Posts Tagged ‘Bar’

SAI WOO

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160 East Pender Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-568-1117

Web: http://www.saiwoo.ca/

Twitter: @doyousaiwoo

Advice: Reservations suggested.

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With a nod to the history of its 1930’s predecessor, Sai Woo Chop Suey, occupied the same footprint, and the contemporary version is poised to become a hub of the reinvigorated neighbourhood. The restaurant is stunning in its interior design, boasting two levels: the 113-seat upper floor is home to a dining area, bar and Chef’s Table; the 75-seat lower floor features its own bar and smaller menu, inviting guests to linger long into the evening. Owned by restaurateur Salli Pateman she has created a foundation with a stellar team. The menu mixes influences from Executive Chef Douglas Chang upbringing of his Canadian, Chinese and Jamaican roots.

Kom Collins

Kom Collins

Cola Wings

Cola Wings

Beef Carpaccio Salad

Beef Carpaccio Salad

Salt Cod Fritters

Salt Cod Fritters

Bar Manager Justin Anello has created an inventive cocktail list, I enjoyed the Kom Collins ($12) with Bombay Saphire east, O5 Tea Kombucha, cucumber, lemon and mint. Sitting at the bar I then indulged trying several dishes including the unique and delicious Cola Wings ($14) marinated overnight in coca cola served on a bed of shredded lettuce. Next was the Beef Carpaccio Salad ($14), Mustard Greens, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Cress and Fried Shallots. Loved the Salt Cod Fritters ($9) with Meyer lemon cream, with great flavours.

Black Cod

Black Cod

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

Next was the outstanding Black Cod ($25) Baked Sablefish, Lotus Root, Bamboo Shoots, Radish, Burdock in a delicious Kombu Broth; followed by the outstanding Fried Rice ($12) with pearl rice, egg and preserved vegetables.

Sweet Tofu

Sweet Tofu

Steamed Molasses Rum Cake

Steamed Molasses Rum Cake

The Smoking Gun

The Smoking Gun

For dessert I had both of their offerings, the unique and sensational, Sweet Tofu ($8) almond tofu, ginger syrup, toasted almond shiso; along with the Steamed Molasses Rum Cake ($10) served with butter and preserves, baked to order in 20 minutes, an outstanding dessert. Dinner came to an end with another one of Justin’s cocktails, his signature which is a show unto itself, The Smoking Gun!

With an equally matched chef and bar manager at the helm, look for exciting cocktails and dishes as you dine their often.

Review by: Richard Wolak

PATRON TACOS & CANTINA

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265 Robson Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-558-3368

Web: http://www.patrontc.com/

Twitter: @patrontc

Advice: Reservations suggested for larger parties, walkins welcome.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Mole Chicken Enchiladas

Mole Chicken Enchiladas

Three Milk Cake

Three Milk Cake

A true cantina, this Mexican eatery has been turning out stellar favourites since opening a couple of years ago. Chef Enrique Menendez leads the kitchen, and his menu is filled with traditional dishes from Mexico. The bar features an extensive lineup of Tequilas, and cocktails such as the popular margaritas. Complimentary chips and salsa are served after ordering, and you can refill the chips for a nominal charge. I have dined on a few occasions in the past, enjoying a variety of tacos and the Huaraches, most recently I had the Enchiladas ($13.50) with chicken and mole sauce, topped with feta cheese, sour cream, with rice and beans, one of my favourite Mexican dishes! For dessert I had the delicious Three Milk Cake ($7) love this traditional Mexican dessert!

This is a great spot for dining solo or with friends.

Review by: Richard Wolak

ARGAN BISTRO

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795 Jervis Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-563-8466

Web: http://arganbistro.com/

Twitter: @ArganBistro

Advice: Reservations suggested.

Ever evolving this is a hidden gem and the latest eatery from Chef Nourdine Majdoubi and his partner Kevin Lin, both who are passionate about cuisine from Morocco and the area outside. Chef Nourdine is known for creating flavourful and unique dishes, he has the flair and experience from his background in cooking French cuisine.

Sweet and Spicy Wings

Sweet and Spicy Wings

Cod Croquette

Cod Croquette

I visited for dinner, starting off with the Sweet and Spicy Wings ($9) Marrakesh style with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce made with Thai chillis, and I loved this dish, both with and without the dipping sauce! Next was the Cod Croquette ($11) which is perfect for sharing, 4 pieces with a harissa dip.

Meatball Pappardelle

Meatball Pappardelle

Moroccan-style Chicken Fricassee

Moroccan-style Chicken Fricassee

I indulged in a couple of mains, the outstanding Meatball Pappardelle ($19) with a Moroccan rose sauce made with a Moroccan spice blend, and grana Padano on top with cubed tomatoes to cut the richness of the dish; this was followed by the delicious Moroccan-style Chicken Fricassee ($20) Gluten Free with flavourful Sauteed mushrooms, carrots and cumin-fennel rice on the side.

