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

  • 1

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

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  1. My Chau
    Thai Basil
    The Place

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      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

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

    2. What constitutes "hole-in-wall" definition ?

        1. re: piwakawaka

          +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

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

            Yes I'm old fashioned.

            1. re: Sam Salmon

              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

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

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  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

                    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

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

                      1. re: LotusRapper

                        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 caf├ęs-Anatolia's Gate as mentioned.

                    2. re: anewton

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

              2. re: LotusRapper

                +1 on Thai Son

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

            2. 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

                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. 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. 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. 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

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

                      Anyone for Sushiyama across from Kingsgate?

                      1. re: 123

                        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

                          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

                            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

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

                              1. re: grayelf

                                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

                                  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. 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

                          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

                            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

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

                              1. re: kinnickinnik

                                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.