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to all the restaurant's I've loved before....

I drove past the former Tommy O's on Commercial today, and remembered the belly dancers there I adored as a child, long gone.
Then there was the Red Apple on Hastings, the most delightful Japanese greasy spoon, alas, just a memory.
A loving glimpse of the once wondrous Only brings a tear to my eye-how I recall those large fish in the window and the smoked Alaskan black cod, now just a boarded up sigh of regret with a health violation.
Tell me...which restaurants- great or small-do you miss?

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  1. Good topic!

    El Greq (Commercial Dr) - probably the best Greek food in Vancouver then and now.
    Tan's (Vietnamese, Commercial Drive)
    The Aristocratic (Broadway/Granville)

    3 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      My mother worked at the Aristocratic when I was a child. I went back as an adult just for the nostalgia. After i left I realized I should have left a large tip. Wish I had thought of it sooner.

      1. re: sharonanne

        I used to work in the area many lives ago. I was there about almost daily.

        1. re: fmed

          For many years I went by the Aristocrat each morning on the bus. I always looked to see if the couple was at the table by the window. And they always were there. They were serious regulars.

    2. Very nostalgic.

      Places from childhood for the special occasions (usually Chinese): Ming's in Chinatown, Peninsula on Broadway, Drgaon Inn and Rickshaw (Kingsway). I miss the neon too. Gotta add steaks at Mr. Jakes (Granville) and Mr. Mikes (Burnaby Kingsway), or vice versa.

      Places that I discovered too late: Mirasol (Peruvian off Main), Adega (Portuguese on Main)

      Grease: Juicy Fried Chicken (Main), Wally's Burgers (Kingsway)

      1. If it's not just Vancouver places...

        4 St Rose in Calgary. I went there all the time (at least twice a week) in the mid-80's. Cheap, good food, great service. The building sold, the space was split up and bartender who always served us is now a lawyer. The bar is now Towa Sushi (tried it once, not my favourite sushi place) and the restaurant side hasn't reopened since the latin place closed *sigh*.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hsk

          Does anybody remember Florentine, where Edo Japan is by MEC? I went there soon after moving to Calgary in 2000 and just loved it. First time I'd ever had semifreddo. Really miss it.

          Moved from Toronto and used to eat at a fast-service, cafeteria-style Thai place in the Annex called Bangkok Express. Got basil chicken there three or four times a week. Moved to Calgary in Aug 2000 and a month later it was closed- I guess I was keeping it open. Same story with a place in Maitland just off Yonge, same format but Malaysian and INSANELY cheap, called Kuali. They served food from mama's recipes that cannot be duplicated- a dish called "sambal" was shockingly spicy tofu and potato. A chicken dish was called "ayam masak," which means "cooked chicken." A plate was $4.99. Long gone now.

        2. - Spumanti's (high end Italian) on Commercial Drive. - They would package your leftovers in foil and make it into a swan!
          - I can't remember the name as it goes back many years (over 20), it was also on Main St. near the Adega. It was an Italian restaurant upstairs & a jazz club downstairs. We'd go to see Jim Byrnes.
          -Does anyone remember the name of that Italian place on Seymour street across from the Penthouse? It was in a house, and the grandma cooked and you got your dinner free if you finished the pasta? (Also over 20 years ago and it might not have been well known).
          I too, liked the Adega, Wallys & the Aristocrat - we went to the Aristocrat when I worked at a place called Henri's Chicken at 14th & Granville. He had the best fried chicken ever. It was always lined up down the block for take out. Anyone remember that?
          -Benjamins/Doll & Pennys on Davie St. That was such fun in its 80's time!

          7 Replies
          1. re: ck1234

            Whoah Blasts from the Past! Spumanti's - yes indeed and I do remember the foil origami. I remember the house across from the Penthouse, but I never did eat there. I was a regular at the Aristocratic....I used to have the Denver there.

            1. re: ck1234

              OMG, this drove me CRAZY since I posted and asked it. The Italian restaurant/jazz/blues club was called Puccini's!!! Not bad, only took my head an hour and a half to remember it! I know I'll never get the name of the one across from the Penthouse.

              1. re: ck1234

                I found it! It was called Iaci's! All I had to do was look up Fillippone!

                  1. re: fmed

                    It must have been Iaci's we went to a million years ago and they nearly killed us with plate after plate of food -- my first experience with dining a la famiglia.

                    I also miss all the old dimsum places in Chinatown, particularly the one that used to be where Mitzi's is now on Pender near Main, and the one upstairs on Main at Pender -- so many happy memories of cart dimsum with Dad when I was a kid.

