Posts Tagged ‘Communal Table’

GYOZA BAR + RAMEN


gyoza bar review 9

622 West Pender Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-336-5563

Web: http://gyozabar.ca/

Twitter: @GyozaBarRamen

Advice: No Reservations, put your name on the list and come back for your table.

gyoza bar reveiw 10

Elevating the bar, Aburi Restaurants who own this restaurant went about creating a bit of a twist on the traditional gyoza and ramen while raising the bar above many of the more traditional restaurants offering these popular dishes. The room invokes an urban and rustic-elegant feel with its polished concrete, live edge maple, and BC pine beetle wood that complement the existing and timeless brick walls. Part of the kitchen is open to encourage guests to sit at the bar and see their food be prepared. A peek-a-boo window allows those interested to watch fresh ramen be prepared.

Orchard Fizz

Orchard Fizz

Miso Tofu Salad

Miso Tofu Salad

Teppan Gyoza

Teppan Gyoza

My friend Sheryl was visiting the city and she joined me for dinner, I started off with the refreshing Orchard Fizz non-alcohol Cocktail made with Yuzu-fig jam, apple juice and soda. We shared the delicious Miso Tofu Salad ($9.50), followed by their signature Teppan Gyoza ($8) an order of 7 (you can get a larger order as well) filled with Fraser Valley Pork served in a cast iron pan.

Miso Beef Short Rib Gyoza

Miso Beef Short Rib Gyoza

Free Range Chicken Broth Ramen with awasa triple miso

Free Range Chicken Broth Ramen with awasa triple miso

 Free Range Chicken Broth Ramen with Mediterranean salt

Free Range Chicken Broth Ramen with Mediterranean salt

The Miso Beef Short Rib Gyoza ($12.50) crispy with feta, cherries, mushrooms, and zucchini, this preparation was outstanding and is the best gyoza I have had here yet.  I then had the Free Range Chicken Broth Ramen with awasa triple miso ($14) while Sheryl had the same Free Range Chicken Broth Ramen with Mediterranean salt ($13.50), the version I went with was richer in flavour. The ramen noodles are handcrafted in-house using a special ramen-making machine and the broths are made from scratch with all-natural flavours and without any MSG.

Ricotta Crepe

Ricotta Crepe

Yuzu Komichi

Yuzu Komichi

For dessert we shared two of them, the Ricotta Crepe ($8) with yuzu-fig jam, and yogurt sorbet and Yuzu Komichi ($8) with cactus pear granita.

You will find sake on tap, along with cocktails, beer and wine. I can’t wait to return for more of the Miso Beef Short Rib Gyoza.

Review by: Richard Wolak

TACOFINO COMMISSARY

tacofino 1

2327 East Hastings, Vancouver

Tel: 604-253-TACO

Web:   http://tacofino.com/

Twitter: @TacofinoCantina

Advice: Community sharing tables, so find a space and share your table.

 Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole

Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole

Tacos: Fish & Squash

Tacos: Fish & Squash

I have been a fan of their fish tacos ever since their food trucks hit the streets in Vancouver, soon after this restaurant opened. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve snuck in on occasion for some take-out. This time around my friend Sophia Cheng joined me for lunch and some delicious eats. We shared the Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole, then I had a couple of tacos ($6 each or 2 for $10), the Fish Taco with a crispy ling cod, cabbage, chipotle mayo, salsa fresca and the seasonal Summer Squash and Potato taco with leek, lacinato kale, cheddar, chili crema, and salsa fresca; Sophia had a Fish Taco as well along with a Pork Jowel taco and a Lime Slushi.

The lunch menu is fairly simple, the dinner menu takes it up a notch with offerings that include Queso and Corn Fritters, Chicken Karaage Tacos, and Tator Tots. There is also a wine, beer, cocktails and spirits on offer, most of all I am looking to return to try the Chocolate Diablo Cookies & Horchata Ice Cream Sandwich!

