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frugalgourmetVancouverSince February 11, 200770 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (3.1)
  • Food3 (3.1)
  • Service3 (2.8)
  • Value3 (3)
  • Ambiance3 (2.8)


Displaying 41 - 60 of 70 Reviews Found
Vita Bella Ristorante4544 Hastings Street, Burnaby
Nice Smoked Duck
Submitted Friday, February 15, 2008 - 10:04pm [Dine in]

Ambiance is nice, but the restaurant is echo-y and loud. The front of house staff there seem genuinely friendly and warm, from the hostess, to busser to our server (who had a great smile, and great hair!)

Food: Had the Vita Bella roasted veggie salad to start and that was thoughtfully presented and contained nice smoky flavors. The Linguine Fumate (with the Smoked Duck) was a bit too rich for my taste. The smoke duck was cured and smoked, and it was very tender and tasty. I didn't like the sundried tomato, truffle oil, dried wild mushroom sauce as much. It didn't wow me this dish; however, the portion was generous and for what you get, it's well worth the price of $18.

I was too full for dessert, and would have liked to try their gelatos or sorbetos but I was too full, sadly enough. As I spied on other patrons dishes zipping by, I noticed a trend towards elegant presentations and generous portions.

Worth checking out, if you're in the area.

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Stepho's Greek Taverna1124 Davie St, Vancouver
Tasty Greek, on the cheap
Submitted Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:45pm [Dine in]

How can you beat $7 for a small souvalki, $10.45 large souvlakia, $9.95 for a huge, juicy roast lamb or an $8.85 vegetarian lasagna served with an enormous dome of cheese?
pThe quality is the same from more expensive restaurants. Maybe you get a bit more of a refined ambiance from a pricier Greek places, but is it worth the extra $5 for the entree? You see boys and girls, that is the reason why there are line-ups outside nightly.

The lamb souvlaki was tender and pink on the inside. Yum!! I was allowed to choose two skewers for my large souvlaki so I also had the chicken- which was also well seasoned and tender. The greek salad was fresh, although cut quite chunkily. The potatoes were cooked to perfection - to too fluffy and not too zesty or greasy and the rice pilaf was tasty and not overly greasy.

We arrived at 5:20 and were seated by 5:55 - so the wait wasn't that bad for a Sunday I suppose. Complaints were minor - the pita was burnt on the edges, and the saganaki didn't quite have enough 'flavor" as other Greek restaurants.

Wish I lived closer to the West End, because I would surely return to dine in or get take-out. At 7 Pm, there were about 8 people cued up at the cash register to pick up their take-out!

Well worth the line-up!

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Gastropod1938 W. 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Decent Dineout 2008 Experience
Submitted Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 12:55am [Dine in]

Ordered off their Dineout 3 course menu: I had the oyster with horseradish "snow" as starter, followed by the salmon wrapped with tempura-ed nori, and finally the fruit cheesecake.

Oysters: There wasn't enough "snow" on my oysters; they tasted fresh, but I didn't like the wine "gelee". Actually come to think of it, I'm not a fan of raw oysters. If I must slurp one of them I prefer the spicy cocktail sauce or something with a bit more kick (think ceviche seasonings, like lime, cilantro, habanerro, as I find oysters to have a strong taste. It's just my personal preference.

Salmon: Very tender, and seasoned nicely. The nori that encased the salmon was perfectly battered and fried. There was no oily or greasy taste from the deep-frying. The grapefuit cous cous was tart and tangy, and it worked well with the sweetness of the salmon and the freshness and crunch of the sauteed pea-shoots. Very nice combination of tastes, textures and colors.

Cheesecake: The raspberry sorbet was very light and airy. My sense is that the sorbet contained some kind of foaming agent or was over-whipped. The sad little strip of crustless cheesecake - complete with an orphaned broken off piece - rested on a few piddly blueberries. The presentational was lacking sorely missing imagination (and substance).

Overall: The ambiance of the restaurant is lovely. It was warm, cozy and elegantly understated with its muted colors and clean lines; however, for the price and the quality of food presented ($26-$30 price range, I've had better food elsewhere.

