RSSArchive for December, 2009

The Top Restaurants in Vancouver — According to Urbanspoon (#16 – #20)

Here it is … the final list of of five Top Vancouver Restaurants which rounds up the Top 20.  The links for the top 15 restaurants are on the links below.

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#16

Kintaro Ramen

Miso Ramen - Kintaro's Best

Kintaro Ramen is famed as having the best ramen in Vancouver. Some even venture to swear it’s the best outside of Japan. Small place with long lines, it is definitely worth the wait. They used 35 ingredients to make this simple but complex soup.

#17

Go Fish

Halibut and Chips

Go Fish is actually a humble looking fish and chips shack. Located just outside of Granville Island, it has a million dollar view. The fish and chips is amazing. After all this is operated by the same people behind Bin 941. Go during a sunny day.

#18

The Naam

Breakfast Quesadilla

Who would have thought that vegetarian fare could be so interesting, colorful and *gasp* tastes so good too. This long-time Kitsilano institution will have something that even the hard core meatatarian will enjoy.

#19

The Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe

Cheese Lover Pannekoeken

Fancy Dutch breakfast? The Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe is where the De Dutch chain came from. You will find all kinds of Pannekoeken and even Indonesian Nasi Goreng, just like you will in Holland. This is a nice place for a family breakfast.

#20

Splitz Grill

Grilled Lamb Burger

Splitz Grill is known for their gourmet burgers. Located on Main Street, this restaurant is actually an offshoot from a very popular burger joint in Whistler. Try also the Splitz Fries — it has cheese and gravy. Nice!

So … there you go, boys and girls … the Top 20 Restaurants according to Urbanspoon.

Hope you enjoyed it. Happy New Year 2010!

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The Top Restaurants in Vancouver — According to Urbanspoon (#11 – #15)

Here is the continuation from the list of Top Vancouver Restaurants. The links to the complete list is here

Here is #11 to #15.

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#11

Anton's Pasta

Fusili Tsocana

Fusili Tsocana

The draw of this restaurant is that it gives value for money. You will encounter lines here particularly at peak times. The portions are ridiculously large that you see six footer customers asking for the doggie bag.

#12

Memphis Blues BBQ House

The Priscilla for 10-12 People

The Memphis Blues BBQ House is mecca to sworn meatatarians. A great place to pig out with lots of friends. Hold the coleslaw, please!

#13

Chambar

Mussels Congolaise

Chambar is a Belgian restaurant located on Beatty in downtown Vancouver. An awesome date restaurant, you need to check out their mussels and frites. Lots to discover in their menu of Belgian delights.

#14

Phnom Penh

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Anthony Bourdain dined here and loved it. It is in Chinatown and serves the most amazing deep fried chicken wings on the planet. It is Cambodian and Vietnamese restaurant. Lots of good stuff to discover on the menu. Bring friends, order lots and share.

#15

Cafe Medina

Belgian Waffle

Operated by the same people behind Chambar, this is a popular place for a nice Belgian style breakfast. The waffles are a favourite but you need to also check out their delightful breakfasts served on cast iron pans.
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The Top Restaurants in Vancouver — According to Urbanspoon (#6 – #10)

Here is the continuation from the list of Top Vancouver Restaurants. The links to the complete list is here

Here it is … #6 to #10.

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#6

Bon's Off Broadway

The $2.95 Breakfast

The place is a bit dingy but they serve one of the best breakfast deals. Check out the $2.95 breakfast … and that is $2.95 after tax too! This is a neighborhood favourite. You need to overlook the chipped plates and greasy cutleries.

#7

Huge lines at Stepho's

Roast Lamb Platter - $10!!

There is ALWAYS a line at Stepho’s. It’s amazing that people will wait for 1-2 hours for a table. Reason is good food, ridiculous portions and insane low prices. Makes people mad enough to wait. You will be satisfied here for sure.

#8

Salt Tasting Room

Cheese, Meat and Condiments

Cheese, Meat and Condiments

There is not kitchen in this unique restaurant located in the unlikeliest of places. Located in a dark alley it is hard to find but right in the middle is a place where cheese and wine connoisseurs will call this heaven.

#9

Salsa and Agave

Sopa Azteca

Restaurant workers and customers chatters in Mexican in this best Mexican restaurant in Vancouver. It’s hard to find anything you don’t like but it is very small. My favourite was the Horchata drink and the Sopa Azteca. This is the closest to home for many Mexicans.

#10

Les Faux Bourgeois

Escargot - Snails!

