The Noodle Box is a funky eatery that uses a fusion of cooking techniques and flavors from many foreign shores to create a menu of quick and tasty noodle dishes.
They used to serve their dishes in these really nice big porcelain "boxes" shaped like a take-out one. Now bowls? Plain bowls? It lost half its fun.
Aside from maybe the photos of Hanoi and other places in Southeast Asia on the wall, there is nothing really "authentic" about this place as they claim. I've given it a few tries and I realized why do I even bother?!
First off, what service? My boyfriend and I went in there once and stood at the counters (with no line up in front of us) and the staff promptly ignored us for 5 minutes until we left in frustration. The girls were just out in space and the chefs were obviously busy. Second, no one cleans this place it's kind of gross. YES, I understand you do the cleaning yourself but come on, at least wipe the desks? I'll be honest and anyone can hate on me about this, I don't bother giving tips.
I had an awful experience the first time I went here. I have a substantial tolerance for spices and heat so I looked at the "spicyness chart" and decided to go for a moderately hot. OH MY GOD. The Malaysian stir-fried noodles I ordered were so spicy, I ate a bite of it and had to put it down. What the heck is wrong with the chef? You might as well feed it to someone without tastebuds. I took it home and decided to mix in a lot more greens and noodles to dilute the heat. No good - my mother and I ate some more and both of us probably have ulcers from that. We ended up throwing it away. I really don't understand how they judge spicyness.
Lastly, if anyone really wants an authentic me-goreng or tom yum noodle soup, they might as well go home and make it themselves or go somewhere else. I think people are just attracted to this place because it seems "hip" and comfortable for an "Asian" cuisine place. Honestly, the owners need to take a trip to Phnom Penh or Bangkok.
I loved the presentation (those boxes are too cute), like the fact that I could get a glass of wine with my lunch, and enjoyed the cafeteria-style seating and self-serve water.
The food was really tasty, the staff was quite friendly, and the food came quickly enough.
However, the pricing was a little steep for what you get!
What makes this place special?
When I lived in Victoria I went to the Noodle Box a few times and found their food quite tasty. Perhaps this Vancouver location is not a good one, or perhaps the quality of their food has declined in the past years but I found their food now to be comparible, if not worse, than fast food.
Tepid, lukewarm noodles with bland sauce and overcooked meat. Gross. And it costs a million dollars for one. Plus it's not a good experience to go to the restaurant; it's a fast-food/cafeteria type deal and the music is far too loud.
Spend your money somewhere else, it'll be a better time.
If by chance you do end up here, be careful, their hot is HOT. I love spicy food and went with the medium spice despite warnings from the staff; it was just uncomfortable to eat that's how hot it was.
When this place first opened, I really enjoyed it. For those eating alone, there are bar seats up at the front wind so that you can people watch while you eat. Great idea! The menu portions were more than what I could finish in one meal, and the flavor was awesome. I love hot food, so I was in heaven with this place.
That was when it first opened. Now is different. The girl at the counter had a look like she wanted to be anywhere else but there, and looked like she hadn't cracked a smile in years. Definately wasn't very friendly. Anyways I ordered one of their noodle boxes with chicken, brought it home to eat, and it was ... the chicken tasted really "off", so I chucked it.
I went there one more time, but ordered a noodle box with tofu instead, thinking that not much could go wrong with that. The same girl was at the counter, and asked me if I was a vegan, being somewhat more friendly at that point.. lol.. I found that funny... this girl is vegan, and has an attitude with customers who are ordering meat. What was the hiring manager thinking of??? Anyways, the second meal was eatable, but it lacked flavor, and I just didn't enjoy it, so again, I tossed it.
I don't bother going there anymore. It's getting harder to find a restaurant that is about quality and value, and not about making a quick buck serving crap.
I have been to Noodle Box a number of times because it is in my neighbourhood, but it isn't a restaurant I would go out of my way to get to. The meal prices are expensive given that there are very few vegetables in most of the noodle dishes (I always order my noodle boxes with tofu). The first few times I visited Noodle Box I made the mistake of ordering a spice level that seemed reasonable (medium), but that ended up ruining the flavours of the dish. If you're trying the restaurant for the first time, opt for a milder spice level and work your way up. I usually stick to the Spicy Peanut noodle box, as I have been very disappointed by some of the other menu options.
