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Apr 14, 2010 03:12 PM

Restaurant Recommendations- Near Plaza 500

I'm going to be in Vancouver for a few days starting on the 25th of April.
Any suggestions for restaurants near the Plaza 500 Hotel?
500 West 12th Avenue

Looking for good ethnic foods, something with some spice.
Also a good pizza place and of course the usual "must visit" local joints.

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  1. Saravana Bhavan is an Indian veggie place a 10 minute walk away.

    Menya Japanese Noodles of distinction with no pretense-even closer.

    Outstanding private liquor store right around the corner

    1. I strongly recommend Tropika at the corner of 14th Avenue and Cambie, about 3 mins walk from Plaza 500:

      If you have an Entertainment Book, there's a coupon in there for them.

      Along West Broadway between Cambie and Oak you will find a plethora of "ethnic" restaurants, some hot, some not ....... let your palate do the discovering.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper

        Thanks for the replies Sam and Lotus.
        Tropika looks like a place that will work well.
        Sam, I would love to do Saravanaa Bhavan but I am a dedicated meatatarian.
        As much as I love Indian food there has to be some animal protein in there.

        Love the Fire Fly Wines recommendation though. That is alway my first stop when I get to the city.

        We don't have a huge selection, or even a medium selection, here in PEI for fine wines and liquor.

        Saravanaa Bhavan
        955W Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K3, CA

        1. re:

          I am a total meat-lover, but Saravanaa Bhavan has such great food that you really don't miss it... and they really know how to bring the spice.

          Also, for ramen, I'd go Benkei over Menya hands down.

          Everyone else has made great suggestions. I'll just throw in some extra votes for Kirin, Pied-a-Terre, and Tropikas (for the food... the service/management at that location leaves a bit to be desired).

      2. Peaceful Restaurant two blocks away on Broadway at Cambie is an excellent introduction to more northern style Chinese cuisine. The servers are very knowledgeable and can guide you towards something excellent (and they have spice too).

        The best pizza place in the area would be Firewood, though the pizza geeks on the board here will likely tell you that there really are no decent pizza joints in Vancouver. At least, not many. Firewood does a decent job and they do have a wood burning oven.

        Agreed on the Menya rec. Great little ramen joint with friendly service.

        Firefly also has one of the best beer selections in the city. Lots of interesting beers to be found. Wine service can be a little spotty. I was asking for a recommendation for a bottle but found the person I asked had much less wine knowledge than I did. Sigh. They did at least give a disclaimer that they were more of a beer person than wine.

        24 Replies
        1. re: peter.v

          I second the Peaceful rec. Menya is pretty good but what about the new Benkei at 5th and Cambie? And does Tropika still have sambal bunchies? I also used to love their roti-type bread and curry dip...

          1. re: grayelf

            There's a new Benkei at 5th and Cambie ? I'm there !! :-)

            Tropika still has sambal bunchies on their menu *but* it's a hit & miss. Last time I was there during the Olympics I asked for it but they didn't have it.


            And they do have the roti canai still:


            And I almost forgot about another very good Thai place on Cambie between 8th and 7th called Chao Phraya (across from Home Depot), it's the one with the green sign:


            It's been maybe 5 years since I was last there, but I recall they have a kick-ass sambal bunchies and sambal kang-kong !

            1. re: LotusRapper

              There is a new Benkei at 5th and Ontario (not yet open, last time I checked, but I have seen pre-opening blog posts). I don't know about 5th and Cambie....could be the same place?

              Shanghai Village on Cambie. I have only been once (when it first opened). The dishes I had were good. All the Shanghai classics are there (Good XLB as well.)

              I don't know what it is like these days.

              1. re: fmed

                Shanghai Village does have good XLB ! But my ignorance causes confusion when most of their dishes aren't recognizable to me, which may bespeak of their "pure" Shanghai-ness ? My parents go there once a week minimum. I find their offerings too bland for my palate.

                There's also Szechuan House further up between 19th and 20th. I've only been twice, and I liked them. But it's prolly not pure Szechuan per se:


                Szechuan House Restaurant
                3466 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z2W8, CA

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Szechuan House is probably the most authentic Sichuan west of Main. The food isn't at the same level as some of the other places we have talked about here. (BTW - There is a branch of Szechuan House in Burnaby at's OK, but it was much better before.)

                  I should give a shout out to Golden Great Wall which near the area on Broadway. The Shanghai dishes there are good. (The XLB is pretty good.)

                  Also Kirin near the hotel for dim sum.

                  1. re: fmed

                    Oh right, the other Szechuan House on Imperial, which IIRC used to be called Golden Cabin :-)

                    Szechuan House
                    4394 Imperial St, Burnaby, BC V5J1A9, CA

                2. re: fmed

                  Sorry to get everyone all excited about the new Benkei -- I got the intell from this thread

                  and in rereading noted it says "looks like it should be open in 2 wks" or something like that so my bad. Maybe it will be ready by the time the OP comes to town??

                  To the OP: per peterv's rec above, the pizza at Firewood Cafe (3004 Cambie at 24th; 10% off for takeout) can be very good when they're on. Pretty much just delivery/pickup but handy to your hotel for sure. Try the Hawaiian (sliced almonds are the secret ingredient) or the Asiago... they usually have some coupons or specials on their website too.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Thanks Grey.
                    I will take all recomendations with me and try to get to as many restos possible.
                    ah-Beetz! seems like a good place for pizza. Is this place in a reasonable driving range?
                    I hate to ask for Pizza recomendations on this site because it alway ends up being a Chicago Style/New York Style/Real Italian Argument with many self appointed experts claiming there is not good pizza in the city.

