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SF chowhound visiting Vancouver - critique requested

osho Jan 5, 2009 04:26 PM

We'll be visiting for 5 days with our 10 month old baby in tow - for the first time.

We'll be staying at the Four Seasons - so any nearby recommendations are more than welcome ! We have no dietary restrictions.

I am coming up a little short on European food and brunch/breakfast places.

Here is what I've gleaned so far:

Asian:

Singapore/Malaysian - Hawker's Delight
Japanese - Guu with Garlic
Japanese - Izakaya on Robson and Denman

Caribbean:

The Lion's Den for Jamaican Roti

Indian:

Gujarati - Prayag Raj
Indian-Chinese Green Lettuce
Kashmir (hopefully they have some real Kashmiri food)

French:

Jules Bistro in Gastown

Others:

Go Fish Emporium for F&C
Lebanese - Nuba

Breakfast

Waffles - Patisserie Lebeau

  1. osho Sep 13, 2010 11:41 AM

    We'll be in Vancouver yet again in November. Are the places above still holding up? I will read through the board once more but any recent updates to the places above will be appreciated.

    Cheers

    5 Replies
    1. re: osho
      grayelf Sep 13, 2010 02:15 PM

      Hey osho, I wonder if we'll be trading places? Heading to SF Nov 4 to 9...

      Of all the places mentioned above, the standouts for me are Cafe Medina/Chambar, Pied a Terre, La Buca and Cioppino's. Very Euro-heavy, but given your SO's lack of keenness for Chinese fare that might be okay.

      Let us know if anything else catches your fancy as you're scrolling back over the last few months.

      1. re: grayelf
        osho Sep 16, 2010 04:23 PM

        Hello grayelf,

        I'd like to get together for a drink with you and your SO when you are here in SF. I found a new place for Bloody Mary's very recently.

        Also found a decent place that serves Indian 'chaat' in SF.

        I will go over the past few months of posts over the coming weeks. It seems as though you now have Burmese as well - even better than Burmese Kitchen or Burma Super Star in SF ?

        Cheers

        1. re: osho
          grayelf Sep 16, 2010 05:30 PM

          Sounds good, osho! Why don't you email me (address in profile)?

          There are a few fans of Bo Laksa King's Bubbles and Bits around here for sure. I am one of them. Just to be clear, though, it is not strictly Burmese, though the chef is. He's doing a pan-Asian menu, and while the term pan-Asian usually strikes fear in my heart, I think he does a good job. He has maybe half a dozen Burmese dishes usually. Bo is a dab hand with salads so I would say that his laphet thoke is my current favourite, followed by Burmese Kitchen then Mandalay. The one I had at BSS was pretty bad, actually, even when I asked them to hold the lettuce.

          Bo doesn't do anything strictly Chinese but he has Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, even a butter chicken on there now. A menu change is in the works so be sure to check in before you come if you are thinking of going.

      2. re: osho
        v
        vivers Sep 14, 2010 02:43 PM

        ARe you looking for places only in the downtown area?
        Some other places to try:
        Bistro Pastis-great for brunch
        cin cin- great italian food and must try desserts
        Le crocodile-best french in vancouver
        Market at the shangri-la

        1. re: vivers
          osho Sep 16, 2010 04:24 PM

          vivers - No I am completely open and willing to travel. We will have a car as well so driving is a non-issue. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

      3. osho Mar 23, 2009 07:57 AM

        We've had to cut short our plans of a long Vancouver visit - however we're driving back today from Whistler and we have a few hours to visit a couple of places.

        Here are some places I am considering:
        The Greedy Pig
        Green Lettuce
        The Lion's Den
        Hawker's Delight

        Everything on the list seems to be located about 20 minutes away from the airport according to Google Maps - is this realistic ? The traffic was pretty bad whilst driving within the city on early Friday afternoon ...

        Any other suggestions within the vicinity of the airport ?

        Cheers !

        8 Replies
        1. re: osho
          fmed Mar 23, 2009 08:43 AM

          The Greedy Pig and Hawker's Delight would be my choice out of that list. If you give yourself some time before your flight...just head into Richmond for Chinese food...maybe Sea Harbour or Shanghai River.

          1. re: fmed
            osho Mar 25, 2009 04:00 PM

            Thanks for all the quick replies - we ended up going to the Lion's Den. Heard the long story about the lion. Food was so-so - I am sorry to say.

            Roti, chicken curry and jerk chicken and were all microwaved - we could hear the beeps because we were seated at one of the two occupied tables.

            The chicken tasted mildly of some kind of teriyaki marinade as well. Maybe we went there on a bad day ?

            1. re: osho
              fmed Mar 25, 2009 04:05 PM

              Lion's Den has chow-cred only because it is a bit unique in that it serves Jamaican food and Japanese (okonomiyaki) food in a somewhat unusual setting and served by quirky characters. Not one of my favorites for either cuisine....though they have (had?) a decent but inconsistent okonomiyaki. I should have explicitly steered you away - Vancouver isn't known for Jamaican (the Pizza Jerk place mentioned here recently is much better than Lion's Den.)