Hard to get a reservation even for a weekday, this decidedly and delightful French restaurant is located on Kingsway and 15th Ave. Say it like the French … lay-foo bow-zu-ar. Don’t pronounced it like less-folks-borgees.
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The Top Restaurants in Vancouver — According to Urbanspoon (#1 – #5)

There are several restaurant review sites that I used. Some of my favourites are Urbanspoon, DineHere.ca and to a certain extend Yelp.ca. Urbanspoon is the only one that had cleverly engaged bloggers to provide contents to the site. That is why you find that their site is so rich with information.

Urbanspoon even have an nifty iPhone app which I used a lot in locating restaurants, particularly the new Scope feature which employs the use of augmented reality. I might do a review of the Urbanspoon iPhone app someday but today I will just concentrate on restaurants featured on Urbanspoon.

Urbanspoon is based in Seattle. The site covers restaurants in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. However, in terms of Blogger content, Vancouver is running neck to neck with the bloggers in Seattle.

I started to work on this little project about two months ago. That was when I decided to make a visit to each of the Top 20 restaurants in Vancouver and blog about them.

It was easier said than done! It was because the Best Vancouver Restaurant Leaderboard keeps changing everyday, albeit not much. When I contacted Urbanspoon about this project, they were supportive and sent me a stack of “Top Restaurant on Urbanspoon” window stickers. I will be passing these out to the top 20 restaurants in the next little while.

For what its worth, the below is but a snapshot of the Top 20 at one point in time (last week). This is by no means THE top 20 restaurant list because if you look at the list on DineHere.ca and Yelp.ca, there are noticeable differences.

I’ve tried to make the Top 20 list below navigable for you. If you click on the Restaurant picture, it will bring you to the chowtimes post. If you click on the Food picture, it will throw you to an enlarged picture of one of the food we tried.

Enjoy!

Here is the complete list:

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#1

Japadog

Kurobuta Terimayo

Believe it or not but the top “restaurant” is none other than Vancouver’s very own Japadog.They will be opening a full-on restaurant in mid-January 2010.

#2

Vij's

Wine Marinated Lamb Popsicles

Plan before you go. Vij’s is so popular that the lines starts forming 30 minutes before they open. Only opened for dinner. Must try their Wine Marinated Lamb Popsicles, they are marvelous.

#3

Rodney's Oyster House

Oysters Galore

Best time to go is during their Low Tide hours from 3Pm to 6PM where the oysters are $1.50 each. At other times, the oysters are pricey but they serve the best and the freshest. A great place to hang out with friends after work.

#4

The Cannery

Salmon Wellington

It’s a shame that they will close after the Olympics because their lease is expiring. It is an amazingly romantic place for a dinner. People rave about their Salmon Wellington. Remember to take a glass of wine and walk to the pier.

#5

Bin 941

Pomme Frites with Balsamico

Small place. But this is one place I will recommend to any visitor to Vancouver. The food is unique, fun and extraordinarily delish. Must try the Pomme Frites for starters.

Sigh … I had been spending an hour trying to figure out what is wrong. I can’t seem to put in more than 5 on the table above. The moment I put in the sixth on the table the post would not display. Maybe there is a bug or limitation with WordPress. Anyway, I will just post the first five here and follow up a next post for the rest.

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Lin Chinese Restaurant on Broadway and Granville, Vancouver

No more TBNs (Taiwanese Beef Noodles) and Hongkong Style Cafe (HKSC) for the next little while. I am tired of the topic. Let’s switch subjects … Shanghainese Cuisine this time. Heck, lets make an acronym for them. Let’s call them SHC, shall we? LOL!

Question … between Vancouver and Richmond, which city has the best Shanghainese restaurant?

It is not because I live in Richmond, but I seriously think that Richmond has the greater concentration of top notch SHC restaurants in Metro Vancouver.

I had learned that the best yardstick to determine a good SHC restaurant is how well they make the Xiao Long Bao (XLB).

While Richmond has the greater concentration of SHC restaurants, Vancouver lay claim to having the best XLB. To those who are not familiar with XLB, it is known as Soup Dumplings in English. That’s right. There are scalding hot soup in that innocent looking dumpling.

There is a way to eat it too. Never EVER pop one into your mouth and bite into it. The best way is to first bite off a hole on the side and slowly slurp the delicious soup. Suanne insists that it is the wrong way. She argued that one must bit off the top first. I think she had been watching too much Chinese cuisine TV shows.

