. As my friends gradually arrived, the waitress who was to look after us for the evening introduced herself and she was simply lovely. Bubbly, helpful and attentive. The food was good, all seemed to enjoy. I had the hummus pizza which I found to be an interesting combo and tasty enough that, when offered, I took my leftovers home which I never do (as a very fussy/odd eater I don't often comment on food as I don't think it would be fair!) As a place to meet and chat, I find it a lovely venue. My last visit here was in January of 2007 and I've really no idea why it's taken me so long to go back (really enjoyed my time there then as well!) I would highly recommend Chill Winston!
3 times I've been to Chill Winston's, first 2 were passable but forgettable, last time was the last time... We arrived at the patio on a Sunday afternoon about 3pm after playing golf... Met 2 girls there totaling 6 of us... It was NOT busy, patio was maybe half full.
First off, the table are tiny, but okay no problem, we'll just use two tables... Then the server comes over an tells us in a very confrontational manner that they do not allow tables to be put together on their patio (no we were NOT blocking server paths), but we pointed out that the patio was half full and we would go elsewhere rather than pretend we didn't know each other and move the tables back the 24" to where they were he said "Fine, I'll let it slide then"...
Our drinks took FOREVER, they were out of several food items, one of note was french fries. How do you run out of potatoes? We had already ordered and by the time he told us they didn't have the girls (who are vegetarians) order we were receiving our food. We explained we would have gone somewhere else and that he should have told us sooner, and he aggressively said "I've already bent the rules for you by allowing you to sit together" (yes 6 of us? not talking 10 or 12 people here). So we asked him to ring us a blank plate, by the time he did we had crossed the st and bought the girls fries at the Irish Heather. We asked the server to charge us for fries anyway and just give us the blank plate to the girls could eat with us and not have to watch us eat. He freaked out made a big scene, and was challenging in a confrontational manner.
Should we have gone and bought fries? No. But we did offer to pay for them even though they didn't supply them, we were making a point about the whole experience and attitude of this terrible server and lack of food. Right off the bat we should have left but we didn't. Our fault.
Look at my reviews, we're quite positive easy going diners... We're not that tough to impress. This place has so much potential, someone should really open something great up here!
Chill Winston is the perfect late night place for drinks and dessert. To start out with, we have been here on 3 seperate occasions. The first was for dinner for my dad on Father's day. As echoed by the other reviewers here, the service was unfortunately slow and the food was only okay. The lighting at the table made it very difficult to read the menus. So for dinner, I would caution against this place.
However, as a 2nd stop on the town, Chill Winston is great. The drinks are fresh, and different, and the desserts are delicious. I recently planned a surprise birthday party for my wife, and they were happy to hold an 11pm reservation on a Friday. The place was packed but we just walked into an open table and continued to have a great time. These type of gestures are what put restaurants on a higher level.
We will be back the next time we're out for dinner in Gastown.
I went to the Chill Winston about a year ago for a friends birthday and found the experience not as nice has I had hoped. I thought I would try it out again a year later and I was disappointed once again.
While the ambience is relaxing and the location is supreme, you are still a restaurant focussing on customer service. The servers/hostesses can be very judgemental and condescending at times, not with the words they use but more the body language and face expressions.
I work in the hotel industry and work closely with the restaurant industry here in Vancouver. I used to recommend Chill Winston to guests looking for a nice local lounge/restaurant in a neat area of town. However, I realise now I no longer want to send our guest's to a restaurant that is un-vancouer like.
Try out the Irish Heather just a block away if you want to stay in the neat gastown area it has a modern Irish feel while still serving traditional Irish and Scottish lagers and ales.
A friend and I were out and about on Saturday night. We were looking for a particular restaurant that we could not find (after walking around for 25 min) so we decided to give Chill Winston a try.
It was pretty busy but not over crowded. The host gave us a choice of inside or patio, we chose the patio.
The initial greet by our server took a little bit longer than usual, but that would be the extent of any poor treatment. We chose a bottle of wine (the server was quite helpful in both the wine and food choice department) and the meat and cheese plate.
The choice of wine was perfect for a summer evening, the meat and cheese plate however, left something to be desired. Having worked in a wine bar in the past that serves mainly meats/cheese and other tapas, I was disappointed. When ordering dishes like this, it is common knowledge that you are not going to get a brick of cheese and a tone of meat, but I found the size of Chill Winstons meat/cheese dishes to be sized well under average. Tasty but not worth the $.
The service was attentive through out the evening. We were told that the patio was to close at 11pm and kindly asked if would like to be put on the wait list for the inside. We did and we were moved inside to a lovely table with comfortable plush chairs. I have never been to Chill W. b4, I really enjoyed the atmosphere, it is great for a weekend evening.
