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Jun 4, 2010 09:26 PM

day 2: granville island day. banana leaf or seri malaysia or... ?

day two, granville day

we will DEF visit the sake maker. my hubby likes sake and that will certainly be a treat. thank you grey elf and moyenchow for the heads up.

dinner is still up in the air. i would love to visit peaceful but i think maybe we might try risking that when my hubby and i visit on our own.

am now considering taking the family either to banana leaf or to seri malaysia.

we are staying right next to the banana leaf on denman, so that has that going for it. but seri malaysia sounds like fun, even if there is no ambiance, plus its cheaper, which bil would probably like.

what do you all think? is it a toss up, or are the boards overwhelmingly in favor of one or the other? (oh and i _just_ tried calling seri malaysia for hours. machine picked up. bah. do you think they are open until 8 or 9 pm on weeknights? this is a friday night dinner.)

or maybe you have a better recommendation?

conditions: it shouldnt be expensive (but it doesnt have to be cheap) and it should be relatively near granville or near stanley park. should satisfy party of 4 adults, one grandma and one 7 yo.

indian food is out. korean is out. thank goodness chinese and japanese foods are okay. other foods we are possibly open to but i dont want to alienate the party either.

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  1. i have a back up plan for this night too if dinner isnt a success!

    mr pickwicks on denman! theyre open till 11 pm. a little fish and chips (or pickles) never hurt no one

    12 Replies
    1. re: doughnut

      You can walk or wobble to Afghan Horsemen right @ the entrance to Granville Island-neither Indian nor Greek-safe choices abound see menu for details

      Pickwicks is very uneven-and that's being polite about it-dine @ your own risk.

      Afghan Horsemen Restaurant
      1833 Anderson St, Vancouver, BC V6H4E5, CA

      1. re: doughnut

        Here's doughnut's day one plan, to refresh everyone's memory:

        DAY ONE (theme stanley park)

        driving up and arrival

        lunch at japadog and whatever else is nearby if its not enough

        stanley park for the day

        dinner at santouka or gyoza king

        If you're keen on Malaysian, I'd venture out to Seri. I've been to the Denman Banana Leaf and while it's my favourite of their various outposts, that's damning it with faint praise. As long as you go to Seri with the right expectations, you will have a good meal, with hints of greatness. I cannot say that will be the case at Banana Leaf, and you will pay a lot more. Seri doesn't have a licence, if that is an issue. You might want to check out the Chowdown we had recently to see what the most popular dishes were (it is the same meal to which Ben refers in the Chowtimes post Lotus refers to below):

        Banana Leaf
        1096 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2M8, CA

        1. re: grayelf

          Hate to say it, but Banana Leaf is bordering on making "mainstream Anglo/Saxon Malay & Singapore foods". I'm such a snob !

          Banana Leaf
          820W Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V5Z1J8, CA

          1. re: LotusRapper

            hmmm.. that is a tad harsh. I would say BL is closer to Singaporean style Chinese Malaysian food. The flavor profile is closer to the real thing than Tropika. Though it is 'dumbed' down to cater to local palettes. FYI, I've been there several times in the past couple of months.

            ur not a snob. ur just better informed with a palette for authenticity. :-D

            Seri Malaysia as mentioned is more Malay-Malaysian food. Less sweet and less creamy(coconut cream). More traditional Malay-Malaysian food. Better value. More of an 'experience' esp with the commute there.

            Malaysian food is extremely diverse. Truth be told, there is no such thing as a Malaysian restaurant. The three major races have such different cuisine. When in Malaysia you go to different restaurants or stall based on their specialty.There is no one-stop Malaysian food. They all have different sets of base ingredients and flavor profile. No one person can really cook ALL the Malaysian classics equally as well. there are so many groups of food origin and derivatives ie malay, chinese, indian, peranakan, mamak(indian-muslim), native... it is unlikely that one can master them all.(I'd be skeptical that I would enjoy a roti canai made from a Chinese cook more than my favourite 'mamak' stall).

            if you like Japanese rolls. there is Kadoya on Denman. service is marginally better than the Davie location which is prob the bottom 10 in the city.

            1. re: betterthanbourdain

              Great rundown on Malaysian cuisine betterthanbourdain. If I were to attempt to micro-categorize Jamal's food at Seri Malaysia - it is Home-style Malay-Malaysian. None of the fancier fussy-to-prepare dishes is as if a Malaysian guy invited you to eat at his home. The food there is what he would have cooked for his own family.