PS As for dessert, I would go next door to Fuel!! They had some gorgeous desserts. Like the Tahitian creme brulee with exotic sugared fruit garnishes. Some other chocolate dessert had a wafer inserted to create a sense of height to dazzle the eyes . . . *sigh*, what can I say, a dessert with a little "wow" factor can make an average dinner a good one :)

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Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant3432 Lougheed Highway, Vancouver
Happy Times at Happy Valley
Submitted Saturday, December 1, 2007 - 4:56pm [Dine in]

Upon a recommendation of a trusted colleague who is somewhat of a matriarchal expert of all things dim-sum, I gave this place a try on a snowy Saturday afternoon. Following the advice of fellow Dinehere reviewers, I arrived shortly after 2 pm, and was seated right away.

First impression was that the hostess was friendly and that the restaurant was clean and pleasant, warmed by the brown wood accents of the chairs and cabinets. Upon walking by a table, I noticed the absolute enormity that was the Pan fried eggplant with shrimp puree - I swore it looked more like an entree! 4 pieces of stuffed eggplant for the reasonable price of $3.85.

My shrimp dumplings were huge, and contained a nicely sized chunk of whole shrimp inside, lovely! The steamed beef rice roll was equally generous in portion and quite tasty, lots of tender beef barely contained by the thin rice roll, yum! And finally I was pleasantly surprised by the Steamed "Mini" Sticky Rice with Dried Scallops - they weren't, as you can probably correctly predict the Happy Valley trend here - anything but mini, but 3 huge rice wraps! It was a lighter version of the sticky rice, with less fatty pork and more dried shrimp, shitake mushrooms and dried scallops, fantastic!

Although the prices are heftier than say the early bird $2.50 special at Neptune, the quality, ambiance, quantity and variety of food you receive at Happy Valley is well worth it.

Most tables got take-out boxes for the left overs!

I asked the waitress for an extra copy of the check-off dim sum list, I'll have to study an drool over it at home. This place is worth driving Mom and Dad out for a weekend outing, and even for a special-occasion dinner ($48 dinner for four, with soup, crab, 3 dishes (taro hot pot, vegetable and some kind of fish fillet, and some kind of pork chop and dessert); $99 dinner for 6 which includes lobster . . . )

Highly recommended!

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My Greek Taverna946 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam
Big Greasy Portions
Submitted Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 3:42pm [Dine in]

Stephos is usually the place we go for good value Greek Food. But the drive out to downtown, finding parking, and the line-ups are definite deterents to making the trek. After reading some favorable reviews on this site I decided to give "My Greek Taverna" a go!

The good:
-service was FAST, we received our orders in under 10 minutes
-portions were large (definitely enough for lunch the next day)
-lamb souvlaki was tender, and the portion was generous

The bad:
-there was a funky smell that my partner disliked emanating from the general dining area, he likened it to "a not-so-subtle hint of old folks' home"
-lack of options for vegetarians: the vegetarian platter consisted of salad, rice and pototoes . . . acceptable for a third world country's interpretation of "vegetarian" but kinda behind the times for health conscious lower mainlanders, oh wait, this is the burbs after all, but I digress ;)
-rice was greasy
-the cucumbers in the greek salad were soggy

The ugly:
-a dated 1970's ambiance, complete with cocktails named "Paralyzers" and "Welcome to Greece" paper placemats
-blue and green spotlights highlighted certain tables, potentially making diner's food take on an eerie glow

My partner, would not go back, I might get take out, maybe.

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Bin 942 Tapas Parlour1521 W. Broadway, Vancouver
The Love Affair is Over
Submitted Saturday, November 10, 2007 - 8:57am [Dine in]

What happened to the Bin?

My memories of a visit in 2004 were very fond. As a foodie in denail, I kept on rationalizing in my head: Perhaps, the head chef absent on a busy Friday night? Maybe the labour shortage was affecting the hiring of quality kitchen staff? Could it be possible that they were having an off night?

Regardless of benefits of doubt given, the disturbing reality that stood before me spoke the truth:

-a pesto and gorgonzola bruschetta served cold - too salty; over-drenched in pesto, overpowered by the gorgonzola
-a crimini risotto that had huge slabs of peppercorn that completely overpowered the creamy/earthiness of such a dish
-a prawn and scallop dish with overcooked, dry and sinewy prawns
-a Kobe meatball served with the Stroganoff accompaniment served stone-cold

From an operational stand-point, the kitchen could benefit from a more efficient and passionate staff. Staff literally stood around taking smoke breaks in the wash up area (tsk tsk for health and safety) as no one was discernibly taking charge in the kitchen/pass area. I watched as someone's mussels stood at the pass, neglected for a good 3 minutes before a waitperson paid it any attention. Sad for the mussels. Sad for the diner. Sad for owner Gord Martin and chef de cuisine Ryan Zuvich.

