Recognized as the ‘jewel in Vancouver's culinary crown’, West's outstanding contemporary regional cuisine and seamless service has earned much critical acclaim. Pristine seasonal ingredients are sourced to deliver superbly conceived dishes offering modern interpretations of classics.
I agree with just about everything written by the previous reviewer. I went to this restaurant twice, once for dinner and once for lunch. Both times, the food was merely OK, rather bland in taste, leaving me completely puzzled as to all the awards and rave this restaurant has received. For lunch, I went all out and ordered a chef's tasting menu, which was quite pricey, but I figured that I would get to taste the best this chef could produce. Still, no satisfaction there. I am not as turned off by the ambiance as the previous reviewer. Yes, the decor and atmosphere seemed business-like, but the seating was comfortable, and the tables were spaced far enough apart to give each table privacy.
I went here 1-2 yrs ago and I still remember my experience there. Didn't order much but their lobster risotto was orgasmic and unforgettable. The decor is beautiful. I would love to go again but I don't normally eat around there.
I ate at West as one of the restaurants I picked from the Dine-Out-Vancouver list. Voted the restaurant of the year, I had very high expectations. They met those expectations! For $35, I had the crispy duck salad (delicious), the pork roast on port braised cabbage (yummy) and for dessert, I had the banana chocolate cake (devine). Although the portions were small, I didn't expect anything more. The service was absolutely out of this world. Our server was very courteous even though we were 25 minutes late for our reservation on a very busy night. Our table remained spic n' span throughout the evening, he even picked up a lone crumb on the table as he walked by. Warning, West may burn a hole in your wallet if you go at any other time.
Normally I wouldn't mind being called Mr. Pilsner Urquell, even by a waiter, but somehow it seemed out of place in this chic dining room. I guess I couldn't expect any less when I ordered a beer and sitting behind me is a temperature controlled wall of wine topped off with library style ladders.
Everything about West is what you would expect for a restaurant with a stack of accolades higher than the beautiful cherry wood bar: excellent.
I would recommend trying this restaurant if money is of lower importance than food quality, service, and an overall outstanding dining experience. If cash is king, there are cheaper thrills in town.
We went to West for DOV 2010, and I think my expectations were too high for this restaurant, so I felt a bit let down by the whole experience.
For appetizer we ordered salmon tempura and sweet onion soup. The tempura was good, but something I could have eaten in any sushi restaurant. The onion soup was not particularly memorable. One of us opted to add scallop to the soup for $6. When it came, it really was just one single small scallop, sitting in the middle of the soup bowl. They weren't kidding about the lack of plurals..
For entrees we had lamb shank and ling cod. The ling cod tasted quite good (though I'm not too crazy about fish skin), but the "pemberton sunchoke and asparagus" mixture underneath it was a bit disgusting. The lamb was unfortunately dry, but the polenta that came with it saved the day! It was very creamy.. definitely the highlight of the whole meal. For dessert we tried chocolate orange marmalade pot and the rice custard with raspberry marshmallow ice cream. Both were nothing I'd rave about.
The interior of the restaurant is quite beautiful and the atmosphere was lovely. Our server was always there when we needed him, and not at all overbearing. No complaints there.
For the price we paid, I didn't think we got the meal experience I expected. However, restaurants have a tendency to drop in quality during DOV, so maybe I will be back one day to try their regular prix fixe menu.
My wife and I dined here with another couple last night. The room is in my opinion absolutely beautiful. From the leather sling seats to the ceiling effect it is very west coast contemporary. The wine list is justifiable famous, huge! easy to navigate and you will find a wine for every taste and budget guaranteed! Most of the table went with seafood themed meals so we had a lovely Sicilian white. Speaking of meals, this is the only thing lacking in these types of restaurants. The food is beautifully prepared and presented but seeing that entrees average 40+ dollars and first course around twenty, the could afford to give decent portion. I'm not talking about stuffing your face but some dishes don't even allow you to develop and appreciate all the subtlety and care they were made with before they're gone! The service was impeccable, unobtrusive and friendly. The service was the high light of the night, which shouldn't be the case, the service should supplant the meal not overshadow it! The cocktail list is very inventive, I had a Bergamo (blood orange and coffee based), wonderful! All in all the night averaged out to over $100/person all in. In line with the caliber of the restaurant but still an overall disappointment for that kind of dough. Vancouver has way to many restaurants with this type of formula. A neutral rating at best.
As one of the most expensive and well reviewed restaurants in Vancouver, I went to West expecting to be blown away. That did not happen. The service was very good, the ambiance was nice, but the food was only good to OK, I ordered the crab starter, which was excellent, and the beef tenderloin main dish, which was slightly undercooked and fairly tasteless. I added lots of salt and pepper and drenched each bite in the red wine sauce and it was good, but not outstanding. My fellow diners felt the same about many of their dishes, some were excellent, but some only "meh." Maybe you have to know what to order?
My favorite part were the special "extras" sent out by the chef, the amuse bouche was a delicious bite of scallop that was perhaps the best thing I ate all night, and then there were tiny lemon meringue pies that came with the check -- delicious and oh so cute!
