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May 20, 2014 06:03 PM

July weekend recommendations

Looking for chow recommendations for a July weekend trip to Vancouver. We're staying in Coal Harbor and prefer to walk, but will drive for good food.

One of us loves both Indian and Chinese food and knows a little about both. One of us loves Indian food, knows nothing about Chinese, and isn't entirely sure he likes it.

Unless there are many spectacular Indian restaurants, one Indian meal will be adequate. We want lots of Chinese food, and would like to have a Dim Sum brunch or two. We'd love recommendations for specific dishes, but for the benefit of the rookie, probably should avoid snake soup and such.

We don't care about atmosphere or amenities. Food carts are fine. We prefer cheap eats, but will pay for good grub.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. The easiest thing to do would be to walk over to Robson St and check out the dozens & dozens of offerings if nothing appeals stroll along Denman.

    That being said I don't know of any worthwhile Indian downtown at all-everything else Yes but not that.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sam Salmon

      hi Sam - which places on Denman would tempt you?
      It looks like this thread has already arrived at Dinesty on "west" Robson ...

      cupcakes, designer dog biscuits, coffee, falafel, fish & chips, perogies, etc ---- quite the range of options. We like to walk down Denman in the summer visits to city and feel overwhelmed by the options - some of which may possibly be less than good choices (taking price in to account of course - ie you get what you pay for + it's meant to be casual, quick fare.)

      1. re: Georgia Strait

        My default go to on Denman is Acacia Filo Bar-don't blink or you'll miss it.

        1. re: Sam Salmon

          Zakkushi on Denman makes me happy, if you like Japanese things on sticks. Make a reso for sure, and be prepared for it to be warm if the day is fine.

    2. i just answered to someone (NJ Hound) asking for same time frame - would you venture in to mid-eastern food realm?

      for sure the prices are very reasonable - food plentiful, and interesting lady owner - sometimes husband is there too ... and son - Anatolia Express - overlooking Coal Harbour

      check out the info on the NJ Hound thread

      1. i notice that you asked in a different board about UK english food - so if that interests you - there are a couple of good small shops here in Vancouver BC that offer all the brit stuff - in fact, many of our supermarkets up here have Marmite and the british cookies (biscuits) etc - however, the mother lode is at ... Celtic Treasure Chest (on Dunbar and approx 40th Ave over on the West Side of Vancouver - if you go to the well-known Museum of Anthropology at UBC, this could be a stop on your way back home to your hotel/condo ... easy transit from downtown - might take a while but easy transfer etc)

        there was a thread on this board a few months ago looking for Brit food - i'll try to find it. I think it might have been a meat product, I can't recall. ---- here we go -
        I realize the topic was kippers - however, many of the shops mentioned in the thread carry other UK (style) products.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Georgia Strait

          Hi, Georgia. I used to live in San Francisco and bitterly miss great the Chinese food there (and in Oakland, believe it or not). So I go for good Chinese whenever possible.

          By the way, we ate fabulously in the UK. We still talk about the pork pies from the shops in Louth.

        2. Consider Dinesty (yes, spelled that way) for Shanghainese Chinese, which is on Robson Street one block east of Denman Street, steps from Coal Harbour. It satisfies both people who know Chinese food/local foodies, and those who are unsure. Case in point, my significant other is someone who's dubious whenever I even consider hinting at suggesting Chinese food, yet we return to Dinesty time and time again. Order the Xiao Long Bao (soup dumpings). The menu is also approachable to people who know nothing about the food - there's a photo of every item, so there's no mystery in what you're ordering. Even the XLB and how to eat them is thoughtfully explained in the menu. The interior's modern and somewhat hip as far as Chinese restaurants go. Definitely not the traditional banquet hall setup.

          Sadly, there is nowhere notable for Indian in downtown Vancouver, as Sam says. With such limited time in Vancouver, I wouldn't even bother. HOWEVER... people seem to love Salam Bombay on Burrard Street, based off the online reviews. I've never been, but I'd be curious to try it:

          20 Replies
          1. re: Florentine

            Agree with Florentine. 'Tho I don't *seek* Indian foods regularly (too rich, too salty) nowadays, I know in downtown there's a dearth of them, not to mention above-average ones. Salam Bombay (I had their lunch buffet once) is good 'nuff for the OP's purpose. And in fact maybe the lunch buffet is the ONLY meal they should try there. For $15/person it's a good deal and the place is clean, staff is friendly.


              1. re: LotusRapper

                Thanks for the link, LR, that fried rice sounds fine. I've been to the Rmd Dinesty (dang, that name!) a couple times and thought it was decent.