            2. re: LotusRapper

              I know virtually nothing about Malaysian food but I do know that you are likely to wait for your reservation at Banana Leaf, especially on a busy evening. You are also likely to get attitude from at least one of the staff. And you are likely to get bland food and you will definitely pay more for it than at Seri. That being said, Seri has its challenges as ably outlined by js below. I'd still take Seri over any of the BLs in a heartbeat.

            3. re: grayelf

              Rules of engagement for Seri Malaysia:

              1. Make sure *all* in your party understand the following rules of engagement and adjust expectations accordingly.

              2. Seri Malaysia is a bare-bones-no-frills-joint. You go there for the food, not for the ambience, not for the service. It's halal, so no alcohol. (That being said, it is nice and clean inside.)

              3. Do not go to Seri Malaysia hungry. Make sure you are comfortable still, with 30-45 minutes, even up to 60 minutes, as buffer zone between you and starvation. Depending on what time you alight on the place, there may be other parties ahead of you. You will not be served until the parties ahead of you are served.

              4. You might find the restaurant closed when you get there. If there are people in the restaurant and Chef Jamal decides that's it for the night, he will close down the restaurant early. (He closed at 7:45pm on the Friday we were there.) Therefore, make sure you make other arrangements in case this happens.

              5. It is not going to be a good experience for anybody if some in your party are going to be frustrated, anxious, impatient. . .or has the tendency to get that way very easily, at the slightest provocation.

              Seri Malaysia Restaurant
              2327E Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V6, CA

              1. re: _js_

                well, im rethinking this. its sounds like a lot of delicious fun to try out seri malaysia but maybe not at my relatives' expense...

                im now thinking that it might be worthwhile to drive out to richmond bc im so partial to hong kong style diners...

                1. re: doughnut

                  An HK-style cafe would be more "user-friendly" and "group-friendly," given the number of people in your party. Each can order their own, depending on their preferences. There used to be a plethora of HK-style cafes in Richmond, oh, maybe 12 years ago, but they seem to have dwindled in number for the past several years.

                  1. re: doughnut

                    copa on cambie won the chinese restaurtant award it is on cambie. as is gloucester cafe. Gloucester used to be known for the HK style western hot plates(good value for steak, lobsters, chops) and HK style Hainamese chicken rice.... but now offers more regular HK style chinese food(rice, noodles, sandwiches etc..) gloucester's food can be hit or miss.

                    copa's food is pretty decent. They have double boiled soup which is good for the price point. though the milk tea is pretty solid. both have a better selection of food items for dinner than Lido.

                    IMHO, Lido is the best value and authenticity for HK style cafe for breakfast and lunch. And their HK tea is very good. I just personally dont prefer HK style breakfast which is generally bland and un-inspiring. Except for the pineapple bun.... . I can handle the lunch at Lido. The brisket and curry are good.
                    both imho, are HK style cafe.

                    so you dont have to make it to ditchmond to enjoy a hk style cafe.

                    service at ALL Malaysian restaurtant's are YMMV ( :-D ), i find....
                    fmed is pretty bang on on SM's food. maybe a call ahead to SM to see if they are open and accommodating. Jamal was very gracious the last we had a chowdown there. not easy being a one man food operation, all the time. but there are gems here. think anyone with a sweet tooth may like the cendol here at SM. certainly unique...

                    1. re: betterthanbourdain

                      Oh, I didn't even consider the option of calling ahead *bonks self*. Of course, if the OP called ahead and made arrangements, then everything should be okay. Seri Malaysia's phone number is 604-677-7555.

                      We had the Fish Head Curry today and it was delicious! Next time it's chili crab time. :)

                      Yup, Lido is good for a pineapple bun and a hot HK milk tea. I had suggested it as a "snack" place, a place to stop by in the afternoon before dinner.

                      Seri Malaysia Restaurant
                      2327E Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V6, CA

              2. re: doughnut

                my backup plan would be babylon cafe, if you are still hungry.

                Banana Leaf can be pricey. Once you add everything up.

                Seri Malaysia is a good 20 minutes drive from Denman.

                Seri Malaysia Restaurant
                2327E Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V6, CA

                Banana Leaf
                1096 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2M8, CA

              3. Hi Doughnut, if the location criteria is close to Stanley Park or Granville, then it's Banana Leaf. Seri Malaysia is on East Hastings near Nanaimo St and no where near downtown (~ 5 miles east):

                Local blog Chowtimes has a good write-up of SM:


                In fact Chowtimes is IMHO the best of the local blogs from a family's dining perspective.

                Seri Malaysia Restaurant
                2327E Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V6, CA

                Banana Leaf
                1096 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2M8, CA