                    I love a good real Italian Pizza.
                    I also love a good New York Style pizza.
                    I also love a good Chicago Deep Dish pizza.
                    I've had them all and I still see nothing wrong with our good old Canadian style pizzas loaded up with toppings and cheese.

                    New York Style
                    299 Wallace St, Nanaimo, BC V9R5B4, CA

                    1. re:

                      Ah-Beetz is over an hour away unfortunately. He does a NY Style.

                      I'm one of those self-proclaimed experts :-) and yes - pizza in this city is abysmal generally can find some decent pizzas here now, but I don't think we have a "great" pizza place here yet.

                      Firewood is one of the better places - so check it out if you have the appetite.

                      1. re: fmed

                        Yeah, that's been one of my big complaints about Vancouver dining. Our pizza is really kinda sucky. I would love to have an Apizza Scholls here or some great deep dish. I really enjoyed my pizza at Ah-beetz, but it's a bit of a hike to hit up on a regular basis.

                      2. re:

                        Olie's Pizzeria on W. 2nd just outside the entrance to Granville Island has very good thin-crust pizza and calzones. It's somewhat obscure in a small strip mall behind the Starbucks:



                        But it has been a couple years since I picked up a pizza there, so I hope the owner is still the same.

                        If you walk down to Broadway, outside the London Drugs there's a bus stop for Route #50 which will take you right to the entrance of Granville Island, then continue to downtown Vancouver.

                        1. re:

                          Yeah, Ah-Beetz is an hour+ per direction. Still haven't made it out there, but I've only heard good things.

                          1. re: peter.v

                            My SO is in Abbotsford today and was so disappointed that Ah-Beetz is only open from 4 pm, so be sure to only go for an early dinner if you do. (He ended up at Lou's Grill thanks to the other recent thread on decent food in the valley).

                            Lou's Grill
                            2852 Gladys Ave, Abbotsford, BC V2S3Y2, CA

                          2. re:

                            You might want to try Zacchary's Pizza on Oak st (between 16th & 15th). They are closed Sunday & Monday but the pizza is very good.

                            1. re: islandgirl

                              Agree. I do wish their sizes were a bit bigger for the price.

                              Funny flashback: Zacchary's pizza was the last meal my (then pregnant) wife ate before she went into labour 4 years ago, and our son was born two days later. And no, we didn't name him Zacchary, LOL !

                                  1. re: LotusRapper

                                    Or "Leo" (I think that's actually the owner/pizza maker's name)

                              1. re: islandgirl

                                Zacchary's used to be our go-to for 'za but the service just got too haphazard. They'd say 20 mins and it would be closer to an hour. A real drag when you're outside their delivery zone and you're actually sitting in the unsalutary eating area waiting.

                            2. re: grayelf

                              Benkei at 5th and Main-ish is in soft-opening mode now. I have already read a couple of blog-posts on it. It is actually fairly close to the OP's hotel specially by car - so it is totally doable...and so is Nuba (at 3rd and Main) with that logic. (I went to Nuba a couple of weeks ago in their soft-opening mode.)

                              1. re: fmed

                                Okay so I wasn't totally off re the 5th and Ontario Benkei -- phew. Now the question is whether to head over there or wait a bit longer for the Broadway one to open and WALK for my ramen fix :-).

                                Nuba is a good suggestion too but if this Nuba is like the other outposts, I suggest the OP stick to mezes (appetizers) for a tasty experience.

                          3. re: LotusRapper

                            I ended up at Tropika last night after showing up to a nearly closed Shiro. We ordered the roti, sambal bunchies and the terung udang kering (eggplant). The food was pretty tasty, but service was a bit spotty. Everything was quick, however the bill was given to us 40 minutes before close and we were told to pay it 10 minutes later. In my opinion, that's pretty shoddy. We were told there was no rush for us to leave, but they were closing the till. Oh well. Watched a server pour a diner's beer for him into a really tall glass and it was all head. Anyways, I'd probably go back.

                            1. re: peter.v

                              Yes, the few times I've received curt service from them.

                              Maybe try Chao Phraya next time ? On Cambie between 8th and 7th (across from Home Depot), it's the one with the green sign:


                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                I appreciate that recommendation! Always looking for spots close to work that I haven't been to yet.

                      3. I'm love the noodles at Sha Lin. It's on Broadway just a 1/2 block west of Cambie (548 W. Broadway).

                        Cambies Cafe
                        2301 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z2T9, CA

                        1. There's also the award winning Pied-a-Terre up at Cambie & 17th. Reservations ahead of time is mandatory, and you'll know why. It's worth it. Their onion tart, terrine, and steak frites are noteworthy:


                          Figment (inside Plaza 500):

                          If you had only one evening of "fine dining", between Figment and P-a-T I'd go with P-a-T hands down.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: LotusRapper

                            PAT is a good rec (just beware of a slight tendency to oversalt on occasion). And it's Figmint, in case the OP wants to look up previous reports :-).

                            1. re: grayelf

                              I forgot about PAT...yes that is a great rec.

                              1. re: grayelf

                                And in about a year from now, there'll be the new VIJ's on Cambie where Arroy-D was :-D

                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                  A 15 minute slow walk takes you to a unique new place that's somewhat under the radar of the usual suspects here-Salmon & Bannock 100% First Nations cuisine


                                  1. re: Sam Salmon

                                    I'd love to hear more about that newish place, sam -- my lunch experience there was not stellar but maybe I hit them on an off day.

                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                        Thanks LR I had read Ben's post but it didn't cast a ton of light and actually sounded pretty similar to my experience except he was nicer :-).

                              2. re: LotusRapper

                                FigMint is closed due to health violations.
                                Seems to be a common theme with this hotel. It's just awful.
                                I'll be moving to a new location tomorrow.