vancouver « Vancouver Bits and Bites Blog

By: Mary In Vancity  09-12-2011
Keywords: Restaurant

Posted: November 27, 2011 | |

We started with The Prosciutto Marinato e Arancia (marinated Italian ham, with garlic, thyme, oranges and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil).

Image credit: Sean Neild

The Prosciutto was delicious! The ham melted in my mouth. And the flavour was exquisite. Great way to start our meal.

Each table is presented with delicious Foccacia bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil upon arrival. It’s very good bread. La Rocca also offers $10 off bottles of wine every Wednesday, so Sean and I shared a bottle of a lovely Italian Pinot Grigio.

Image credit: Sean Neild

We were feeling pretty good by now,and we were ready for our next course: The Fettuccine con Gamberi (Fettuccine Alfredo with large Tiger Prawns). The cream sauce was fantastic. So thick and creamy beyond belief. The prawns were succulent and juicy. A very good combination. This was my favourite dish of the night.

image credit: Sean Neild

Our next course was the Pollo Ripieno al Marsala (chicken breast stuffed with sundried tomatoes and basil, topped with Marsala wine sauce and served with a wedge of grilled Radiccio Rosso) The sweetness of the chicken and sundried tomato combination was perfectly paired with the bitterness of the Radiccio. Delicious! My only complaint was there wasn’t more of it!

Image credit: Sean Neild

 For our final course, we had the Homemade Tiramisu ( cake soaked in Espresso,  with a Mascarpone cheese mousse, topped with a dusting of cocoa and sugar). The Tiramisu came paired with a few chocolate covered espresso beans, it was a nice touch.

Posted: November 23, 2011 | |

Dunn’ s is famous for their Montreal Smoked Meat. The restaurant still follows Myer Dunn’s  unique recipes and standards, in keeping with the Dunn’s Famous traditions.

I came here for lunch on a Sunday, and the place was packed. I was sat promptly by a friendly hostess.

Their menu has a large variety of items: anything from burgers, hotdogs, and pastas; even all day breakfasts.

I decided to try out the Super Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich ($10.99) and for $3.50 I substituted the fries for the poutine Quebecoise. Sandwiches come with mustard, and a side of coleslaw with a dill pickle. You can order your sandwich with lean, medium or fat beef brisket. I ordered mine lean.

The sandwich came piled high with meat. The beef brisket was perfectly seasoned with black pepper. In retrospect, I should’ve ordered the sandwich with a little more fat on the meat, as the brisket was very flakey and a little too lean. Still delicious! Also the coleslaw was made of vinegar instead of the creamy variety, which I really liked.

The sandwich doesn’t come toasted, but you can ordered it that way if you like. Another thing I wish I would’ve done, as the weight of the sandwich made a mess out of my bread.

The poutine was very good. The fries were well cooked without being too oily. There was a lot of cheese curds and gravy. The portion was a tad small for $3.50, so I think it’s better to order a side of poutine instead if dining with another person.
There are many poutines to order from: The Dunn’s that comes with cheese curds, special gravy and Montreal smoked meat, The Italian, which is meat sauce and cheese curds, as well as a vegetarian version of the Montreal favourite.

Posted: November 19, 2011 | | Tags:, , , |

The American Cheesesteak Co. is a new restaurant concept by Celebrity Chef Anthony Sedlak. It is Vancouver’s first restaurant dedicated to creating authentic Philadelphia style cheesesteak, as well as speciality version of this American Classic.

The restaurant has a great vibe, from its modern stainless steel fixtures to the patio facing Davie St.  The food is ultimate comfort food: delicious, freshly cooked prime rib, smothered in savoury cheeses, all stuffed in their in-house baked rolls. The portions are huge! The sandwiches come in two sizes, regular and large. Trust me when I tell you that the regular is plenty. Sandwiches range from $8 to $22.

Anthony is no stranger to what Vancouverites want – he himself being a proud Vancouverite. One of his first jobs was as a busboy at Lupin’s Cafe on Grouse Mountain.

I was here for their media event and had a chance to try out a lot of their menu items: Let’s start with The Chicken Milanese (breaded chicken breast with sauteed mushrooms, onions, green peppers, fontina cheese in a roasted tomato sauce). The crispy chicken gives this sandwich a satisfying crunch, and the tomato sauce is tangy perfection. Loved the choice of cheese.

One of the most popular menu items is The Cowboy (shaved prime rib, crispy fried onions, homemade spicy BBQ house, bacon mayo and aged cheddar cheese). The meat was juicy and tender, and there was LOTS of it. The BBQ sauce is fantastic.

The New Yorker (shaved prime rib, sauteed mushrooms and peppers, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and roasted garlic mayo). This was a fantastic sandwich. Great mix of ingredients and the lettuce and tomato gives it a nice fresh taste. This one was my favourite of the night.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, try The Good Earth - sauteed portobello and forest mushrooms with roasted red peppers, sauteed onions, crumbled feta and pesto mayo.

