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Hidden Gems - list your fave Vancouver hole-in-the-wall

123 Sep 24, 2011 07:43 PM

I checked the boards but looks like there hasn't been one of these posts for awhile...

Asking for your faves! Please leave off the $2.95 breakfast places.

I'll start this off ... ARGO CAFE

  1. b
    barcosbarcos Oct 31, 2011 09:10 PM

    Toby's Teriyaki Bowl on the north side of Hastings just before Renfrew has amazing beef teriyaki bowls. It's by far the best rendition of Yoshinoya style beef bowl here in the city is run by a kooky old Japanese lady who is exceptionally friendly.
    The other stuff on the menu is only so-so, but the beef bowl is definitely worth the trip and cheap at under $6. They used to be situated under the Fir street off-ramp of the Burrard street bridge and have moved around several times since then.

    4 Replies
    1. re: barcosbarcos
      fmed Oct 31, 2011 10:56 PM

      Toby's Teriyaki Bowl is a great little hole in the wall. I used to go there regularly. I don't really know why it dropped off my radar.

      Teriyaki Bowl Restaurant
      13784 104 Ave, Surrey, BC V3T1W5, CA

      1. re: barcosbarcos
        LotusRapper Nov 1, 2011 12:07 AM

        IIRC Teriyaki Bowl used to be at 7th and Fir, where the vacant lot is in this image:


        It was later replaced by a casual "bistro" run by two women from Quebec.

        1. re: LotusRapper
          kinnickinnik Nov 1, 2011 12:18 AM

          I miss that Quebec bistro - Zizane - they had a great (and generously portioned) tourtiere.

          1. re: kinnickinnik
            LotusRapper Nov 1, 2011 12:25 AM

            Zizane, that's it. Thanks :-) I remembered it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/751213

            We went there a couple times too. IIRC they had some good salads.

            That stretch of 7th served as a bit of un-official Quebecois/Francophone epicentre, with Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver (CCFV) and Cafe Salade de Fruits down the street.

      2. k
        kluv2cruz Oct 26, 2011 06:57 PM

        There's a little place east about 2 doors from MEC on Broadway. AMAZING cup of "americano" and wonderful curried whatever on rice. And... for the teens, a big plate of pasta with sauce. All pulled together by one friendly guy. Cheap, affordable, and a great place to go when you're trying to fit in a MEC visit and the family conspires against you because THEY'RE HUNGRY! Order the hot meals not the samosas on display.

        7 Replies
        1. re: kluv2cruz
          123 Oct 26, 2011 09:12 PM

          kluv2cruz -- do you mean Rino's Cappuccino Bar? Might have to check it out.

          Anyone for Sushiyama across from Kingsgate?

          1. re: 123
            Thathertz Oct 29, 2011 04:54 PM

            Shushiyama is pretty okay for "Nouveaux " style Sushi
            Rino 's - used to be my lunch spot dirty & cheap

            My Picks.
            Chez Faye Cafe - hamilton street
            BaoQi eateri - davie street
            Tandoori Palace - Commercial Drive -surly service with a side of delicious Punjabi food.
            La Grotta Del Formaggio - Commercial Drive -- awesome sandwiches.
            Au Petit Cafe -best Viet style subs
            Asakusa Sushi - Kingsway
            Falafel Plus - W 7th Ave. Best Falafel in Vancouver, Bar none.
            Dona Cata Mexican - Victoria Drive Maybe to trendy for this.
            Taste of Vietnam - dirty & cheap
            Pad Thai - Broadway @ Main
            Lhy Thai - Burnaby

            La Grotta Del Formaggio
            1791 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N4A4, CA

            Lhy Thai Restaurant
            7357 Edmonds St, Burnaby, BC V3N1A9, CA

            Asakusa Sushi
            4729 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2C3, CA

            Chez Faye Cafe
            1168 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B2S2, CA

            Tandoori Palace
            1439 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L3X8, CA

            1. re: Thathertz
              LotusRapper Oct 29, 2011 05:03 PM

              Hey, someone else who likes Asakusa Sushi, like me ! :-D To add to that, I also quite like Yakko Sushi Express on Kingsway:


              (*NOT* to be confused with the other "Yakko Sushi" inside Station Square of Metrotown which is very meh and overpriced, IMO).

              Where is "Taste of Vietnam" ?

              Asakusa Sushi
              4729 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2C3, CA

              Yakko Sushi
              4689 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2B3, CA

              1. re: LotusRapper
                grayelf Oct 29, 2011 11:17 PM

                Taste of Vietnam is on Broadway near Oak. I've never found it dirty but it is reasonably priced. Pho is just okay though, and they parboil the sprouts (bleh).

                1. re: grayelf
                  LotusRapper Oct 30, 2011 09:02 AM

                  Thanks Grayelf, now I remember. Even been there once or twice. Overall they're meh.

                  1. re: grayelf
                    flowbee Oct 30, 2011 06:02 PM

                    Green Lemongrass on Kingsway also parboils their sprouts on request, cuz a lot of their Chinese customers ask for them to be parboiled. I like it raw and crispy though.

                    1. re: flowbee
                      grayelf Oct 31, 2011 09:45 AM

                      I know, it's a health thing, but I'm in the raw and crispy camp too. And GLG should be on this list for their weekend Viet breakies, all $5 before 11 am. Their bot chien is the best I've tried so far (also available in a larger size on the regular menu).

