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2.5
  • Food2.5
  • Service2
  • Value3
  • Ambiance2
  • Reviews37

Honolulu Cafe

3340 Kingsway, #240
Vancouver, BC V5R5L1
Tel: (604) 438-8632
Neighbourhood: East Side
  • Cuisine: Cafe, Chinese, International
  • Price: $ ($15 or less)
  • Reservations: Not accepted
  • Service: Takeout
  • Hours: Mon: 8AM - 12AM, Tue - Sat: 8AM - 1AM, Sun: 8AM - 12AM
  • A Hong-Kong Style Cafe with a Bistro-like menu bordering between Chinese cuisine and International-Western style cuisine. Perhaps best known for their "afternoon tea time / happy hour specials" that offer smaller portions of meals that come with a choice of cold or hot beverage. Potently caffeinated Hong Kong style coffee and milk teas are addictive and a staple with the regulars.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 37 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Best after 9pm
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - 3:23pm [Dine in]

The food quality here as declined, as noted from the last few times eating here. Yesterday was, by far, the worst. We made a huge mistake of eating here before the "late night specials" started (9pm).

They still had some dinner specials: asian dishes at $6 per with a minumum order of 2 dishes. It's still a good deal, but not if you're craving for the other dishes like noodles and fried rices.
I had a few questions about the menu, but they remained unanswered because I can't speak chinese, and they couldn't speak english. :(

We opted for the $8.50 menu which included soup. The extra $2.50 for the soup was painful. Bland canned watered down cream of chicken soup = not good. Lesson learned.

Dish 1 - Sauteed sole fillet.
The good: lots of fish, really fresh tasting celery and mushroom.
The bad: not enough flavor and overly gelatinous "clear gravy".

Dish 2 - Chili garlic fried squid.
The good: large portion, tasty seasoning
The bad: I don't think the squid was cleaned properly since the inside tubes oozed a clear jelly when squeezed.

Overall the dinner was ok, but the quality has definitely gone down. Before leaving, we asked to have a glance at the late night menu. Yes, still a great deal with dishes starting at $6, but I noticed that they stopped offering the free drink with the meals now.

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HK cafe style cheap eats
By aregma of Burnaby (116 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 6:06pm [Dine in]

Had dinner here a few weeks ago and thought it was a solid place to eat when hungry and low on money. Meals here with drinks are under $10 including tax and tip. Food was decent but for the price I thought it was well worth it. They put crushed ice if you order a lemon coke, which is a small detail but makes the meal that much better. I had the seafood alfredo with rice and my friend had the porkchop with rice. Nothing great, but no complaints either. Portions were large enough to fill me up.

Would go back if looking for some late night eats.

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They'll Fill You Up
By diner40 of Vancouver (95 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, September 25, 2015 - 7:41pm [Dine in]

If you're the sort of person who is put off by abrupt, non-verbal service without a smile just don't come here.
The first couple of times I dined here I was quite ticked by the service. I have come to realize, that's the way it is. So when the server slams down your plate without a word and quickly walks away don't be offended , that's just how they do things.

If you're a clean freak avoid this place as well. Quite frankly this is an old, dirty, greasy restaurant. Whatever you do don't take a walk to the men's washroom and peak in towards the kitchen. It's not a pretty sight.

If you can just ignore those first two things I mentioned you will probably enjoy Honolulu. Tasty, big dishes of food at a very good price. My favorite is the chicken curry.

So bring it on, slam down that plate of curry I'm ready for it!

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Cheap eats
By Bonka of Vancouver (464 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - 3:34am [Dine in]

I came here a couple of weeks ago to meet with a colleague for lunch. Sometimes cheap greasy food really hits the spot.

It was busy as usual and being the first time I came to this location, it was cleaner than the Main St. location.

I ordered the combo special with the choice of 2 meats and soup. I got the Chicken Chop and Sirloin Steak. It came with their soup (2 choices), a bowl of rice, vegetables, a wedge of garlic bread and french fries on a sizzling plate. My colleague got the Shrimp Fried Rice.

My soup arrived first. I got the tomato base and it was terrible. It came in a small shallow bowl with a few chunks of vegetables. The soup reminded me of watered down ketchup. I'm glad I didn't get anymore because I stopped after a few spoonfuls.

