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pickygourmandVancouverSince November 21, 20065 Reviews
Average Rating
2.5 (2.3)
  • Food2.5 (2.6)
  • Service2 (2)
  • Value2 (1.8)
  • Ambiance2 (1.8)


Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 Reviews Found
Pho Tan Vietnamese Restaurant4598 Main Street, Vancouver
First time I refused to leave a tip at a sit-down restaurant.
Submitted Friday, June 10, 2011 - 6:20pm [Dine in]

Restaurants, especially mom & pop outfits, are a tough business in Vancouver. Knowing this I try to be very forgiving when I have a bad dining experience. Every restaurant has a bad day.

I also judge restaurants in their respective context. I don't expect to a busy noodle place in East Van and expect cheery, smiley service, and have the server ask if I'm enjoying my meal and if I want my water glass topped up. That's strictly for Rob Feenie like places; not a noodle place where you go to have good, cheap, eats.

What I DO expect is consistency and, above all, professionalism.

I have only gone to Pho Tan a few times - usually under protest to friends who want to go - and have never enjoyed my dining experience. While I appreciate the many positive ratings given to this restaurant I find that the Vietnamese food is mediocre. The pho broth lacks flavour and excites me as much as a bowl of instant ramen.

The portions are skimpy at Pho Tan for what you pay, and for what their competitors more north of 30th Ave offers along Main St., and Fraser St., respectively -- although I will give Bon Cafe on Main and 33rd Ave a thumbs up for a grilled pork Vietnamese sub that more than rivals offerings at Au Petite Cafe.

So I already had reservations about going to Pho Tan because the food is unexciting and I leave hungrier than when I started.

However, today was the straw that broke the camel's back. The server, older lady, screwed up my order. My dining companion distinctively heard what I ordered yet when the server brought my food it was incorrect.

I pointed out that she had brought me the wrong plate and she put up a fuss and kept insisting it was what I ordered. Knowing this was futile, and not wanting to make a scene, I accepted the wrong order.

To me, a server making a mistake, not making any effort to correct it, not even apologizing, and then blaming the customer is wrong. While I don't believe the adage, "the customer is always right", in this case the server was wrong but could not care less.

I left my payment separately from my friends, and left only the price of the meal, and no tip except two pennies; the second penny was to let them know the first penny was not a mistake!

I don't ever recall a time I refused to leave a tip. Even in the worst times where the food was bad, or the server was having a tough day, I would leave 10-15%. However, I was so annoyed that I gave her and restaurant what I thought they deserved and will never go back there again. My friends may want to go back but I'd sooner eat alone elsewhere than to give Pho Tan my business.

I'm not discouraging people to NOT go to Pho Tan but please don't think it's the best Vietnamese restaurant in a 2 km radius just because you heard it was. There are much better ones who give better food, better portions, and better service.

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Bert's Restaurant2904 Main St, Vancouver
Needs a "Restaurant Makeover"...quick!
Submitted Sunday, September 26, 2010 - 4:17pm [Dine in]

This is the type of restaurant that you would often see on the Canadian Food Channel produced show, "Restaurant Makeover". It's all there in the checklist: a restaurant that no longer fits in with its changing neighbourhood, a restaurant that has too many items on its menu (quantity over quality), a restaurant that has no personality, a restaurant that may or may not survive.

As you walk into the place to have dinner you'll notice that the place is huge by today's standards. It's the size of a big McDonald's. The only thing is that you'll see more people in a Squamish McDonald's at 9:30pm then you would at Bert's during the dinner hour. For a large capacity eatery the place is abandoned which is the first thing that should make you wonder if you should continue your culinary journey with Bert's.

When you open the menu you'll notice that selection of food is wide and varied. You'll find Greek food, Italian food, American diner food like roast turkey dinner, etc. But looking towards the kitchen you'll notice only one chef doing the cooking. So then how can this one chef cook so much? That should be the second thing that makes you question the quality of the food.

The food is, in short, horrendous. I ordered the roast beef dinner and it tasted like a Swanson's TV dinner because I suspect they have a full menu full of food in the freezer. It tastes a little bit of freezer burn and the meat fibers have broken down from freezing and thawing. A-ha! That's why they can offer so much selection with on chef. You're just being served TV dinners. That's pretty sad.

What is even sadder is that for such poor quality food, the price isn't that much cheaper than if I were to go to hopelessly conventional places like Knight & Day, White Spot, Red Robins, or even a Denny's, all of which offers palatable food. Bert's food is one of those places where, no matter if you live by the tenet, "Finish everything on your plate", you just don't want to continue eating after a couple of bites. Instead, you kick yourself because you could have just went to Vera's a block away and at least had a decent burger for the same price.

I'm not going to delve too much into things like ambiance, and service because that's not what diners and family restaurants are reknowned for and neither the qualities that drive people to diners.

People who frequent diners want good, if not great, food, value for the money, and to be frequently asked if they would like a coffee refill. Bert's just doesn't deliver on any of these.

