So I have been busy eating my way around Vancouver, and hence haven’t updated this challenge in a few months. But never fear, my taste buds and I are back! I don’t think I will ever tire of trying new eateries in this city. We have done cheap eats, brewery eats, brunches and different cuisines, and we are only a quarter of the way there.
Cactus Club Cafe
seems to be an institution in Vancouver; you will find them dotted across the city landscape. The decor is always high class, the staff are professional and the service? Spot on. I decided to try something different for lunch and hence went for the BBQ Duck Clubhouse: peking duck, roasted chicken, San Daniele prosciutto and pecan fruit bread. I loved the bread but unfortunately the meat was a bit dry for my liking.
My dining companion and I then decided to try some dessert afterwards, and we are so glad we did. Do yourself a favour and devour the Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bar, complete with caramel sauce, crunchy chocolate pearls and Tahitian vanilla ice-cream. Zomigod so good!
Speakeasy Bar & Grill
For my friend’s birthday we tried out as it was quiet inside but still served brunch. The food was good (I went with a yum bacon and cheese omelette) but the service not-so-much. We asked for our bill, then had to wait to pay for about fifteen minutes, even though my friend needed to go to class. There was only one other table of guests so it shouldn’t have taken that long.
Red Wagon Cafe
So I have a confession: I am absolutely, wholeheartedly, 120% in love with this cafe. The crispy bacon, the perfectly scrambled eggs, the fluffy cloud-like pancakes and the home-fries (a.k.a hash-browns) which are so tender and a great accompaniment to the rest of the trucker’s breakfast. is situated in Vancouver’s East Village, and yes you may have to wait up to thirty minutes to stuff your face like a trucker, but it is so worth it. Once inside you are served swiftly and efficiently: what more could you want?
Cinema Public House
This pub on THE street in downtown Vancouver, Granville Street, is part of a chain in the city run by the Donnelly Group. The two things I love most about this place: a) the crispy fries that are coated in a delicious herb mix of rosemary and garlic. And b) the fact they have Somersby Cider on tap, a favourite of mine. I have also discovered a new love in my life, which is the beef dip. I’ve never heard of these before but basically it’s strips of beef in a sandwich with a large portion of dip to the side for you to double dip as much as you please. I am a girl who loves her meat, so when this is on the menu I kind of can’t look away!
Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar
So we first stopped by Rogue because they had $20 pitchers of cider on a Saturday night. They drew us in with the drinks but we stayed for the food. I decided on a Margherita Pizza, which was a large serving of thin yet crisp crust for the base topped with bocconcini, fresh basil, pesto marinated tomatoes and parmesan. The price ($13) was excellent for the size. Rogue has three locations in Vancouver: near the Convention Centre on Cordova Street, in Gastown and on Broadway. We went to their place on Cordova and the design is very modern and sophisticated. With 30 beers on tap it is a great place to meet and eat after a busy day in the office.
I had never heard of The Union, and it isn’t exactly located in an area of town where you would stumble upon it accidentally. It is on Union Street as you leave Chinatown, but it was packed on the Wednesday night we visited so it must benefit from some great word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, the words from my mouth probably won’t be as kind.
I went there for a friend’s birthday when there were about ten of us. I felt like the staff thought that because gratuity is placed on the bill automatically when there is a large group they didn’t have to work as efficiently as if they were working for tips. The reasons being we had three different servers so I couldn’t keep track of who I was meant to ask for things; we had to wait a long time between ordering drinks and food; and I asked for a glass of water three times and it still never arrived. It’s just the little things that create a great experience, in my opinion.
However, I can’t fault the food. I went with the Nasi Goreng, a favourite from my time in Bali (chicken and shrimp fried rice with an egg on top) and it was excellent. The Union is also known for its inventive cocktails in jam jars, which are on the pricier side of life but for a special occasion, I think you are allowed to splurge. The decor inside was also very rustic, with long benches instead of chairs making for a homier feel. I think the atmosphere is what gets people in the door, as you could get a similar meal at another restaurant in town for a cheaper price.
We discovered Subeez Cafe in Yaletown one lunchtime and have since been back for a second visit. Their slogan is: eclectic, energetic, friendly, which I definitely agree with. I love the interior of interesting, local artwork hanging from the walls and ceiling. It is a large, open space which I definitely favour over cramped dining conditions. The first time I went for the Bacon Cheese Burger, which was overflowing with meat, chipotle aioli and salad. Take two was brunch, so I went for the Classic Breakfast (I skipped the baked beans though) which was of course just as good. Both times the servers have been excellent and friendly, too, just as the slogan suggests.
Craft Beer Market
You do go to for the beer, yes, but you need to line your stomach with something scrumptious. There is quite a few options on their extra large menu, with selections including wings, nachos, burgers, pasta, salad and pizza. I went with the prosciutto arugula flatbread, which was unfortunately just a little too bland for me. I feel like it needed another ingredient to balance the saltiness of the prosciutto with the lemon-tossed arugula; perhaps some tomatoes or a different cheese? It was also priced at $15, which for the size I thought was a tad overpriced. But I would like to return and try something else to see if I just made the wrong choice.
I had heard about Havana through the awards the restaurant seems to accumulate yearly for being top of its class in Vancouver. As soon as I saw tacos were on the menu, I basically couldn’t choose anything else. I LOVE tacos. I would eat one every day for the rest of my life and be happy to do it. So I went with the pulled pork soft tacos, which is served with chimmichurri, corn salsa and a stack of straw potato. For an extra $5 you can get a side of red beans, Cuban rice and guacamole. I nearly got through the additions but it was a big meal; well worth the price. The straw potatoes were something I had seen previously in Vancouver but not in Australia. I do enjoy them though.
Havana is also known for its excellent sangria, which I will definitely try on my next visit. I think the restaurant would be great for dates and special nights out. If anyone wants to take me and share some sangria, you know where to find me.
Just like Craft, is renowned for its beer. But sometimes a girl wants beer and food, am I right? What I love about this brewery is their live beer menu: on TV screens shadowing the bar there is every beer on tap and what percent of juice is left in the tank, so to speak. So if you are enjoying a pale ale and then the screen updates to notify you there is only 9% left, you better order three. But hey, back to the food. I couldn’t resist the chicken & brie sandwich with Black Mission fig gastrique, herb pesto, lettuce and tomato.
Although it says sandwich, it comes in a burger bun, and it is delicious! I really liked the combination of the sweet figs and savoury pesto. Plus no one can so no to brie. They also give you a generous serving of perfectly crispy fries in a cute basket on the side. Make sure you visit the establishment when you are next on The Drive.Source for The Union photo here