A multi-ethnic restaurant with entertainment (live jazz on Fridays), and Internet. Caters to all types of folks with cravings ranging from Caribbean roti to Japanese noodles and sushi.
This place is very small, and is easy to miss, but I am glad I found it. The food is a tad spicy for my taste, but otherwise very flavourful. Service is outstanding, credit to the owner/server. He really goes out of his way to make you feel welcome and appreciated. Definitely worth a second, third ... visit.
Went for breakfast on the weekend and the place was not too busy. The server was funny but he was using the same lines with other customer. Service was slow. We ordered eggs and these were just ok. Hash browns were hard as rock. I would not go back as there are better places for breakfast. Maybe lunch might be ok. They did have their regular people walking in so maybe others like a place like this. I would not waste my time going to this place. Also, the jam and butter were from Superstore - No Name stuff.
Oh yes, it's a little hole in the wall. No there isn't a lot of room. The whole place looks like somebody threw whatever junk they had in a building and called it a restaurant. Maybe that's the vibe they're trying for? Maybe not. At least I wasn't surprised, so I guess it is meant to be this way.
The menu looked decent, there was large & small for most entrees with the small coming in under $10, so that's a pretty happy thing. The portion sizes were acceptable, not huge. Huge if you're a vegetarian on a diet maybe. And no, we're not big people, not by a long shot. (Oh hey, by the way, guess what, jerk chicken is supposed to be stinkin' spicy, it would be a surprise if it were not, if you didn't know that, you probably aren't qualified to comment on the quality of this type of food). We had the ackee & saltfish, waffle, goat curry. Yum, yes, just not mind-blowingingly good. Spiciness was good, even for a wimp like me, it was not enough to suffer by, but pretty tasty.
Yes, the servers & owner especially was very warm and friendly. I don't know how much of his story was true, but I guess that's not important. It's entertaining.
The problem was the service was deadly slow. Took us over 1.5 hours to get out of there. Come on! Goat curry is pre-cooked. You just scoop it over the rice & call it a day. Nobody makes a stew to order because it would take far too long! (A note, we ended up with goat curry because the ox tail was out. Really? At the BEGINNING of the day????). By the time we left, sadly, THE OTHER HALF of our party was still there, because their rice & curry dishes had JUST come. They'll have been lingering for at least 2 hours. To add insult to injury, one of the party reported that the inside of his lamb curry bits was still cold. Okay, if we choose to linger for 2 hours, that's our business, but it shouldn't be because we're waiting for food.
Food is pretty good, yes, but not super special. (There are other Caribbean places in town besides The Reef, you know). The service is far too slow and that really did it in. It's indicative of something not quite right. Even if I were to take a hunk of stew out of the freezer on order, it wouldn't take an hour to warm it back up. No, would not return and no I would not recommend. Not unless you're immortal and have nothing better to do.
Brought a friend here due to some good reviews on dinehere. It was a beautiful warm Sunday afternoon and we were starving. When we arrived, there were lots of parking available in the front but the restaurant was 90% full. All the tables and chairs from the inside were moved outside. Good idea esp on a perfect day. The owner is this Jamaican guy; he couldn't stop joking. He was laid back and loves to talk to ppl. Our server was a Jap girl. We ordered waffles w/ bacon and jerk chicken w/ rice & salad. The breakfast was good; they serve it all day. The jerk chicken was surprisingly spicy hot! My tongue was on fire but I couldn't stop eating it! The only downside about this place is that the food took 30-45mins. No joke. It took a long time but the food made up for it.
I would definitely come back.
Upon a recommendation, my pals and I decided to have our x-mas dinner here and celebrate before the breaks. This tiny hole in the wall cafe is very nicely decorated. I don't mean "fancy chandeliers and real cloth napkins" sort of way, but the "real down to earth and Bob Marley chill" style. The joint is hyped up with high ceilings, oceanic murals, paintings, pictures, and a huge Lion named Junior. Man- I respect that.
The menu is not half bad looking either. Every major entree is under $10, and all looked delicious.
The waitress/cook came around and took our orders. I had a Curry Veggie Roti (med. spicy), and from what I remember...my friends had: Oxtail Stew, Jerk Chicken Roti,Curry Chicken Roti, Jerk Chicken on Rice & Peas, Teriyaki Chicken on Rice, and Chicken Sandwich.
The portions were large...very satisfying large. My Curry Veggie Roti made the veggie roti from The Reef looked like a limp burrito. Unlike some restaurants with mushed-whatever-curries, the ingredients they used were so fresh that you can actually make out each individual vegetable in the roti. It was truly a home-cooked meal but much more Yum Yum...definitely worth waiting for.
On top of everything, the cook came out and stopped the earthy-reggae playing on the stereo and gave a speech about the history of the restaurant. In the end, she had us sign the calendar marking the 3021 days of Lion's Den in operation. Now that's something you don't quite experience in other restaurants. =)
ooo-expect no mint from this place. You'll get rum flavored toffee as a treat instead.
My friends and I all agree that the food and the experience was very much enjoyable. We can't wait to return.
My boyfriend is an all day breakfast fan while I am a huge fan of spicy/ethnic foods, finally, we are able to satisfy both cravings in one place! I had the Jerk Chicken with rice and beans while he ordered the waffle with bacon. Like a previous reviewer stated, the jerk chicken is pretty spicy, but oh so moist and delicious - the rice and beans isn't anything special. The waffle was insanely good, obviously hot off the press and freshly made, it could only be better served with some fruit. The bacon was overcooked, so I doubt I would order it again, but otherwise the food was solid.
Lots of regulars sitting around and chatting. It was someone's birthday, so we sang happy birthday and were even given a slice of rum cake on the house. Outstanding cake! Delicious and warm, spicy and rummy and sooooo comforting.