This plaque says it all. Lin Chinese Cuisine won last year’s award from the more coveted Critic’s Choice award.

Lin Chinese Cuisine is located on Broadway with Granville. Lin is not like the SHC restaurants you find in Richmond. Not only it serves really good Shanghainese food, they seem to offer items like spring rolls, hot and sour soup, lemon chicken  and even bubble tea. They also have $7 lunch specials. They even have roti canai! I won’t be surprised if Chinese food connoisseurs do not pay much attention to Lin.

Lin is located right in front of a busy bus stand. I reckon that is why they have varied menus to cater to all customers. Lin’s location used to be Galing-Galing, a popular Filipino restaurant. That was 2 years ago.

The insides is nice and bright. We like the orangey theme. However, the layout is more like a cafe than it is a high end SHC restaurant.

Service is really good. Our waitress was especially chatty and was the one who insisted we get their XLB. She even proudly point out their XLB plaque to me and egged me to walk over to have a closer look when I feigned skepticism.

Their customer base is definitely not like those you find in Richmond’s SHC restaurants where you have almost exclusively Asian customers in big parties. In Lin, they have customers coming in from all walks of life and ethnic background. And their customer parties are smaller … usually 2-3 people.

I had always heard that the chef/owner of Lins is the same people behind The Place on south Granville. That does not seem to be the case. Our waitress was puzzled when I asked for her confirmation. Instead she said that the chef/owners are from Burnaby and Richmond. She rattled off some names in Chinese which I was not familiar with.

While the XLB is really good, I would not say it is the best. To me, the best XLB also has to have the thinness of skin that is almost translucent. I had seen some XLBs that are so thin that they sit almost flat in the basket.

It is a little smaller than I am used to but very juicy and tasty. The bamboo basket they are served in is noticeably seasoned like it had been used for years.

But I won’t take anything else from them. Their award winning XLB is excellent and is worth the try. The best thing is it is just $5.

The other appetizer we got was their Radish Cake which also costs $5. Oh man, Lin made this … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Copa Cafe on Cambie and W 23rd, Vancouver

Before you read the rest of this post, just hit the PLAY button and sing along to the lyrics below.

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Her name was Suanne, she was a housewife
With yellow apron on her hips and a dress cut down to there
She make d’meringue and make bo-bo-cha
And while she tried to be a star, Ben always want to eat out
Across a crowded blog, they worked from 7 till 10
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

At the Copa, Copacabana
The hottest spot north of Havana
At the Copa, Copacabana
Milk Tea and Fried Rice were always the fashion
At the Copa … they fell in love

So we went to the Copa Cafe, finally. You all probably know that our boys like Hongkong Style Cafes (HKSC for short, shall we?). That is because they know HKSC always have salted fish and chicken fried rice.

For Suanne and I, we wanted to check out the Prawn and Avocado Croissant that iPanda wrote about. Moreover, we did not even mind the long drive because we wanted to check for ourselves how good Copa is. You see, they had just won the 2009 Chinese Restaurant Award under the Diners’ Choice category of 2009 Best Hongkong Style Cafe.

Copa Cafe is located on Cambie by West 23rd. It is just a few doors away from Corner 23, a Taiwanese eatery.

Unlike many older CCT, Copa is visibly cleaner and bright colors. I don’t know but I think they are new, maybe been in operation only the past year or so.

Having thought that this is a new school HKSC, we would have thought the service will be a refreshing change. But no. The service is aloof and fast … or should I say rushed. I guess they pride themselves as being efficient. After all, Copa is a really busy restaurant.

Moment after we sat down, the menu and the drinks landed on the table.

We were taking our own sweet time pouring over the menus. Yeah, like most HKSC, they have several menus.

But the serious-faced waitress kept coming over with the pen poking the notepad asking us what we wanted to eat when we were still reading the menu. Maybe many of their customers are regulars and already know what they wanted. For us, we need time. You see, there is always a negotiation process we had to go through with the boys who always wanted the same time. Suanne and I kept telling them they cannot have the same fried rice. And they will keep asking why not. And we always say that we are bloggers and we must have different things. We go through this all the time and Copa need to understand that we need time to resolve this amicably.

The waitresses and waiters are well dressed and well groomed. So this is a difference compared with many HKSC.

We like the menu, as bewildering as it seems. They have lots of combos to choose from. What we like especially is that they have both expensive and cheap items. You could find $6 pork chop up to combos that is $13.

