The good bad, the bad and the ugly - my Vancouver eating report
I just returned from 2 weeks in Vancouver (2 nights in Victoria) and wanted to share some highlights.
The Good (Sometimes GREAT):
The best dining experience I had was at Octopus Garden! THANK YOU Sam Salamon and everyone else who recommended it! Even as a solo diner, I decided to go all the way (I was on vacation after all) and order the $100 Omakase.
It was worth every penny and then some. The chef and staff were awesome! The food was incredible ... even included shots of sake and a drink with fruit in it that the chef created himself. I ate things I always wanted to try but never thought I would get the chance ... like spot prawn sashimi (and deep fried head) ... and the name is escaping me - the thing that looks like a giant clam with an elephant's trunk sticking out (sounds like "quagduck" or something like that - you know what I mean) Incredibly good oysters too! I was there 2 hours!!
Vij's was as good as I remember. I ate there on Thanksgiving so it wasn't too busy. (Still a line at 5pm) They let me order 2 half orders because I couldn't decide. I had the lamb Popsicles (my favorite that I had last time) and the short ribs. SO GOOD!! I also tried eating at Rangoli this time and had the pulled pork and greens. It was spicier than I thought it would be - even though I LOVE spicy, I kept getting a choking pepper. It was still very good though. The kheer is incredible!
Acacia on Denman street is a hidden gem! I tried both the lamb stuffed phyllo and the spinach and feta bonitza (on 2 separate visits) and they were both so good! I love their roasted potatoes. They are a mix of regular and sweet and they are yummy. This place I highly recommend. I just wish I had a chance to go back and try the escargot in mushroom caps. I bet they are delicious.
Simba's Grill - I had the lamb. It was very good and the price was right for the portion. I have heard some bad reviews. I am glad I went anyway. I really enjoyed it. I found Simba to be very charming too . His rice has such a good taste and I love the little condiments he has on the table (like the coconut) Yum!Yum! ... The only problem is that the waitresses are intimidated by having their boss standing around and they feel they need to be doing something even though there is nothing to do. (It is a small place and it was not packed) One waitress just kept walking around and it made me a bit nervous.
Go Fish is still INCREDIBLE!! I didn't have the fish 'n' chips as much as I did last time. I wanted to try new things (and eat there more often) I had the scallop sandwich (WOW!), oyster tacone (double WOW), salmon tacone, cod n chips, coconut soup ... EVERYTHING IS SO DARN GOOD!!!
Save On Meats - Just like everyone said. GREAT burger and fries at prices that are hard to believe. Bacon cheeseburger was GOOD! Really good ... and I went back for the liver and onions and that was really good too! CHEAP AND DELICIOUS!!
Japadog ... the verdict is still out on this one. I should have tried more than just 1. I had the miso mayo. It was good. I loved the grilled onions ... it just tasted really fishy. I don't know if it is usually like that or not. I liked it. I didn't love it.
THE BAD ...
What is up with Gelato in Vancouver? Now I have been getting my gelato fix in Vancouver for some time now. Gelato was great - even at places I didn't really care for (it's kind of like pizza, even when it s great it is still good) Not this time. Gelato sucked! I went all the way to Lonsdale Ave. to get the gelato that was mentioned in that 101 article. I didn't like it. Then I went to my ultimate fave Mondo Gelato on Denman and after telling the lady how much I LOVED there gelato and how I come to Vancouver with Mondo in mind, I ate two bites and ultimately asked for my money back. I was so disappointed. There was bits of ice in it and it just tasted off. The location on Robson wasn't much better. So I started asking for samples at other places and I just couldn't find anything I liked. I never made it to commercial drive. I wanted to ... it was just to far to trek out for me. Maybe next time.
Taco Shack (On Cornwall) - Don't Bother! This place is gross. There food and salsa have no taste. I have no idea how that is possible! It was completely tasteless and it wasn't cheap. How can they stay in business?
The UGLY ...
Legendary Noodle ... I ordered the spring rolls and shrimp dumplings from the dimsum menu. The spring rolls were so greasy and cold and squishy in the inside. Just really disgusting. I don't even know what to say about the shrimp dumplings ... something was wrong. The worst was the Juicy Pork Dumplings ... that was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted!! I only ate about 85% and then asked for the bill. I was already starting to feel sick. The place was packed and the service was so poor. They made me pay for the food even though I hardly ate it (but that is not why I say service was poor) I was so disappointed! I am disputing the bill with my credit card company. That is how upset I am.
That's all I can think of to report.
Thanks for the review! My husband and I are headed there for a few days in Nov and I was gathering information for new places to try along with the usual dim sum and izakaya places we like to hit. We must have passed by Acacia many times in the past and never noticed...will have to give that a try.
>> ... and the name is escaping me - the thing that looks like a giant clam with an elephant's trunk sticking out (sounds like "quagduck" or something like that - you know what I mean)
It's geoduck ("gooey duck"). Octopus' Garden serves some of the best sushi anywhere. I'm glad for you that you chose it for your sushi slot.
In hindsight (and especially after your great review, boisenewbie!) I'm grateful that Legendary Noodle was closed during our visit in the summer, and that we stuck to the original "Legendary" (White Spot) instead! :)
fmed, definitely try Acacia. It was very much a serendipitous highlight of our trip when I went with my wife and my cousin. We each ordered different things (phyllo, banitza, and poached eggs) and had our own mini-tasting session! ...A minor word of caution, though, don't order too much because their tables are quite small. Otherwise, enjoy!
Thanks for the report boisenewbie.
Too bad about Legendary. Legendary, as you now know, isn't a dim sum restaurant. Their specialty is hand-pulled noodles and they do a good job of that. I would not recommend ordering any dim sum items there at all (the proprietors are from Northern China - and dim sum is a predominantly Southern thing). The Juicy Pork Dumplings is their Xiao Long Bao - it is probably some of the worst in the city. (They are also known for their very good stir fried peashoots).
Thanks for the report on Acacia - I've been meaning to go there.
Well, when I complained to the waitress she kept telling me everyone loved their juicy pork dumplings ... I am glad to know that my taste buds know what they are talking about!
I should have gotten the noodles! It was fun watching them make them ... I was just in the mood for dumplings and they were close by. I wish I would have known!!
Oh well, live and learn ... service still sucked though regardless. They ignore you and you have to beg for more than 1 napkin.