Salt is a tasting room specializing in artisinal cheese, small-batch cured meats, and a dynamic array of wines, beers and sherries.
Our menu is simple. Guests assemble a Tasting Plate from our chalkboard’s selection of 10 cheeses, 10 meats, and 10 condiments. The selections change constantly, making it almost impossible to have the same Salt experience twice.
Our menu changes constantly.
Food: If you like sampling deli meats, cheese, nuts, and different sauces, this is the place for you.
Service: The waitress explained the 'concept' and that was about it.
Value: Considering there is no cooking or any skill involved with the preparation of the food, I think the value definitely wasn't there.
Ambiance: If you like communal seating, this is the place for you.
Sure, it's neat that it's in Blood Alley, but there's a lot more to a restaurant than the location.
I will not be returning.
Went out with the dear husband by ourselves (got a rare babysitter).
He went to Salt because we enjoy wine tasting and find the experience even more pleasant with properly matched food.
The restaurant is a bit out of the way - need to go through blood alley to get there, walking past a binner (dumpster diver) to get there.
The restaurant was minimalistic, but not uncomfortable. A server greeted up promptly and seated us right away.
We decided to go for a meat plate and cheese plate with matching fleet of wine with each. This way, my husband and I could sample 6 different food/wine pairings.
Keep in mind, the wines and the food samples are premium (local and imported artisan cheeses and cured meats). This is not like going to Stephos (a greek restaurant on davie street) where you get enough food to choke a horse. We are talking about a few slices of sausages and small wedges of cheese.
The wines came in 2 oz glasses (making 12 oz all together). This actually suited us as my husband was driving and we wanted to try many different types of wine without getting tipsy.
We loved the information sheet that came with our order (we let the server choose appropriate food and wine pairings) Each wine was written down, along with the food that accompanied it. The wine glasses were laid right on this information sheet so that we could easily refer to it. The server also went through each wine and described it in detail The same was done for the food.
I kept my information sheet as I might well want to go to a specialty shop and purchase some of the meats and cheeses along with some of the wines.
In essence, I was paying for the chance to sample and the expertise of the staff.
I would not go to this establishment if I was really hungry and expecting a huge meal (Chill Winston is a good choice for this as they have large portions and value pricing along with a trendy, innovative menu). However, for a chance to sample a good variety of food and wine pairings - I was pleased.
Give me a great concept, and I'm willing to pay for it, as long as the food, wine, and service deliver.
Concept - in a reasonably simple dining space, enjoy small helpings of charcuterie, cheese, condiments (i.e. mustard, honey), and wine. You can mix and match food items, and do wines by bottles, glasses, or 2 oz. flights.
Concept = +5 points
Food - see concept; charc. & cheese - what can I say? They're cold, and obviously you serve them fresh. Not much in the way of complicated. Nothing was wrong, but the portions were uber-diminutive for the price. Actually, the portions were just right for an appy, or if you just want a snack. But the prices are full meal prices. This could work IF the concept were very unusual or the food items quite rare and the experience overall were unreplicable. But you can easily reproduce at home what they're doing here.
Food = +5 on taste, -5 on value, so 0 points
Wine - good wine list; everything's available by the glass or flight. That's hard to do at home. You get a flight of 2oz x 3 for... $15??? What? Well, $15 is pretty darned steep for 6oz. of wine - so I'm expecting something quite nice for that price. We asked the server to make recommendations, and unfortunately I didn't find his selections matched the food. I should note here that I'm a certified wine teacher, and am halfway through the WSET diploma program, so I know a thing or two about wines and pairings. I was left feeling I should have just done it myself, though I figured the server knew the food better than we did, so could have paired the wines best.
Wine = +4 on selection, -5 on value, so -1
Service - the guy was friendly and efficient, if almost a bit too chummy. He sat down with us to talk about the food order, and I don't appreciate that, but whatever. His pairings were off in my opinion. We ordered a sherry aperitif, and we'd hardly had 3 sips before he comes over to get us to order food, which we did, but comes with our wine pairings before we've finished our aperitifs. The place wasn't packed, so they didn't need to shove us through the process faster, and we weren't all that slow with the sherry either, so the experience was almost pushy, though not quite.