The drinks above came with the food we ordered. I notice we all always ordered the same thing. Suanne will always go for the hot milk tea. Arkensen will stick with the simple and predictable cold milk tea. Nanzaro will opt for something different from everyone, lemon tea. The boys almost always never finish their drinks. Suanne almost always will end up drinking all of them because she hate it to be wasted.

This is it … the Prawn and Avocado Croissant that Suanne read about and wanted so much to try. This is $7 and came with a side of mayo-drenched salad of fruits. In that salad there are potatoes, melon, cantaloupe and pineapple. If only their hands is a bit lighter with the mayo, it would have been a perfect feel-good meal.

The croissant is toasted and is unbelievably … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Tony’s Beef Noodle on Cambie and W 41st, Vancouver

I can’t quite figure this out.

I am referring to the post last week I made about Chef Hung’s TBN (TBN is short for Taiwanese Beef Noodles). Believe it or not, that one post garnered the most number of pageviews in 2 days at 1,300 hits. After a week on the site, it had over 2,200 hits with it constantly staying on the top 2 active posts. That post also attracted 37 comments.

Yesterday, we went to Aberdeen for dinner and guess what … we still see the same long lines outside of Chef Hung’s TBN.

And all these is happening despite the flood of bad reviews. There are definitely a lot of things that Chef Hung did wrong but obviously he is also doing something right.

I can’t quite figure that out.

So with all the interest in TBN, we decided to finally make the journey across the bridge to Tony’s Beef Noodle. We had heard a lot about them the past two years but because of they are closed on Sundays and the location, we had not visited them until now.

They were one of the few businesses that had survived the Skytrain construction on Cambie. But with the construction over, they are now faced with a new structure built right in front of them. That entrance to the service tunnel will definitely obscure the view from people who drives along Cambie.

But then I think Tony’s will not be that badly affected because they had built a reputation for themselves already throughout the years. Anyway, the front of the restaurant is very basic with the most important words “beef noodle” in the smallest font size. Apparently, they don’t need flashy signboards. OK, the Chinese words are more prominent and the name translates to “Brother Wong”. So the man behind this place must be Tony Wong.

I remember peeking into Tony’s before and it did not looked very nice. It was very much a hole in the wall operation. I guess they must have had some renos done recently as they are sporting new lights, coat of paint and tiled floors. The place is clean and comfortable.

One characteristic of Taiwanese restaurants in Vancouver is their offering of appetizers. They are small plates of hot or cold items which generally costs around $4 or less if you get a combination.

The appetizers in Tony’s costs between $2 and $3.50. A selection of three types of appetizers is $7.50 and $12.50 for five selections.

We opted for three types to share … from left, marinated large intestines, kelp seaweed and marinated pork ear. The appetizers were OK and really nothing to write about. It’s just that they put the warm pig intestines together with the other two cold appetizers — but that is alright.

We came here primarily to check out Tony’s beef noodles. One thing for sure, it is cheap. At $6 for small and $7.25 for large, it is more than 1/3 cheaper than Chef Hung’s $11 noodles. I think it is not fair to compare prices between a hole in the wall and a nicer upscale restaurant in a mall. But at the same time, I think I understand that people will compare. It is because TBN had always been considered as comfort food and it is not supposed to cost $11 no matter where it is sold.

So I got the Beef and Noodle in Spicy Soup. I got the large one. The soup does look very spicy and flavourful but looks is deceiving. I would say that the soup is respectable but I think I had tasted better ones in … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Vietnamese Cuisine: Cassava Strips Dessert (Che Khoai Mi)

Doris made some Cassava Strips for dessert. Doris served the Cassava Strips Dessert with a Coconut Milk Topping called Nuoc Dua in Vietnamese.

Cassava-Strips-Dessert-11

The Cassava Strips is lightly chewy. According to Doris, the authentic Cassava Strips should be rolled in freshly grated coconut which is more moist than those store-bought grated coconut.

Vietnamese-Coffee-1Vietnamese-Coffee-2

Doris is so sweet that she also brought some Vietnamese coffee to share with us.  Doris had just return from Vietnam and the coffee is 100% Vietnamese coffee. This bag of 1kg ground coffee costs about CAD10.  Vietnamese coffee is strong and best serve with condensed milk.

Ingredients for Cassava Strips:

  • 2 packs of frozen grated cassava
  • 5 ounces coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Coconut Milk Topping (Nuoc Dua):

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons rice flour, dissolved in some water as thickener

Cassava-Strips-Dessert-1

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