Made reservations for 8:15, however we had to wait until 8:45 for a table.
The atmosphere at West is very open, and what I would consider to be more "business" than.. "romantic" I guess. Not really my cup of tea. The place did look better as it got darker though.
Once thing I like about the service is that they're accomodating and friendly, but they don't try to suck up to you like many other higher end places do.
Food was great, but didn't quite blow me away. We all had the tasting menu. The first couple of dishes, the Amuse Bouche, Tuna, Foie Gras, and Scallops were all great tasting. World class. But the pink bream and kobe style beef were just okay. And I'm not a big fan as cheese either, so that threw me off a little. Favorite dish was definately the scallops; best I've ever had. Alot of the plates incorporate alot of fruits and sweet flavors, which provided great balance, but didn't suit the palates of my dining party.
The desert was great, but not punch the waiter "damn this cake is good! Why didn't anyone tell me how good this cake is" good
Overall I had a pretty good experience, but West didn't really meet my high expections. In any case, I'd definitely recommend checking this place out if you haven't already.
My friend and I went to West for the Dine Out Menu. Wow, did they ever book up fast! The only reservation we could get was for 9:30pm on a Wednesday - but I can understand why. The service was excellent - not too "in your face" and our waiter was friendly with a good sense of humour. A nice change from most places of this caliber, where servers tend to be somewhat snooty.
To start, I had the ravioli with smoked sablefish and butter potato with leek vinaigrette and milk foam. Very tasty - I loved the foam - it was so light, yet so full of flavour.
For my entrée, I chose the Pave of AAA beef, braised in red wine and mushroom with whipped potatoes. The beef was fabulous - so tender and moist - it was absolutely delicious. The potatoes were almost over-whipped and had a touch of that "gluey" texture that you get sometimes. (I remember the first time I tried whipping my potatoes with a hand-blender at home, and got the same texture... sort of gummy) I wasn't really expecting that here. The flavour was incredible though, so buttery and just a "melt-in-the-mouth" feel.
The dessert was my favourite part - a lemon meringue tart with vanilla ice cream and poppyseed "tuile" or wafer 'cookies', if you will. The lemon was heavenly - it reminded me of a lemon curd dessert my grandma made years ago - and the crust of the tart was spectacular. Very light and crunchy with kind of a nutty flavour to it. The ice cream was very creamy and was a perfect accompaniment to the tart.
I have eaten at West before, not as part of Dine Out, so I thought that the value was incredible. Yes, the portions are smaller than most places, but the quality of ingredients far exceeds that which most people are used to. Unfortunately, I can't afford to eat here as often as I'd like, but for Dine Out and special occasions, this place is a must try!!
I agree with the previous reviewers who found this restaurant "just OK". The service was excellent, but that was the only thing I found above-average. The food was rather bland and tasteless despite all that had been done to it. The decor was also puzzling and left me wondering what they were trying to achieve. I had the chef's tasting menu and my husband had an appetizer and entree. Our server timed everything perfectly and had excellent wine recommendations. Probably somewhere you want to take a date or someone else you want to impress, because of the excellent service, and of course, because of all the hype. But don't expect delicious food.
Had the chance to try this top notch, award winner on friday. They offered a $35 table haute as part of dine out Vancouver. Food was excellent, but the service was a little cocky. I will have to go on a regular night to truly assess the value of this upscale bistro.
West's prices are quite high, befitting it's status as a premier restaurant in Vancouver. But our Dine-Out visit was disappointing as we didn't see the brilliance they are known for.
The sablefish ravioli sounded great but was a little bland. The mains were not memorable other than a veal upgrade that did show their ability to make great food; our beef was slightly overcooked but with great sauce and the salmon that was well overdone (they reduced the Dine-out price for that but it should never have made it out of the kitchen).
The desserts were interesting with a lot of separate components but that meant the really good parts were very small and not suited to sharing.
Service was impeccable, friendly and knowledgeable. The wine was excellent but overall I would not recommend West for a Dine-out experience.
Sorry to hear the last two reviewers had a bad experience at West. My first visit there was through the stratosphere.
Maybe it helped that I called ahead and told the staff that I was going to propose to my fiance later that night at a different location - who knows (lol!).
We went for the early prix fixe menu (because if I just took her to West and got the full menus, she'd know something was up - I was trying to look classy but cheap). We got what is probably the best table in the place, by the window in the corner, very secluded and romantic.
Table service was absolutely impeccable. The server, a very nice French worman, seemed to read our minds. She recommended great wines to go with our meal (outside the menu's recommended pairings), and was just perfect.
The prix fixe menu was five courses with a good selection for the middle three (the amuse bouche and petit fours are not choosable). I ended up having the duck confit and halibut, which were just... perfectly done and portioned. The dessert - mine was a tad bland - just a tad, but my (future) fiance's dessert sent her to heaven.
It was an awesome start to what ended up being a perfect evening for me (she said yes!). I highly recommend the place, and if you want to try it on the cheap, try their prix fixe before 6pm menu.
