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Posts tagged ‘yvr’

Restaurant Review: Ringo Sushi

I found these reviews saved to a USB when I was clearing out some old files and decided I might as well post them. These reviews, you could say, are where I got started originally. They’re not as detailed as I do them now, so take them with a grain of salt. Also, no location is included for this one because apparently, it’s closed down now.

After a long day on the road, all I wanted when I got to the hotel was dinner. In Vancouver, it’s easier to walk somewhere than to drive, so we decided to see if there was any place close for dinner. We walked down Denman and Robson Streets in search for a good place for dinner. We settled on Ringo’s Sushi, the menu in the window looked good and the price, reasonable. When we walked in, the service was immediate, so they made a good impression on me. We were seated in the inner room with a bunch of noisy teenagers (grade 9 and 10 kids) and the table next to us (who was also slightly noisy and knocking over glasses and not caring about making a mess), which was a disappointment to me. I just wanted to enjoy a quiet meal. After a few minutes the waitress returned with our water, in tea cups…I looked around at the other tables and everyone got full sized cups but us, which I thought was a bit weird, not to mention impractical, considering how thirsty soy sauce makes me. We decided on Party Tray C ($30.95), the Super Spicy Roll ($7.95), the Chicken Box ($6.75), and a Green Salad ($3.00). The Party Tray C consisted of 2 Tuna Nigiri, 2 Salmon Nigiri, 2 Ebi Nigiri, 2 Inari Nigiri, 2 Tamago, one Kappa Maki (6 pieces), one Tuna Maki (6 pieces), 1 California Roll (6 pieces), and one BC roll (6 pieces). The chicken box had chicken teriyaki, 4 pieces of California Roll, tempura and green salad. And the Super spicy roll was spicy tuna and spicy salmon with masago. The chicken box came first, but the waitress forgot my miso soup and then when she brought the soup, she forgot to get the tempura sauce. It took a good five minutes before the green salad came out, it was a salad! How long does a salad take to make? Anyways, then it was another ten minutes or more before the party tray came out. I was actually almost full so I had a couple pieces of California roll even though I had a couple pieces myself and one piece of Inari Nigiri. All this waiting was making me crazy, I was almost full, but I really wanted to try the spicy roll. Usually in Calgary, the spicy roll is my favourite. This roll was pretty large since there was salmon and tuna in it, but I was able to fit the entire thing into my mouth. The waiting for me was the downside to this restaurant, but the price was excellent. The taste wasn’t bad either, but I prefer the spicy creamy Japanese salad dressing on the salad though. However, for a restaurant run by only four people, I would say that service wasn’t TOO bad. So out of 5, I would give this restaurant a 4 out of 5.

Restaurant Review: Jang Mo Jib

Location: 1575 Robson St

I’m pretty sure that our cousin Jenny took us to this restaurant when we were last in Vancouver. I mean it’s something I remember, Jenny remembers, my dad remembers, so if that many people remember, I can’t be crazy.

This place is awesome! Portion sizes are huge, so unless you’re a big eater or have a large party, don’t order too much. For the four of us, we ordered three dishes and even then, we had trouble finishing it. We ordered the Regular Non-spicy Gam Ja Tahng, Beef BBQ, and the Jab Che. The Gam Ja Tahng is a traditional Korean pork and neck bone soup with green onion, white onion, vegetables, and potatoes. Normally we’re all pretty good at holding our own when it comes to spicy food, but my cousin said that since the soup was hot, a little bit of spiciness would make us cry. The soup had large chunks of fall of the bone tender meat, but I found the soup to be a little too meaty in taste for my liking. For me, potatoes in a clear broth soup, especially an Asian soup is a little weird. Now that I’ve tried it, I can say that I don’t like it. Next time I’d like to try the Duk Bok Gee Hot Pot. The last two dishes don’t have an option for level of spiciness. The Beef BBQ isn’t just the meat, it was more like a stir-fry. I would have preferred if there was more meat than veggie, but maybe I was just feeling carnivorous that day. A staple for me is Jab Che (also spelled Jap Chae). Eating this one I knew immediately that I have been to this place. Like a friend of my sister’s said, this dish is really accessible and is a great introduction to Korean food for people who haven’t tried it yet. I really like it because of the sweet potato noodles which are super chewy and I love chewy.