          2. LotusRapper Sep 30, 2011 04:36 PM

            Ok, I'm gonna admit to liking my once-in-bluemoon pig-out at Kent's Kitchen in Chinatown. Total HITW if there ever was one:


            2 items + steamed rice is still $4.50 ($5.04 incl. HST). Dishes are greasy as heck and all start to taste the same after awhile, but the variety is bewildering and actually fun to mix & match. Try getting a seat, esp. one where the table is actually wiped clean ...... that's the challenge I look forward to as I dig in to that sub-$5 plate of greasy meaty MSG goodness.

            1. c
              cdnprairiedog Sep 30, 2011 01:28 PM

              I like Double D Pizza in my 'hood of Kits/Point Grey - $7.50 for a baked pasta that is sufficient for 2 meals, with salad and garlic toast on the side. It's like home cooking.

              1. 1
                123 Sep 26, 2011 10:58 PM

                I miss the old Cafe D'lite on the north side of Broadway... a true HITW.

                I've been to the new location but I guess the old place brings back memories.

                1 Reply
                1. re: 123
                  vandan Sep 30, 2011 10:41 AM

                  Cuu Long for the food, the value and the wonderful family that run it, Pats pub ( who would ever guess tht they brew their own beer and smoke their own meat) , Hawkers as mentioned, will come back with more later

                2. p
                  piwakawaka Sep 25, 2011 09:08 PM

                  hawkers delight (25th & Main)

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: piwakawaka
                    LotusRapper Sep 25, 2011 10:50 PM

                    +1 on Hawker's :-D

                    Thai Son (Broadway, 1st Ave)
                    Gain Wah (Keefer)
                    Paul's Restaurant (E. Hastings in N. Burnaby)
                    Roman Ristorante (Kingsway)
                    Peaceful (W. Broadway)
                    Kalvin's Szechuan (Victoria)
                    Pho Van (Fraser)
                    Nat's Pizzeria (W. Broadway)
                    Unforgettable Pizza (W. 8th Ave)
                    Club House Japanese Restaurant (W. 2nd Ave)
                    Georgio's Pizzeria (Rumble in S. Burnaby)
                    Wen Xin (Rumble in S. Burnaby)
                    HK BBQ Master (#3 Road Richmond)

                    1. re: LotusRapper
                      Sam Salmon Sep 25, 2011 11:05 PM

                      A true HITW has no web presence of any kind and only takes cash.

                      Yes I'm old fashioned.

                      1. re: Sam Salmon
                        123 Sep 25, 2011 11:56 PM

                        I agree with Sam Salmon. One of those places where you don't want to stick around too long, you don't want to use the washroom, and you don't want to look too closely at things. Eating with blinders on, basically.

                        1. re: 123
                          LotusRapper Sep 26, 2011 04:56 AM

                          LOL. That makes many, if not most, of the places listed above seem high-end, IMO at least :-)

                          1. re: LotusRapper
                            anewton Sep 26, 2011 07:08 AM

                            Hmmm. The above definition of hole in the wall is a bit narrow for my taste. I would define it somewhat more loosely as a place that:

                            a) appears unassuming from the street
                            b) is small (let's say fewer than 30 seats)
                            c) is decidedly non-trendy
                            d) is inexpensive (nothing on the menu for more than 12 bucks)

                            I don't think that filthy washrooms and poor kitchen hygiene should be musts; in fact, I would not want to frequent a HITW that had those characteristics. But, as they say on the "internets," YMMV.

                            1. re: anewton
                              clutterer Sep 26, 2011 09:19 AM

                              The criteria reminds me of a place we used to go to in Causeway Bay, which was literally a hole in the wall as there was no street-facing wall, just a giant garage door. We always went back for the soup buns, which were amazing enough to make you forget the 95% probability you'd get sick afterwards.

                              Anyway, I'd like to add Luda to the ongoing list.

                              1. re: clutterer
                                LotusRapper Sep 26, 2011 05:28 PM

                                But that 5% chance must have been worth it to ya !! :-D

                                1. re: LotusRapper
                                  Sam Salmon Sep 26, 2011 08:05 PM

                                  Also-using the definition supplied by myself & 123 a HITW isn't any kind of 'gem' - isn't mean to be.

                                  This city abounds in gems but they are by and large cafés-Anatolia's Gate as mentioned.

                              2. re: anewton
                                123 Sep 26, 2011 10:55 PM

                                anewton.. okay, so maybe i am exaggerating a wee bit about HITWs... i like your definition better

                        2. re: LotusRapper
                          mrbitterpants Sep 26, 2011 09:16 PM

                          +1 on Thai Son

                          Thai Son Restaurant
                          4653 City Gdns, Richmond, BC V6Y, CA

                      2. LotusRapper Sep 25, 2011 10:50 AM

                        What constitutes "hole-in-wall" definition ?

                        1. grayelf Sep 24, 2011 10:21 PM

                          My Chau
                          Thai Basil
                          The Place

                          My Chau Restaurant
                          1715 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5N2S4, CA

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: grayelf
                            fmed Sep 24, 2011 11:47 PM

                            Bo Laksa King
                            Seri Malaysia
                            Ba Le (Kingsway)
                            Tung Hing
                            Anatolia's Gate
                            La Meme Baguette
                            Madras Dosa
                            Dosa House
                            (I'll stop for now).

                            1. re: fmed
                              farman Sep 25, 2011 09:36 AM

                              Choice Fast Food (best butter chicken in town IMO) - Hornby @ Helmcken

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