Service = +5 on friendly and efficient, -3 for bad pairing, -2 for aggression, so 0
The concept is really the only thing metaphorically above water, here. It's all a bit pretentious, really... and for the high price, you leave feeling you could have had a MUCH better experience somewhere else. Some grainy mustard (which I have at home) and honey (which I have at home) and some corned beef (which... ok, you get the point) don't merit the French dining prices.
I won't be back.
The quality of meat and cheese is not outstanding. I had better. So what's the big deal if the quality is just average?
The staffers don't know wine and cheese any better than you. The wines they give you don't necessarily enhance the flavors of the food a lot. Then what's the difference I go to local deli or market to get some good quality cheese and go to liquor store to get wine by myself? You can even get a free brochure telling you how to match wine and food at liquor store (if you don't want to find the matching chart on the internet, you can get it right in the store at your convenience).
The tasting room is not a fancy or comfortable place to sit and lounge. There's drug addicts wondering around the block. There's no point risking being attacked by needles to come here. People on drugs can get psychosis and attack you for no good reason.
I knew it was in an alley... but I was sort of picturing some sort of historical "alley", small street thing, that used to be a shady alley... but I was wrong. It still is very much a shady alley and if you're going there for the first time you might wonder if you're going down the right alley. Just look up for the sign posted up high...
Fortunately everything is already precooked and doesn't require alot of preparation... so you don't have to worry too much about.. the rats in front of the place!
On a positive note, they do seem to have a decent selection of wine. I'm not a big wino.. but I was adequately satisfied with what they had and the server was helpful in recommending bottles.
This place is very innovative.. but I don't think I'm going to be walking down that dark alley again... for a while atleast.
Ever since this place has opened there have been some rave reviews of this place. Decided to check this place out over the weekend. Cool energetic crowd but I got an empty feeling in the room. Maybe its too open ? Food was terrible but the server was very good and friendly. Too bad. Thumbs Down for this new eatery.
I went here for Dine Out Vancouver, the $28 option.
Took a little while to find out the place - my friends weren't exaggerating when they said it was in a shady looking avenue.
First of all, know that this place is truly a tasting room. Don't go here expecting to get a real meal, it's only a sampling room.
Fine, but I wonder, if it's going to be a back alley, brick wall, dimly lit, and poor furnished (uncomfortable chairs) type of place, I expect appropriate pricing. For me that would be having a reasonable price. For others, the chic or ghetto look justifies a higher price. Maybe so for some, but personally II would only accept the current price if the food justified it.
I don't know about the wine, which may be the best part of the restaurant, and the service was solid. But I was not impressed by the food samples. Some of the cheese samples were ok, but one of them seemed like supermarket quality to me, as did the meat samples. Next time I want to go to a tasting room, I'll go to a local deli or even a touristic one, and save my $30+ dine out meal for a good steak...
Great room on a very bad alley way. The room is very minimalist (Inform Interiors) but badly designed acoustics (too loud to talk) . Wine list iflights are over priced with odd BC wines that are not good indicators of what BC is doing. Cheeses are interesting but the meats (over priced compared to Granville Ilsnad or Commercial Street). Service was o.k. but not what it is cracked upto be. I'd rather spend this kind of money in New York or Seattle.
I visited Salt Tasting Room with my husband late one afternoon (it's open from 4:30 to midnight). We had an interesting meal, but were still hungry when we left!
Salt has an unusual concept. Choose a few meats, cheeses and condiments from a list on a blackboard (or do as we did, and let our server pick a few for us), add a couple of glasses of wine, and enjoy tasting everything. The portions are small — it is a "tasting room," not a restaurant. If you want to eat a full meal, you would have to eat pretty much everything on the menu. Instead, consider a visit to Salt before or after a meal elsewhere.
The items we ate were all quality meats, cheeses and condiments, but weren't spectacular. Hence the "solid" rating for the food. The service was great, but was offset by the ambience. Salt is minimally furnished, and everything is a hard surface, so nothing absorbs the noise and it gets pretty loud pretty quick. There were about a dozen other people in there with us, and we were having a hard time carrying on a conversation. There was room for another 25 people, and I can't imagine how loud it would be with every seat occupied.