Because the portion sizes are so big, I would love to come back again just to try out some of these other things. Hopefully next time I’ll have more people to come along with me so we can try out everything. I would rate this place 3.75/5 based on the experience and dishes I tried here, but that may changed based on what I order next time.

Restaurant Interior

Restaurant Interior

Side Dishes

Side Dishes

Gam Ja Tahng

Gam Ja Tahng

Jab Che

Jab Che

BBQ Beef

BBQ Beef

Restaurant Review: Deer Garden Signatures

Location: 1213-8338 Capstan Way (Richmond)

On visits to Vancouver with our family, this restaurant has been a favourite among us. Besides being incredibly affordable, the meal is completely customizable. You start with choosing the soup base, there are about 11 different soup bases to choose from. Next you choose what kind of noodles you want out of a choice of ten (though one of them is not actually a noodle). Included in the meal is the choice of two add ins,additional add ins are $1.50 extra. Only two people in our party stuck with two options, the other three had four. Every dish comes with mushrooms, fresh bean curd, cilantro (menu says coriander, it’s not coriander), and siu choy. Lastly, the meal comes with a drink. Cold drinks are a dollar extra, but hot drinks aren’t. Pretty much every drink on their drink menu has a hot and cold option. The complete dishes ordered were as follows:

Peanut Sauce & Chili; Korean style sweet potato crystal noodles; pork liver, sliced beef, watercress, and century egg; cold almond milk

Thai Tom Yum Goong Soup; Udon; fish balls, bok choy; cold house  milk tea with pearls

Malaysian Laksa Soup; Egg noodles; deep fried fish cake, enoki mushrooms, beef brisket, and beef tendon; cold coffee and tea

Szechuan Spicy Soup; Vermicelli; beef brisket, century egg, bok choy, (one more that no one remembers); cold milk tea

Watercress & Almond Fish Soup; Egg noodles; deep fried fish cake, corn; some kind of lychee drink

The Peanut Sauce and Chili soup is never what I expect it to be. It’s really creamy in texture, but doesn’t have much of a peanutty taste. The main reason my sister loves this place so much, other than the customization, is that it is one of the last few places that still serve pork liver in noodle soups. She also happens to love century egg (also called thousand year duck egg), but I’m not so sure that it was any good in soup, she assures me that it was fine.

My friend struggled quite a bit with the udon noodles. It was adventurous her to try to eat udon with chopsticks. Even as an experienced user of chopsticks, undon noodles often pose a challenge with their annoyingly round shape and slippery texture. And as usual, she nibbled away at her dish and was full having barely made a dent.

I had the Malaysian Laksa. I know I’ve had it before somewhere and I’m probably the worst at describing such a thing, but it is so delicious. The soup is really creamy and has a lot of depth. I used to never know what to get from here, now I do. I’m still trying to find the perfect noodle, but a couple more times here should fix that.

I didn’t end up trying the other two, so I have no idea what they were like, but those who ordered them ate a lot of it, so I’m assuming they liked it (no complaints were heard).

The portion sizes are huge, the food customizable and delicious, what more could a person ask for? I guess they could work on their service, but when they’re trying to help a restaurant that is full with a line out the door, I guess running around like a chicken with its head cut off is a thing (a thing which I’m beginning to think is exclusive to Chinese restaurants). The thing that surprised me most was how busy the place was because it was way past the formal lunch hour (we went at about 3 o’clock). But in this case, the good outweighs the bad and I would give it a rating of 4/5.

Watercress & Almond Fish Soup

Watercress & Almond Fish Soup

Thai Tom Yum Goong

Thai Tom Yum Goong

Malaysian Laksa

Malaysian Laksa

Szechuan Spicy Soup

Szechuan Spicy Soup

Peanut & Chili Soup

Peanut & Chili Soup

Restaurant Review: The Old Spaghetti Factory

Location: 53 Water St

Located in Vancouver’s historic Gastown, this place has been one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever been to. Ever since my parents introduced this to me. Maybe this is why I started falling in love with pasta in the first place. No, I’m kidding, but that’d be an interesting story: the origins of how I came to love pasta. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to eat real pasta, pasta that is al dente and this place no longer meets that requirement. Don’t get me wrong, the food here is still delicious, but if it had been al dente, it would have made it so much more amazing. 

