Tag Archives: South Granville

Photo Visit – Bob Likes Thai (Fairview) – April 2013

9 Apr

1521 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3G6

T: 604 558 3320
www.boblikesthaifood.com

With so many recent restaurant closures in Vancouver it is uplifting to see a restaurant that is expanding, rather than closing. Bob Likes Thai opened their original location on Main street in 2010. Following their success in that location, they quietly opened their Fairview location at the end of last year in the space that once housed Go Fish 2, and prior to that, Bin 942. This location seems to be a tricky one – lots of people coming and going but they are not necessarily looking for somewhere to eat. Having said that, there were a few other diners in there with us on Sunday night.

Miang Kham – $7Pad Pik King Chicken – $13Pad Si-ew – $13Caramelized pineapple – $5

It has been my experience, at this location and the original, that the food is good but not necessarily rave-worthy. I think it is a decent spot for Thai (in a city with few worthy options) and it is quite affordable but it wouldn’t be my first choice for Thai.

I was a little disappointed with the Miang Kham, which is a snack dish that translates into “eating many things in one bite”, at this location. I have eaten the same dish at the Main street restaurant and found them to be fresh-tasting and bursting with flavour. The ones we had on Sunday were covered in a sweet sauce which, unfortunately, drowned out the other flavours. The Pad Pik King Chicken was good but I would have liked to have seen some more noodles in the Pad Si-Ew. The Caramelized Pineapple with vanilla ice cream was simple and tasty. Bob Likes Thai hit the spot for a quick and cheap dinner on a Sunday night.

Bob Likes Thai Food on Urbanspoon

Beaucoup Bakery

3 Jan

2150 Fir Street
Vancouver, BC
V6J 3B5

T: 604 732 4222
www.beaucoupbakery.com

Brief Description: A small, chic bakery located at Fir and West 6th that offers freshly baked exquisite pastries, such as croissants, chocolate éclairs, and chausson aux pommes. Don’t bother monitoring calories here.

Whilst almost everyone that I know spent December waiting for Christmas, I spent December patiently waiting for the opening of a new bakery in town, Beaucoup Bakery. And finally, on December 21st, with permits approved, Beaucoup opened its doors and I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’ve made it pretty clear that I love bakeries and baked goods so of course I was excited to finally get to sample some of the products that I have seen Beaucoup’s owner, Jackie Ellis, tweeting over the past few months. Tantalizing images of treats like cinnamon scrolls, Valrhona chocolate chip cookies, pine nut praline croissant,  and salted caramel brownies have been filling my Twitter feed for months so I was there as fast as I could to devour some calories!

As with any bakery, I’d suggest getting there early. By doing so, you won’t miss out on items that sell out fast and the pastries are fresher having just come out of the oven. Seating inside the small café is quite limited and it is a tight spot but if you can grab a seat inside, I’d recommend it. Alternatively, you can get your pastries to-go. The space is in a convenient location for those that live on the west side – it is close to South Granville, Granville Island, and West 4th Avenue. The interior has been carefully decorated by Jackie who, with her graphic design background, has kept it minimal but stylish. Baskets of freshly baked pastries and loaves of brioche line the wall behind the counter, whilst a big chalkboard that prompts pastry-lovers to write their bucket-list goals, and some elegant plates, act as art work along other walls.

Jackie’s story is inspirational to a baker like myself. She started baking for fun years ago and sold her goodies at local bakers markets. She then moved to Paris to attend pastry school (jealous!) before travelling through France and Italy sampling different desserts and pastries (double jealous!). She then returned to Vancouver to launch Beaucoup.

P1060888Kouign Amann (a new pastry to me that Jackie described as “impregnated with caramel”, finished with sea salt.

P1060797

Chocolate Éclair
P1060800

Pain au Raisin

P1060886Butter Croissant

P1060883 Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie

P1060891 Latte

And thank goodness she did return to start up this little gem. Beaucoup is one of my new favourite spots. Everything that I have ordered has been decadent  and well-executed. It is now my plan to get through the rest of the menu. Prices are a little high but Jackie really does value quality (evident in her food suppliers, such as Oyama Sausage and Benton Brothers Fine Cheeses) so you get what you pay for.

Final Thoughts: My taste buds welcome Beaucoup Bakery with much fervour, but my thighs and butts are fearful that this could be their demise. Pack a few extra pennies, forget about the calories, and enjoy what Beaucoup has to offer.