The owner even introduced himself and told us the story about how the cafe came to be named the Lion's Den and had us sign his awesome calendar to track how long his restaurant has been open! Really nice, friendly atmosphere!
All in all - highly recommended for the price!
Even though this is a little bit of a hike from where we live in Kits, we wanted to try it because we are big fans of Jamaican food. But Jamaican food can be so much better than this.
The Japanese lady was running the place with a little helper whom she berated the entire time we were there. He often went outside, to the next door over (to an apartment?? it's what we suspected) and brought back food. That should have been clue number one. NOTHING was fresh.
The microwave, rather than the cook, was working overtime to make our jerk chicken and curry goat. When we asked for more rice, even that came from next door and went into the microwave.
The portions were small (hence the extra rice) and for the most part bland. Bleh. And you all know how microwaved food gets cold really quickly...
The decor was kind of funky, but it didn't really grab the attention. Most of all it just looked messy. The atmosphere in the restaurant seemed dead, and a little depressing. The service was pretty bad too. I felt bad for the poor helper guy who was getting yelled at the whole time we were there. Hopefully he quits this place, because that's what we have done.
First off, this is a great place to sit, eat and read a paper. The service is usually warm and kind (like all small establishments, the people have their bad days but they always do their best under the circumstances). There's decent food at cheap prices and there's usually no rush to get you out the door. I like the curry roti, the double decker grilled cheese and the breakfast sandwiches. The Japanese okonomiyaki is great. If you're looking for Gordon Ramsay fresh (with the Gordon Ramsay high prices) this is the wrong place (look at the prices for heaven's sake! How much can you expect?).
This place may not be professional ethnic restaurant level authentic, but the recipes are followed faithfully from the owner's grandma and although it might not be slick in presentation or even quality sometimes, I daresay it's probably what you could find on a real Jamaican's or Japanese person's table any given day of the week! This is a place to warm the heart, body, soul and stomach, which is rare to find in any city!
TERRIBLE Most bizarre experience at a restaurant!!! Had been wanting to try this place for awhile now. Went by one day and it was busy so ok we will come by when it was not so busy. So popped by one day around 5 o'clock and no one was in there eating. Parked right out front and walked in. As I walked in with my wife there was no hello or anything and saw a Japanese woman wiping a table and she began squeezing her head like she had a headache, crouched down and began crying as she saw us. Naturally we asked if she was ok, because we thought she may need medical assistance. She responded by saying how busy it was, how she had no break since 11 o'clock and how hard she worked and how we could never understand and just laughed at her. WTF ?? My wife and I looked at each other. Confused because I have never been to this restaurant before and their was not a soul in sight ! She said the menu was on the table and asked us to sit if we wanted, if not we could leave. At this point I was confused, didn't feel welcome, and thought we were inconveniencing her and the thought of eating with a distraught woman serving us would have been an awkward experience so we opted to leave. Upon leaving she wished us a Merry Christmas as it seemed she felt relieved we were leaving !!! Wow I have never been and will never go back as my first impression was horrible. As sympathetic I am to her hard work I think she crossed the line by telling the customer how awful her day was going and made me feel bad for being there...I was just there to eat ! She simply pushed a new customer out of the door and lost a potential regular. WOW...awful attitude and terrible business sense. No exaggeration!!!
A group of went there about a year ago and I was impressed with the food and the price, the owner was friendly and humerous...BUT his wife was a real cow , When we said tio her that her food was better than the Reef on main she answered sarcasticly thats not real caribean food ,, I tryed to explain that I was complementing her but she was very snotty to us. So I would hope she was having a bad day because we have wanted to go back but are reluctant because of her bad attitude
I live a stones throw away from this little East Van gem. This comfy little place is run by a couple, a Japanese and Jamaican duo. With the walls covered in a hodge-podge of Jap-Jam decor, including numerous Bob Marley tributes, Samurai, and a large beach mural painted on the one wall you really feel like your sitting in a little beach shack restaurant in Jamaica.
The menu reflects both owners in its creation...its got the Caribbean staples of Jerk, Roti, and Akee & Saltfish...and the usual Japanese favs of Teriyaki and sushi. And of course you can't be true fusion until both of these flavors meet. The ingredients are fresh, and your meal will come out piping hot. You can even find a $3.95 breakky served all day.
So if you are looking for a small chillaxed hideout where you can even squeeze in a game of table-top Pac-Man check this place out. But beware you can blink and miss it, as it only seats about 15.
The Lion standing high on the ledge watches over this den; go and join him for some great eats.
Came here one day on a whim after my best friend and I moved a couple blocks away. All day breakfast for 4.75 I think, maybe 4.95. So good! If you get Ken as the server it's awesome, or there was a white girl on a busy Saturday and she was also very funny.
Apparently some people on here can't handle Ken's humour. For instance, that first day we went, my friend asked for a napkin and Ken walked away saying, not now I've got a headache, but was back in about 6 seconds with a napkin.
Be sure to ask what types of Jam he has.
His wife usually seems to be stressed out and curt, but when she's serving you, it usually means she's serving and cooking everything, so it's not without reason.
Took some friends here and they all tried different things and were all happy. One of them got a small jerk chicken wrap of some type, and she could only finish half, great value! I ended up taking it home and eating it later, bit too spicy for me, but I'm a wuss that way.
Bacon is almost always too crispy, I always forget to ask for it to be cooked less though...Nowadays I usually go with the ham.
This is an awesome spot to come and hangout and chat. Make sure you hear the first timer story! It's all part of the experience.
Come with an open mind, and know that everything Ken says is usually a joke.
Have a creative day!