Review by: Richard Wolak

MOMENTO COFFEE HOUSE

momento 2

577 Great Northern Way, Vancouver

Tel: 604-828-5282

Web: www.momentocoffeehouse.com

Twitter: @momentocoffee

Advice: Check out the private space upstairs for meetings. You’ll want to sit upstairs at the long table.

momento 1

Taking creativity to the next level, their newest café is the star of the new multi-university campus at Great Northern Way. From the colourful sign out front to the colourful numbers on the menu board inside to the cool seating inside the 2 level café, this is a place that has been well thought out. The owners built out most of the café on their own including the beautiful hand made hard wood floors and wood panel walls finished with 100 year old barn wood, everything has a story including the lighting. There are 3 community tables one that is a 10 ft section of a bowling alley converted to a table underpinned with turn of the century radiators, and a 32 foot mezzanine counter facing south.

Espresso Macchiato

Espresso Macchiato

Then comes the coffee, the full on espresso bar features Bows & Arrows Handcrafted coffee, along with the espresso beverage line-up that you know there is also a Flat White and Long Black. You will also find their Pour Over, French Press as well as their popular Louisiana Ice Coffee. The café menu is filled with great eats as well including Empanadas from The Patty Shop, sandwiches, scones, cookies and more. I had my usual Espresso Macchiato, here it was served in a cool short mason glass jar, presentation goes along way and they get it.

Bring your laptop, write a book, or gather your thoughts, and enjoy your East Van Momento experience.

Review by: Richard Wolak

FEAST

feast `

2423 Marine Dr. West Vancouver

Tel: (604) 922-1155

Web: www.feastdining.ca

Twitter: @feastdining

Advice: Reservations needed.

The communal table is the star in this eatery located in Dundarave Village, where Chef Kayla Dhaliwall has created a unique menu for diners to feast. Sharing would be the way to go if you have a friend or two joining. The menu is seafood forward yet does feature other meat and vegetarian dishes, it has an element of fun for foodies to enjoy. Each of the dishes are served on the beautiful black serving dishes which not only look great but are easy for serving. My friend Nikki joined me as we took a whirl sharing some of the dishes while dining at the communal table.

The Avocado & Beet “Fries”

The Avocado & Beet “Fries”

K’s 'FC

K’s ‘FC

English Peas & Foraged Mushrooms

English Peas & Foraged Mushrooms

Squash & Chickpea Curry

Squash & Chickpea Curry

The Avocado & Beet “Fries” ($12) are lightly battered and fried, topped with goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and a citrus gastrique were divine. K’s ‘FC ($22) is a half crispy free run fried chicken served with proper gravy, tender, juicy and delicious. The naming of this dish is a play on words depending of course how you look at it, there take is that it is named after Chef Kayla and it’s her fried chicken. Sides are needed to go along with a dish like this, and we chose the tasty English Peas & Foraged Mushrooms ($9) served in a black iron pot. We also shared the delicious Squash & Chickpea Curry ($22) with forbidden black rice.

Mini Donuts

Mini Donuts

There were only two desserts on offer, and we went with the Mini donuts ($9.99) holy amazing crispy donuts, a bag of home-made mini donuts with caramel and a strawberry sauce a true indulgence! Sharing is a must as there are 20 donuts in the bag.

I am looking forward to a future visit for brunch as they are featuring Chef Kayla’s amazing Chicken & Waffles.

Review by: Richard Wolak

LEAR FAYE ESPRESSO KITCHEN

lear faye 1

2270 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 484-9371

Web: n/a

Twitter: @lear_faye

Advice: Talk to the Baristas and learn more about the fine art of espresso.

lear faye 2

Our coffee scene continues to thrive when cool cafes such as Lear Faye excels in creating community. I wrote my first book about coffee and cafes over 20 years ago in Vancouver, the scene has grown immensely ever since. Owned by brother and sister, Jess and Dolly who both have quite the background in the local coffee movement. This café has further elevated the coffee scene on the drive. The hydra espresso machine is only one of 3 of it’s kind in North America, they welcome baristas who are top notch in their game to come and pull shots and join their community as they create a wider community of patrons.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