Sweet Rice Bastilla

Sweet Rice Bastilla

Cinnamon Churros

Cinnamon Churros

For dessert, I tried two from the selection, my favourite of the two was the Sweet Rice Bastilla ($7) with rosewater, cinnamon, raisins, and almonds; I also had the Homemade Cinnamon Churros with chocolate orange blossom dip ($6).

I am looking forward to returning soon to try more dishes, especially the Chicken & Fries wrap at lunch as well as their brunch menu, and I could even go for some more tapas on their beautiful outside patio.

Review by: Richard Wolak

MOSQUITO

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32 Water Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-398-3188

Web: www.mosquitodessert.com

Twitter: @mosquitodessert

Advice: Open Wed – Sun night. No reservations.

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It’s dark, mysterious and full of character, the space was designed by Craig Stanghetta; there are many elements to this spot including the very cool light fixtures by Good Animals, it’s owned by Alice Wu and Johan Friedrich who are both so passionate. It’s a destination elegant dessert and champagne bar where you will want to go to satisfy the sweet tooth or a catchup with a friend over a drink. As much as I have a sweet tooth, not everyone does, for that reason they have the ‘not dessert’ plates that feature cheese and crackers, popcorn, nuts and such. On the drinks side of the menu there are champagne cocktails, sweet wines along with some spirits and such.

Matcha Green Tea Opera

Matcha Green Tea Opera

Chestnut

Chestnut

M. Chapoutier Banyuls 2012, France.

M. Chapoutier Banyuls 2012, France.

I visited late night, having the delicious Matcha Green Tea Opera ($12) with yuzu cremeux, coconut matcha mousse, candied citrus zest, coconut and pandan leaf sorbet; while my friend had the Chestnut ($11), we each had a glass of the M. Chapoutier Banyuls 2012, France. 

I have been waiting years for a place like this to open, finally it’s here, go!

Review by: Richard Wolak

TACOFINO GASTOWN

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15 West Cordova, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 899-7907

Web: http://tacofino.com/

Twitter: @TacofinoVAN

Advice: No reservations. Taco bar open nightly, the Burrito bar open for lunch thru late night.

My love for Tacofino began a few years ago when their first food truck was on the streets serving up their delicious fish tacos and the addictive spicy diablo cookies. As they evolved in the city with the addition of their East Village commissary, their boldest statement of all was the recent opening of their flagship abode in Gastown. With their Burrito Bar on the Cordova Street side and their Tacofino dining room (entrance off of Blood Alley in the rear) they have pretty much come full circle and have enticed my palate further. The space is beautiful, designed by local designer Shiloh Sukkau, there are many handmade details and local artists take pride of place.

Oaxacan Corn Fritters

Oaxacan Corn Fritters

 Glazed Beef Ribs

Glazed Beef Ribs

Churros

Churros

I have dined at both sides of this eatery, over dinner sitting at the bar, I had the delicious and flavourful Oaxacan Corn Fritters ($6) with chili lime, Cotija, probably the most addicting appetizer that we have seen in a long time! I also had the Glazed Beef Ribs ($17) with chilaquiles an amazing plate of merging flavours with lemongrass, habanero, kale and peanuts. The dessert front could use some work, since I love Churros and would order them in a heartbeat, these didn’t come close to winning my heart, served in a cute paper bag, the Churros ($6) were pillowy bite size, deep-fried agave coated morsels.

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Crispy Chicken Burito

Crispy Chicken Burito

On the other side of this eatery is the exciting Burrito Bar and this they have nailed, finally an eatery that reinvents the burrito in our city. It is a small eatery with about 10 seats, and a take-out option which is really the way to go here. A simple menu with a selection of inventive filled burritos, I had the delicious and outstanding Crispy Chicken Burito ($11) with chicken karaage, rice, black chili mayo, sriracha, cabbage, cilantro, guacamole, filled in a flour tortilla.  This is a spot that is going to become one of my frequenting takeout locales!

Review by: Richard Wolak

JACKALOPE’S NEIGHBOURHOOD DIVE

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2257 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 568-6674

Web: http://jackalopesdive.com/

Twitter: @JackalopesDive

Advice: No reservations.