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Lunch at West – August 2012

3 Sep

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

It’s a long weekend here in Canada, which means that I have been making the most of having an extra day off work by going out for meals with B, and catching up with friends for drinks. The inevitable result of drinks with friends is usually a late night, followed by a late start and a big feast to help ward off the effects of consuming too much booze the night before.

As you already know, B and I have made West our go-to Sunday brunch spot and we rarely miss a Sunday brunch there. This Sunday I was a little late out of bed (hey, no judgement, it’s a long weekend!) and so we weren’t really feeling like breakfast but more so like lunch. And that, my friends, is the beauty of brunch. Lunch we could have. We started with the unbelievably decadent West fries with truffle aioli. The aioli is heaven. Pure heaven.

Tower of West Fries – $9.50

Albacore Tuna Club with bacon - $17.50

Slow cooked Short Rib Orecchiette – $16.50

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Black Truffle and Spaghetti Squash – $19

I really am starting to sound like a broken record with my love for West but you really can’t go wrong with anything at West. Whether it is brunch, or lunch, or one of their well-executed dinners, West has got it going on.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

Brunch at West – Photo Visit – April 2012

2 May

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

Like most people, I can’t help but share when I discover something that impresses me. I am well aware that I have had an obvious infatuation with the Sunday brunch at West lately – there have been multiple posts – but I make no apologies. And I’ll tell you why.

Two weekends ago B and I convinced ourselves to try somewhere other than West for Sunday morning brunch. I’m not going to name names, but this place was incredibly disappointing…waffles that tasted pre-packaged, fried chicken that was tasteless and oily, and a neighbouring table full of loud, obnoxious guys giving graphic details of their escapades from the night before. I know, I know this sounds super snobby but I couldn’t help but think “If only we’d gone to West!” The price-point is the same but the food at West is always excellent, the service is professional, and it is nice and quiet. Hey, we enjoy quiet! :)

It was back to West for us again this Sunday and I ordered the delightful three onion tart, which is quickly becoming a must-order for me. The caramelized onions, the melted leeks, and the balsamic shallots combined with the crispy filo pastry, create a light but tasty dish which is just perfect for brunch.

Three Onion Tart – $14.50

West, thank you for your standards. And for not seating me next to some guy who is telling his friends about how he threw up all over himself. You’ll be seeing me every Sunday from now on.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

Brunch at West- Photo Visit – April 2012

4 Apr

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

We were so impressed with our recent brunch find at West that we went back again this past weekend. Again, we were impressed. I ordered the West French Toast, which was a mascarpone stuffed brioche with stone fruit compote and maple syrup. Wow! This was so good. The brioche actually had swirls of mascarpone inside it. What was great about the toast is that it wasn’t overly sweet either. The brioche kept it quite balanced.

I also can’t rave enough about the small touches, such as the housemade chocolate truffles and the warm bread rolls that you receive throughout the meal.

My idea of a good start to Sunday is waking up to brunch at West, where I can stuff myself with warm, just-out-of-the-oven bread rolls and a hearty and well-excuted brunch. It is going to be damn hard to top Sunday brunch at West.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

First Glance – Siena

27 Mar

1485 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J5

T: 604 558 1485
www.eatsiena.com

Brief Description: A cozy Italian-focused restaurant in South Granville from the same owners who brought us Cru.

B and I popped in for a spontaneous visit to the recently opened Siena on Saturday night. The space is cute; quite small but in a good way. It felt intimate and relaxed, with a mature look (rather than say a chic/modern look).

A chalkboard on the back wall informs of daily pasta, risotto, and fish specials. The menu is uncomplicated and to the point – pasta, bruschetta, cheese and salumi boards, limited proteins, and a few appetizers. Prices are fairly reasonable but some pasta dishes reach almost the $20 mark, which pushes the upper limit for pasta in my opinion. Service was good when we were there, even with the pre-theatre rush (this is a convenient dinner spot if you are watching a play at The Stanley).

I’ll reserve my full review until I’ve been a few more times but until then, here is what was on the plate:

Burrata, foccacia and rocket salad

Daily Risotto Special

Daily Fish Special – “Cioppino”

Siena on Urbanspoon

Brunch at West – March 2012

26 Mar

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

My search for a new brunch place to replace my beloved Refuel (now closed) may have already come to an unexpected end, which was much faster than I had anticipated. I hadn’t really even considered brunch at West until recently when I noticed that they are open for Sunday brunch. After perusing the menu, I was more than tempted.