This is disappointing for someone who always looked forward to fresh creative dishes from the Bin. As any self-respecting diner or lover would do, it's time to put an end to the misery a bad relationship brings. Adios, Bin!

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Banana Leaf3005 W Broadway, Vancouver
Great Singaporean Laksa
Submitted Saturday, October 6, 2007 - 8:16pm [Dine in]

A friend and I both ordered the Singaporean Laksa for lunch on the weekend. For $7 you get an aromatic coconut curry gravy over vermicelli noodles, prawns, chicken, bean sprouts, fried fish cake, fried onions, and a sliver of cilantro. I've tried other places but their Laksa wasn't as authentic tasting as Banana Leaf's. Definitely would recommend their lunch specials - terrific value in the $7-9 price range!

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Sushi Town5935 Hastings Street, Burnaby
Try their Awesome Roll!
Submitted Saturday, October 6, 2007 - 1:12am [Dine in]

The Awesome Roll, as the waitress explained is like a "big baked California roll with warm salmon on top". I know the above description doesn't sound "Awesome" or really appetizing at all; but having first seen another patron order it, I had to inquire about the roll "with the crunchy flaky bits on top".

The roll is slightly baked and served warm, toppped off with a delightful combination of green onions, bonito flakes, barbeque sauce and spicy mayonnaise. It provides some great flavor and texture contrasts (crunchy/soft; sweet/salty; piquant/creamy). A meal on it's own - 8 generous pieces for $6.95.

My other standbys are the avocado, yam tempura, and spicy scallop rolls. Since I'm not a fan of farmed salmon or tuna, I don't order fish based sushi as often here or elsewhere anymore. However, Sushi Town does have a delicious Spicy Tuna roll (the sauce has a hint of sesame oil) and BC Roll (creamy, slightly cinnamon like spice in the salmon skin seasoning).

Their Party Trays ($18-20) per tray are very good value too.

Highly recommended. As an interesting sidenote: one evening their phone didn't pick up, and I thought they were closed for renovations or for holidays. As it turns out, they were closed for a WEDDING reception, I kid you not!

Bottom line - if it's good enough for a wedding reception, it's good enough for an occasional cheap and tasty sushi treat.

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Salade de Fruits Cafe1551 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver
Fresh Bistro Food, Ample Portions
Submitted Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 10:26am [Dine in]

Went with a friend to try their Tableau D'hotes ( 3 course set menu) for dinner and was very satisfied: the chilled roasted vegetable terrine starter in a balsamic dressing was a colorful, creative and pragmatic use of kitchen leftovers; the stuffed leg of lamb was tender; the vegetable sides were fresh and well portioned, the creme brulee dessert came in a proper sweet and creamy vanilla-bean infused texture. No complaints for $21.99. Ambiance was cozy, jazzy French bistro. The patio was quite nice, although the tables were cramped together. Now what separates Salade de Fruits from the fine dining category, are the little details like the excessive fat around the lamb not being trimmed, the lump in the mashed potato, and the undercooked and underseasoned baby carrots. But still more casual bistro fair still deserves attention to such details.

The next day, a group of us went to try their lunch. Our group had the lamb shank, mussels and ham omlette. The entire party was satisfied with their meal. Througout the meal we were constantly checking out other patron's orders which all looked fresh and tasty.

I will be going back to try their weekend brunch. Three visits to Salade de Fruits in 1 week! Can't give this little bistro a better endorsement!

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Cafe Il Nido780 Thurlow Street, Vancouver
Fine Food, parts of service was disappointing
Submitted Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 7:26am [Dine in]

After booking a reservation through OpenTable for an earlier Saturday seating, we arrived and were not noticed upon entering the restaurant and had to wait 3 minutes. I made a special request under the reservation, asking for a mascarpone based risotto with mushrooms; however the waitress simply informed us that the kitchen could adapt whatever current entree into a vegetarian one. For a $25 prawn and asparagus risotto minus the prawns, I would expect a hearty side portion of vegetables in lieu of the prawns or a REDUCTION in price. Unfortunately, neither was provided for us.

Other than the cold service received from our waitress, the rest of the staff were professional, unobtrusive and polite.

The food: Our still warm but crusty foccacia bread came with a trio of balsamic vinegar, sea salt and olive oil. Lovely. My salmon was very overcooked, and contained remnants of bones which proved tricky to extract. The roasted vegetables were roasted perfectly and finished off with a buttery lemon and herb sauce. The mushroom rice cake was crisp on the outside and flavorful and creamy on the inside.

