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Your favorite restaurant? August 19, 2008

Posted by Raul in dining out, random thoughts, Vancouver.
Tags: , ,

A significant portion of my traffic in the past couple of years has come from my restaurant reviews and from cross-linking with UrbanSpoon Vancouver. My page on UrbanSpoon has received about 4100 views (which has put me in the top 25 blogs worldwide).

UrbanSpoon recently launched their iPhone app, which I find very cool. However, people still rely on word-of-mouth (or word-of-tweet) when it comes to restaurants. Lots of people ask me “so what restaurant would you recommend for…

Thus, I’m going to ask my readers to let me know what their favorite restaurant is. Go crazy. Don’t limit yourself. If it is an expensive restaurant, go for it. If it’s a hole-in-the-wall joint, tell me about it. JUST DO IT.

Oh and if you could visit my UrbanSpoon restaurant reviews about 400 times so that I can overtake Kitsilano.ca again, that’d be awesome πŸ™‚ (just kidding!)



1. Jen - August 19, 2008

Gah! I cannot pick just one!!! I’m assuming you want Vancouver restaurants, so I’ll at least limit myself to that:

Memphis Blues, West, Chambar, Flying Tiger, C.

All wonderful for all different reasons.

2. Keira-Anne - August 19, 2008

The answer’s easy: Boneta. Manicured hands down.

3. Jenn - August 19, 2008

Boneta, Chambar, and Sushi Yama

4. Beth - August 19, 2008

Indian Oven. All India Restaurant at 49th & Main. Curry Point (gee, what kind of food do I like, eh?). Bo Kong. Banana Leaf (but only the one in Kits). The Templeton. The Eatery. The Naam. Oh so many good restaurants in Vancouver!

5. Brady Valentino - August 19, 2008

Montana’s, in Langley. πŸ™‚

6. Arieanna - August 19, 2008

Sandbar is my top spot. Loved Chambar too. Bin 942 is great. Always enjoy the experience at Hamilton Street Grill.

7. Roland Tanglao - August 19, 2008

Don’t have just one!
Here are some faves in no particular order:
au petit cafe, moderne burger, phnom penh, the boss, chambar, la buca, new town bakery, vij’s, tojo’s, rangoli, brioche, silver palace for dim sum, the list goes on πŸ™‚

8. Jake - August 19, 2008

My favourite is Nepali food from Cafe Kathmandu @ 2779 Commercial Drive (near 12th). What I would do right now for some of Abi’s tea and food, mmmmmmm…

There’s also the Peaceful Restaurant on @ 542 W. Broadway near Cambie that has great hand drawn noodle soup.

9. Phaedra - August 19, 2008

Oh yeah, what Keira said- BONETA!

10. owenlightly - August 19, 2008

Pied a terre on Cambie, Aurora Bistro, Fuel to name a few…….

11. Roland Tanglao - August 19, 2008

oh ya, also add cru to that list! boneta sounds great but never had the pleasure of eating there!

12. Zona - August 19, 2008

Maguro Sushi in Ladner. The Allan Roll is a must
Chuhuahua’s in Ferndale, WA
The Brewery in Bisbee, Arizona
Edelweiss in Miami, FL. (biscayne bay)
Ely’s in La Paz, Bolivia
Water Street Cafe in Gastown
Dante and Luigi’s in Philadelphia
The taco truck in the dirt lot next to the closed down K-Mart in Douglas, AZ.
ANY Earl’s just for the chowder

I’m such a show off

(Montana’s in Langley just missed my list. Maybe next year)

13. Maktaaq - August 19, 2008

Just one?

Dona Cata (on Victoria Drive)
Memphis Blues
Blue Water Cafe
Guu (before they started acting like too-good-for-you jerks)
Chopstick Cafe
All India Sweets
Bin 942 or whatever it’s called
Ebi-Ten (so far, some of the better takoyaki in vancouver)
Cho Sun on Kingsway
Elbow Room
Transylvanian Flavour (got to support a fellow Romanian)
Kathmandu Cafe (Abi is nice and his food is good)
Jambo Grill on Kingsway

Can we make lists for Burnaby, the Tri-Cities, Richmond and Surrey next? I want recommendations on where to go there.

14. 4evermmalz - August 20, 2008

I have never been to Vancouver, may I list one in my state? Crawdaddy’s is a wonderful restaurant for everyone of every age group. The menu is wide with variety, and the service has always been great. The only thing I really miss is the festive paintings they had on the walls – the new management toned down the decor when they took over several years ago.


15. Mel - August 20, 2008

When I was in Vancouver, I ate at Tsunami Sushi on Robson (twice), The White Spot downtown, Milestone’s in Burnaby, and Joey Tomato’s in…well, I’m not sure, my friend was driving. I enjoyed all of them…White Spot was probably my favourite.

I think my favourite restaurant is Sushi House, a small chain of about 4 restaurants in Chicago. The sushi tastes fresher than most other places, and it’s a bit pricier, but every once in a while, I don’t mind paying for the quality. Service is always great, restaurant is fairly quiet and very clean and neat. I’ve never had a bad experience there, and I’ve been there probably 15-20 times in the past 5 years or so.