Interesting concept, but completely unsuited to Blood Alley(though short of a needle exchange I can't think what would be). The food was good for flavour, bad for portion size, but in it's defence it's a 'tasting room'. It doesn't, however, come with a tasting room price. Expensive, very expensive.
The service was okay, but again wasn't matched by the price and the room reminded me of a dressed up communal lunch room at school.
Did I mention it was expensive? We won't be back.
the line above basically sums it up. This place is nothing but a pretentious, phoney waste of time and money. If you enjoy being served pantry items and then patronized by wait staff while they explain what your palette 'should' be sensing... then knock yourself out.
Food - descent pantry items, cheese / cured meat / condiments
Service - 45 minutes to cut 1oz pieces of cheese and take some pickles out of the jar??
Value - the worst in the city
Ambiance - decent if you like sharing your picnic table with strangers
I went to Salt when I was home this August, and it was a really great experience! It was my boyfriend's first visit to Vancouver and we had randomly come across Salt on a TV program we wouldn't usually watch (but as they were covering Vancouver I wanted to see which places they were highlighting!) and we were both really excited to go. Yes, it was tucked away in a sketchy alley...but we knew it was in blood alley so we knew what to expect in terms of the area. It was nice to show my boyfriend around Gastown and then relax for a late lunch/snack in this amazing little hidden gem.
We both did the 3-wine tasting - my boyfriend left it completely up to our server, and I requested certain meats/cheeses and left the wines up to her. Our server was AMAZING - I love it when a server can describe everything on the plate and can answer any questions that you have. The wine and the food was also really great - the pairings were wonderful and it was a refreshing and relaxing way to spend an afternoon with great company in a beautiful space.
Although you could create a wine and cheese and meat tasting at home, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience as I am far from a sommelier and therefore do not usually have six bottles of wine lying around and know how to best pair all of them! I am going to be back in Vancouver next month, and I can't wait to go back to Salt for another easy-going afternoon with a good friend!
I'm not sure how any person could rave about the food. French cold cuts, cheese, slices, bread that was so so. If you enjoy wine then you will like the joint despite the grocer food.
Trendy and creative setting is it's forte but people will get bored of the place. I noticed they had reserved table signs all night moved from table to table but without people actually filling in the reservation. On a Saturday they were making themselves much more in demand then they are.
If you want to go to some place different, a bit trendy, and love wine - this is the place. If you want more then just wine and a bit of trendiness in the venue there's many other places to check out.
My friends and I went on a tour again the other night..hitting up Salt, Social, Soma, Lolita's, Me and Julio's and the New Fiction.
We started at Salt. I've been here a bunch of times before, but hadn't been in about 6 months. The service, room and selection were awesome as always.
I like the idea that you rarely feel you're surrounded by civilians a la milestones etc.
Anyways, as I'm walking back from the washroom, I started a conversation with the manager, who then led me to the basement to check out the new room! Wow - just you wait Vancouver - this will again revolutionize the dining scene.
SO back upstairs we go..
Great espresso, great reds and an amazing selection of meats and cheeses ( at this point only closely matched by the district in North Van)
Way to go guys - amazing room, amazing concept!
I've been to salt a few times. I went once with my family, and again for my birthday with my friends. It's a sweet place to hang out...It's not a place to have a huge meal, but it's great for snacking, and grabbing a bite before a movie, or for a later night snack. Some say the alleyway is shady, it's just old and cool, and has a few characters in it...nothing that bad. The service was fantastic, the people there know their stuff. As well, I had salami from moccia's, unbelieveable.
Great place. check it out.
It's not the location that bothered me the most, I find it kinda fun walking down the back alley, like you're in on a secret. Or the service, which was charming and informative for the BRIEF periods of time he appeared to look after us (10 minutes with an empty wine glass does not constitute quality service in my books). Nor the ambience which is funky although would it kill you to put some music on? I just don't find it reasonable to charge full on restaurant prices for food and portions that I could pick up for 10% of the price at any gourmet food store. I'll gladly pay the price at a place where the cooks, more skilled than myself, prepare the food for me, but equal (or greater!) mark-ups for slicing? Seriously? Average glass of wine over $12, seriously?