              1. re: osho
                v
                vandan Mar 25, 2009 06:19 PM

                the reason for the teriyaki is probably because the two owners are jamaican and his wife is japanese, not saying its right, just saying

            2. re: osho
              b
              bdachow Mar 23, 2009 09:25 AM

              Would second the reco to SHanghai River for some XLB. Absolutely divine.

              1. re: bdachow
                grayelf Mar 23, 2009 06:04 PM

                But osho's wife does not love Chinese food! What about hitting up an izakaya or two on your way through downtown?

                1. re: grayelf
                  fmed Mar 23, 2009 08:36 PM

                  Ah yes...sorry.

              2. re: osho
                Cancuk Mar 23, 2009 07:57 PM

                out of those, i would take The Greedy Pig. But, I would sooner just walk a block away and go to Salt.

              3. fmed Jan 5, 2009 05:02 PM

                You might want to have a look at some other SF hound's posts from the not too distant past:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568391
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/527417
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/511701

                Not all the recs are baby-friendly, but that should give you some more ideas.

                10 Replies
                1. re: fmed
                  grayelf Jan 6, 2009 11:43 AM

                  Hey Osho, nice to see your handle on this board, and congrats on the upcoming trip (and baby!). Looks like you've been doing your homework and are getting some great feedback. I wonder if you might enjoy Le Faux Bourgeois for another French option? I haven't been because it's hard to get a reso on short notice but it's getting good reports. I would not take a baby to Jules, and I'm wondering about that at Pied a Terre too... having peeked into LFB it just seems more baby-friendly but I may be out to lunch... it is also not near your hotel but then neither is PAT :-).

                  I concur heartily with the suggestions upthread to do Salt for lunch or even for a late afternoon snack if that fits in with baby's nap sked.

                  A new place called Wallflower just opened on Main and looks like it has some brunch options. It is in the recently defunct Aurora location and judging by pix on Scout is just as charming. I think Medina is a great rec too (and another chance for waffles besides Lebeau which is in my hood -- try the savoury versions if you go). Irish Heather in Gastown might be good if you're in the mood for full Irish. Going the other way to the West End nets you La Bretagne Creperie. Finch's on Pender might be worth a look though it can be busy. The Templeton on Granville does a decent mangled eggs (with Brie in a croissant) and has a fun atmosphere. If Nu is still doing brunch that might be an option though I'm not sure re baby friendliness...

                  Izakaya-wise, I think Guu with Garlic is a good choice for you with baby in tow. The food is tasty, the scene is loud and crazy -- maybe call for a reso and ask where best to sit? My second favourite izakaya (not that I've been to them all -- I wish) is Zakkushi on 4th and they've just opened a new bigger one on Main, along with the original on Denman -- good for all the little grilled sticks.

                  I know there's a lot of love out there for Hamilton Street Grill but we've been three times and had bad meals, as in leaving most of the food on the plate bad -- with the hangar steak being a particular offender.

                  Hawker's Delight -- definitely but it is very small and crowded so be forewarned.

                  Gujarati - Prayag Raj: fmed gave me credit for putting this place on the radar and I'm sorry to say we haven't made it yet -- holiday plans got scuppered by all the damn snow here. Hope you go and give us the Bay area perspective.

                  Indian-Chinese Green Lettuce: I went three years ago and enjoyed it but it is quite far out on Kingsway.

                  Go Fish Emporium for F&C: absolutely, with the usual lineup caveats (lesser at this time of year) and the reminder there is no indoor seating -- maybe call ahead and do takeout?

                  Lebanese - Nuba -- the resto on Seymour (there are two) is almost a takeout though spotless -- just a few seats but would be baby friendly. Get the cauliflower!

                  Here's a June "unique eats" in Van that might be helpful (if nothing else I posted links to virtually all the restos in the current thread) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/530513

                  1. re: grayelf
                    osho Jan 6, 2009 12:15 PM

                    grayelf, thanks for the welcome. And thanks for all the great recommendations. I will be sure to follow up with my final list and subsequent short reviews for each place we visit.

                    1. re: grayelf
                      osho Jan 6, 2009 12:48 PM

                      grayelf, Thanks for the welcome and your recommendations. I will post my final list and subsequent impressions after the trip.

                      Any tips on speciality items worth carting back to SF ?

                      Cheers

                      1. re: osho
                        c oliver Jan 6, 2009 12:49 PM

                        I would definitely go to Granville Island. They have a huge indoor market with all sorts of things to tempt. Also plenty of shops, restaurants, bars.

                        1. re: c oliver
                          grayelf Jan 6, 2009 01:13 PM

                          If you do go to GIsle (and this would be a good place for you and baby, methinks!) be sure to check out Edible BC. It's in the northeastish corner of the market and carries BC specialties from jam to Vij's curry in a vacuum pack, all suitable for carting away. I'm particularly fond of the Honeyview Farm honey and cranberries but there are tons of great food items to choose from. Not quite the Ferry Plaza but GIsle has its own charms, and it's a market all week :-).

                    2. re: fmed
                      osho Jan 6, 2009 12:13 PM

                      Thanks again fmed ! I will peruse these links in detail as well.

