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We're Back! (And looking for Thai and Mexican in Vancouver/Richmond area)

ardelle Feb 8, 2012 10:56 PM

Me and hubby (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6141...), are here once again and have five more days to take in the food of the Vancouver area. We have eaten at Blue Water Cafe, Earl's and Salathai so far.
We are wondering if there is any decent Mexican to be found? By my research that seems to be a stretch. Indian?
Also, we thought the Richmond area to be the focal point for all things Asian. Is that the place to look for Thai? We thought Salathai was fair, but would like better. We will be in Richmond several times while here.
We are staying downtown. Is there anything we should not miss?

  1. grayelf Feb 8, 2012 11:29 PM

    I really can't recommend any Thai restaurants in Vancouver. Every time one opens with a will to staying "authentic" the local thirst for ketchupy sweet sauces undermines the most ardent of chef owners, sigh. I go to Thai Basil on Thurlow for a takeout order of pad krapow and pad kee mao when I can't stand it anymore and don't have time to make my own at home. It suffices.

    Richmond is all about the Cantonese and to some extent the Shanghainese, plus maybe some of the western-influenced HK cafes. And some solid Taiwanese options as well. But not really any other Asian that I'm aware of.

    Indian is also sadly not worthy here with one or two exceptions in the easterly burbs.

    Don't get me started about Mexican. Unless you come from somewhere with even less representation from that beloved country, I fear you will be disappointed.

    My current downtown loves are Santouka for ramen and *toroniku* plus Miko for traditional sushi/Japanese on Robson. Tacofino on Burrard does a tasty take on a fish taco (it's a truck so hours are limited and subject to change). Another street snack worth sampling is Osa Takoyaki from a cart on Pender between Howe and Granville. You should prolly try a Japadog too, just because; there are several carts around downtown plus the bricks and mortar on Robson. I like the okonomiyaki dog. Meat and Bread's take on a porchetta sandwich is worth the calories.

    And speaking of calories, if you are willing to schlep a bit, the pulled pork pancakes and pork belly at Red Wagon actually live up to the hype. For bonus arterial clogging points, get the $14.50 breaky plate that has *both* and you will be happy and full for the rest of the day. Do make that a weekday though as the weekend lineups have gotten beyond silly after their recent appearance on a Food Network show.

    3 Replies
    1. re: grayelf
      ardelle Feb 9, 2012 09:23 AM

      Thanks for the info. I was afraid that you would give me a depressing account of Mexican and Indian restaurants.
      On one trip we ate at an Indian place that was on lower Granville (I'm pretty sure), that was decent, but I can't find it to save my life! It had sort of a garden entrance. It was not Mirchi.
      Thanks for the help. Still wishing we could make one of your get-togethers.

      1. re: ardelle
        fmed Feb 9, 2012 09:27 AM

        Was it Vij's (it has an atrium)?

        1. re: fmed
          ardelle Feb 9, 2012 06:51 PM

          No. I did find it though! It's on my map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=2...
          Tandoori King Restaurant
          8017 Fraser Street
          Vancouver, BC, Canada
          (604) 327-3355
          tandooriking.com

          I tried to make reservations at Vij's and was informed that they did not take reservations and that it would be an hour plus wait this evening, almost regardless of when we came. Forget that!

    2. l
      Lagmire Feb 9, 2012 12:23 PM

      There a few really good Indian restaurants in Vancouver, and there's even a decent one in Richmond.

      The best one I've ever found is The Original Tandoori on Main st. + about 49th ave. or so
      The decent one in Richmond, which I has an awesome lunch special is Tandoori Kona at the corner of No. 5 Rd. + Cambie

      1. k
        kwl Feb 9, 2012 04:05 PM

        Try Maenam on W. 4th for excellent Thai.

        I'd say La Taqueria does a pretty good job at replicating the street taco scene of Mexico, albeit at substantially higher prices. Dona Cata on Victoria comes in a close second. Although I haven't been in some time, La Casita in Gastown has a nice Enchiladas Suiza that reminds me of eating at La Lomita on Isla Mujeres.

        I've always had good Indian at Maurya on Broadway. I especially find their buffet in the afternoon to be good value.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kwl
          Sam Salmon Feb 9, 2012 05:16 PM

          "The Original Tandoori on Main st. + about 49th ave. or so"

          That would be 7215 Main St between 56th & 57th-West side of the street.

          1. re: kwl
            j
            jcolvin Feb 11, 2012 02:01 PM

            maenam is good albeit pricy for the portion size. bob likes thai is a good little place too. i dont know why we have such a lack of decent thai in town. the last really good one apart from maenam was montris and it closed last year. meanwhile i was just in port angeles in washington state, a little town of 20,000 and had incredible thai that kicked the ass of anything we can get in vancity.

          2. b
            brokentelephone Feb 11, 2012 06:14 PM

            Forget all over Indian recommendations and go directly to Atithi on Burrard / Broadway.

            It's so far better than anywhere else in Vancouver it's not even funny (bar Vijs I guess)

            2 Replies
            1. re: brokentelephone
              grayelf Feb 11, 2012 10:04 PM

              Nice to hear such a strong recommendation for Atithi. My two meals there were decidedly meh. Perhaps it's time for a revisit... what are your top dishes there, bt?

              1. re: grayelf
                b
                brokentelephone Feb 12, 2012 12:27 PM

                I don't really recall b/c the names of the dishes were not the usual lamb vindaloo, chicken tikka, etc.

            2. y
              YVR flyboy Feb 12, 2012 03:36 AM

              This small 6 table restaurant closed on Sundays is on the west side of Thurlow, just south of Davie Street. The chef is the owner & he is always the one cooking. It's bit fancy but the food is amazing. The Phad Kee Mao needs no extra spice. Wide rice noodles with a couple of pepper branches with choice of shrimp, tofu, beef or chicken is NY favourite. The springs rolls are crisp & I indulge in mango coconut sticky rice when in season:it!s at 1215 Thurlow:http://www.thaibasilvancouver.ca/home/

              1 Reply
              1. re: YVR flyboy
                y
                YVR flyboy Feb 12, 2012 03:44 AM

                www.thaibasilvancouver.ca/home

              2. y
                YVR flyboy Feb 12, 2012 03:55 AM

                Guu:838 Thurlow St(just south of Robson on the east side). Don't go for lunch. The lunch menu is limited. Get there by 6pm or the wait will be long. The chicken karaage is great. It's a noisy, boisterous atmosphere & it's mire interesting being seated at the counter where you can watch the chefs. There are several branches around town, but this is the original. The style is called izakaya.(PS-ignore the Kito.....Water St. I can't get rid of it)

                1. j
                  jmil Feb 14, 2012 08:42 AM

                  I've found the food at Lanna Thai (Denman St) to be pretty good and somewhat authentic.
                  Run by a lady from Chang Mai.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jmil
                    grayelf Feb 14, 2012 07:51 PM

                    Lanna is on my radar. Apparently they have a special set dinner? Have you tried it?

                    1. re: grayelf
                      j
                      jmil Feb 14, 2012 09:32 PM

                      No I haven't had the set dinner... Will look into that!
                      I love their Beef Larb, .. and their Morning Glory stems are awesome - which btw are not on the menu. If they have it in stock, or call ahead, they will make it for you!
                      Vegetables and herbs are grown in the chef's garden.
                      If you want real Thai spice, you can get it here. If unsure order medium !

                      1. re: jmil
                        grayelf Feb 15, 2012 12:01 PM

                        That's great feedback. Lanna just moved up my to try list!

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