My recommendation to Bert's Restaurant is to fire the chef who has the audacity to serve this crap, and to hire a decent kitchen staff. Most of all, serve fresh food. If you're going to serve turkey, there should be a bird being carved in the back! Cut down on the menu items and only serve the best sellers and some daily specials.

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Bon's Off Broadway2451 Nanaimo St., Vancouver
Depends on your point of view
Submitted Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 12:45am [Dine in]

I've read the reviews below and everyone is right...depending on their point of view on what they are looking for in a restaurant.

The people who love it do so for the cheap food and that's great for them.

Other people, like me, want good quality food and a bit of ambiance or a dining experience shared with friends. Afterall, I can make my own bacon and eggs at home and I'm fortunate that I don't have to watch my pennies when I go out to eat so I don't care if a plate of bacon and eggs costs $3, $4, or $5. But I can't spend 40 minutes waiting for an order of bacon and eggs no matter how cheap they are.

Yes - you will be turned off if you're a germaphone. It's about as pleasant as the basement of an old church: dark and dank. It's the kind of place where you check your glass and cutlery to see if they're clean. It's also very loud in there due to the many patrons.

Yes - the wait for your food is sometimes horrible when they are busy. 40 minutes to get the $3 breakfast. Is it worth my time? I could just go to McDonald's and get it faster and not have to leave a tip.

Yes - Most of the patrons are not your Howe St. type. They are young student types, bohemian types, and blue collar "Joes",...but at no time is it threatening to be in there.

No - Not much else is really worth it except the cheap breakfast. I had a Reuben sandwich there (just to have diner food) and I can get a way better one at the Safeway deli panini press. Reubens should not be served on grilled white bread! I had the $3 breakfast on another occasion and it is what it is...bacon and eggs for $3. Not great and not bad.

Who should go there: people watching their money like students who are sick of instant noodles, people who want cheap bacon and egg breakfasts other than McDonalds, and people who want to take a date there and make sure they don't get a second date.

Who should not go there: people looking for ambiance or a dining experience, people who want very good diner food.

I'm not going to shoot down Bon's because it has its market niche, and loyal customers who need it and, yeah, the $3 bacon (or sausage or ham) and egg breakfasts are a good deal.

Personally, I'm in the other group: I would spend more and have something tried and true like Knight and Day, or White Spot. They may be hopelessly conventional but the food and service is much better.

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Tony's Beef Noodle5710 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Not what it used to be
Submitted Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 1:47pm [Dine in]

I have a feeling that Tony's Beef Noodle's ownership has changed.

First, many of the friendly staff - including the female servers who would fuss over their customers - are gone and replaced by rather indifferent young male servers who seem like they can't wait until quitting time so they can go home and play their X-Box's rather than serving their customers.

Second, the food is still the same but the portions seem to have gotten skimpy. A large bowl of noodles used to really be large. Now it's like the same amount as a small but with more soup stock. It's hard to get full on their rice dishes because those portions seem rather cincy now too.

You can't even get complimentary tea anymore. Instead they serve you a mug of warm water so bring your own tea leaves if you plan on eating there.

With all the well priced Taiwanese cafes popping up, Tony's Beef Noodle's service and portions better improve or they're going to be losing business. In fact, they already have as their crowds have thinned out over the past year.

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Tonina's Deli & Cafe4125 Main Street, Vancouver
Great pizza by the slice!
Submitted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 3:46pm [Dine in]

I discovered this Italian deli walking along Main St.

It's a small store which caters more as a take out deli although there are a couple of small tables where you can go in, on a cold rainy day, sit and eat or drink coffee.

They have an assortment of pre-made deli food items including Italian subs, salads, soups, and pastas.

But most people line up for the pizza by the slice (currently $1.50).

I must admit, I don't get excited by pizza all that much but bought a couple of slices since I was bit hungry. Wow, was I impressed!

The taste is not your typical - eaten it a thousand times - fast food pizza, and not to be mistaken for those awful 99 cent a slice pizzas you'll find in abundance on the seedier parts of downtown.

I can only describe it as, well, Italian. The sauce is light and tastes of tomato, the toppings and cheese are balanced well, and the crust is hearty.

The crust is incredible when it comes out fresh out of the oven (if you have time, wait for it fresh out of the oven). It's a hearty Neopolitan style crust (not the thin crispy type which I hate). However, the bottom of the crust has a satisfying crunch.

You will not find pretentious pizzas like spicy Thai, or smoked duck with truffle oil, whatever...That's strictly for California (ugh!).

Nor will you even find an extensive choice of pizza's. In fact, they currently serve either meat, or veggy.

However, the toppings on these two choices rotate on almost a daily basis depending on the ingredients for the day so it doesn't get boring.

The meat version is laden with tasty cuts of meat from their deli including cured prosciutto, hams, smoked turkey, etc.

The veggy pizzas are also delicious -- especially if you are lucky enough to go on a day where they top it with artichoke hearts and speckles of soft Italian style goat cheese. That one will knock your boots off and convert any die hard carnivore into veggy pizzas.

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