Espresso Macchiato

Espresso Macchiato

I loved the wooden handles on the espresso machine, turns out they were custom created locally by Doug Warren who also created some of their other wooden fixtures. The origin of the name Lear Faye is not only derived from both of the owners middle names, but its a celtic family name that means “Of the Meadow Shining Brightly”. I have had the Grilled Cheese ($8) with gruyere & Caramelized Onion on sourdough, with my addition of fig jam and it was delicious. I have also had my usual go to bevy an Espresso Macchiato ($3.50). In addition to a full line-up of espresso beverages, you will also find cream sodas, tea and other drinks. There are custom made sandwiches for breakfast and lunch as well as a selection of baked goods including some gluten-free options.

This is a café you are going to want to visit, another hangout to add to the growing number of great cafes in our city.

Review by: Richard Wolak

CAFÉ AL MERCATO

il mercato 3

2215 Marine Drive, West Vancouver

Tel: 604-922-4334

Web: n/a

Twitter: @CaffeAlMercato

Advice: Sit at the communal table.

il mercato 2

This Italian style café and market is filled with a large selection of fresh baked goods, such as breads, muffins, scones, cakes and cookies as well as an array of freshly made sandwiches, soups, pastas and pizza along with homemade gelato. I loved the long wooden communal table as well as the big windows, coated cement floors on the inside and the red Muskoka chairs on the patio.

 Truffle Mushroom Pizza and the Panzanella Salad

Truffle Mushroom Pizza and the Panzanella Salad

I had the special pizza of the day, Truffle Mushroom Pizza ($4) and the Panzanella Salad ($5) both were delicious and made for a great combo. The café also features Italian inspired coffees, desserts and pastries.

The owners of Mangia E Bevi Ristorante on the South side of the street opened this café directly across the street to welcome the community by day. There is a large deli section featuring fresh cheeses, meats and sauces for cooking at home. Looking forward to a return visit to try one of their desserts.

Review by: Richard Wolak

PLANTOPLANTO

plantoplanto 1

125 East 2nd Street, North Vancouver

Tel: n/a

Web: http://www.plantoplanto.com/

Twitter: @plantonorthvan

Advice: No reservations, check out their Foodie Friday bi-weekly feast.

Fruit Chutney & Brie Sandwich with a Quinoa Salad

Fruit Chutney & Brie Sandwich with a Quinoa Salad

Carrot Juice

Carrot Juice

Iced Tea

Iced Tea

 Gluten-free Carrot Cake

Gluten-free Carrot Cake

Specializing in plant-based foods, this mostly vegetarian café is a great to eat in spot for lunch on the North shore. You’ll love sitting at the high-top shared communal table which I did on my visit. I had their delicious Fruit Chutney & Brie Sandwich with a Quinoa Salad on the side that was full of feta, kale, cranberries and almonds. I also had a Carrot Juice as well as an Iced Tea which was the perfect refreshment to go with the yummy Gluten-free Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing in a jar that I had for dessert.

They offer something awesome for their customers and you can take part, every 2nd Friday for only $10 you can taste all sorts of new dishes, it’s like a foodie feast where you can try their newest creations before they end up on the menu. It’s a chance for you to give them feedback on the dishes you like and perhaps you may suggest a tweak, customer involvement is key and this is a great idea. The menu features a great selection of smoothies and juices along with sandwiches, salads and desserts. I can’t wait to try their Black Bean Chocolate Brownies on my next visit.

Review by: Richard Wolak

PIZZA FABRIKA

pizza fabrika 1

1680 Robson Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604.559.1680

Web: www.pizzafabrika.ca

Twitter: @PizzaFabrika_CA

Advice: Have a seat at the communal table if you are dining solo.