                I think I've officially given up on Indian food in Van. Another board denizen who I consider an expert on it mentioned that she has been frequenting Dosa Corner lately but it wasn't exactly a ringing encomium.

                For the Indian/Chinese combo, I wonder if Green Lettuce might be fun: I haven't been for ten years but did enjoy it.

              2. re: Florentine

                OK, then. Dinesty's definitely on the list, and probably Green Lettuce.

                Salam Bombay is a possibility, but is there anything good to eat in the Punjabi Market? Please don't say no. It's too sad to contemplate an Indian community large enough to support a market but bereft of good restaurants and food carts.

                1. re: margaretx

                  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there really isn't a great option. I just got back from Fraser and 49th where I spent a frustrating half hour trying to source dried mehti (fenugreek) leaves. Finally got a bag at Fruiticana but while I was walking around was reminded how few Indian restaurants there are, let alone good ones. And any carts there are wouldn't be found in the Punjabi Market area. The best Indian food would be in people's houses, or possibly in the suburb of Surrey, which is quite a schlep. The new Vij's place just opened out there, as well:

                  1. re: grayelf

                    hi Grey Elf - if you ever go up to the Sunshine Coast - check out the "order ahead" Curry in the Creek - she is the best. Rashmi is such a sweet kind lady and goes out of her way to make every one happy ---- she also caters with advance notice

                    it's a once a week pick-up - in Roberts Creek - also home of Sharkey's Fish Locker - best seafood to take home and cook (Nass River Salmon) ---- and fried fish to eat at the on-site picnic table if that's one's big indulge ; )

                  2. re: margaretx


                    Delicious Dosas of distinction


                    Biryani & fish done right in a cozy family atmosphere.

                        1. re: margaretx

                          Hmm, we haven't done any Indian in Portland yet but I'd say you guys overall have a much better scene there for that cuisine based on feedback from other Hounds.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            Margaretx, and if you guys can squeeze in The Richmond Night Market in your schedule that'd be a fun bonus:


                      1. re: margaretx

                        The demographics of Punjabi Market have shifted over the decades. It's a shell of its former self, sadly. The Punjabi community thrives in Surrey, and heck, even in Abbotsford. There are old storefronts along Main, but even those are closing down.

                        It's kind of like Vancouver's Chinatown in many ways - you'd assume that's where you'd find the city's best Chinese cuisine, but the demographics have shifted and that community (and its cuisine) is now thriving in the suburbs.

                        Sadly both Chinatown and Punjabi Market are not where you'd seek out the city's best Chinese or Indian cuisine.

                        1. re: Florentine

                          Florentine I think you made an excellent observation re: Punjabi Market (Little India) and Chinatown. I would add that, unlike Chinatown, Little India is still intact culturally as far as the businesses go. Even the new-ish Roots cafe on the SE corner of Main & 49th is owned by a young 30-ish first-generation Hindu couple (I had coffee there last week and chatted with the owner lady .... we have kids in the same grade). The sad reality, and stark contrast, of Chinatown is that it's being chipped away by non-Chinese businesses. Every new commercial vacancy in the past few years has been taken over by a non-Chinese business. I would caveat Bao Bei since Tannis Ling is Canadian-born Chinese who envisioned Bao Bei to be a modern Chinese-influenced restaurant lounge.

                          1. re: LotusRapper

                            I went into four markets that used to be South Asian owned yesterday between 46th and 48th and Fraser and all had morphed into Chinese/Asian grocers with nary an Indian spice or ingredient in sight. Not bad, just different, and not what I needed. Hurray for Fruiticana!

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Good thing they're not Hipster joints with no signage and lots of 10-spd bikes parked out front and lots of flannel shirts wafting inside ;-)

                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                I thought a "fixie" was the de rigueur ride of hipsters :-)

                              2. re: LotusRapper

                                Isn't this the case of traditional Chinatowns everywhere? Would you take people from out of town to get Chinese in San Francisco's Chinatown? In my hometown of Houston, the historic downtown Chinatown is all wholesalers and cheezy lunch places, and all of the good stuff was out in Alief (Houston's Richmond).

                                That said, Bao Bei is solid, I like the China-influenced cocktails at Keefer Bar, and I like Phnom Penh which isn't Chinese food but is at least SE Asian.

                        2. if you're coming up from PDX on Amtrak Cascades (very scenic route, esp north of SEA to Vancouver BC) - make sure you take your ticket with you in to the take-out café rail car if you want to pay with Credit Card in the take-out café on the train. The employee usually asks to see the ticket and/or your valid photo id when you use your credit card - no big deal, I don't mind following their policy - just a hint to save you squishing back past the line-up with all eyes on you ; ) to go and retrieve your ticket from your carry-on.