Again there was a bit of wait b4 the initial server greet but after that, it was again, flawless service.. Our H20 was always topped up and drinks came in a timely manner. The service was friendly and not intrusive : )
All in all it was a pleasant experience. I will return for drinks and maybe some light eats (I'll try something different next time.)
We came here for my birthday...and I was impressed. I was expecting a laid back place to have some drinks and grab a couple bites. But the food blew me away...
I expected a wait, but we got right in. We were sitting on stools at this coffee table but our waiter saw a proper table open up and asked us if we'd like to move...which we did.
I had the aforementioned ribs, which were incredible. Sadly, I was too vocal with my delight and was forced to share with the rest of the table. The ribs came with a Potato & Bacon salad...what more could you ask for in a salad.
The others in my party had, pizza, pizza, salad and artic char. Everyone seemed very happy with their meals...but the ribs were the hit.
The drinks were good. The drink menu quoted $12 for a drink (I'm new to Vancouver so that feels expensive) but the highballs were $5 and doubles were $7...so we enjoyed those. Our waiter was great very quick and accomodating.
My only complaint would be that the lighting made me feel the age I was turning. It was quite dark and seeing the menu by candlelight was tough. But since I know what I'll order...I don't need to see the menu and I'll keep the atmosphere.
I'll be back.
I've passed by this restaurant a few times and always passed it over in favour of some other place in gastown/yaletown/downtown. Thurs afternoon, I wanted to go to Jules but they only have a limited menu between 230 and 500 and my boyfriend wasn't feeling anything on it. He suggested we try chill winston.
First impression is great. The huge patio just looks so inviting. There was also a man on one of the streetcorners playing the saxaphone and chill had turned the music off so diners could enjoy it. I figure they have some sort of agreement with him because he stopped playing at 4pm and they turned on the canned music at the same time. The canned music was kind of a bummer after the sax but decided to not let it affect my ambiance rating.
The ambiance is unfortunately for chill the best thing is has going for it. Everything else just falls into the decent category.
We were seated promptly at a patio table by a friendly hostess and then we sat there forever before being acknowledged by a server. It was at least 8-10 minutes which is unacceptable for a place that is not even close to half full. The weird thing is that we were seated in between two already sat tables. So we see one server do a food check at the table to the right and then walk away so we just figure we're not in her section. And then we see a different server at the table to our left taking a mans drink order and then walks away as well. So at this point we're kind of confused since it been at least 5 mins and no one has said hi to us. Turns out the server to our left is actually our server. She brings the guys wine and then takes our order. By this time we're ready to order our food as well so we just order everything in one go. It just seems poor form or perhaps inexperience to not have taken our drink order as well after she took the mans next to us. It would have saved her a trip and not left us sitting with no service for so long.
My boyfriend ordered the tuna tartare and I had the halibut burger with salad. The food falls into the decent to solid category. Nothing horrible about it. Nothing great either.
Value is only decent as well. For those two food items plus 1 pint of beer each plus tip it was 48 bucks. Not a great value for an underwhelming experience.
Hate to say it but I agree with the previous reviewer who says that this place could be so much more with its amazing location. I don't think I'll be back. There's way too many better options nearby.
In a bar, it's all about the alcohol and snacks. Any bar can achieve ambiance-all you need is low lighting and ample patrons. Thus, failing drinks and snack, a bar would have failed.
It's too harsh to fail Chill Winston in that sense. Their drinks are highly commendable, with a greater, more unique variety than most bars. Their stylishly protruding kitchen, bathroom and furnishing easily renders it a more pricey bar. And pricey it was. I had a beer and it set me back $7. Every other drink mix is at least $8, and with no alternatives (coffee, tea), you're stuck. The bar is also unique in the fact that it offers no daily specials or beer pitchers, making for another eyebrow raiser.
But nothing compares to the gripe I have against the food. We ordered snacks, mint-chocolate icecream and apple crisp. Coming in at $3 and $7, respectively, it had to be good. Being in good humour and not wanting to put a daunt in the waitress' quality service, I bit my lip while staring down at the miniscule apple crisp before my eyes. It was the size of a cupcake, or the diameter of 3 loonies. I call this French proportion. Yet, without the same quality in taste. Icecream was not much better since it was a spoonful. Bravo for using real, crushed mint for the mint chocoate icecream, but there wasn't even enough to enjoy.
I would suggest any other bar in Gastown that might be less frugal with their customers. But if you want to see a communal bathroom, Chill Winston would be worth a one-time visit.