Dukkah

Dukkah

SPUD Pizza

SPUD Pizza

Duck Pizza

Duck Pizza

The most recent in the new wave of pizzerias is spot on, stepping up my love for pizza to another level with their chewy golden crust. Owned by restaurateur brothers Stephen and Michael Wiese these guys know that the secret is in the crust. It’s a simple affair here, serving up 8 pizza pies on the get go, perhaps more will be added to the stellar line-up down the road. Their crust is a yeast-leavened sourdough created via time-honoured kneading techniques. The tomato sauce is made from D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and Kosher salt, and the Fabrika cheese blend which you will see noted on the menu is a balance of full fat Canadian Mozzarella and Danish Fontina. I started off with the Dukkah ($6.50) crushed delicious blend of toasted hazelnuts & aromatic spices with EVOO & warm bread sticks. Then it was on to the pizza, the seriously good, SPUD Pizza ($16) which stole my heart, it was outstanding with sliced potatoes, oven roasted rosemary, fresh garlic, Grana Padano, red onion, cauliflower purée. I also had the Duck Pizza ($18) with Duck prosciutto, fresh pea shoots, and Fabrika cheese blend.

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Blueberry Lemon Curd

Blueberry Lemon Curd

Noting that you may want something sweet to end your meal, they have a couple of desserts on rotation in glass jars to eat-in or take to go, I had the Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse and Blueberry Lemon Curd on my visit. The restaurant is licensed and they have a selection of craft beer along with wines on offer. I can’t wait for a return visit for more of that heavenly SPUD Pizza.

Review by: Richard Wolak

THE JUICE TRUCK CAFÉ

juice truck cafe 1

28 W 5th Ave, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 719-8861

Web: www.thejuicetruck.ca

Twitter: @juicetruck

Advice: Have a seat at the communal sharing table.

juice truck cafe 2

As one of the juice movers and shakers, The Juice Truck’s founders Ryan Slater and Zach Berman started the ball rolling a few years ago with their bright pink mobile truck. They were one of the first purveyors of the city’s first cold pressed juice, now they have grown and added a juice bar café. The storefront houses a large new production facility for nutritionist-approved cold pressed juices, ready-to-go cleanse packages and smoothies, a community space, and a juice bar and café.

juice truck cafe 3

 

juice truck cafe 4

The interior design is by Glasfurd and Walker with brightly coloured walls, playful fruit-inspired art and wallpaper, a fruity bathroom, and custom lighting by Gamala create a fun and inviting space for the community.

The Remedy

The Remedy

Hearty Salad

Hearty Salad

The Sushi

The Sushi

I have been a fan of their juices and smoothies for quite some time, happily you can get the ones that you loved at the truck in the café. I had The Remedy juice with Pineapple pressed with cucumber, kale, mint & ginger; along with one of their Hearty Salads that was filled with vegetables and grains along with a delicious garlicy dressing and The Sushi that is made with parsnip rice. In addition to their juices and smoothies, the café features grab-and-go meals, breakfast and lunch—think breakfast bowls and salads, and energy-boosting, indulgent snacks. Raw, gluten-free and vegan options abound, the retail space shelves are also stocked with superfoods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and custom made tinctures, plus The Juice Truck cold pressed bottled juices to take home.

Review by: Richard Wolak

NOOK

nook kits 1

1525 Yew Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-734-3381

Web: http://nookrestaurant.ca/

Twitter: @Nookvancouver

Advice: No reservations.

 

Peach Soda

Peach Soda

Baked Ricotta

Baked Ricotta

Baby Dutch Pancake

Baby Dutch Pancake

I have always been drawn to Italian restaurants, with no Italian ancestry that I know of, it is a cuisine that I have loved. It’s approachable to most, flavourful dishes, and simple ingredients, at Nook’s original location they have been serving up delicious eats since opening. Nook #2 is their latest and they have done a fine job, there is a beautiful communal table on one side where I sat, and then there is seating on the other side, great ambiance and people watching to be had. I started off my brunch with a refreshing Peach Soda, then indulged in their Baked Ricotta ($10) with drizzled Honey and blacked pepper, a delicious dish that takes ricotta to another level. Next was the delicious Baby Dutch Pancake with roasted apples and mascarpone cream in a caramel sauce.