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles

Veggie Skillet Hash

Veggie Skillet Hash

Meat and Eggs Skillet

Meat and Eggs Skillet

Cornbread Skilled

Cornbread Skilled

I have always had a love for American Southern comfort food, memories of travels across the Southern parts of the USA, with restaurants serving up their Southern dishes. This East Village neighborhood dive is filling that void, serving up skillets of Southern inspired comfort food at great prices. This past weekend a couple of my friends Sheryl and Larry joined me for some brunch eats, I had the Chicken and Waffles ($9.99) which came with one piece of tender chicken served overtop of two of their delicious home-made waffles, served with bacon gravy, maple syrup with a squeeze of orange, Sheryl had the Veggie Skillet Hash ($8.99) poached eggs, sautéed onions, and mushrooms tossed together with roasted parsnip, potatoes with cheese and fresh herbs. Larry had the Meat and Eggs Skillet ($13.99) which was filled with all sorts of goodness topped with baby back ribs. We then all shared the Cornbread Skilled ($6.99) served with butter and pimento cream cheese on the side. This dish was on their dinner menu which I had been eyeing for weeks, note that it does take at least 15 minutes to make as it is made fresh to order.

They offer a list of southern inspired cocktails as well as local craft brew to go along with their down home eats. I’m looking forward to a future visit to try some of their dinner favourites including the slow cooked beef brisket.

Review by: Richard Wolak

NICLI’S NEXT DOOR

nicli opener

68 West Cordova, Vancouver

Tel: 604-669-6985

Web: http://www.niclisnextdoor.com/

Twitter: @niclisnextdoor

Advice: Walk-ins welcome.

This is a place that I enjoyed after my first visit last summer, my draw for another visit was to try some dishes off of Chef Josh Gale’s new menu. Italian small plates is the name of the game and Josh’s menu is simple in it’s offerings with the emphasis on flavour, using as much local ingredients as available.

Polenta Fries

Polenta Fries

Crostini

Crostini

Pitchfork Farm Beets

Pitchfork Farm Beets

Housemade Vanilla Bean Gelato

Housemade Vanilla Bean Gelato

I had the Polenta Fries ($7) fontina fonduta to start, followed by the outstanding and flavourful, Crostini ($9) topped with housemade ricotta, mostarda preserves and aged balsamic. I then had the Pitchfork Farm Beets ($11) which tasted way better than it looked with stracciatela cheese and hazelnut vinaigrette. Lastly for a sweet simple finish I had the only dessert on the menu which was the Housemade Vanilla Bean Gelato ($6) fennel pecan biscotti with gianduja, a perfect combo.

I sat at the reclaimed wood bar which is the perfect spot to watch all the bar action while glimpsing into the kitchen. There is a full on wine list, along with some beer and a cocktail line-up. I am looking forward to seeing how the menu further develops as Chef Josh adds his flair and ideas in this Italian eatery.

Review by: Richard Wolak

INVITRO RESTAURANT

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2211 Manitoba Street, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 992-6224

Web: http://invitrorestaurant.com

Twitter @invitrofoodlabs

Advice: Advance reservations suggested, open nightly.

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Every so often you find a hidden gem where all the key ingredients come in to play. Hidden off the grid so to speak is a charming character home that has been converted into a wonderful restaurant, run by Sarah Kashani who is the Head Chef, owner and sometimes server often on Mondays from 5-7pm. I was fortunate to have her as my server and chef when I dined on a Monday night, to celebrate my friend Ivan’s birthday. Seated at the round table in the l’iving room’ under a beautiful antique chandelier the utensils caught my eye, noted they are from Restoration Hardware, this is unique spot begins to shine.

The Payoff

The Payoff

The Typical Caprese

The Typical Caprese

The menu is as unique and playful as the cutlery and dining room notches, I had The Payoff ($17) an indulgent Baked Brie with roasted garlic, olive oil, and crostini served with local fruit preserves, a dish perfect for sharing; Ivan had The Typical Caprese ($12) Buffalo Bocconcini, pesto, smoked prosciutto, oven-dried tomato, balsamic reduction, olive oil and basil; we both had a glass of Malbec which paired perfectly with the appetizers.

Pan Seared Coho Salmon

Pan Seared Coho Salmon

Chicken

Chicken

For our mains, I had the special of the day, Pan Seared Coho Salmon with spinach salad; while Ivan had the Chicken ($18) Chicken leg and thigh rubbed with Tuscan herbs & butter, both dishes were delicious.

Chocolate & Whiskey Flight

Chocolate & Whiskey Flight

Pavlova

Pavlova

Dessert is as unique as the rest of the dishes, Ivan had the Chocolate & Whiskey Flight ($20) that featured 3 different whiskey’s paired with 3 different types of chocolate; we then shared the house-baked (takes 15 minutes) Pavlova ($9) Meringue with whipped vanilla cream and fresh fruit that came along with a birthday candle in his honour.