Late lunches have now become a thing for us. I’ve always believed in having a late or early lunch and never one on time especially when eating out because crowds usually gather at the appointed lunch and dinner times and I like to avoid the rush. Lunch here is a great deal because they always start you off with a loaf of sourdough bread with whipped garlic and plain butters. Then you have a choice of soup or salad as a starter, followed by a main of your choice, finishing with a hot tea or coffee and Spumoni ice cream. One person ordered a house salad with the low fat sesame dressing, the other three had soups; two had French Onion and one had the Clam Chowder. While the dressing is low fat, that does not mean that the salad should be doused in dressing. In other words, the salad was way overdressed in that there was a puddle at the end. The Clam Chowder and French Onion are upgrades on the soup option (the original “free” choice would be Minestrone). The broth of the French Onion had a full bodied flavour and it wasn’t overseasoned. The cheese was stringy and chewy and that was the only thing that made it hard to eat. The Clam Chowder was so creamy and rich, but not so much so that it made it hard to finish. In fact, I was left hungering for more. Only one person took advantage of the tea or coffee deal our meal the others ordered soft drinks and just had water. 

The main courses we ordered were Chicken Alfredo with Mushroom and Mascarpone Cheese Ravioli, Red Thai Curry Linguine with Chicken, Spaghetti with Clam Sauce, and Hot Roast Beef Sandwich with Fries. The Ravioli, despite being in a cream sauce was not too rich. When they first brought me my Linguine, they brought me the wrong one, prawn instead of chicken, but our waitress quickly noticed and took it a way before I had a chance to react. When she offered parmesan I said yes without thinking because I absolutely love fresh parmesan. After she left I stared at my dish for a minute before realizing that maybe putting cheese into an “Asian” dish wasn’t the best idea. The first few bites of the Linguine were delicious, but after a while, especially near the bottom where the oil had pooled, it got harder and harder to eat. In terms of aesthetics, the prawns looked so much better in the dish than the chicken. The chicken was tender enough to cut with a fork, but looked rather torn up. The Spaghetti was pretty ordinary. The clams sauce had basil in it and I find that basil is great for reducing that fishy taste often associated with seafood. My friend described it as being fairly light for a cream based sauce. Going to an Italian restaurant and ordering roast beef is probably not advised, but my sister has never been a fan of pasta so she decided to give it a try. Bad idea. The gravy, other than being overly abundant, was extremely salty. Fries are just fries and if someone messed those up…well, then they just suck.

Dessert was ice cream. It was tri-coloured so we were trying to figure out all the flavours. The obvious two were vanilla and chocolate, but the third one, a green on was a little harder. We narrowed it down to some sort of melon, but didn’t get farther than that. The vanilla was a lighter flavour than I was used to, but maybe because I’ve been having vanilla bean ice cream a lot more lately or maybe it was just overpowered by the other flavours.

Overall, my experience here has been really good. I was very impressed by the service and our waitress was really attentive to our needs. It’s definitely a family friendly restaurant and the quaintness of the place is a plus. I would come back again, but next time I’ll stick to the Italian fare and try out that Manicotti as I had originally intended. I would rate this place 4/5.


The Old Spaghetti Factory Exterior


Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic and Plain Butter


House Salad with Low Fat Sesame Dressing


Clam Chowder


French Onion Soup


Spaghetti in a Clam Sauce


Hot Roast Beef Sandwich with Fries


Chicken Alfredo with Mushroom and Mascarpone Cheese Ravioli


Red Thai Curry Linguine with Chicken


Restaurant Review: Locus Restaurant and Lounge

Location: 4121 Main St

Our original intention when we went to Main street to type up some letters and poetry at the Regional Assembly of Text was to go for some Vietnamese food, but as most of our repetoire for the last few days has consisted of Asian food we decided to switch things up a bit. A preliminary perusal of their menu yielded a good variety of items and we thought, “why not give this place a try?”