Their brunch menu which is only available at their Kitsilano location is fairly simple, you will find some starters, skillets, some specialities as well as their line-up of amazing pizzas. There is also wine, beer, and cocktails with or without liquor. I’m looking forward to my next visit to this Italian eatery near the beach, for their Meatball Sandwich.

Review by: Richard Wolak

BUFALA PIZZERIA

bufala pizzeria 1

5395 West Boulevard, Vancouver

Tel: 604-267-7499

Web: n/a

Twitter: @bufalayvr

Advice: The bottles of complimentary oils are unmarked, vegetarians should ask which one is the ham oil to avoid.

Gnocchi

Gnocchi

Pesto & Ricotta Pizza

Pesto & Ricotta Pizza

Finocchiona

Finocchiona

As a pizza lover, I yearn to try each new place that is a purveyor of the pie. Known restaurateurs James Iranzad and Josh Pape are behind this new neighborhood eatery that is bound to re-energize the Kerrisdale dining scene. It’s got a casual, rustic vibe with a 20 seater communal table for the single folk or small families to share in the centre of the room, comfy booths lining the side and cool décor. My friend and fellow writer Tara Lee joined me for dinner last night to try a couple of pies and an appy. We shared the Gnocchi ($15) which was a small bowl of polenta gnocchi with braised oxtail, English peas, mint, asparagus, and goat cheese for our appetizer. Then it was into the Neapolitan style pizza pies where the bianco won our hearts over the rosso, it was the delicious Pesto & Ricotta Pizza ($14) that stole the show so to speak, topped with basil pesto, fresh ricotta, pine nuts, grana padano, bianco; we also had the Finocchiona ($19) fennel sausage, smoked castelvetrano olives, caramelized onion, smoked provolone, and marinara.

The menu offers a selection of appetizers, as well has several specialty pizzas, some bianco (white sauce) and others rosso (red sauce), there are also a few desserts, cocktails, wine and beer. A selection of complimentary bottles of oil line each table for drizzling on your pizza, my favourite was the oregano followed by the parmesan, there is also a ham oil and a chili oil. I’d be curious to try the desserts next time around as well as brunch once it begins.

Review by: Richard Wolak

WILDEBEEST

wildebeest 1

120 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604 687 6880.

Web: http://wildebeest.ca/

Twitter: @WildebeestYVR

Advice: Reservations suggested, late night solo visit shouldn’t need a reso.

Angus Beef Short Rib

Angus Beef Short Rib

Pear Mousse

Pear Mousse

Since I’ve known of this eatery being a spot for carnivores, it was one that took me far too long to visit, I did just that recently to partake in meat. This is what they do well, they do all the butchery on site for the animals that they serve which for the most part are locally raised. They support as much of the local farmers as they can for their produce. Dining here is a gastronomic experience and one that is finely executed. I had one dish in mind  to try and ended up ordering a couple, very impressed by the level of excellent service, the wonderful ambiance and I enjoyed watching the chefs at play in their open kitchen.  I had the outstanding slow-cooked natural Angus Beef Short Rib ($25) with salt-baked beets, hay jus, smoked salt as I had my eye on this dish. I then skipped right to dessert, to indulge in the delicious Pear Mousse ($9) chocolate sorbet, chewy pear, dehydrated chocolate mousse, salted caramel.

Although the menu is meat heavy, you will also find fish and vegetarian dishes as well that are plated with the same precision. The cocktail line-up is crafted by co-owner barstar Josh Pape. I’m looking forward to another visit perhaps next time for brunch.

Review by: Richard Wolak

PAPPAROTI

papa roti 1

1505 Robson St., Vancouver

Tel: 604-336-2867

Web: www.papparoti.ca

Twitter: @PappaRotiCanada

Advice: Order at the espresso bar.

papa roti 2

Known all over Asia and the Middle East, this is their first location in Canada, the café opened recently featuring their buttery, coffee-caramel coated buns. It’s an almost around the clock baking process for the twice baked buns which are baked fresh throughout the day. The café is large and spacious, with a nice wooden communal table in the centre.

