Cafe Gloucester on Cambie and West 17th, Vancouver

I would have thought that a lot of people who have known of this old time HK Style Cafe. I heard of them before I even first used the words HK Style Cafe on chowtimes.

But it was only recently that we went.


Quick. Show of hands those who had never been to Cafe Gloucester before?

BTW. What do you think is the proper way to pronounce the name of Cafe Gloucester? Is it “Glos-ter” or “Glow-chest-ter”?

Located on Cambie, Cafe Gloucester was one of the businesses that had survived the carnage during the Canada Line construction. A restaurant like this will definitely survive because they are very popular particularly with the Chinese community. This is because their prices are cheap, service is fast and food are not bad.

I remember reading that the Copa Cafe located a few blocks down Cambie, is an off shoot of Cafe Gloucester — like a rouge off shoot. Is that right?


Cafe Gloucester can brag that they had won the award for being the Best HKSC. I am not sure which year though but maybe last year.

You know, of all the restaurant awards, I follow the Chinese Restaurant Awards closely. The coveted Critics Awards for 2010 will be announced on April 7th and you can bet that who ever wins these awards will receive instant recognition. He he he … to think that I had dinner with some of the critics at S&W Pepper House just recently.


We were there for lunch. The dining area is large and yet they are able to fill the restaurant in most times of the day. Cafe Gloucester is one of the few HK Style Cafe where service to us is polite. The workers are even well dressed with matching uniforms. It’s a sign to us that they care about good service rather than dishing out cheap food and be done with that.



Their menu is lovely. There are enticing pictures spread over eight pages with some very good selection on each section.

This is the type of menu that we take a long time reading because it is hard to decide what we want. We needed a more sophisticated way to keep track of our shortlisted dishes than keeping a finger at the relevant pages. We actually have to list it down on paper and then do our elimination from there.


I went with the Laksa Chicken Vermicelli Soup ($8). This is just so that I can contrast this with Bo’s Laksa that I had recently where I can see why his is so good compared to those you find around town.

Nope. The laksa in Cafe Gloucester is too watery and it is only a little spicy. So yeah, it was hard to finish this because it’s not as I expected. It is not that it is inedible mind you. In the most part, it is decent.


But the chicken meat are boned in and quite meaty and well done. That kind of save this bowl of noodles.

Normally I would finish the laksa soup down to the very last drop. Here I just had the chicken and the vermicelli. They need to make the laksa thicker.


Nanzaro took the longest to decide what to order. Strange considering that he still end up with fried rice.

The reason was he tried to be fancy and wanted something better than everyone else. He took so long and the waiter was waiting for his order that he felt pressured. So he had the Gloucester House Special Fried Rice ($7).

The fried rice was … pretty good. It has luncheon meat. The rice were very fragrant because it is made with fried garlic.


Suanne had the Kyoto Braised Soft Pig’s Bone Ramen ($8). We just love that large pieces of meat. No they are not premium meat. For meatarians like us, we love it. The soup is very tasty (no doubt it’s MSG ladden) and garlicky. The odd thing is the pickled which we thought was kind of weird and out of place with this dish.

Yeah … we like this. I know some people will be disappointed to hear that we like this. This is entirely different from Japanese ramen from Santouka, Kintaro or Benkei which we also like a lot.

Oh BTW, why is it that people would rave about Santouka’s $13 ramen while lambast Chef Hung’s $11 Beef Noodles? Me thinks that people thinks Japanese food deserves to be expensive while Chinese food are not. Am I right or am I right? LOL!


I hate baked rice but Arkensen likes it. I tried to dissuade him because half of the time, he ended up not finishing it.

Anyway he ordered Baked Pork Chop with Rice ($7).

Now, this looked pretty good with a bit of charring here and there. Arkensen said he likes the tomato’ish sauce.


You got to love ice milk tea. It’s free with the meal and they serve this in tall glasses. This has to be the largest serving of free milk tea we have found so far.


And the damage is only $34 before tips. In Chinese restaurant, you don’t have to tip 20% too.

Frankly, I think the restaurant business need to reform and do away with this odd North American practice of tipping. Get on with the the rest of the world, I say.

OK that’s it for today. Am looking forward to the start of the short spring break vacation already starting this weekend. Woo hoo!

Cafe Gloucester 告羅士打餐廳 on Urbanspoon

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  1. wyn

    Yay, you went to Gloucester! I have no idea how it is pronounced either, thinking it is probably “Gloster” but calling it “Gloo-chester” instead. 😀

    We love to order the baked dish pork chop dish you got, or Portuguese Chicken on Rice, one of their cheapest mini meals and cheapest baked dishes we’ve found in the city. We’ll also order a noodle soup (like BBQ duck with rice noodles) and get to dig into the noodles while the baked dish takes its time coming!

    Actually, Gloucester was closed for a year or so during construction–I was quite afraid it was never coming back as there was no definitive re-opening date. I always wondered if they got some deal or paid rent throughout the unending period Cambie was a mess.

  2. fmed

    I pronounce it Gloh-ster.

    Just to bug my wife (who is of English descent), I often pronounce Worchestershire Sauce – Wor-Chest-Her-Shyre (instead of what she claims is the “proper” Wooh-ster).