My sizzling plate came. I was surprised to find a mound of fries underneath the 2 chops. The Chicken Chop was alright. A little greasy and had a uneven coat of batter but otherwise fine. The Steak was typical HK cafe style: immersed in some sort of meat tenderizer. I like beef steaks but on ocassion I order it at places like this to remind me to not get it next time. The fries were hot but not particularly crisp. The few pieces of steamed vegetable and the token wedge of bread with garlic butter spread rounded up the meal. My coke came with crushed ice but everything below the ice was warm soda. That was an unpleasant finish.

It remains cheap and plentiful eats but nothing I would eat on a regular basis.

Service was usual at places like this. They do top up your tea and pack your leftovers but otherwise you take your seat, order, eat, pay and leave.

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Great HK Chinese Cafe
By chasiubow of North Van (675 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, July 7, 2006 - 11:03pm [Dine in]

I am so glad they finally renovated this place! I took my wife to enjoy the spruced up restaurant, and we had a great experience. We arrived just before the throngs started to lineup for tables (15 minutes later and we would be standing in the parking lot), and got seated almost right away. The service is brisk and very efficient, mostly because they want to keep the turnover rate high, and the ambience is a bit hectic and noisy, and not as relaxing an atmosphere as Gloucester, for example. The whole restaurant looks so new and clean, and everything is very tidy. Even the w/c was clean.

We had the mini meals: Eggplant with chicken and spicy Thai sauce for me. Sweet and sour pork for my beloved. Both meals came with lots of rice and both were excellent. We also had the borscht, which was outstanding, and the dong café, which was terrific. The best part was when the bill came. It was very cheap at 16 bucks for two big eaters.

Highly recommended.

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Pleasant surprise
By hydeeho of Burnaby (182 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, May 25, 2008 - 10:42pm [Dine in]

Very happy we tried this place. Had 3 mini dishes with rice and had to stuff it down there was so much. Beef with green beans was especially tasty. All 3 dishes were good and the service was excellent. Wait staff was there when you wanted something and not at all intrusive. Place was packed and a line up formed while we were eating. The clientele was 100% oriental. Always a good sign the food is good and cheap. Got to go back and try to tackle their extensive menu.

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I crave for their ice lemon tea
By panda of Burnaby (56 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, May 18, 2008 - 2:59am [Dine in]

I've been eating here for many years even before the renovation. I always find their food to be good. Afterall, it is a hong kong style cafe not fine dining. Last nite, after a concert I was hot and was craving ice lemon tea to cool me off. Honolulu cafe was the place to go for that. They make the best ice lemon tea and they do not use powder, brewed fresh. I was hungry and ordered a seafood baked rice with spinach, one of my favorite dish. Generous portion of seafood, along with my ice tea, what more can I ask for.
This is a good place to go for a late nite meal and it comes with a drink which is a good deal.

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Ok for cheap eats
By Vancouver_foodlover of Vancouver (53 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, April 12, 2009 - 12:28pm [Dine in]

Went here with a couple of friends and the prices here are cheap. We had 4 dishes off the late night snack menu and our total bill came out to under $30. The portion is decent and comes with a drink. The place was packed.

The price seems to be the selling factor. The food was average at best and the restaurant is below standard in terms on cleanliness.

For anyone coming here, I would avoid going to the washrooms. It will affect your appetite in a negative way. But this is usually the case for most fast food places. Decor and cleanliness are at the bottom of the priority list and price and size is the top.

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Decent Cheap Eats
By 8there of Vancouver (66 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 23, 2008 - 9:29pm [Dine in]

We've been coming here for years, and the food has always been quite consistent. After their renovation a couple years ago it was much cleaner, but now it's starting to look worn again with chips and stains on the walls. Tried many of their dishes, most are fine, definitely not fine dining but a step up from fast food. The service is hit and miss, seems like it depends on the servers' moods whether we get good service or not. Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.

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Late Night Snack ...
By darrenkadish of Burnaby, B.C. (46 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, December 23, 2007 - 9:14pm [Dine in]

Working late Friday and Saturday nights, it's always an issue trying to find a restaurant to go to and get a good late night snack. We were driving around wondering where to go and saw that Honolulu Cafe was open, so we pulled over and walked in. We were greeted promptly and asked to sit anywhere in the upper section.