A close second is Seva in Ann Arbor, MI. It’s a vegetarian place, and I was hesitant about trying it after my friend fell in love with it, because she kept talking about eggplants. I like veggies, but I classify eggplant as a “weird vegetable,” and I was afraid that the whole menu would be full of eggplants and tofu. However, there are just as many “normal”-sounding dishes as “weird” dishes, and the yam fries are some of the best I’ve ever had. My best friend and I would, from time to time, drive an hour each way to Ann Arbor just to eat at Seva and then go back home.

For breakfast, nothing tops Cora’s. Do you have those in Vancouver? I’ve eaten at them in MontrΓ©al, and in a few places in SW Ontario, like London and Windsor.

16. Matt - August 20, 2008

Wow, Mel, if you were pleased with Tsunami Sushi and White Spot, which are arguably two of downtown’s more lacklustre restaurants as far as food goes, then you should start saving your money now for a Vancouver dining trip which will really blow you away.

Nothing wrong with them in particular, but I rate those as the restaurants that are about the same as the equivalent in every other major city, but don’t dare to perform like the cream of the crop.

Raul, as for my favourites, my recent wheat restrictions have certainly curtailed my dining variety, but in no particular order here’s a pretty good list (lots of overlap with Maktaaq’s):

Ebow Room
Blue Water Cafe
The Wooden Shoe / De Dutch (yes it’s a chain, but pancakes with hollandaise sauce? the two best things in the world together)
Banana Leaf
Cafe Kathmandu (we still sort of take credit for “discovering it” — I was there on opening night, and it was one of my and MAktaaq’s first dates. Abi gives us the royal treatment every time we visit, which has, alas, been way too long ago lately)
Brioche (notice a brunch pattern? yum)
Liliget (before it closed 😦 )
Lhy Thai on Edmonds (their Tom Yum and Tom Kha soups are the best on the planet)
Kura on Kingsway (better than any of the downtown izakayas in my opinion)

I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I hit submit. Maybe a second comment is in order later.

17. robertasia - August 20, 2008

Pizzeria Louisa, Ischia – Italy
My Home – Hong Kong
Pokka Cafe – several countries in Asia

18. Makttaaq - August 20, 2008

Ok, so we’re putting down restaurants in the greater Vancouver area?

Lucky Gate (on Austin Avenue – “You want dragged or cutted noodles?”)
Hon’s (the other locations are so-so)
Sultan’s Donair by the Gleneagle High School

I also liked the nothing-but-chicken place in Port Moody that closed down

Euro Sport Cafe (before it closed)
Balkan House
Hanwoori Korean Restaurant on Imperial
Anatolia’s Gate Turkish Food (my friend complained about their food photography, but who cares?)
Baba Sweets (except that the Samosa Nazi finally unforgiveably annoyed us the last time)

Boonie’s Southern BBQ
Jyoti’s Sweets

New Westminster:
Kasuga Sushi (real sushi – before they added too much wasabi flare, but still more authentic than most places in Vancouver)
The Old Bavaria House

Oh, and I forgot the Chili Pepper House on Kingsway in Vancouver (Indian-style Chinese food!)

19. Dayna - August 20, 2008

This restaurant is way out of the city, but I love Sita’s in Lower Gibsons – going there tonight actually πŸ™‚

20. Danny Dang - August 20, 2008

Zipang on Main Street, little Japanese Sushi place. Their sushi plates are like art scenes. Tasty too!

21. Jay - August 20, 2008

This is so safe, but there’s something about The Eatery [in Vancouver] for me that is soothing. For the couple of years I lived in Michigan, I didn’t have good sushi once (unless I was on a business trip to Chicago, LA, or NYC)… and I certainly didn’t get a chance to take in a funky atmosphere that wasn’t something out of a Chuck Norris bar fight scene.

So, The Eatery became that place for me that was distinctly Vancouver, and I would go every time I came home to visit. I associate it, other than with great sushi, with fantastic talks with my Dad and lovely date nights with Leah.

Whether or not it’s my favorite food, it’s one of my favorite pieces of “my Vancouver”, if that makes any sense.

There’s also a great little organic food joint in Grand Rapids, Michigan called Marie Catrib’s that deserves a shout out. Talk about a diamond in the rough.

22. Jeff - August 20, 2008

As with most other people, it’s way too hard to list just one:
Memphis Blues
Aurora Bistro
Phnom Penh
Go Fish
Bao Chao
Sushi Zero One
Falafel Maison

23. Ryan Cousineau - August 20, 2008

The Brave Bull.

Wild Rice, and not just because I know the guy who owns it. Pajo’s. Memphis Blues. And Yogi’s has to get a nod because they serve vegetarian food even I like. Donair Town in Port Moody.

A lot of these are essentially local favorites: I’m sure there’s dozens of Donair shops as good as Donair Town (though by any standards, DT is great: clean, tasty, good value, and some creative donairs), but Donair Town is good enough that I don’t need to go anywhere else.