This is a wonderful restaurant not only with character, it exudes passion from the owner/chef throughout, it is a hidden gem on the edge of the Mount Pleasant neighborhood worthy of your discovery and I cannot wait to return to try some of their pasta dishes which are made with handcrafted pasta.

Review by: Richard Wolak

THE FAT BADGER

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1616 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604 336 5577

Web: http://www.fatbadger.ca/

Twitter: @the_fat_badger

Advice: Walkins welcome, reservations for 8 or more, communal tables for sharing.

The Chip Buttie

The Chip Buttie

Wild Mushrooms, Leek and Cheese Tart

Wild Mushrooms, Leek and Cheese Tart

Taking British pub fare to the next level is what restaurateurs Ed Perrow and Chef Neil Taylor have achieved with their latest eatery in the WestEnd. I waited months before visiting, perhaps too many as I discovered a true neighborhood gem, where it’s dark inside, has beautiful wooden communal sharing tables along with a fireplace. It’s ambience is as perfect as the setting and it’s food is outstanding. I started off my meal with the The Chip Buttie ($5) which is basically a French fries sandwich, the fries are hand cut, sprinkled with salt & lashings of malt vinegar, the bread is white wonderbread and it is thickly spread with unsalted butter, just as the Brits would eat it back home. I then had the delicious vegetarian Wild Mushrooms, Leek and Cheese Tart ($16) with winter beans, lentils, goats cheese & walnuts that was outstanding and flavourful!

Banana & Fudge Eton Mess

Banana & Fudge Eton Mess

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

For dessert, why have one when you can have two, well my mission was to try the desserts, specifically to try the Eton Mess as I wanted to learn more about this British dessert. Eton mess is a traditional English dessert often consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue, and cream. The dish has been known by this name since the 19th century. They offer different variations of the Eton Mess daily, on offer the night I visited was the Banana & Fudge Eton Mess ($8) with meringue and caramel. The other dessert that I tried was the outstanding Sticky Toffee Pudding ($8), a delicious rich butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream on top, a heavenly ending to a fine meal.

The menu is filled with notable British fare, with specials often featuring curries, fish & chips, pot pies along with various puddings for dessert. This is one spot I look forward to visiting again.

Review by: Richard Wolak

LINH CAFÉ

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2836 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

Tel: 604-559-4668

Web: http://linhcafe.com/

Twitter: @LinhCafeVan

Advice: Reservations suggested.

Banh Mi Cay Hai Phong

Banh Mi Cay Hai Phong

Sable Breton

Sable Breton

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee

The bright room with red banquette seating and red table tops is a showcase for modern French Vietnamese bistro fare with a hint of flavours of the French colonies. Proprietor/Executive Chef Tai Luong Nguyen is creating wonderful dishes from his home country using French techniques. I’ve dined on a few occasions, first for an afternoon snack having the Banh Mi Cay Hai Phong ($6.95) spicy baguette Sticks with Chicken & pork liver pate, hot sauce, fried shallot, some Sable Breton ($1 each) cookies and a warm Vietnamese Coffee.

Nem - Cha Gio - Spring Rolls

Nem – Cha Gio – Spring Rolls

Goi Cuon - Salad Rolls

Goi Cuon – Salad Rolls

Duck Roti

Duck Roti

Whipped Potato

Whipped Potato

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee

French bread slices and couscous

French bread slices and Couscous

Triple Chocolate Mousse

Triple Chocolate Mousse

My last visit was for dinner with my friend Ivan joining, we shared the delicious Nem – Cha Gio – Spring Rolls ($12); filled with shrimp, pork, wood-ear mushroom, glass noodles. We also shared the Goi Cuon – Salad Rolls ($12) filled with preserved pork, vermicelli, lettuce, fresh herbs and a delicious house-made peanut sauce for dipping. I then had the outstanding Duck Roti ($23.95) Roasted duck, glazed grapes & apples, duck sauce in a cast iron pan that was served with whipped potato topped with bacon bits. Ivan enjoyed the Chicken Fricassee ($22.95) a Moroccan dish with chicken legs, tomato confit, and preserved lemon that was served with house baked French bread slices and Couscous. Lastly we shared the heavenly Triple Chocolate Mousse ($6.95) made with dark, milk and white chocolate for dessert.

Attentive service and a passionate creative chef rounds out the dining experiences at this gem in the heart of Kitsilano.