I was eager to try the Noodle Box after reading about how popular it was in Victoria. We tried it out.....well finally got to eat after they mixed up our order and almost gave it to somebody else. OK - not a big deal. For nine bucks you get a box of noodles with a bit of chicken in it. I was thinking that for $9, you'd get a decent amount of food, but nooo....just a little box. Good thing we each ordered our own box - we were still hungry afterward. I'd rather go to some little hole-in-the wall noodle place that doesn't charge so much and has better food!
OK, so you serve fast food (that's not too fast - I've waited 20 minutes for a simple order of fried rice).
Second, you charge a heck of a lot of money for it. Good portions, but really - I could go to Earls and spend the same on an entree, not really fast food.
Your servers serve with smug, half-lidded or bored expressions and have even rolled their eyes on occasion when I've asked for extra this or that.
OK, I can go to Pizza Hut next door and I get a) a smile, b) a nickname (usually buddy but once I got called "chief" - awesome) and faster, not to mention far cheaper food. Is it healthier? No. Is it as tasty. Easily.
I've had rice, noodles and curry at the Noodle Box. For some reason I'm always drawn back, kind of like a whipped dog will always return to its abusive owner I guess. Everything tastes the same - no joke. There is no real flavor other than the fresh sprouts and the sort of hot spice. The chicken comes in one gargantuan, overcooked lump and the tofu is always burnt yet mushy. The pork is microscopic. Vegetables are scanty.
In short: boooo! Get some pho or vermicelli down the street on Burrard at the little Vietnamese place by Starbucks, which rules. Literally half the price.
I would have to say the service is great, the decor is nice, but this clearly reflects on your bill! The portion size is okay, flavours are not bad, but $13 for a stir fry?! You are better off eating at Hons, at least you can take the leftovers for lunch, but at Noodle Box, I would say it's ovepriced.
I really can't believe how some restaurants do it. Open up a place, start off well, create the hype and then once they believe they got you hooked, it goes downhill from there. Noodle box is one of them. I remember the hype and excitement when they first opened, sure any new place and new food idea will get them coming. Polished off the rough edges and bam! Nice place to add to Vancouver's already overflowing list of places to eat.
Now, for whatever reason, the owner sees money flowing, great! People won't notice the difference of using cheaper sauces, already made paste, lousy generic brand of noodles, inexperienced younger cooks, cheaper labor etc. Its not the passion or pride in their food, its just another business. Well, the food is down right crappy. Always inconsistent, seriously, they should just open in a food court and be comparable to those cheap chinese and other asian kiosk. Sad, very sad how these restaurants get away with it. Worse, people fall for it.
We heard people raving about this place so we headed over with some friends and man, were we disappointed. The food was awful; I ordered chicken in black bean sauce and it was overly sweet AND salty and tasted overwhelmingly of sauce as opposed to any of the perfectly fine ingredients. I could only eat half of it, and believe me, I LOVE FOOD. I would rather eat at Koya Japan or some other fast food place.
Then there's the service: it was AWFUL. They told us they ran out of bowls (how the hell does a restaurant run out of bowls??) so they had to serve us in takeout containers. Yet other customers still got bowls. When we pointed that out we got this bizarre ceramic thing shaped like, guess what? A TAKEOUT CONTAINER. WTF?
This restaurant is a terrible example of what happens when people who don't understand a culture's cuisine try to take it on in a yuppie neighbourhood. This "fusion" restaurant needs to go, for the good of Asian food everywhere.
I hate to restaurant bash and I'm not one to try a place once and then write it off for good but I've now given Noodle Box three trys, and, well, it hasn't got any better. This sort of place might be suitable for a university SUB food court, where novelty wins over quality but for a city that prides itself on knowing international fare...not really. Flavorless, that is, except in spicyness but there is much more to South East Asian cuisine than just 'hot.' For some reason they do seem to attract people. Maybe it's the ambience? I have to admit it is quite a funky space, but to me the food rules and in that respect The Noodle Box does not measure up. Sorry. Might be good as a $5.00 a box takeout joint though.
I tried the Noodle Box just the other day and was greatly disappointed. First, the service was horrible. The woman behind the counter calls my friends name to come pick up her order, and then later blames my friend for taking someone esle's order! Ridiculous. Second, the food was terrible. Way too salty; the rolls, the dumplings and the teriyaki noodle box. They should really re-think the pricing too. For the amount the you get, they should be charging a lot less.
Never going back there again.