Online, the restaurant was described as Gothic. We wondered if it meant Gothic as in the archetecture or the other one. It was the other one. The place was more a place for drinks rather than a restaurant, hence lounge, but we were still up for giving it a try.

We started with drinks: freshly squeezed pineapple and grapefruit juices. They then gave us unlimited complementary bread. Two types: a cinnamon bread (they ran out of their signature apricot bread) and a Russian potato bread. Each came with their own specially made whipped butter. There was a nutmeg vanilla butter for the cinnamon bread and a red pepper butter for the potato bread. As a savoury person, I preferred the latter of the two especially since there was some heat in it. For our mains we ordered the Baja Tilapia, the Grass-fed Lamb burger, and the wild boar eggs benny. The Tilapia was pan-seared and rubbed with a key lime-chili, served atop a black bean and bell pepper rice pilaf and garnished with guacamole, salsa fresca, red pepper aioli and corn tortilla hay. I found that the portion size was just right. When I was finished, I didn’t feel bloated, nor did I still feel hungry. The seasoning was spot on and incredibly refreshing. There were no flavours that overpowered any other and everything was perfectly balanced. My friend ordered the Grass-fed lamb burger. Personally, I dislike lamb, bison, elk, and the like primarily because of their gamey flavour. This burger was no exception. The gaminess was very strong and even in the one bite I took, I was overpowered. However, as per her regular experience, the portion size was huge. Even as she tried to take large bites out, she barely made a dent in the burger. It ended up being that she had to deconstruct the burger and even then, she couldn’t finish it all. The burger came with a side of roasted potatoes, onions, and carrots and a salad. The salad had a very light, almost undetectable amount of dressing. All I could gather from it was that it was some sort of oil based dressing. The roasted potato side was a natural pairing for the hearty richness of the lamb. The duck sandwich was the one I was most excited for. My sister and I have an affinity for duck, her more than I, so I wondered if it’d be anything like the duck confit from Vendome. The duck sandwich consisted of pulled duck leg confit, mizuna greens, and brie, brushed with honey-whiskey bbq sauce and served on a toasted ciabatta bun and a side of roasted house potatoes and organic mixed greens. The duck sandwich lived up to my expectations and I was very pleased with the one bite I got of it before it was devoured by my sister. The eggs on the bennie were cooked to perfection. When sliced open, the golden egg yolk spilled forth. From my vantage point the wild boar looked to be well cooked, not too dry or anything, but have no clue what it tasted like.

This place was very quaint but they don’t have an extensive menu. The service was good, but some word choices seemed odd to me (ex. instead of saying I’ll be there in a minute, or I’ll just be right there, the guy said, please standby.) The decor in the place was one of a kind, not sure if it really works though. I would recommend trying this place out once, but there may not be much for you try on a return trip back. Based on my experience, I’d rate this place 2.75/5.


Bathroom interior 1


Bathroom interior 2


Giant bug above our table


Painting over our table


Paintings behind us


Cinnamon Bread and Russian Potato Bread with Nutmeg Vanilla Whipped Butter and Red Pepper Whipped Butter