The American Cheesesteak Co. Also makes fantastic side dishes, like their ACC Fries (hand cut, double cooked fries, tossed with garlic, parsley and parmesan cheese), Onion rings and salads, as well as ice cream shakes and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. The milkshakes are fantastic! They are also licensed.

Posted: November 13, 2011 | | Tags:, , , , |

Abigail’s Party is located in the heart of Kits. A block away from the water. It’s a lovely location. The restaurant has a sunken dining room, and huge windows. It seats about 20-25 people, so not so great for large parties.  It also has a patio for the summer. It was raining cats and dogs when we visited, so inside we went:

Abigail’s Party uses only organic, free range eggs and are members of Ocean Wise. The more I eat out, the more important these things are to me. It’s good to see more and more businesses caring about the environment. Also free range eggs look better, haven’t you noticed that? The yolks are brighter and they taste better too! Personally, I don’t mind spending a couple of more bucks for quality like that.

I found the staff here to be very friendly and helpful. It was my server’s recommendation that I ordered the mood swing, and I am glad that I did!.

All scrambles come with their homemade hash browns, (which are really more like homemade potato wedges) and large slices of multigrain toast. Lots of food.

So thanks again, Mr. Pang, for not steering us wrong. Abigail’s Party is definitely one of Vancouver’s must-try brunch destinations.

Posted: November 10, 2011 | | Tags:, , , |

131 is located on Water Street between Abbott and Cambie. This restaurant features two dining levels and a patio facing the street.

This place serves good pub food – wings, poutine, fish and chips, etc. They also have a decent cocktail and beer list. I’ve been there a couple of times to watch the Canucks game, and everytime it has been great.

A couple of things they are noted for are: Their fish and chips ($9.95) - beer battered haddock fish, hand-cut fries, coleslaw and tartar.

Poutine ($8.95) - hand-cut fries, crisp bacon, house-made gravy, cheese curds & spring onions. This was so decadent and good! I loved the crispy bacon bits, a must for any poutine lover!

Dry ribs ($8.95) - meaty ribs tossed with sea salt, cilantro, green onions & bbq.

Chicken wings ($10.95) - free run chicken with your choice of buffalo, bbq, or salt & pepper with celery & blue cheese dip. The wings rocked my world, simply succulent. You have to try the wings.

Posted: November 6, 2011 | | Tags:, , , |

Chef David Hawksworth’s new Bel Cafe is located inside the Georgia Hotel on West Georgia St. This fantastic new eatery gets its inspiration from the boulangeries of Paris.    

The space is wonderful! Lots of chrome and wood accents gives this Cafe a fantastic modern feel, Orchids on the tables and white linen napkins give it an air of sophistication and class. This is a great place to enjoy a break from shopping or meet a friend for a latte.        

The menu has an assortment of pastries and light meals, as well as some breakfast items. We started with a couple of sandwiches:

The Confit Albacore Tuna ($10.60). Delicious tuna with celeriac remoulade, fine herbes and crispy romaine. The tuna was very light tasting, overall a delightful sandwich.

Bel Cafe has a fantastic menu of pastries and macaroons. Their macaroons are to die for! So perfectly flaky and chewy. We tried each of them! They have six flavours: Black Sesame and Yuzu – very interesting combination! The sesame taste was very prominent in the beginning, but after a couple of bites the zesty taste of the yuzu come thru.  Dark Chocolate - creamy, dark and delicious.

We also sampled some of their amazing desserts! Each cost $6.20. My favourite was the Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, Vanilla. This dessert has a lovely flaky crust and the mousse was creamy, with a fantastic raspberry centre. 

They have a fantastic Classic Cheesecake - not too creamy, with a tasty Graham cookie crust. Also they have a  White Chocolate, Kalamanzi, Coconut if you’re on the mood for something refreshingly delicious!

Posted: November 6, 2011 | | Tags:, , , |

The Cheers Ebisu packaged included the Chikuwa Cheese - deep fried fish cake stuffed with melted mozzarella cheese, Cajun Tuna Tacos - seared fresh tuna & shredded mixed salad dressed with the house ginger sauce, Tiger Mayo - deep fried Black Tiger prawns with sweet chili mayonnaise dip, Kansai Steak Sliders - sauteed sliced beef marinated in yakiniku sauce sandwiched with avocado, onions, mushrooms & mayo, Chicken Karaage - deep fried boneless chicken, Thunder Fries-  fresh house-cut fried sweet potato sticks served with cajun dip, and 1 pitcher of PREMIUM SAPPORO DRAFT. 

Oh boy, was that gyoza ever good! succulent pork filling with a juicy prawn middle. It was served with a tangy gyoza sauce. Gorgeous presentation. Our volcano roll looked fantastic, but it wasn’t very spicy.

Some of the highlights of the Cheers Ebisu package were the Kansai Steak Sliders. These tiny burgers are delicious, and the steak is marinated in a yakiniku sauce.

Another great menu item was the Chicken Karaage – unlike other Karaage that I’ve tasted, this one was boneless and not greasy at all! It was so good!