Ambiance: The music set too loudly, especially since there were fewer than 3 parties in the restaurant; the washrooms were tiny and cramped, the black table clothes were unforgiving in betraying food droppings. It's cozy and intimate (much aking a a really happening basement suite) if you prefer such a settting. However, I can imagine the ambiance changing from tranquil to chaotic when the restaurant moves from a sprinkling of patrons to a full house.

For the price range ($7 beers, $10+ salads, and $20-$35 entrees) I would expect much, much more . . . . sorry will not be returning unless there is compensation for the lack of consideration and service promised by the Il Nido people.

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Chili Pepper House3003 Kingsway, #1, Vancouver
Disappointed: Too salty, too hot, not enought flavor in their sauces
Submitted Sunday, June 17, 2007 - 12:01am [Dine in]

My cravings for spicy and greasy food was met with disappointment with a take-out order with Chili Pepper House. The Manchurian mixed vegetables were bland, as with the Szechuan eggplant. Both dishes were excessively hot. I did not enjoy my meal at all. The garlic vegetarian dumplings were okay. It seems that they use the same pre-made sauces for most of their dishes (Manchurian, black-bean, oyster sauce, garlic etc). The only redeeming quality was the fast turn around for a take-out order (@10 min) and the 15% discount for take out.

Will go back to Green Lettuce and hope they haven't gone downhill!

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Mountain Shadow Pub, The7174 Barnet Road, Burnaby
Delicious Wings $0.15 on Wednesdays
Submitted Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 10:26pm [Dine in]

Great wings for just a mere 15 cents on Wednesdays. Our party was not disappointed with the wings. We liked the Thai (sweet chili pepper sauce) and BBQ (thick, smoky sauce) ones the best. Their pizzas at $11.99 for up to 4 toppings was tasty too- the crust seemed homemade and the tomato sauce was fresh and light. A pint of the Russell Cream Ale (not found in liquor stores) was the perfect dark ale accompaniment for our wings. And to finish off our meal, the Mocha fudge ice cream cake was the right combination of whipped cream, nutty, rich coffee goodness. Enough dessert for 2 people for just $4.99. We all agreed to go back and try other menu items. We would even order the pizza for takeout.

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Joey1424 West Broadway, Vancouver
Fantastic Patio, Creative Dishes & Drinks
Submitted Saturday, June 2, 2007 - 8:19am [Dine in]

Went on a sunny Friday afternoon with friends, and although I had my reservations about a chain restaurant with all style and no substance; I was pleasantly surprised. The bellinis were yummy, a bit on the sweet side, but had a nice wedge of frozen peach for a garnish. My friend and I shared the Ahi Tuna Fish Tacos, which were plated beautifully and were tasty enough. The seared tuna was served on a bed of cabbage greens, inside deep fried wonton tacos, with a wasabi mayo on the side.

The patio had a modern Asian rattan flair, and I thought rattan chairs with cushions were pretty comfy. The patio was on the second level, so it was buffered somewhat from the street noise of busy Broadway street, and the breeze blowing through was pleasant too. In keeping with the modern feel of the patio, the bathrooms, were equipped with dark stained woods, and a granite sloping, one piece sink.

Our server demonstrated extra consideration, when she explained that the bar was out of brandy and had to use a substitute liquor for one of their blended drinks.

Will definitely recommend and go back to Joey's patio this summer!

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Thai Terrace2872 West Broadway, Vancouver
Not as good or authentic as I remembered
Submitted Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 6:58am [Dine in]

I went to Thai Terrace again and was disappointed with my basil chicken. It didn't have enough basil in it. The soup was way too salty and the spring roll was too greasy. My partner's green curry had a radioactive green hue to it, and contained broccoli, which in my opinion is not an authentic ingredient in thai curries.

It's still cheap $8.55 for the dinner combos, but I don't think I will go back again.

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Salmon House2229 Folkestone Way, West Vancouver
Re: Fabulous Aldergrilled Coho Salmon
Submitted Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 6:52am [Dine in]

This was my first time at the Salmon House and I thoroughly enjoyed the food and service. We arrived a very hungry party of four, since we hiked around Lynn Canyon for 3 hours prior to arrival. The decor was "Westcoast" cheesy - decorated in what we jokingly called "restaurant grade" totem poles, masks and carvings. (It would have been a considerate gesture to have the restaurant reference the Native culture in an authentic way)

We started with appetizers from the a la carte menu. The caesar salad was fresh and light in an olive oil and lemon dressing. The other couple's salmon taster had what looked like very generous portions. The wine list was extensive and offered high-end choices by the glass - which our wine connoisseur friends appreciated.
The rosemary infused flatbread was an interesting addition to the more traditional bread basket.