Review by: Richard Wolak

LEFT BANK

Dining room

751 Denman Street, Vancouver

Phone: (604) 687-1418

Web: http://www.leftbankvancouver.com/

Twitter: @LeftBankVan

Advice: Reservations suggested

Crispy Crab Roll

Crispy Crab Roll

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye Salmon

5-spiced Duck Confit Tempura

5-spiced Duck Confit Tempura

Roasted Lamb Tagine

Roasted Lamb Tagine

Tempura Green Beens

Tempura Green Beens

Truffle Frites

Truffle Frites

Raspberry & Goat Cheesecake

Raspberry & Goat Cheesecake

Chocolate Marquis with green tea ice cream

Chocolate Marquis with green tea ice cream

The bright room with red banquette seating and a marble top bar is a showcase for modern French bistro fare with a hint of North African flavours. Proprietor John Blakely and his creative Executive Chef Spencer Watts has turned this room into a charmer. I’ve dined a few times having tried many dishes including the Crispy Crab Roll, a beautiful presentation! Loved the Sockeye Salmon with summer peas, lyonnaise potto, and lemongrass cream an outstanding dish; also loved the 5-spiced Duck Confit Tempura du puy lentil cassoulet, wilted green and orange vinaigrette; followed by the delicious Roasted Lamb Tagine with date couscous, tomato ragù, raita, a melding of Moroccan and Indian flavours! A couple snacks served during the meal were the tasty Black Sesame Pomme Frites with Lemongrass mayo and the Tempura Haricot Vert with fireweed honey & grain mustard emulsion. For dessert after dinner, the Raspberry & Goat Cheesecake and the Chocolate Marquis with green tea ice cream were both divine.

Duck Confit Crepe

Duck Confit Crepe

Maple Custard

Maple Custard

On another visit for brunch, I had the delicious and unique Duck Confit Crepe, along with the outstanding Maple Custard with cinnamon puffs, apple sorbet, almond praline.

This is a great spot for eats, drinks and a wonderful ambience.

Review by: Richard Wolak

CAFÉ MEDINA

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780 Richards Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604 879 3114

Web: www.medinacafe.com

Twitter: @CafeMedina

Advice: No reservations.Expect long line-ups on weekends.

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Known as the breakfast spot for years, Medina moved a few blocks over to a larger space, adding known Executive Chef Jonathan Chovancek. His menu focus is southeastern Mediterranean and North African flavours with a bit of Spanish influence. The room features high ceilings and large, street-facing windows that allow for plenty of natural light. On my first visit I sat at the cocktail bar and on the second visit at the coffee bar, both great spots for the solo diner.

Blistered wood stone Flatbread and Mascarpone & black pepper honey

Blistered wood stone Flatbread and Mascarpone & black pepper honey

Poisson Lem Marrakech

Poisson Lem Marrakech

Harissa Pain Plat

Harissa Pain Plat

Espresso

Espresso

I have fallen in love with his menu, as most of the menu boasts the egg, those people who aren’t egg lovers like me are well taken care of here as the avocado can often be a great substitute. I have visited a couple of times during lunch, had the delicious Blistered wood stone Flatbread ($4) with the yummy Mascarpone & black pepper honey ($5) that is the perfect combo. I have also had the Poisson Lem Marrakech ($17) Lem Marrakech-cured wild salmon, sesame yoghurt, sprouted farro, greens and pisachios with avocado instead of the egg. On another visit I had the outstanding and unique Harissa Pain Plat ($17) a layered beef ‘burger’, grilled pita, Manchego, tomato salsa, spiced hummus & summer greens along with an Espresso.

The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch thru to mid-afternoon daily, you will find a creative cocktail list, beer and wine rounding up the menu along with the full espresso beverage line-up with delicious coffee.

Review by: Richard Wolak

PORTUGESE CLUB OF VANCOUVER

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1144 Commercial Dr, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 251-2042

Web: https://www.facebook.com/PCOVCLUB

Twitter: n/a

Advice: Share dishes with friends.

Taking lead by one of my friends Avelino Santos who is from Portugal, Ali Hui and I all joined to explore some of the different dishes that originate in Portugal. This long standing restaurant has been around since 1977 when it first opened in this very same location. It is a popular spot for the Portugese men who want to watch a game, play some cards, have a drink and a meal.

Tomato & Onion Salad

Tomato & Onion Salad

Seafood Soup

Seafood Soup

Peri Peri Prawns

Peri Peri Prawns

Portugese Buns

Portugese Buns

Grilled Cod

Grilled Cod

Grilled Sardines

Grilled Sardines

Green Salad

Green Salad

Some of the dishes were shared and others were indulged solo. On the table Tomato & Onion Salad that I had on my own, Seafood Soup that Ali and Avelino had, Peri Peri Prawns, Portugese Buns, Grilled Cod with chickpeas and boiled potatoes and vegetables, Grilled Sardines and Salad that we all shared.

The portions are quite large and the menu is filled with seafood and meat dishes, this is a great spot to eat traditional Portugese dishes in the heart of the drive.