Grass-fed Lamb Burger


Wild Boar Eggs Benny


Baja Tilapia


Duck Sandwich


Restaurant Review: Shabusen Yakiniku

Location: 202-755 Burrard St

Tonight we went for all you can eat Japanese and Korean BBQ. This place was the recommendation of the parents of my traveling companion, Vivienne (a friend of my sister’s). We made a reservation just in case and from the looks of it, it was totally necessary. We arrived to a busy restaurant and were promptly seated. A pitcher of water was delivered and a sheet to mark of the food we wanted. In round one we ordered beef short rib, BBQ beef, spicy gyoza, 2 toro nigiri, 4 unagi nigiri, 8 pieces of salmon sashimi, 2 pieces of tuna sashimi, 1 chopped scallop temaki (hand roll), 4 oyster motoyaki, and 3 agedashi tofu. The beef was the first to come and slowly the other things started to come out. The beef was so good we ordered another two servings of it, but by the time we had finished of all the beef, the temaki, tofu, and oysters still hadn’t come out. We asked one of the staff and she curtly said “it’s coming” even though she didn’t even check. Regardless, we were still hungry and ordered another round of food: 2 more toro nigiri, deep fried spicy gyoza, 8 more pieces of salmon sashimi, and 2 more tuna sashimi. Some more of the food came out and we still hadn’t received some of the dishes from round one. I was becoming increasingly impatient. Both times we ordered the gyozas the meat was raw. I don’t know if that’s how it’s supposed to be but every time we order gyozas, including in Calgary, the meat has always been raw. The pieces of sashimi got thinner and smaller as the night went on and the temaki had way too much rice (so much so that my sister expressed the fact that she was starting to feel sick because eating a roll of just seaweed and rice is kinda gross). To me, the oyster motoyaki was just weird. It is essentially cooked oysters in mayo and oil. That didn’t look or sound appealing in anyway to me. This was my first time trying the agedashi tofu. It’s a pretty ordinary dish: tempura soy sauce and firm tofu cut into cubes, covered in tempura batter and deep fried. Our last round was dessert, a coffee jello. It was kinda weird tasting. Coffee in a jello topped with evaporated milk? I dunno, I feel ambivalent about this one.

The service at this place was atrocious. We had one table who waited for about 15-20 minutest to get a table and all they got was a bowl of edamame that wasn’t meant for us (they mixed up the order and so they just gave it to that table instead). They were so frustrated that everyone just got up and left. That combined with my experience with that waitress has left me feeling disrespected. The only saving grace of this place was one of the waiters, who’s name I can’t currently recall. He was very attentive to our table and made sure we got everything we ordered. Wait times between dishes were ridiculous as well. I will never come back to this place and I give it a 1/5.


BBQ Beef and BBQ Beef Short Ribs


Spicy Gyoza


Unagi and Toro Nigiri


Salmon and Tuna Sashimi


Chopped Scallop and Toro Nigiri


Oyster Motoyaki


Agedashi Tofu and Deep Fried Spicy Gyoza


Coffee Jello


Restaurant Review: Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna

Location: 1124 Davie St

Another day with a late lunch. After an exhausting morning of shopping, we made our way to Stepho’s. Finally, after a recommendation from my coworker two or three years ago, we finally got a chance to go. And we were not disappointed. Even at two o’clock, the restaurant was packed. We waited for a short period of time and were seated near the kitchen. It was apparent that the restaurant had been around for a long time as the building interior looked quite weathered. We speculated that perhaps the building was a house prior to it being a restaurant based simply on the fact that the setup was very homey.

Not wanting to spoil our appetites for the all you can eat tonight, we omitted appetizers and each just ordered a main. My friend and I had the beef souvlaki pita and my sister had the large beef souvlakia meal. The pitas came with fries and a side of tzatziki sauce. Inside the pitas were coarsely sliced onions and tomatoes sprinkled with a light seasoning. The beef came on a skewer and the first piece of meat was stuck on pretty good. As is the norm at Greek restaurants, garlic features quite heavily in their dishes, especially the tzatziki. But I didn’t find that the garlic was too overpowering, although I would not recommend this place if you were on a date, especially if he was a vampire, for he would have died upon entrance into this establishment. Still the sauce was to die for, both refreshing and well seasoned. I would have preferred if the onions in the pita to have had been more finely chopped, but other than that it was amazing! The beef souvlakia meal is essentially the same as the pita except with bread, potatoes, Greek salad, and rice pilaf instead of fries. The rice is similar to something my dad makes at home, except with a lot less seasoning. The Greek salad was kinda sad, it only had one olive…The potatoes are just roasted, not lemon potatoes like at Van Gogh’s that my sister loves so much. I think the only difference between the large and small meal is that the large gives two skewers instead of just one. The beef was cooked spectacularly. It wasn’t charred, overseasoned, overcooked, or undercooked. Sometimes, the problem I have with beef is that it is too tough to bite through and in the case of pita, oftentimes I just rip large cubes of beef out leaving sections of just plain pita, veg, and sauce.