Their menu is extensive, so we just picked what looked familiar (or at least appetizing)... which ended up being the fried beef with rice noodle and deep fried chicken fillet with a spicy, spaghetti sauce-type topping over rice. We were also given a complimentary drink with our dinner, so we ordered a coke an iced coffee. They were pretty good sized drinks for complimentary drinks.

I was not expecting much, but was very pleasantly surprised with both dishes. They both had very good flavor. The fried beef with rice noodle was fried up well in that the soy sauce covered all the noodles and the beef was not overdone. The chicken was a very, very pleasant surprise as well. The spaghetti sauce was yummy and the chicken grilled to perfection. I know this place is a hit or miss because the last time we came here, it wasn't nearly as good, but good value for your money when you consider the size of the dishes and the free drinks. So, since we went here on a Saturday night ... we'll come back on another Saturday night. Hopefully the cook that worked that night works every Saturday night. No more surprises.

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Okay food, no service
By bluecat1203 of Vancouver (6 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, June 22, 2009 - 4:41pm [Dine in]

I have stopped coming to this restaurant for a few years. Before they had a renovation I enjoyed the food here, a great deal... until my sister saw some mice wrestling with each other near the bathroom.

After the renovation, I came here with my mom.

I had asked the server what the daily special was... then she responded, "Go take a look at the sign at the front door, it's right there".

My order came, I started eating... then realized that there was no chicken in there even though it was a chicken dish. I told the server about this, and she responded, "there's no chicken because YOU ATE IT!".

... No, this is not fiction writing. Keep reading.

We were fuming... then while I was eating (still had my fork in my dish on 3 separate occasions), the same server tried to take away my plate - at least 3 times! WTH?! No common sense whatsoever!

Anyway, after that, I didn't tip - for obvious reasons. I don't expect servers to be waiting on their hands and knees all the time, but I bet you that waitress would not do the same thing to a caucasian customer.

Like I said, I never returned to this restaurant after this - and neither should you for good reasons.

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Not the best quality.
By matchalatte of San Fran, CA (34 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, March 2, 2008 - 5:57pm [Dine in]

I went here a few weeks ago for a quick lunch, per recommendation of a friend. We had Malaysian Fried Rice, which had the look and feel of plain Chinese fried rice (salted rice and some vegetables). The "Portuguese" chicken baked rice was a misleading description; I expected a rice dish that had been in the oven, yet in reality, it was just simply baked chicken mixed in yellow goo, poured over steamed rice. That was quite disappointing in presentation and flavour. The waitress was not very friendly at all, even though my friend spoke to her in Chinese.
The decor was plain; the walls were a bit dirty with splashed brown grease covering the bottom half of it.
This is a typical HK bistro, I guess. Fast service of food and free drinks are a plus. But a little upgrade in cleanliness and customer service would give this place better ratings.

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dont eat here if you value sanitary
By cariba of Vancouver+ (23 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 15, 2009 - 11:19pm [Dine in]

this place i used to frequent often and coming from places like HK im used to dirty restaurants so I don't mind it. But bringing a caucasian fellow is when i began to realize that you shouldn't come here based on Canadian sanitary standards. there are flies all over the place. The food is actually quite good but don't get any drinks. The service is and has always been some of the worst out there unless the boss is around and is the one serving you. Once in a while you might be entertained with some waitress and cook verbally abusing each other. the food is good and cheap but don't expect service nro cleanliness

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depends on who is serving you
By canuckie of Vancouver (12 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, February 10, 2012 - 11:46am [Dine in]

the food here is good. the service is questionable.

there are good deals to be had, if you order before 6pm you get a free drink with your entree. if you order after 6pm there is no free drink but there is a section in the menue where entrees are only $5 each plus a bowl or rice with each selection. pretty good deals.

HOWEVER ... depending on who is your wait staff ... you can either ask for extra rice and get it free OR they will charge you for the rice. it's very inconsistent.

the ambiance for the eating area is typical of a East meets West restaurant, it's clean.

However the bathrooms are filthy.