Review by: Richard Wolak

NOMAD

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3950 Main Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-708-8525

Web: http://nomad-vancouver.ca/

Twitter: @nomad_vancouver

Advice: Reservations suggested.

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Imagination and passion is the driving force behind this new eatery and bar that is located in the heart of food haven Main Street. With a focus on making everything from scratch, Chef/owner Ryan Reed along with Chef/owner Scott Swanson, both long-time friends are passionate on creating dishes with top notch ingredients, working with local farmers and producers. Each plate has elements of colour, flavours and textures, and they designed their own kitchen with ease and flow in mind as well. Owner/partner Taylor Burnham runs the front of house and Owner/partner Matt van Dinther runs the bar, rounding up the 4 partners that are doing what they do best.

Sunchoke and Wild Mushroom Soup

Sunchoke and Wild Mushroom Soup

Fried Potato and Cheddar Perogies

Fried Potato and Cheddar Perogies

My friend Jason Tan joined me to share some dishes as we explored the seasonaly inspired menu. Started off with the delicious, vegetarian Sunchoke and Wild Mushroom Soup ($10); this was followed by the popular Fried Potato and Cheddar Perogies ($9) with crispy fried onions.

 Pakora

Pakora

Kabocha Squash Tart

Kabocha Squash Tart

As Jason is vegetarian, his pick was that we try the Pakora ($9) made with Chana flour, it was light and flavourful; the Kabocha Squash Tart ($16) with house made apple butter, charred onion, Papito gratin with in house grown micro greens was outstanding.

Lamb Cheeks

Lamb Cheeks

Hanging Tenderloin

Hanging Tenderloin

I then enjoyed the Lamb Cheeks ($22) Fenugreek Ricotta Gnocchi, Cauliflower; as well as the Hanging Tenderloin ($22) with parsnip Puree and vegetables, it was a very good dish!

Chocolate S'more

Chocolate S’more

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

For dessert we both shared the heavenly and delicious, Chocolate S’more ($8) dark chocolate ganache, Gragham crust, Italian meringue and mint leaf; followed by the Pumpkin Creme Brulee ($8) with a chai spiced cookie base – WOW!

This is a spot you are going to want to visit as the seasons change, watch for more creative dishes and cocktails to match.

Review by: Richard Wolak

ABODE RESTAURANT

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1223 Robson Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604.688-1411

Web: http://www.aboderestaurant.ca/

Twitter: @ABODERestaurant

Advice: Takes reservations.

Crispy Parmessan Cauliflower Poppers

Crispy Parmessan Cauliflower Poppers

Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank Curry

Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank Curry

A large an inviting room situated off of bustling Robson, the décor is inspired of mid-century design with warm tones of walnut and Calcutta marble, lots of banquets and communal tables throughout. There is a coffee bar for the morning, a bar area as well as the dining room where they serve breakfast, lunch, dinner thru late night. Chef Tannis Smith has retooled the menu offering many comforting classics with her unique spin. I visited for dinner on my own, having the Crispy Parmessan Cauliflower Poppers ($11) with a couple of tasty dips! To follow I had the Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank Curry ($22) a light tomato based house made blend of ginger, garlic, cumin, jalapenos, cinnamon, a mix of smoked paprikas and spices. Served on Pomegranate dirty rice.

The all-day menu features a good selection of appetizers as well as salads, handhelds along with seafood and a selection of pasta dishes.  There is also an extensive brunch menu filled will sorts of dishes including Marilyn’s Omelet, Horizon Hash and Handle Your Scramble.

Review by: Richard Wolak

DEVILS ELBOW HOUSE

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562 Beatty Street, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 559-0611

Web: www.devilselbowalehouse.com

Twitter: @DevilsElbow_

Advice: Sharing is the way to go here if dining with friends.

Cinco of Howe Sound Beer

Cinco of Howe Sound Beer

Enter a Barbq house that is brick walled throughout with reclaimed wood paneling, a beautiful wooden bar sporting 15 taps for the Howe Sound Brewing beers along with 5 guest taps for other local brew. My friend Rob Kemp joined me for some barbq eats and ale, where sharing was key. I started off with a cinco of Howe Sound Beer having 5 tasters, the Blueberry wheat ale, Devil’s Elbow India Pale Ale, Rail Ale but brown, Sky Pilot Northwest pale ale and Porthole Filler Imperial Stout; Rob lined up several of the beer tasters as well.

Housemade Kettle Chips

Housemade Kettle Chips

Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings

Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad

A feast of eats, we started with the outstanding and addictive Housemade Kettle Chips ($9) with a delicious mosque choux for dipping; then the House Smoked salt and pepper Chicken Wings ($13 gets you a dozen) ; then the Chopped Salad ($15) deconstructed with grilled romaine hearts, roma tomatoes, delicious smoked chicken and bacon, smokey house dressing which we had on the side.