Although their menu isn’t particularly extensive, I would love to come to this place again. The food is well cooked and the servers (or at least ours) are delightful. What I didn’t understand was why our waitress had to take on several tables that weren’t originally hers and when the guy who was supposed to be managing his table took back his table, he was pretty rude to his guests. It was a good experience for me here, so I’d give this restaurant a 4.25/5


Beef Souvlaki Pita


Large Beef Souvlakia Meal


Restaurant Review: Tony’s Fish and Oyster Cafe

Location: 1511 Anderson St 

Before dinner we had walked down to Granville Island and decided to stick to something close by. My friend Julia suggested Tony’s Fish and Oyster Cafe. When we arrived there was a wait to get in, but to be fair the restaurant was quite small. There wasn’t enough space to sit in at the restaurant so we got it to go and walked down to the seating in the market place at Granville. My first instinct was to order the fish and chips, but my sister suggested that we should share the Seafood Sampler Platter for Two and we went with that instead because it encompassed so much more than just fish and chips. The platter had two pieces of fish and chips (one for each of us), four deep fried oysters, four butterflied shrimps, calamari and fries. With something as greasy as deep fried seafood, vinegar and/or lemon should be provided generously. This was not the case. We were only given one lemon wedge and two small packages of vinegar. Though I’m not a fan of oysters, deep fried oysters were bearable, but even so, I was only able to eat one, giving the other three to my sister. The butterflied shrimp were nothing special, but they had extra crunchy breading, which I suspect is panko, but can’t be 100% sure. The calamari was the most disappointing to me. They were underseasoned and flavourless. The fish was good in the middle because it was really tender and the breading was so crunchy that it satisfied my need for crunchy food. However, despite all that, I felt that the fish was overfried because some parts of it had gone hard and melded with the batter, something which I don’t think should happen.

Yes, it was a mess. Yes, it was greasy. But yes, I would have their fish and chips again if I ever got a craving. It was a quick meal, though next time I’d prefer to eat it in the comfort of my hotel room so no one will ever have to see my messy eating face. I would give this place a 3.5/5.


Restaurant Review: Sushi Hiyori

Location: 1348 Hornby St

Day one, restaurant one. After being dropped off at the airport at 7:30 there was a lot of time to wait before our flight, so unsurprisingly, when we finally landed in Vancouver, everyone was starving. We looked up restaurants before we headed out, but decided that the best course of action was to go into the first appealing restaurant that we saw on our way to Granville Island. This was the restaurant we stumbled on.

As it was 2 in the afternoon, we decided to go with something light so that we could still have dinner at a reasonable time. We ordered the eight piece tuna and salmon sashimi, takoyaki, Energy Roll, and okonomiyaki. I didn’t have any sashimi, but my sister described it as being well chilled with no fishy taste for the tuna and that the slabs were sufficiently thick. The takoyaki is comparable to the one served at Sakana Grill. It too is served with a generous helping of fish flakes on top. However, I’d recommend these ones over the Sakana ones simply because it had a crunchier exterior, which I enjoyed immensely. The okonomiyaki batter is pretty much the same as the takoyaki except that it has onion and is flattened out into a pancake shape. This one was a bit of a disappointment as it was most unlike the picture that was printed in the menu. The menu promised a large pancake not unlike a Korean pancake in Korean BBQ. The first few bites were really enjoyable, but the sauce to pancake ratio was a bit off and there wasn’t enough sauce to go with all the pancake. The Energy Roll was essentially a dynamite roll with fried unagi on top, dressed with spicy mayo and unagi sauce. This roll is one of my favourites to date and this is the first time I’ve tried fried unagi (unagi in tempura batter and deep fried).

 Since it was so late, there were few patrons, but when we walked by around 7 pm, they were packed, which is always a good indication. Service was a bit lacking, but again, because of the late hour this was technically their lunch time. Having taken everything into consideration, I’d say that my experience here was pretty good and that I would recommend this place. I would give this restaurant a 3.75/5.



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