My husband and I dropped by The Noodle Box today, and had a great lunch! I ordered the special (Kung Pao noodles), and he ordered the Thai noodles with prawns. Both were oustanding — great flavours, just the right amount of sauce, plenty of prawns and other protein items, and the vegetables that weren't overcooked.
If you order the food to eat in the restaurant, it comes in a ceramic bowl made to look like one of the carboard take-out boxes. That's a nice touch that creates less garbage.
You select how spicy you want your food when you order. Be warned that "medium" is actually hot — if you want medium, order "medium minus."
You get a lot for your money. There was too much food in one dish for me, but fortunately my husband was hungry and inhaled what I couldn't eat. Our two dishes (no drinks — there's free water) were $21.
So I arrive half an hour early before my shift starts at work just up the block. I'd passed the place a couple of times and the design intrigued me. I stroll in and take a look at the menu. Not much time was on the clock, so I decide to get an order of the spring rolls. I stand at the front counter for about five minutes. And the chefs are clearly aware that I'm standing there, but they make no incentive to get their server. So she finally notices me. I get my drink and sit down. The seats are comfortable with the nice cushions. So the spring rolls are finally done. Great I think I can be able to finish this. I take a bite out of it. Who puts salt on fresh spring rolls? Salt galore. The sauce. All spice, no flavour. I don't think I'll be going back for anything else anytime soon if they can screw up something as simple as spring rolls.
I am so glad they have arrived in Vancouver (finally!).
The first place we go when in Victoria is the Noodle Box.
Food is always made to order and comes piping hot and delish. I love their food! If you haven't been - GO, you will not be disappointed!
We ordered two noodle dishes, one was a spicy peanut and the other was a chili plum. The spicy peanut was amazing, but that is probably the only thing that I would return for. The other one was flavourless. The wait for food was also pretty long.
I also have to agree with the previous reviewer that this place is extremely overpriced for NOODLES with thin slices of meat. Rice noodles and many other noodles come for about $2 a package. Why are the prices SO inflated here? I can go to a decent restaurant and pay well under what they are charging here. I recommend you try somewhere else down the street, just call and order ahead.
If i'm on 4th, i would think of the Noodle Box, and that's exactly where i went for dinner last night.
Food: Spicy Peanut Noodle - YUM! soo good. With some spice, it is definitely very thai-like. Just thinking about it makes me want some. HOWEVER i've tried many other noodle bowls and is generally disappointed with them. Also, i find the amount of spicy-ness hard to control. sometimes a mild+ is really a mild, and a medium is sometimes medium+ or mild-medium. Someone should tell them that 9+ levels of spicyness makes it hard to control... what's the point?
Service: Decent. I've never actually sat down and ate there before. but I've waited long enough for my food to know that it's cafeteria-like. So really, the only person you'll interact with is the cashier, and it's a hit or miss.
Value: notice how i've said 'THINK' about going to NB if i'm on 4th? that's cuz a lot of the time i just think it's too expensive for what they give you. true the SPB is sensational, but for $11 +tax... i'm motivated to learn how to do it at home.
Ambiance: right, feed your eyes. the decor is alright, the eye candy in the kitchen is better. =)
The Noodle Box in Kitsilano was unlike any other restaurant I'd been too. You could actually SEE the cooks making your meals. What a concept. The food, atmosphere, quality of people and menu items was a refreshing change from the lackluster places I have been too in my life time of restaurant dining. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, and it had an energy and rhythm that kept me wanting to stay there long after I had finished my meal, which by the way was a wonderfully spicy and savory dish with thick japanese style noodles that was so good my mouths watering just thinking about it. Anyone living in the Vancouver area should definitely put The Noodle Box on their list of great restaurants to try anytime of year!
... so I wait 4 years to review this place again. If you want to hear about how it went 4 years ago check out "Did Someone Order Food Poisoning For 3?". Went back to the Noodle Box about 3 or 4 times in the last year and it was really good. Pricey for sure. But tasty. Last night I enjoyed a Spicy Peanut Tofu box. Tasted great. If you have read "Did Someone Order Food Poisoning For 3?" already you know what happened next....
I've eaten at the noodle box a couple times and I'm always left wondering why. The last time I was watching the cooks prepare my food in the open kitchen, and I was disgusted. The cooks are grabbing raw meats and seafood with their hands, placing it in the box then grabbing sprouts and garnishes with the same raw fish and meat hands, then on to the next one. I've never seen them change their gloves, I wonder how many people get sick from the 'poison box?'