                    More recently: our beloved Pho Thang Long (where Zipang Sushi is now) -- best pho evah and great proprietors; also Surat Sweet Gujerati food on 4th (we miss you Mr Shah).

              2. re: ck1234

                The owners son/chef was Kenny Iacci. He had a place on Granville St. downtown for awhile.

                1. I remember going to the Red Apple - good comfort food.

                  The closure that I most lament is the Shanghai Paramount on Kingsway and Slocan - the best crispy chicken in sweet sauce into which one dipped soft mantou buns.

                  I also remember Doll & Penny's fondly - used to stagger in there after dancing at the clubs for deep fried mozzarella sticks. Ah, those wondrous days of our youth...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Fid

                    Fresgo Inn for the greasiest burgers in the known universe.
                    Did's Pizza as was the Fuel of my youth.
                    Shanghai Paramount - I forgot about that place....good call!

                    1. re: Fid

                      I've heard of dancing for dollars, but never dancing for mozzarella sticks!

                      1. re: golfer1

                        lol. I suppose that I should have worded that better... Then again, mozzarella sticks were not a bad payoff for a then starving uni student... :-P

                    2. velvet cafe, lilliget, duffins on main for convienience, zeena's in punjabi market

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: vandan

                        <<El Greq (Commercial Dr) - probably the best Greek food in Vancouver then and now.>>
                        Yes indeed had a few wild nights there and the food was fabulous.

                        Roti Bisto on 4th Ave, so many fine lunches, never outstanding but always solid and I've never had Doubles as good as theirs, not even down in Trinidad.

                        1. re: Sam Salmon


                          When Divino was in the Muse location in calgary - that wild mushroom pizza...
                          Cafe de Tokyo sushi hand cones
                          The first year of Falafal King
                          Roti place in Kensington (across from Roasterie)
                          Original Mercury
                          After hours at Escoba's
                          Pied Pickle
                          My Marvins
                          Earls Southport with the parrots
                          Ginger Beef Peking house: Noodle making demos
                          Eau Claire Wood fired bagels

                          1. re: Gobstopper

                            Yanjing, in that cursed little space by the Roasterie, nourished me through some good times and bad times in my life.

                            1. re: Gobstopper

                              Speaking of Muse location - Cafe Calabash. I loved the bar with the brass elephant heads holding up the rail. Although I only went a couple of times (early 80's?). Food was meh but ambience was hard to beat.

                        2. The Flamingo in Calgary. I think that was the name. It was in the basement of the Flamingo Block on 11 Av SW near Macleod Tr. Great Chinese restaurant. Went there a lot.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sarah galvin

                            I just remembered the Good morning Dairy Bar on West Broadway, my mom bought goats milk peach ice cream (which is as disgusting as it sounds, incidentally)

                            1. re: sarah galvin

                              Good news! The Flamingo Palace has reopened! Talking to the waiter he said they have some of the same chefs as they did at the 11th ave location. The new location is behind the old Ikea at 3220-5th Ave NE. He did tell me to call before coming in during the evenings as they've been closing early if business is really slow. When I went they were cash only but were hoping to have credit/debit soon.

                              We're going tonight to see if it's as good as we remember!

                              Edited with quick update: I just called to make my reservations for tonight and have found that they're only open for lunch right now.

                            2. Just thought of another...the old (first incarnation) of Delilah's.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: fmed

                                OMG, great one. I remember having caviar there for the first time in my life and thinking what the big stink was about it. Salty as heck but the steak I had...was absolutely divine, I remember it melting in my mouth.

                                And Shanghai Paramount brings back very fond memories. Sizzling rice was a staple.

                                Le Petit Geneve on W Boulevard and 41st. Remember getting to go there for a field trip for French class. And they always had the classics.

                              2. The little Budapest on 4th and Alma
                                The Green and Red and Orange Door
                                Lions Drive Inn
                                The Cave Nightclub
                                Fresgo Inn(the original smaller space)
                                Binos(at 3:30 am)
                                McLeans diner (sp?)
                                The Peter Pan
                                The Big Scoop

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: jahvay

                                  Ooh, how about Foo's on Pender (pre-Foo's Ho Ho)?

                                  And jahvay, remember the condominium muffins at Bino's? My second job was swing shift at the Bino's on Broadway (between Oak and Cambie). Spent most of grade nine at the Bino's in Kerrisdale drinking scary coffee too... good times...

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    Our highschool late night Bino's was Joyce & Kingsway.

                                    1. re: ck1234

                                      Only Bino's left, but now open til 3 am only. R.I.P. 24 hour-version. Still cheap breakies with 80s decor though.