My partner raved about his shitake and crimini risotto. My aldergrilled salmon was smoked to perfection, although it was a bit over-cooked for my taste. The bed of crab and tomato risotto that supported the salmon was divine- just the right mix of creaminess and tanginess. And the two spears of baby asparagus were grilled to a crisp/tender slightly smoking perfection.

The service was attentive and warm, yet unassuming. Our server was professional and knowledgeable about both the food and wine. The other wait staff and front end people, were all youthful and friendly, although a bit unpolished. I noticed some reaching across diners' to fill water glasses and the hostess was making a personal phone call as we were leaving. To her credit she did end the call promptly and inquired about our dining experience.

Overall, I was very satisfied with the Salmon House experience despite having reservations that it was an overpriced tourist trap.

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Reef, The4172 Main Street, Vancouver
Over-rated, tourist trap
Submitted Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 10:09pm [Dine in]

Had the jerked salmon - the sauce was too overpowering for the delicate salmon fillet. I was expecting a drier rub. The bean/rice side that came with the salmon was merely, okay/tolerable/acceptable filler, and definitely nothing to write home about. My partner had a stuffed curry roti which was okay. I had a ginger beer which was spicy and refreshing but you can buy them at groceries stores for half the price. I thought their deep-fried dough balls were pretty tasty. Ambiance is Main street funky - but the food is not interesting or intricate enough to keep me coming back.

Substance and value over style anyday. I would recommend The Locus across the street - whose style, matches its substance.

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Anton's Pasta Bar4260 E Hastings Street, Burnaby
Cheap, fresh, filling and tasty
Submitted Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 9:55pm [Dine in]

Having been left slightly disappointed and hungry after my Au Petite Cafe experience in the morning, and after a good long walk, we decided to head off to Anton's for some serious chowing down! I ordered my favorite the tomato sauced based Fettuccine Creola and it was especially generous with the chicken, sausage and shrimp this time around, lucky me! (I suppose the kitchen staff were pre-occupied with following Canucks' game to monitor their portion controls, Go Canucks Go!, lol! )
My partner's baked rigatoni in meat sauce was very tasty too, finished with a huge dome of ooey gooey baked cheese. Yum, yum, yum, and enough for 2 more meals for each of us :)

This is textbook value.

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Au Petit Cafe4851 Main Street, Vancouver
Nothing Oustanding about the Subs
Submitted Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 9:44pm [Dine in]

Went with a friend to try their famous subs. We ordered the #1 sub which tasted fine, but there really was nothing special about it. The curry chicken vermicelli was only mediocre, not enough complexity in the gravy. As for subs, I've had better ones for less. Asia Market on [email protected] Gore has a little sandwich store in the back and it's a juicy, creamy, aromatic and crispy steal of a deal at $2.25 per sub!

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Cafe Gloucester3338 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Laksa with Chicken
Submitted Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 5:49pm [Dine in]

They serve a very aromatic and rich laksa noodle with Haianese chicken. They also serve plenty of HK diner food of baked rices, noodles and chops. If you dine at lunch or after 9 pm the specials are $6.99 including a hot beverage of your choice. Good value for tasty, well portioned food.

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Green Basil4623 Kingsway, Burnaby
Re: Nosiy but tasty
Submitted Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 11:08pm [Dine in]

Couldn't resist the 2 for 1 entree coupon from the Straight. We made reservations for 2 for 7:30 on a Saturday with no problems; upon entering the restaurant we were seated promptly. The decor is tasteful and modern; however, the ambiance left something to be desired. The restaurant's acoustics were very poor - every conversation and dropped dish was ear-splittingly amplified.

The service was friendly, but amateurish. We were given plates before menus, and our second dish arrived 10 minutes after the first one. Our Gaaeng Pha Neang (Veggy thick curry) was alright, the vegetables were undercooked. The Thuaa Phat Phrik Khing (Green Beans with lime leaves, basil and spicy sauce) was definitely the tastier of the two dishes.

Overall, the place is worth a visit, the prices are alright, and the portions are okay. Still I think there's better value at Thai House because you can get unlimited rice.

Okay but not fantastic. Would go again if they continue their 2 for 1 promo.

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