But I guess Vancouverites are easily fooled, the place was packed.
Won't fool me twice. Won't be back.
Nicely presented charcuterie (paper thin slices of meat - lovely!), cheeses, and suitable accompaniments. 3 items (3 cheese, 2 meat 1 cheese, etc.) for $15. I would have personally ordered a few pates/terrines if they were available but wouldn't bother with a second plate.
Very nice wine selection, and a few tasty beers to boot. Was especially happy to have a 500ml bottle of Bombrdier available.
Service team seem bored but eager to explain the items available.
It's all been said here before - worthy of a curious visit but at the end of the day making your own plate by heading to Granville Island and choosing from Oyama's display case of vivid colours and mouth-watering descriptions is much more fulfilling.
Went for DOV on a Friday night as a table of 2. Had reservations far in advance. The big sell was for the $28 you would get 2 appies, a main and a dessert.
The 2 appies were a 1/2 cup of salad and 1/2 cup of (hardly) lukewarm carrot soup. This took 40 minutes to arrive at the table with our VQA pairing. Neither was spectacular.
We looked forward to the main course. Both of us chose the all cheese platter. Honestly, the cheese (all three selections) maybe was 4-5 ounces total (I'm being generous here). Each cheese was paired with a condiment (in this case, it was olives, almonds and honey). All the condiments were very, very small (for example, about 1/2 a teaspoon of the honey). A bread basket on the table had thin slices of baguette (plain white, maybe 1/4 of a loaf) and artisan crackers (again, white, about 3 or 4 broken up).
Dessert was 1/4 cup chocolate mousse and a rum ball chocolate.
For the cost, it was terrible value. We have both eaten in quality restaurants and never paid so much, for so little. There is no excuse to compromising the quantity as much as was done here for that quality. It was just pathetic.
Furthermore, it took about 2 hours and 30 minutes to serve that food. Keep in mind only 1 of the selections was warm and that was not warm enough.
This was just a terrible choice and we left to find somewhere to get more to eat on the way home.
It was very hard to find this Salt last night as it was pouring rain and the "Salt shaker" is hard to see in a dark alley. Did not love the first impression of dumpsters, druggies and darkness.
However once you step inside, it's another story. We did not have a reservation and ended up sitting at the bar, where we entertained ourselves counting piggies and trying to talk over the loud music.
We ordered the tasting menu along with a flight and found the portions to be a little on the measly side, but considering that it's a tasting room, I suppose it's allowable. The servers were very sincere in trying to find out if we liked what we ordered/received and welcomed any feedback we had for them. The specials that we ordered were excellent.
While I would not go there again as it was too pricy for what you received, while I was there I certainly enjoyed the decor, the mix of people, and the food and wine. Stepping back out into the real world of Blood Alley, not such a nice end to an evening.
I have to throw in my two cents over the debate about Salt. I've been once and will never go again. It's my own fault really. I went under the impression that this place was a restaurant, which for those of you who have not been, Salt is most definately NOT a restaurant. It is a wine bar which also serves charcuterie and cheeses. There is no kitchen here.
I can't fault the food that they serve. It was all delicious as was the wine I had. Service was solid. But I won't go back.
This is one of those places that really makes me wish there was a value rating on dinehere. When I got my bill it was a little shocking. 70 bucks for 2 glasses of wine and 2 charcuterie and cheese plates. Ouch. Very pricey for vancouver.
To the owner of this place. Bravo sir. You are truly a brilliant man. You are running the best scam ever. Paying servers 8 bucks an hour, no high priced chef, no kitchen, cheap rent because you are in the ghetto. You have opened the ultimate money maker. And people still go here because it is "cool" and "hip". So kudos to you. You got me once but never again.
And this is only because of the price. If it was a little more reasonable I would probably be willing to come back. But for 70 bucks I felt like I'd been had.