                                  2. re: jahvay

                                    The waiter at the Budapest on 4th and Alma was "Class!"

                                  3. What was the name of the Italian Joint on Davie where all of the restaurant crowd would go after work to eat great pizza. It was near Bute. Maybe the Village Inn???

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jahvay

                                      I was wondering what year you are talking about? Every time I think about Bute & Davie - I get Black Angus in my head and remember going there late night too and eating Steak soup! This is like 1984 or so...

                                      1. re: jahvay

                                        could it have been john's party pizza?

                                      2. We used to love going for the Jade Chicken at Vong's...I'm trying to remember what street.......Fraser, I think? Granville Souvlaki on Granville, near West Broadway - that was always great for an inexpensive take-out of Gyros and fries.....then they made that whole area more upscale with Chapters and everything. I kept the take-out menu as a momento. Oh, and Estia - the Greek buffet near Granville Island. Fairly decent food...I remember going on a rainy evening, and the ceiling leaking....

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Chomp

                                          Yes Vons too! Grayelf & I were just talking about it. It was Fraser and 40 something at first, then they moved to Fraser & 29thish later. Tht was the ultimate in Asian food in my teenage years but I ate there up unitl my mid/late twenties. I wonder whatever happened to them?

                                        2. Just off Whyte Avenue in Edmonton, there was a donair/burger place called Hungry Jack's. Best beef shawarmas I've ever had. Unfortunately, the original owners left, the new guy wasn't half as good, and now it's a taco place.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: KJago

                                            Also in Edmonton:

                                            A-1 Burger
                                            Ashoka Curry House
                                            Boccalino's Bistro
                                            Fiesta Restaurant
                                            Italian Gardens
                                            La Casa Ticino
                                            Strathcona Gasthaus
                                            The Pyrogy House

                                          2. The Imperial Palace on Centre Street North and 11th(?) in Calgary. I know they're still there but they have different owners and cooks. I think I heard rumors that the original owners when back to Hong Kong. I loved their dumplings!

                                            1. My favourite childhood restaurant was the old White Spot in New Westminster. It was cozy with lots of brick and I remember feeling quite special when my Dad would take me there. Sometimes my whole family would do the park and eat thing in the back-the long tray that fit perfectly through the windows was so neat. My favourite aside from the pirate pak of course, was the cheesecake-it was amazing...not the same anymore:(.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: selena03

                                                Funny you should mention Whitespot. The drive-in n Granville and 65(?)th was another favourite...and you are right the cheesecake was good and definitely not the same anymore.

                                                1. re: fmed

                                                  I know I miss the cheesecake-if you ever find one that tastes like it please do let me know:)!

                                              2. Vancouver, here's what comes to mind:

                                                I miss the Ouzeri. Used to live a couple blocks away and it was a nice place for summer or winter evenings; when we were youngerish the parents took us; and then it was one of the first nice places we took our kids (as opposed to Swiss Chalet kitty corner).

                                                Also miss the original Henry's in the current la Buca location. Just could never really love the Safeway location.

                                                As a student we would travel across town to eat at Le Grecque (sp?) on the Drive.

                                                When I used to work downtown there was great secret in the food fair in Sinclair Centre. Typical Chinese fast food place, but back in the kitchen they made lovely chicken stirfry with flowering chives. Last time I went for passport renewal it wasn't there anymore.

                                                1. Great thread... In Vancouver, Wonton House on Cambie, fantastic late night food with friends after a night out, now a casualty of the Millenium line, Golden Award in Richmond had the best Curry Beef Brisket and a free drink refill, HK Style Chinese at the UBC village that fed me through University and a great pizza restaurant on Broadway that was across from a former nightclub, Daddio's i think. Also I am already mourning the soon to be gone Cannery.

                                                  1. I miss El Mexicano at Kingsway and Victoria. Remember Captain Georges?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jchaput

                                                      Loved the mango margaritas at El Mexicano!

                                                    2. Calgary:
                                                      The Owl's Nest. Got engaged there, 1st anniversary there, celebrated both kids there. Old fashioned but they would cook anything they had for you any way you wanted it.

                                                      ShanTung when it was located in what is now a parking lot on Crowchild and Kensington. It was so small that the food arrived straight from the wok to your plate.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: sharonanne

                                                        Oh yeah, the Owl's Nest - the first time I went (early 80's) they gave a rose to the women and a cigar to the men at the end of the meal. Complimentary (well actually included in the steep prices). I'd only been 3 or 4 times over the last 20 years so not on my list of best-loved most-missed places.