But the most memorable meal I ever had was omakase at Tojo’s, and even though I’ve only eaten there once, that’s probably my real choice.

Oh, oh! Except about three places in Syros where the food was outstanding, including this one place that served eggplant like I’d never had it before!

Oh yeah, and Guu at Aberdeen!

Maktaaq: the chicken-only place (Wang’s) has morphed into just another sushi joint, though they still have a certain Korean tinge to some of the dishes.

24. ddrucker - August 20, 2008

In Vancouver:
Smoking Dog Bistro
Cafe Kathmandu
Memphis Blues BBQ
Shabusen (on Granville)


In Boston:
Hammersley’s Bistro
Emma’s Pizza (best pizza in North America)

In Vermont:
American Flatbread at the Lareau Farm (best pizza in the universe)

In San Francisco:
Fino (Italian)

In Los Angeles:
Dar Maghreb (Morrocan)

In Vienna:

In Greece:
Gerofinikas (been there, Ryan?)

25. Liesa Billings - August 20, 2008

Steveston has a wonderful selection of Restaurants and is sadly overlooked.

Blue Canoe (only open for a few months)
Papis Restaurant and Wine Bar ( Ken Iassi formerly of Joe Forte’s)
Tapenade Bistro (Awarded Richmond’s Best fine Dinning)
The Point located at Gary Point.

Then there is Pajo’s for fish n chips
Timothy’s for great coffee
Steveston Coffee House

Ichiro (forward sushi)

There you go a whole whack of restaurants for you to try!

26. Travis - August 20, 2008

Hapa Isakaya. I just always get so *happy* when I eat there.

27. Andrew Kumar - August 20, 2008

Monk and McQueens

28. Richard Smith - August 20, 2008

Fave these days is Nuba, on Hastings

29. raincoaster - August 20, 2008

The Irish Heather, Connor Butler on South Granville, Delilah’s although I haven’t been in far too long (still, something dramatic always happens when I go), Waazubee but not Subeez, The Ovaltine for great diner food and eavesdropping, Sakae Sushi, Tojo’s (haven’t been in ages but it never changes), and Cafe Fleurie at the Sutton Place Hotel.

Also A&W. Coming from Winterpeg, I’m all about the onion rings and root beer.

30. Laura - August 20, 2008

I’m a big fan of Burgoo and Le Bistro Chez Michel in North Van, and Cardero’s, Aqua Riva, Provence Marinaside and Urban Sushi downtown.

31. star anise - August 20, 2008

This may just be the most difficult question…ever… and I can’t pick just one.

Il Giardino
Bin (both of them)
Bistrot Bistro

32. Maktaaq - August 21, 2008

Ryan: I saw the new sushi place. Dang. Poor chicken place.

I’ll have to try some of Liesa’s suggestions next time I am in Steveston.

And, Raul, will you be compiling these lists into something? Maybe a few graphs?

33. Raul - August 21, 2008

Everyone – Thanks for your comments!

@ Maktaaq – Yup, I plan to create some graphs. Might need some more data, though. 32 data points is not exactly a whole dataset!

34. Jen - August 22, 2008

Wow, I have really got to try Boneta! Seriously…
My recent fave spots are Aurora Bistro on Main and Irashai on W. Pender.

35. Barbara Doduk - August 22, 2008

I am the QUEEN of TAKE OUT. I don’t go so much for sitting in a restaurant wasting time. I usually plan on TAKE OUT by phoning ahead so my order is ready when I happen to be passing that way anyway. I like being able to get home and eat and relax, specially with left overs.

All Indian Sweets is great for that ! so is Tandoori King. Can you tell we love Indian food? White Spot, Mr. Pickwicks for the standards… I just have to find a good Mexican Take Out on my route. πŸ™‚ I have yet to check if Casa de Amigos does Take Out.

36. Dan - September 11, 2008

I think for those of you that are donair fans, you really should try The Sultan’s Donair in coquitlam….they were voted number 1 and I couldn’t agree more…I am sure you will too when you try it. The place is superbly clean, the meals are awsome, tasty, and filling. It’s a family run place….u could tell that your meals are prepaired with outmost care. You really get a great value for your money here

37. Jeremy - September 11, 2008

Yes..I have actually been to both the sultan’s donair and donair town…although donair town is closer to my home, I find that the Sultan’s is worth the extra trip. I just always find an excuse to go there an eat! Call me an addict, but I love their food: donairs, platters, etc.

38. Raul - September 11, 2008

@ Jen – I didn’t like Aurora Bistro but will give it another try.

@ Barbara – Love takeout too!

@ Dan and Jeremy – since you both dropped a comment from right exactly the same IP address, I’m assuming you’re associated with The Sultan’s Donair πŸ™‚ AND you Googled the phrase Sultan’s vs. Donair Town. I’m a geek, can’t fool me. I accepted the comments as they weren’t flaming πŸ™‚

39. Jeremy - October 8, 2008

That’s so cool man….ya we are roomates, Dan left your site open, so I added my two sense…enjoyed your blog by the way

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