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a) Grease b) MSG c) all the above
By bubba of Vancouver (17 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 10:35pm [Dine in]

The usual thoroughfare:
1) grease from the floor does end up on your food
2) tea cups that are as orange/yellow as the tea
3) good deals keeps some people going back esp. for late nite cravings.

It serves a purpose, but unfortunately the taste is just average at best, and to be honest, when they first opened like 15 years ago, it was a lot better. Not sure if they still have it, but the french toast is a keeper.

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Dirty and Poor service
By jdurales of Vancouver (19 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, July 16, 2010 - 11:00pm [Dine in]

First off, the food was oily and full of MSG. Second the place was pretty dirty. Do not go to the washroom. You have been warned. You'll lose your appetite for the meal if you do. And third. The place is run by middle aged waitresses that do not speak much English at all. If you do come here, come with some Chinese friends.

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Just Weird!
By Foodiebynature of Vancouver (14 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 1, 2009 - 11:56pm [Dine in]

I have to say that this is by the far weirdest place I have ever eaten in Vancouver! The menu had no rhyme, order or reason. It was a combination of Chinese food and Western frozen food. I was told that this was apparently HK style but I cannot believe that this style would even have a name.

I had spaghetti with a weird white sauce/gravy. The little I did have was tasteless and the appearance was worst. I had the stuffed chicken which was actually frozen chicken cordon bleu.

Quite honestly, I sat down wishing I had brought my own utensils as the restaurant does not seem very clean. We were given wet chopsticks and utensils to eat…GROSS!

I would say if you are down to your last few bucks and are starving then this is definitely the place. Otherwise, I would not recommend it.

I rated the food and service as 2 but really that was far too generous.

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Business as usual
By a_cheng of South Vancouver (11 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, July 7, 2006 - 7:20pm [Dine in]

Yes the renovations are complete and the place looks way better than it was before. The floors are cleaner and the booth seats are new. However, the round tables that they have on one side of the facility look really tacky. It looked like they had run out of money and grabbed some patio furniture and placed it there for seating. And to disagree with previous commenter their kitchen is not actually bigger, which causes problems since they have added tables.

Their food basically stayed the same with a few price hikes to cover construction costs,but it is still a good place to grab a bite to eat.

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A little bit of extra
By ssnissan of Vancouver (21 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, April 7, 2014 - 4:12pm [Dine in]

Had the same experience as another reviewer on google. Ordered a baked chicken rice and bit onto a piece of white object, probably porcelain or something. I asked the waitress (I think she was actually the owner?) to come over and showed the the piece of porcelain. She was extremely apologetic and told me that she would comp my dinner, but I told her she doesn't have to do that, i just wanted to let her know about it. At the end of the meal, I asked her for the check and she came over and said she comped my meal anyways because it was their fault. I ended up leaving a $8 tip.

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Bad food and fake smile.
By foodgossip of Surrey , B.C. (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, May 14, 2012 - 4:29pm [Dine in]

Despite the poor reviews, I gave it a try and hopefully I can write something positive about it but failed.

Food, Value, Ambience - I ordered the Singapore Laksa noodle soup, it has a few pieces of deep fried tufu puffs, fish cake, four halves of tiny white fish balls, and ONLY ONE head-off but unshelled shrimp (how lame is that)?! The entire bowl is stuffed with DRIED vermicelli and barely any soup. My dad ordered the beef tendon and brisket noodle soup and he said there's no flavour. The Hong Kong Style Coffee is grossly watered down, even he was disgusted after a tiny sip. Prices are average. Between noon to 6pm, meals come with a cup of free coffee or tea. Ambience is average for a Hong Kong style cafe.

Service- Honest to god, I ask the same waitress three times after ordering. The first was to ask her for a bowl of laksa soup for my soupless laksa. The second time was for a take out container and bill. So just before I got up and leave, OUT OF KINDNESS and make sure she gets the tips, I asked for her for the third time to grab her tips. She turned to her co-worker and said out loud, "What does she wants this time?!" I understand and speak cantonese, mind her! But when she sees the shining gold coins and 20% tips, she immediately put on the ultimate FAKE and perhaps GUILTY smile and said, "Wow, thank you and see you again."

Oh well, guess you all know the answer - "No, thanks, will never go back again!".

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