Coffee Bun

Coffee Bun with caramel

Coronation Chicken Sandwich

Coronation Chicken Sandwich

orange juice

orange juice

Espresso Macchiato

Espresso Macchiato

Since it is all about the buns, I enjoyed my Coffee Bun with the caramel topping which is served on the side. There are all sorts of other toppings available including Cream Cheese, Local Organic Jams, Fresh Fruit, Nutella, Kaya, Maple Syrup, Honey, Whipped Cream, Ice Cream, Dark or Chocolate. On another visit I had the Coronation Chicken Sandwich which is made for them by Chef Tony Marzo, I have also had a fresh squeezed orange juice as well as an Espresso Macchiato.

You’ll find the usual range of espresso beverages made with JJ Bean, a selection of cold drinks with the star attraction being the coffee buns.

Review by: Richard Wolak

BEYOND BREAD

beyond bread 1

3686 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

Tel: 604-733-3931

Web: http://beyondbread.ca/

Twitter: @bbbcafe

Advice: Check out their website for oven times for your favourite breads.

Apple & Brie Sandwich

Apple & Brie Sandwich

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

Espresso Macchiato

Espresso Macchiato

Known for their outstanding breads, this artisan bakery and café is more than just bread. With a communal table and seating in the café they are serving a wide variety of unique sandwiches on their house-baked breads. I have visited a few times after discovering their bread which I had at The Farmer’s Apprentice. I absolutely loved the Apple & Brie Sandwich on the Fig & Walnut Bread with crisp organic apple, double brie organic greens and local honey drizzle; along with the Grilled Cheese melted aged cheddar between slices of grilled garlic potato bread. I have also had an Espresso Macchiato.

There are some amazing sandwiches, soups, baked goods that include croissants, scones and muffins along with a full line-up of espresso based and other beverages. Then there is the outstanding bread which sells out fast each day, so I would suggest that you get there early or call them to put a hold on your favourite loaf.

Review by: Richard Wolak

YALETOWN DISTILERY KITCHEN & BAR

yaletown distillery 1

1131 Mainland Street, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 669-2255

Web: http://www.mjg.ca/yaletown-distillery/

Twitter: @YTdistilling

Advice: The distillery is in the back of the lounge, dining room with cool communal table is on the restaurant side.

photo 5 (33)

The open kitchen provides for a great view in to watch the chefs at play, and the long communal table is the star of this warmly decorated room where I sat for my solo dinner. Above the communal table are the most unique light fixtures which look like salad straining bowls, a very cool and unique touch.

Fried Provolone Cheese

Fried Provolone Cheese

Baked Cornetti peppers

Baked Cornetti peppers

Veal Scaloppini

Veal Scaloppini

Started off with the Fried Provolone Cheese ($9.95) in a delicious marinara sauce with balsamic onions, olive oil and balsamic and cherry tomatoes; next I tried the Baked Cornetti Peppers ($11.95), stuffed with sausage, pinenuts & raisins. I then indulged in the Veal Scaloppini ($22.95), marsala wine sauce with mushrooms and spaghetti pomodoro so good, so big!

Olive Oil Gelato

Olive Oil Gelato

Cannoli’s

Cannoli’s

For dessert, why have one when you can have two and both of these looked so good. First the outstanding, house-made Olive Oil Gelato ($3) drizzled with olive oil; followed by the Cannoli’s ($3) ricotta filled to end my meal.

The vast menu offers a large selection of starters, flatbreads, pastas, salads, sandwiches and mains. I am looking to return soon to try their weekend brunch.