 Trio of Meats platter

Trio of Meats platter

Smoked Chicken Sandwich

Smoked Chicken Sandwich

Deep fried Pumpkin Cheesecake

Deep fried Pumpkin Cheesecake

We then got the Trio of Meats platter ($39 for 2) we chose these 3 meats, my favourites were the delicious smoked brisket and tender beef ribs, followed by the pork back ribs, the huge platter was served with delicious baked beans, and coleslaw; the Smoked Chicken Sandwich ($16) was outstanding with smoked chicken, trio of smoked bell peppers, chipotle mayo, smoked bacon, romaine hearts! To finish off the feast, Deep fried Pumpkin Cheesecake ($8) in phyllo pastry, with vanilla ice cream was a game changer and one that we would order time and time again!

Review by: Richard Wolak

JAMJAR

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2280 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 252-3957

Web: www.jamjaronthedrive.com

Twitter: @Jamjarondrive

Advice: No reservations, sharing table for solo diners.

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Specializing in flavours of the Middle East, specifically with an emphasis in crafted Lebanese cuisine, Chef Bakhos leads the kitchen in this beautiful eatery on the drive. I loved the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at play, and watch them bake their Saj (Lebanese flatbread) on the domed Saj oven.

 Shish Tawouk plate

Shish Tawouk plate

I have dined here a couple times on my own in the past few weeks, on the 1st visit I had the Shish Tawouk plate with local Rossdown Farms chicken skewers accompanied by some of their delicious house-made Pomegranate Molasses, the plate was served with their Maple Chestnut Hummus, potatoes, brown rice, tabbouli along with some of their Saj bread.

Cauliflower Stew

Cauliflower Stew

Chocolate Rice Pudding

Chocolate Rice Pudding

Lazzakiyat

Lazzakiyat

On my next visit I had the Cauliflower Stew served on a platter with brown rice, mjadra, Fatoush salad and Saj bread. This time around I saved room for dessert, and since I couldn’t decide on which of the two desserts I wanted to try, I then ordered both. The Chocolate Rice Pudding was divine made with 70% chocolate, milk and light arborio rice and its served in a glass jar. The other was the Lazzakiyat, delicious Saj style mini pancakes layered with tahini and halvah.

The cocktail list looks as creative as the food, with wonderful flavours and a creative chef at bay this eatery has not only captivated me, it’s also got us foodies talking and enjoying.

Review by: Richard Wolak

SHOWCASE RESTAURANT

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1122 W Hastings St, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 639-4040

Web: http://www.showcaserestaurant.com/

Twitter: @Showcase_Van

Advice: Reservations suggested for dinner.

It’s been years since I had eaten here, recently renovated, the large spacious room has a wonderful warm inviting décor of wood paneling and comfy chairs.

Braised Short Rib and Parsnip Curry

Braised Short Rib and Parsnip Curry

 Salt Roasted Beets

Salt Roasted Beets

Smoked Steelhead

Smoked Steelhead

My friend Jordan Rogers joined me to share some dishes, started with the delicious Braised Short Rib and Parsnip Curry ($21) Indian influenced with house made masala curry paste, red wine braised short rib and fall vegetables. Served with Naan, mango chutney and raita. We then shared a couple of salads, including the Salt Roasted Beets ($9) with a delicious hazelnut Puree; along with the house Smoked Steelhead ($9) with rye crostini.

Cioppino

Cioppino

Lamb Duo

Lamb Duo

We then shared a couple of mains off their crafted feature menu, the Cioppino ($23) was outstanding with lingcod, salmon, mussels in a hearty tomato broth; as was the Lamb Duo ($23) with delicious potato pave and parsnip Puree.

German Chocolate Mousse Cake

German Chocolate Mousse Cake

Pear Crème Brulee

Pear Crème Brulee

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

My favourite dessert out of the three we shared, was the outstanding German Chocolate Mousse Cake ($8) with coconut, candied pecans and coconut ice cream! The other two were the Pear Crème Brulee ($8) with hazelnut tuile and compressed pears; and the Cheesecake ($8) with vanilla bretton, early grey ice cream, and liquid orange marmalade.

The all-day menu is filled with many of their popular casual dishes, they feature a special monthly changing crafted menu that features new dishes the chefs have created. I am looking forward to returning for the next seasonal craft menu to taste more dishes.

Review by: Richard Wolak

SALIDA 7

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52 Alexander Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604 569 3088

Web: http://www.salida7.ca/

Twitter: @salida7gastown

Advice:  Don’t go solo, best place to go with at least one or two friends and share some dishes.