If you will forgive the sexist expression, this restaurant is a 3 dressed up as a 9. The service is first-rate, the room warm and welcoming (though by no means smartly designed or decorated). But the food is mediocre, disappointing at even half the price point.
My party ordered both the March and the Chef's tasting menu. The problems were consistent throughout all the courses. The dishes were fairly well conceived, but the flavors were shockingly unfocused. When serving small plates, every morsel on the plate -- from the tiny quail's egg to the wild mushroom garnish to the underlying bed of quinoa -- needs to pop. But, alas, the quail's egg was cold and unseasoned, the wild mushroom tasteless, the quinoa bland. And I'm just talking about the supporting players. The featured proteins were mostly even worse: a much too aggressively salted sablefish; an undercooked, chewy quail; a dry, mealy-textured tenderloin and shortrib ("aged and cooked sous vide"!).
The consistent inferiority of the food piqued my curiosity about the kitchen. So between barely touched entrée and dessert (marginally better than the savory dishes) I went to observe the cooks at work through the giant looking-glass window. Then it all made sense. It was difficult to identify the chef. No one was tasting anything. Plates were being fired and assembled perfunctorily, according to instruction. No pride, no concentration, no love.
We may have caught West on an off night (did the chef call in sick?). But I'm guessing this resto is in some sort of disarray. The whiff of decline is in the air (perhaps the service was a tad too ardent?). Does any one know the inside scoop?
We went here for DOV. The food was a let down. It seems like food created for people who were so bored with dining out that they needed their food to be extra weird to have something to talk about. Contrast this with better fine dining, where the food is rich and satisfying with interesting flavouring. Case in point: we started with the squid appetizer. This dish consisted of a couple coils of squid coated with black tempura. What does that look like? A big turd. I can't help but this that this was an inside joke from the kitchen team to stick it to the dine out Vancouver crowd. It tasted fine--like any other tempura. Next, the arctic char was prepared by wrapping it in a thin, taught leaf of chard. Interesting, but again, not particularly tasty. The grapefruit curd dessert was good. At the end of the night, I felt like something had been taken from me. On the plus side, service was extremely attentive.
Have been to West many times now and with the exception of the desserts which aren't very good the food is awesome and the cocktails and wine list are excellent.
The bartenders are very entertaining if you opt to eat at the bar and we often do just to chat with them and enjoy a cocktail. I love the Kaffir fling. The bartenders really know how to pair wine with whatever food you choose so I always opt for their recommendation.
We have had good service (only on one occaison was it a little on the slow side) pretty much every time we go there. The food has always been so very good. Just skip the dessert menu (unless you opt for choosing some cheeses which are great); for some reason the desserts have disappointed every time and we don't bother with them anymore.
It is expensive and for us a treat for special celebrations, but we never leave disappointed. Many of our friends also eat there regularly and they love it as much as we do.
Last year me and my bf went to West for my bday and it was one of THEE best restaurants we ever went to. Definitely our favourite for 2008. So for our anniversary, we went there again and WOW what a difference!!
Our server had a nice attitude, but it was extremely hard to get her attention, even though she passed us all the time as we were seated near the kitchen.
The food didn't seem like it had a proper balance; the roasted eggplant soup had a poached hen's egg on top which didn't add to the soup at all; would have been nicer with a bit of creme fresh!
We LOVE a good risotto (if you look at my previous postings, you'll see places that serve it well) so I ordered butternut squash risotto. It just was not up to par. It didn't have the creamy texture like others before, so I swapped it for a gnocci but it was SO STRANGE, who's ever heard of panfried gnocci with no sauce? that's what it was.
My dessert was fine (port poached pear w/cream cheese ice cream) but my bfriend's was strange, some banana thing with a chocolate cake shaped like a ball and rolled in sesame seeds.
needless to say, West is NOT our favourite restaurant for 2009. We didn't mind paying the huge bill in 2008, but it is definitely not worth the money for 2009.
Impeccable service, very prompt, professional and friendly. Food is excellent, from amose boshe to dessert, everything is nearly flawless. the interior is not as grand as the picture on its website, it is not a huge dining room, but still very elegant and not crowded.
Excellent value if you go for the prix-fix menu, which is $49, served nightly before 6 i believe.
I have been to this restaurant about five or six times in the last few years. Overall a very good experience each time. The decor is great, service usually good as is the food. Small portions, but fine with me so I don't overeat!
Not sure if they still have it, but if you go before 6p.m., they have a three course menu for $45. A good deal for this restaurant that isn't cheap.
After seeing the eye-popping prices (my appetizer was $19 and entree $38) I was hoping I would not be disappointed. I wasn't. The side-striped prawn stuffed morels were the perfect appetizer, and a generous sized one at that. It could have been my meal. I opted for the roasted chicken for an entree, as I do not eat meat and the wonderful-sounding halibut dish had fois gras in it (non meat-eater's beware!).
My dining companion had the cod, and it was absolutely superb. We finished things off with the chocolate desert (done three ways), which was also wonderful. We didn't drink, as we saved our money for the food instead. Their wine list looked amazing, though very pricey.
Service was top notch - very friendly and attentive without being overbearing. Truly a five star experience all around.