Review by: Richard Wolak

BASHO CAFÉ

basho 1

2007 E. Hastings Street, Vancouver

Tel: 604-428-6276

Web: http://bashocafe.com/

Twitter: @BashoCafe

Advice: closed Monday and Tuesday.

basho 2

I love cafes that mix the owners heritage which in this case is Japanese. On the edge of East Village this family-run cafe is headed by Hiroshi and Miju Kawai, and their daughter, Moeno who have created a cozy paradise. The star of the warmly decorated 16 seat room is the communal table for customers to share. The family welcomes everyone to their place “Basho” where they have made most of the furniture and pottery themselves.

Tray of snacks

Tray of snacks

I visited over the weekend for some afternoon snacks, served to me on a tray, each snack which I had ordered individually was delightful. My favourite was the delicious and moist Matcha White Chocolate Brownie ($2), I also had a Matcha Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie ($1.75) and a Gomai Miso Cookie ($ .50) to go along with the Espresso Macchiato ($3) made with hand-picked, organic coffee beans from Handworks Coffee Studio.

The menu offers the usual espresso beverages as well as a large assortment of house-baked Japanese inspired treats, most are miniature in size which are similar in size to what you would find in Japan. You will also find some unique dishes for lunching such as the Tuna Tataki which I can’t wait to try on my next visit.

Review by: Richard Wolak

TIMBERTRAIN COFFEE

timbertrain 1

311 West Cordova Street, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 915-9188

Web: http://timbertraincoffeeroasters.com/

Twitter: @Timbertrain

Advice: Communal tables for sharing.

Espresso Macchiato

Espresso Macchiato

Morning Glory Muffin

Morning Glory Muffin

I am purist when it comes to coffee, consistent flavour profile matters when roasters open their own cafes. Enter Timbertrain founded by Kevin, Min and Peter who have set up their own roastery in Langley to supply their Gastown café along with others down the road. The café features a unique set-up of communal sharing tables which maximizes the space and perhaps it’s a spot where you will engage and meet others from the neighborhood. I have been in a couple of times already having my go to bevy which is an Espresso Macchiato ($3.25) which I loved, last time I tried one of their Morning Glory Muffins. The menu is simple with a line-up of classic espresso based beverages as well as a pour-over coffee bar, there is also a changing selection of baked goods.

The café is stylish as are the guys behind the bar!

Review by: Richard Wolak

SHANTIS CURRIES

shanti 1 4191 Main St, Vancouver

Tel: 604-568-7699

Web: http://shantiscurries.com/

Twitter: @ShantisCurries

Advice: Communal tables for sharing. No reservations. Bring your own wine (they provide the glasses. And if you can’t finish the bottle they will re-cork it and seal it for you to take home).

Samosa Chaat

Samosa Chaat

Malabar Fish Curry

Malabar Fish Curry

Inspired by the food they grew up eating at home, co-owners Danila and Sonny have created a menu of delicious eats based on the recipes Danila’s mom Shanti cooked. It’s a wonderful place that is bright, sustainable and provokes sharing tables with others and perhaps conversation. I had the Samosa Chaat ($9) potato, peas, chutneys, yogurt, onion & cilantro made with 2 delicious samosas; I also had the outstanding Malabar Fish Curry ($15) with ling cod and a delicious sweet and spicy curry that was served with Non-GMO white basmati rice.

You will find an array of curries from chicken, beef and fish to vegetarian, along with samosas, raita and more, they are licensed with beer and ciders, and of course there is chai which is house-made.

Review by: Richard Wolak

33 ACRES BEER LOUNGE

photo 1 (59)

15 W 8th Ave, Vancouver

Tel: 604 620 4589

Web: http://33acresbrewing.com/

Twitter: @33Acres

Advice: Food Trucks parked in front change often, watch twitter for daily updates.

photo 2 (60)

Off the beaten track, on the edge of False Creek and close to Olympic Village, sits a very cool new tasting lounge with a large communal table, a bar with seating and a gift shop. You can get glasses of 33 Acres beer on tap, coffee, waffles on weekends, a range of snacks and ice cream daily. You will also find a food trucks parked out front for you to purchase larger meals which you can eat inside the lounge.