Tuna Tacos: Very light tasting, the shelf breaks quite easily and the Japanese caviar on top is a nice touch.

The staff at Ebisu were fantastic. Our server, Cliff, was very attentive. They also have TVs all around the restaurant, so you can watch the game when the Canucks are playing! what is not to love?

Posted: November 5, 2011 | | Tags:, , , |

The 100 mile menu at Raincity grill consists of all BC ingredients that have been found within 100 miles of the restaurant. They were one of the very first restaurants to embrace the movement. It features sustainable and seasonal meats and seafoods.

We purchased a Groupon for their 100 mile menu. I’ve always been a fan of tasting menus, as you get to sample a larger variety of the restaurant’s cuisine and is more affordable than purchasing each dish a la carte. The downside? smaller (and in this case, much, much smaller) portions.

The Groupon was $80 for two people and we opted to have the wine paring as well for an extra $40 per person.

We started with the North Arm Farm Beetroot Salad It came with a small goat cheese cannelloni, and hazelnut mulch. The beets were perfect, and the nuts gave this dish a satisfying crunch. We had the Sumac Ridge brut with this dish. Delicious!

Secondly we had the Salt Spring Island Clams in a garlic, white wine and celery sauce. For an extra $6 we ordered the french fries, and I do recommend getting them. Sean chose the butter squash soup instead, it was deliciously creamy.

Following that course, we had the Fraser Valley Duck Proscuitto with endive salad in an averill creek blackberry gastrique.

The duck is cured in-house, and it taste just like proscuitto.

For our main dish we had the Fraser valley Roast Pork with smoked potato fondant, braised red cabbage and apple-chardonnay jus. This was my favourite dish of the night, and I would highly recommend it! The pork was juicy and tender and very flavourful.

The potatoes were cooked to perfection and the sweetness of the apple-chardonnay jus was a delightful combination. Great dish.

We also had the Farmhouse Cheese Platter with cheddar and alpine gold cheeses. Now the menu said this dish was for two. But really wasn’t – there were two small pieces of cheese, barely enough for one person.

For dessert, we had the Plum and Apple Semifreddo. This is a semi-frozen Italian dessert made with whipped cream and gelato. yum, so good.

Overall, I think everyone should experience the 100 mile menu at least once.

Would I try another tasting menu here? probably not. The portions were much too small, and even with the Groupon discount, our meal came to about $160. The wine pairing was touch and go, some of the wines were perfect with our food, some completely missed the mark.

The RainCity Grill is Zagat rated – you can check them out

Posted: November 2, 2011 | |

On Denman St, a little off Robson, you’ll find True Confections.

This dessert restaurant has been a West End staple as long as I can remember, and the place is always packed, specially later in the night. They don’t take reservations, so come early! This is a fantastic place for a first date or to catch up with an old friend.

They specialize in all things desserts: cakes, pies, tarts and espresso drinks. They are also fully licensed. They also have takeout and if a whole cake is what you’re looking for, they can accommodate that.

There are a few things that you must try when you’re here,  a few things that they’re famous for: The Chocolate Banana Cream Pie ($6.50) is legendary. I’ve been having that for years, and every year is still the same, decadent, delicious pie. I love the flaky crust and the creamy filling topped with fresh bananas. This one is a must try. Another good one is the Devil’s Food Cake ($8.75) comes with marshmallow frosting and it’s a nice big portion. So good!

We also shared another one of my favourites: the English trifle. It has delicious vanilla cake, sherry, vanilla custard and fresh fruit, served with whipped cream. You can really taste the sherry.

One thing I will comment on: I used to come here all the time, when I lived on Robson St., but now I find that the portions have become a bit smaller and the prices have gone up.  My trifle is half the size it used to be. Yet, they’re still compatible with other restaurants.

Posted: November 1, 2011 | | Tags:, , , |

El Taco has three locations in BC: Davie St in Vancouver, White Rock and Nelson BC.

This was one of the original taco joints in Vancouver. They opened their Davie St. location in 2006. Committed to good environmental practices, they use  green packaging for their food.  They choose suppliers who are local and community-based wherever possible.

The food here is pretty tasty and fairly original. And cheap! Most meals are under $10. They have decent portions. We started with the nachos. For $11.50, this dish had plenty of toppings. Beans, jalapenos, cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole. Pretty tasty way to start our meal.

My favourite part of my meal was dessert – I had the flan. Holy cow – I was in Mexican custard heaven. Flan has a tendency to be a tad runny, but this one was thick and creamy and delicious. With a hint of orange. It was fantastic and an excellent way to end our meal!

I think that the food at El Taco is pretty good and also fairly authentic, but I gotta say, with places like Salsa and Agave and La Taqueria raising the bar, restaurants like this can’t rest on their laurels. They might’ve been the spot to go to for Mexican food back in the day, but not anymore. There are a lot of excellent Mexican food restaurants in Vancouver now, and we have more options than ever before.

That being said, they have a good menu, and their food is very, very affordable. There were five of us for dinner and our bill came to about $60. That’s unheard of in Vancouver.

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: Restaurant

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