Their brunch menu is quite small, with only six items, but you can also choose from their lunch menu which is more extensive. I didn’t need to look at lunch as I already had difficulties deciding on brunch. The menu has familiar dishes such as eggs benedict made with crispy pork belly, poached eggs, and buttermilk biscuit for $16.50, a Dungeness crab benny at $17, as well as mascarpone stuffed brioche French toast for $15.50. No wonder I was having trouble deciding.

Short Rib Hash

I ended up with the short rib hash with potatoes, mushrooms, housemade brioche, and poached eggs for $17. The meat was tender, the flavours were great, and the dish was extremely satisfying. This dish would keep the “meat and potato” guys extremely happy.

Mushrooms and Eggs

B ordered the mushrooms and eggs, which was also very good, and at $14.50, was fairly well-priced. I would easily order both dishes again.

There are many reasons why I will be returning to West for brunch; the coffee is good, the complimentary housemade bread and chocolate truffles are a nice touch, the service is predictably very attentive (this is West, after all), the prices are not much more than I’ve paid for mediocre breakfast (see my recent Aphrodite post), and, most importantly, the food is excellent. And if I needed further convincing, they also have bottomless mimosas for $19.50.

This isn’t the place to come for brunch in your Sunday sweats but if you are looking for something more upscale than a diner and food that will truly wake you up, then try West. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

West – Birthday Visit

16 Feb

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

Another birthday has come and gone and I am now a year older (and hopefully a year wiser). B and I were apart for my birthday so we only got around to celebrating on Friday night (a month later!). As a birthday gift he told me that I could choose any restaurant in the city for my birthday dinner – his treat. Woot! It took a few days of deliberation before I settled on West (other contenders were Le Crocodile, Cioppino’s, and L’Abbatoir). I wanted to ensure that Dine Out Vancouver wasn’t on when we went and so last Friday night was when we finally settled into the chef’s table at West, eagerly awaiting to be spoiled.

I did find the menu slightly confusing to read (more so the on-line version) as it has grown considerably in size since the last time I was there. The menu consists of your standard “first course” and “main course” selections yet there are also “elements”, which are basically smaller plates. These “elements” are then categorized into sea, starch, pasture, and vegetable options. As well as all of that, there is also a sea tasting menu and a land tasting menu. Phew! There is a lot going on. (Now that I’ve summarized it, it doesn’t seem so confusing!).

The small touches that makes West stand out from other local restaurants shouldn’t be overlooked. Freshly baked miniature bread rolls with olive oil and housemade butter were constantly topped up and, once we had placed our order, an amuse bouche of creamy carrot soup was delivered to our table. The kitchen knew it was my birthday in advance and my dessert was piped with “Happy Birthday” which was a nice touch. These things all help to create the experience.

B, always the food enthusiast, decided to order the land tasting menu which consists of six courses, plus extras like an amuse bouche and petit fours. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to eat all that so ordered from the standard menu. Let’s start with the dishes that I ordered as there are less of them…

I started with a delicate, but meaty, venison carpaccio which was finished with a truffle pecorino (hello!?) and a sweet basil gel.

My main course was the daily special which was an Artic Char, served with Dungeness crab, savoy cabbage and bacon.

We were then given a taster of pineapple infused with passionfruit and a pineapple and passionfruit sorbet. This was spectacular. So simple but so delicious.

Dessert for me was chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! I ordered the chocolate tasting menu which was made up of three small desserts; warm chocolate cake filled profiterole, 75% cocoa barry chocolate ganache with raspberry compote and ice-cream, and raspberry chocolate almond cake, milk chocolate semi freddo and almond croquant. It was honestly a little too much for me after having the other two courses so if you do order it make sure you have someone to help. My favourite part was easily the warm chocolate cake filled profiterole.

B’s land tasting menu was epic. He sat like a King on his throne all night, sampling this and slurping on that. You would have thought it was his birthday celebration! Ha!

The first dish that unfortunately we couldn’t get a good photo of (blame the booze!) was a plate of Oyama proscuitto, finished with housemade cheese, plum jellies and basil. I really wish we had a photo of this because it was splendid. The housemade cheese especially stood out.

The second dish was Thiessen quail, Pemberton beets and toasted almond gel – absolutely wonderful.

The next dish made me squirm a little when I read it on the menu; pickled veal tongue with foraged mushroom risotto. I absolutely love risotto…but tongue?! Tongue, I do not like. But I did try it…and I still don’t like it. Yes, it is a mental thing!