Gingerbread Waffles

Gingerbread Waffles

33 Acres of Malt Ice Cream & 33Acres Melaco

33 Acres of Malt Ice Cream & 33Acres Melaco

This is a very cool spot to hang out, I have been in a couple of times, on the first visit I am pretty sure I shocked the server as I wasn’t in for a beer, it was a late Saturday brunch and I was in for the outstanding Gingerbread Waffles ($7.50) served with orange butter and maple syrup. My next visit was on Saturday night pairing 33 Acres of Malt Ice Cream ($4) (made for them by Earnest Ice Cream) paired with the 33Acres Melaco ($2.50 6oz glass) (Robust Porter).

If you are looking for a place to hangout, eat some great snacks, enjoy a beer or not, this is a go to place you are going to love!

Review by: Richard Wolak

PIZZA CARANO

photo 1 (57)

4241 Fraser St, Vancouver

Tel: 604-877-1270

Web: http://www.pizzacarano.com/

Twitter: @PizzaCarano

Advice: Closed Sunday/Monday. Limited seating. No Alcohol .

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As my ongoing quest for pizza continues, this shiner sits on the border of both Riley Park and Kensington-Cedar Cottage in East Van. Specializing in thin crust pizza with quite an array of show stopping toppings, the regular menu is fairly simple, the specials throw a curve ball and best of all customers delight. I like the fresh herbs growing in front of the kitchen for chefs to easily garnish the pizzas. It’s a fairly small room, with steel tables and stools and a nice communal table for sharing.

Sausage and Roasted Fennel Pizza

Sausage and Roasted Fennel Pizza

I had the very good, Sausage and Roasted Fennel Pizza ($15) with a delicious white sauce, ground sausage, fennel, fior di latte and arugula. Keep an eye out for their new special pizzas by following them on instagram and twitter. I am watching as I can’t wait to try their Spicy Coconut Kale Pizza.

Review by: Richard Wolak

CUCHILLO

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261 Powell St, Vancouver

Tel: (604) 559-7585

Web: http://www.cuchillo.ca/

Twitter: @CuchilloYVR

Advice: Bring a friend or two and share dishes. Reservations suggested.

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Off the beaten track, hidden away in Railtown is a gem that is already packed most nights with diners yearning for Latin American cuisine, personally I love the range of flavours and spices merging  from the Latin American cultures. Chef Stu Irving loves creating dishes that are latin inspired offering diners flavours and an adventure. His former restaurant Cobre guided our palates and now his new restaurant with partner John Cooper takes us on another exciting culinary journey.

Chipotle y Sea Salt Dusted Fry Bread

Chipotle y Sea Salt Dusted Fry Bread

 Local Albacore Tuna y Pipian Rojo

Local Albacore Tuna y Pipian Rojo

Corn Bread Azul

Corn Bread Azul

I have been in twice for dinner over the past month; I loved the Chipotle y Sea Salt Dusted Fry Bread ($6) which bodes well for sharing. The Local Albacore Tuna y Pipian Rojo ($13) with Peruvian double smoked bacon causa was superb, as was the Corn Bread Azul ($7) with Guajillo chili butter which gave it a nice heat kick.

Mole Lamb Albondigas

Mole Lamb Albondigas

Bison Ribeye Broil

Bison Ribeye Broil

Dulce de Leche with Churros

Dulce de Leche with Churros

The outstanding Mole Lamb Albondigas ($8) sardo parmesan browned are topped with garlic popcorn. Another outstanding dish was the Bison Ribeye Broil ($21) walnut manchego tostadas, topped with green apple chimichurri and valdeon cauliflower mash, the dessert menu boasts only one but divine creation, the outstanding rich Dulce de Leche ($8) with Churros.

The wine list is made up of wine from BC, Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina to marry the flavours of Latin America, Spain and the local ingredients found in our region. The cocktails list is creative as well and you will find an extensive range of tequila and mezcal. The servers are knowledgeable on the food and drink offerings, leave it to them to be your guide.

Review by: Richard Wolak

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