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Pimientos Piquillo

Pimientos Piquillo

Vegetarian Baked Arros Banda Paella

Vegetarian Baked Arros Banda Paella

With a love for Spanish cuisine, there is a new spot hidden away in Gastown worth your discovery. The room has been brightened up from the former eatery, it’s warm and inviting, and the service is friendly and welcoming. My friend Vance Licaros joined me to share some dishes, we started off with a delicious bowl of their Patatas Bravas ($8) Catalan style cubed potatoes in a spicy pepper sauce and aioli, followed by the outstanding Pimientos Piquillo cod stuffed peppers ($12). We then shared the Vegetarian Baked Arros Banda Paella (for 2 people, $12.50 per person) with wild mushrooms, organic vegetables, pine nuts, and safron baked paella rice.

Crema Catalana Cremada

Crema Catalana Cremada

Peras al Vino Tinto y Chocolate Caliente

Peras al Vino Tinto y Chocolate Caliente

For dessert we shared two out of the four selections, the beautifully smooth Crema Catalana Cremada ($10) and the Peras al Vino Tinto y Chocolate Caliente (poached pear in red wine) with chocolate sauce ($12), both desserts were outstanding!

You’ll find a selection of fine Spanish wines as well as Cava to go along with the Spanish tapas, rice and pasta dishes, and you can dine late into the night.

Review By: Richard Wolak

CAVU KITCHEN BAR

5911 Minoru Blvd, Richmond

Tel: 604-232-5001

Web: http://www.cavukitchenbar.com/

Twitter: @CAVUKitchenBar

Advice: Reservations suggested.

 

Nibbles to start

Nibbles to start

With a playful element, Chef Alex Hancock and his team has created an exciting menu filled with dishes that are married with wonderful flavours. I started off with some nibbles on a platter, loved the Carrot Hummus with naan bread for spreading, marinated mushrooms and mixed olives.

Portobello & Onion Melt

Portobello & Onion Melt

Yam Waffle Fries

Yam Waffle Fries

The Lobsta Burger

The Lobsta Burger

The Portobello & Onion Melt was delicious with a foraged Mushroom Puree, aged cheddar, Parmesan on focaccia; the Yam Waffle Fries were spiced served with a kimchi ketchup; and The Lobsta Burger was a stellar burger and makes a bold statement topped with an 8oz beef patty, Atlantic lobster, arugula, mayo and a herbed Mornay on a sesame bun served with house spiced cassava crisps.

Lamb Kofta

Lamb Kofta

Braised Shortrib Cavatappi

Braised Shortrib Cavatappi

Not your traditional Lamb Kofta was delicious, with lamb shank, lamb meatballs, peppers, carrot hummus, mint salad and a lamb jus; the Braised Shortrib Cavatappi was very good with foraged mushrooms, and a delicious tomato jam!

Goats Cheesecake, Pannacotta with blueberries and an outstanding Pumpkin Creme Brûlée.

Goats Cheesecake, Pannacotta with blueberries and an outstanding Pumpkin Creme Brûlée.

For dessert, I had a trio, the lovely Goats Cheesecake, Pannacotta with blueberries and an outstanding Pumpkin Creme Brûlée.

The dinner menu is filled with many exciting dishes, they also serve breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch. I am looking forward to the seasonal changes with Chef Alex Hancock’s creativity at play and returning to taste more.

Review by: Richard Wolak

BESTIE

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105 East Pender, Vancouver

Tel: 604-620-1175

Web: http://bestie.ca/

Twitter: @bestiewurst

Advice: No reservations, late night eats on Friday and Saturday til 1am.

Chinatown Ice Tea

Chinatown Ice Tea

 The Pretzel Board

The Pretzel Board

Pretzel Bread Puddin'

Pretzel Bread Puddin’

Known for their Currywurst this popular eatery features German street food in the heart of Chinatown, it’s a the merging of cultures that makes this eatery hum. In for an early dinner, I had the refreshing Chinatown Ice Tea ($2.50) followed by The Pretzel Board ($9) a large wooden board with a Pretzel, stinky cheesy sauce, a selection of mustards, farmers sausage, Chili smashed cucumber, pickled cabbage, gherkins and Chili onion jam. Then came the delicious dessert which was my original reason for visiting, Pretzel Bread Puddin’ ($5) with cinnamon, raisins, and dolce. De Leche sprinkled with Fleur de sel with a gentle squeeze of orange overtop!

You’ll find a cool room and a menu filled with sausages, fritten, and cheese fries to go along with beer on tap or by the bottle, wine on tap, soda pops, kombucha and ice tea. I can’t wait to return to try their Currywurst!

Review by: Richard Wolak

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