Apple cider braised pork cheeks were up next. They were finished with cous cous, apple and brown butter jus. I was too busy enjoying my fish to sample this but now looking at the picture I can’t help but wonder what on earth I could have been thinking?!

At this point, you could also add a selection of two cheese for a $10 supplement, which B did…of course (no picture).

The tasting menu finishes with a dark chocolate pistachio torte with frozen white chocolate green tea mousse and it was paired with an almond cake with a blood orange sorbet.

So, you are probably thinking that the tasting menu must have been ridiculously expensive? Surprisingly, no it wasn’t. It was $68 (plus $10 supplement for cheeses). I think that is a great deal, particularly with the level of service, the quality of the food, and all of the added extras that you get when you dine at West. I am seriously considering returning to have it all over again next week! West always improves a celebration by really spoiling you and making you realize that when food is done properly it really is just a wonderful thing.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

Suika Snackbar

10 Oct

1626 West Broadway (at Fir)
Vancouver, BC
V6J 1X6

T: 604 730 1678
www.suika-snackbar.com

Brief Description: Suika is a stylish, modern izakaya with a fun atmosphere. Prices are reasonable with most dishes under $10, except for a few meat or sushi dishes.

Suika celebrated its one year anniversary this month yet, for some reason, I only made my first visit in the past three months or so. Unforgivable. Don’t worry – I’ve made up for lost time and have made countless visits since. It may have taken me a while to get onboard the Suika train but now that I’m onboard, I’m not getting off anytime soon.

Suika is the sister restaurant to the West End’s Kingyo, which has been my personal izakaya favourite for quite some time. For us carless Kitsilano dwellers, Suika offers the quality of Kingyo without the trip downtown (and with slightly cheaper prices).

You wouldn’t know it from the outside but inside the space is as stylish as Kingyo. With dark walls, an open concept kitchen, and eye-catching pieces of art (my favourite being the art piece made entirely from different swatches of bright fabric) the room is casual, yet funky.

Even with its seemingly odd location on West Broadway at Fir (odd as there is not much going on food-wise around there), Suika is perpetually busy so it is just as well that they allow reservations. We never make a reservation as it is always just the two of us and we are quite happy to sit at the bar but if a table is what you are after get there either really early, or late, or make a reservation.

There are two menus; one is the regular menu and one is an ever-changing daily menu. The regular menu is made up of izakaya favourites such as ebi mayo, chicken karaage, various sushi offerings, fried rice bowls, udon noodles, as well as some interesting dishes such as Chinese poutine (I’m not gonna lie…it was a bit weird).

The daily menu offers whatever they feel like showcasing that day. Prices are extremely fair and portions are quite large for izakaya (at least, in my experience). Most dishes fall well under $10 (some as low as $3.50) but if you are after fish or beef dishes they will set you back slightly more. The beef short ribs, for example, are $15.

Between B and I, we have tried a lot of the regular menu and my particular favourites are the corn kakiage (corn niblets fried with cilantro batter, soy sauce and butter), the negitoro battera (pressed sushi with tuna belly, scallions, avocado and sesame), my ebi mayo (juicy fat prawns covered in cilantro batter and deep fried), and the smoked tuna tataki.

B absolutely cannot get enough of the Tokyo oxtail ramen but it is a bit too salty (due to the soy broth) for my liking. Maybe it appeals to the guys more?

As a word of warning note that some of the dishes, in particular the beef filet fried rice and the veggie udon, are quite garlicky so make sure you are packing some gum. Whilst there are some vegetarian options, I would perhaps reconsider taking a vegetarian to Suika. Most of the dishes rely heavily on some form of animal or fish protein.

Final Thoughts: It is particularly refreshing to find such a stellar izakaya in the South Granville area. I have been enough times to know that the food quality standards are consistently high. Suika is a great place to go with friends for a fun night out where you can share dishes and indulge in a few of the unique cocktails or sake.

Suika on Urbanspoon

Suika Snackbar (Photo Post)

21 Aug

1626 West Broadway (at Fir)
Vancouver, BC
V6J 1X6

T: 604 730 1678
www.suika-snackbar.com

For those that don’t already know I like to visit a place a few times before I write a review on it. A few visits (usually three) gives me enough of an indication as to whether the service, atmosphere, and more importantly, the food quality, are consistent. I think it is unfair to review an establishment on just one visit (unless that visit is a complete disaster). Today was my second visit to Suika so after my next visit I will write a review. In the meantime, I will allow these pictures to do the talking.

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