                      1. re: osho
                        Sam Salmon Jan 6, 2009 06:57 PM

                        Note GIM is Closed Mondays through Jan.

                        Zakkushi on 4th is in no way an Izakaya but is is a great little place for a drink/nosh.

                        1. re: Sam Salmon
                          fmed Jan 6, 2009 08:36 PM

                          >> Zakkushi on 4th is in no way an Izakaya but is is a great little place for a drink/nosh.

                          Beg to differ Sam...it's certainly one of the most authentic izakaya here in Vancouver (compared to the ones in Japan, I mean). Small places that serve sake, beer, and delicious meats on sticks is an izakaya to me ;)

                          1. re: fmed
                            Sam Salmon Jan 7, 2009 12:24 PM

                            Too bad there isn't an emoticon on here for embarrassment-the truth is I hardy remember making that post, analgesics and Italian Brandy are to blame (!)

                            I know what it was-I had just seen one of my favourite car drives in BC exposed for all to see on the net-shocked and appalled I tried a *desperate* rear guard action to preserve a great eating/drinking spot for myself.

                            But it was not to be.....the net is so large and I'm so small, and slow....sigh.

                            1. re: Sam Salmon
                              grayelf Jan 7, 2009 08:26 PM

                              You made up for it by reminding us all the OP included that Granville Island Market is indeed closed on Mondays for the month. I saw the sign on the weekend and completely spaced on that important info.

                    3. fmed Jan 5, 2009 04:53 PM

                      There are a few places there on your list that I would skip...not because they are not worthy...I'm just concerned about the logistics plus the baby. (I would skip Green Lettuce, Lion's Den, and probably Kashmir...replace those with Vij's or Rangoli)

                      Your Japanese is solid. I notice you don't have Chinese options....perhaps because you have a good number of options back at home.

                      I'll just add the following to the mix:

                      For more European:
                      La Buca, Campagnolo, Chambar, Cioppino's

                      For Vancouver/West Coast/Euro - Fuel, Gastropod, Salt, Boneta

                      Seafood: Blue Water, Octopus' Garden

                      For Steaks:
                      Hamilton Street Grill

                      For breakfast:
                      Medina

                      Have a look at these recommendations...we can pare it down further for you.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: fmed
                        v
                        vandan Jan 5, 2009 06:45 PM

                        don't wanna threadjack but i just had a quick look but had no luck with location of kashmir

                        1. re: vandan
                          fmed Jan 5, 2009 07:08 PM

                          I hadn't heard of it either. I'm thinking the OP must have meant Maurya or Sitar....in either case I would pass.

                          1. re: fmed
                            c
                            ck1234 Jan 5, 2009 07:16 PM

                            or maybe Sanafir???

                            1. re: ck1234
                              fmed Jan 5, 2009 07:18 PM

                              In that case I would pass too ;)

                          2. re: vandan
                            peter.v Jan 5, 2009 07:27 PM

                            There was a recent thread about Kashmiri food in Calgary, and there's a place called Kashmir there, but none in Vancouver as far as I know.

                            To stay more on topic, I third Medina and support the Vij's rec too. A warning about Salt, it is in a somewhat unsavoury alley in Gastown. I've never felt threatened and it hasn't turned me off of going down there ever, but I'm a (semi-confident) 23 year old male. Depending on your comfort levels in sketchy areas, it may not be the most family friendly (especially at night). I would say however it's not as bad as stumbling unsuspectingly into the Tenderloin in SF!

                            1. re: peter.v
                              osho Jan 6, 2009 08:51 AM

                              Apologies. Yes, the Kashmir reference was from a thread about Calgary. Thanks for the tip on the neighbourhood.

                              1. re: osho
                                peter.v Jan 6, 2009 03:22 PM

                                Oh! No apology required at all! Just didn't want you to try to find a restaurant that didn't exist! Enjoy your time up here!

                          3. re: fmed
                            osho Jan 6, 2009 08:55 AM

                            Thanks fmed and everyone else who chimed in with helpful recommendations.

                            The lack of Chinese food is attributable to the fact that my wife does not like authentic Chinese - she loves American Chinese food - which I thoroughly detest !

                            I would love more Japanese recommendations. I understand Vancouver has a great Izakaya culture - something which we lack in SF proper.

                          4. Cancuk Jan 5, 2009 04:50 PM

                            I would add Medina for Brunch/Breakfast.

                            I've been to Green Lettuce and was pretty unimpressed. I know it's pretty standard for Vancouver, but go to Vij's (or Rangoli).

                            For French, I would replace Pied a Terre for Jules.

                            Compagnolo is the new, "hot" spot. Superb Italian at very (very) reasonable prices.

                            Yew Restaurant in the Four Seasons is very good as well.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Cancuk
                              osho Jan 6, 2009 08:56 AM

                              Thanks for the tips. I will do some more research on these.

                            2. c oliver Jan 5, 2009 04:34 PM

                              We visited Vancouver about a year ago and ate lunch here. It was great and, at lunch anyway, you wouldn't feel uncomfortable with a baby.

                              http://www.salttastingroom.com/

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