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What would you do? - YVR airport area late night dinner

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Its past ten-thirty pm, and you still haven't had any to eat since the noon hour. But you promised to pick up some friends returning on a flight to Vancouver in an hour. Do you satisfy your hunger pains and grab a meal someplace nearby (eg. Richmond) or tough it out?

I chose the former, and drove down the No.3 road looking for something light (not wanting to stuff myself before I grab some ZZZ's), and figured sushi would be a good option here (knowing full well I was risking it, but wasn't in the mood for some oily Chinese food).

Spotted a place called "Ebisu", looked nice from outside and the parking lot was full, and the open sign was still lit up. Walked to the door, oops they close at 11 pm, no good. Maybe next time... (though reading some online reviews and blogs about it, doesn't sound like its worth trying out).

Further down I spot another place that looks like its still open. Name on the sign says "Aji Taro". Again, full parking lot. Apparently open, and when I step inside and ask how late, they tell me to the early hours of the morning. Perfect I think, gives me time to eat and then drive to the arrivals area.

Sit down, order some simple sushi combo to speed things up and not end up ordering too much (as I tend to do by the piece). Wow, big mistake. The toppings, all so thinly sliced, I thought the person who prepared it was thinking shabu-shabu in their head. The rice, terribly overpowered by the vinegar used, and the rice itself was way overdone and mushy as could be. Two pieces in and I knew I would have been better off starving myself that night...

But it puzzled me, the place was virtually full. People, mostly a younger crowd, of various ethnicities, all apparently enjoying themselves. Now was it the fact that this place was open later than similar restaurants in the area, the AYCE offering or just plain bad taste buds? I'm thinking its a combo of all of them, as that's the only reason I could see for explaining the busy crowd in this place serving up some pathetic version of sushi.

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  1. Your post brought back bad memories. Aji Taro was really bad and really busy 10 years ago, too! I went there a couple of times in university and then boycotted the place b/c it was so nasty. I think university aged people tend to travel in packs and just go where their friends go b/c they don't know any better. That's how I ended up there :o)

    When I go to the airport late at night and need a bite to eat, I just swing by No.9 and grab some congee or wonton.

    8 Replies
    1. re: im_hungry

      No 9 popped into my head too. A nice congee or clear soup would have worked for me They use a lot of MSG in most of their dishes - if you are concerned about that. Congee is a safe bet. My parents love this place.

      The GVA has a pathetic late night dining scene. I don't go out late much these days. if I happen to find myself need to eat late at night, I usually head over to a 24hr pho joint somewhere along Kinsgway or a 24hr HK Cafe.

      1. re: fmed

        There is a pretty decent 24 hr Taiwan Beef Noodle place just after the Arthur Laing on the Vancouver side (Marpole?). Think it is called Wang Ji.

        1. re: kwailan4

          That's right - it used to be called "Taiwanese Beef Noodle House"...now it's called "Wang's Tawainese Beef Noodle House" or something like that. That's another really good option if you are in Marpole area.

          1. re: fmed

            I really like that place too, whatever they're calling it. I need to get back their for their dim summy bites as well as the noodle soup (mmm, dimsum at night).

            1. re: fmed

              Is this the place next/behind "La Quinta Inn" on Alexandra RD?

              1. re: felix the hound

                Err, no. The place is in Vancouver proper. Granville and 60-something Street. It is beside a bank (CIBC?) on the east side of Granville.

        2. re: im_hungry

          If you like japanese, Tsukiji is opened till midnight on the weekends. There's a pizza place across from the Hilton and Marriot that's serves pasta and pizza the old school way, can't remember the name but I know they open pretty late. There are bar foods, one of them being by the Public Market (I think it's still open) as well as the chain restaurants such as Milestone, Cactus Club, Moxies.

          http://www.tsukijijapaneserestaurant....

          1. re: im_hungry

            Wow, I had no idea its been around for so long and its held up that kind of traffic to boot! Amazing, but now what I think about it, there was a very youngish, university crowd inside and would also explain this strange phenomenon as it can't be the quality of the food that is drawing them like moths to a flame.

          2. Late night at YYR. Easy. I would have a nice dinner at the Fairmont Airport Hotel, right there in the international terminal. Globe @ YYR, excellent service.

            5 Replies
            1. re: worldwidestuff

              I thought of Globe - but I think they close at 11pm.

              The provocatively named "Flying Beaver" (a popular hangout to airport employees) is open till midnight.

              1. re: fmed

                12-15 years ago it was THE place to be -now The Flying Beaver is a place to avoid.

                1. re: Sam Salmon

                  I second that. I had a stopover at YVR a couple of weeks ago and I was taken there (I had wanted to go to Globe). Never again...but the view was nice!

                  Globe closes at 11, but Jetside Bar at the Fairmont closes at 1am. They have food, but I don't know if they stop serving food earlier than 1am.

                  1. re: prasantrin

                    Good to know. I make it a policy never to eat at restaurants with the word "Beaver" in their name anyway.

                    1. re: prasantrin

                      Phew....for a moment I thought you were talking ABOUT Globe....