    PS…The critics at the CRA vote only for Signature Dishes. Gloucester Cafe won a Diner’s Choice which is tallied by internet voting.

  3. Marike

    I call it “Gloo-chester” too, even though my friend correct me and say it’s “Gloster”. Funny, cuz I work in Gloucester (Langley) and my co workers call it “Glow-chest-ter” (ow as in OW, I stubbed my toe!)?

    And yes, fmed, it IS “Wor-Chest-Her-Shyre”! …to me anyways 😉

  4. maxmillan

    I have yet to try their signature dishes but now that you’ve written this I will have to make another trip back. I like this restaurant for its cleanliness which you don’t often find in Chinese restaurants that are value based.

    I don’t want to argue about the tipping practices in North America but for the tipping in Chinese restaurants, I always tip %20 for decent service as I think I should support “my people”, too.

  5. Julie

    According to my England friends (and as some people have mentioned earlier) it’s supposed to be pronounced glos-ter. I’m sure the Brits know how to pronounce it… since it’s the name of a city over there.

    I wonder what the story is behind this cafe name though…
    Gloucester isn’t as convenient when you have a really big group of people going. Yea, they put tables together for you and all but… they don’t have booths like Oscars. I think it’s more or less the same things… but maybe I’m just too used to Oscars’ food.

  6. HM

    “Glos-ter” is the right pronounciation, having lived in this part of UK for many years. It is also one of the main streets in Wan Chai, HK so that’s probably how the name of this cafe came about. Ben, I agree with you that their laksa is not up to par. I think Tropika’s is better. Have you tried the one at Curry House at Yaohan food court before? They used to do it quite well, but haven’t had it for a long time. Wonder if they are still as good.

  7. HM

    BTW Ben, if Nanzaro loves rice so much, try their item#133 & #136, both delicious!

  8. LotusRapper

    Proper pronunciation is “Glaw-ster”.

    Same with Leicester Square in London, not “Lei-ches-ster” but simply “Les-ter”.

    Worcestershire Sauce is pronounced in the UK as “Wooh-ster”

    And Edinburgh (Scotland) is pronounced “Edin-burra” if you must know 😉

    Ben – Cafe Copa is a more refined offshoot of Gloucester. I didn’t know if you were inferring that Gloucester and Copa are related by same ownership, nevertheless I would rate Copa as modern as Gloucester as stuck in the late 80s/early 90s.

  9. Ed Lau

    This is the go-to restaurant for my dad and I after a Canucks game. Decent food at good prices and it’s open around 10pm which is when we get out of most games and into the car.

    I remember their curry being pretty good

    1. LotusRapper


      Another “chain” that has good curries is Mui Garden (some locations are called “New Mui Garden”. The one I go to is at Main & 27th, but I know there’s another on Hastings west of Renfrew, on Minoru in Richmond, downtown (Robson Public Market) and on Victoria Drive.

      1. Marike

        And on North Road in Burnaby near Lougheed centre.

        1. LotusRapper

          I stand corrected, Marike. Actually I even ate there (North Rd) in the summer.

  10. HM

    Good that LotusRapper mentioned about “Mui Garden”. FYI, the ‘Mui Garden” chain was started by Mr. Mui of Kam Ho Restaurant i.e. ex-Ho Yuen in Richmond. I think they are now run by his relatives.

    1. LotusRapper

      We’re all related somehow by the “theory of relativity” 🙂

  11. Casey

    I can only ever say Gloucester Cafe in the Cantonese version of it since my parents friends frequently meet there and only pronounce it that way.
    Food there is decent for it’s price. Their steak with rice is deal is quite good too!

    1. LotusRapper

      My parents say: “GOH LOH SI DAH” 😉

      1. baldtomato

        LOL, yeah and my parents lovingly shorten the Cantonese name to just “Goh-Dah”. hahaha. tells you how often they go, or used to go. They stopped going coz we THINK that Gloucester changed hands after that long renovation? I heard it was passed on for a mid-6 digit sum.

        I’ve gone a few times in the past year, IMHO the new management is just as polite (although the familiar old Gluocester crew have mostly left – some to other HKSC’s around town), but i think the food does not quite taste the same – definitely not as good as before, although still decent. I can’t list off the top of my head which dishes i noticed the difference, but i think the laksa could be one of them, according to my mom anyways – she said the soup used to be thicker. The soup-noodle dishes too, the noodles now come a bit soggy / oversoaked already before you dig in (and i am the slowest diner on earth), and the meats in the soup noodles less flavourful than when it was under old ownership.

        1. LotusRapper

          Is it possible the ownership stayed the same but kitchen staff changed ?

          1. Doug

            When the new Gloucester re-open it was a completely new restaurant. The original owners sold it to another person, thus, new chefs and servers. Even now, they’re constantly changing Chefs.

            It was very unrealistic that the same staff would come back because they closed for almost 2 years. The staff won’t leave there current job to go back to an old job with a new owner.

  12. Eric

    I always wondered what that silver-metal…buffet thingy at the front is for…does anyone know?

  13. HM

    In response to Eric’s question: the silver metal buffet cart is for Prime rib supper.

  14. Erick P.

    As always, Ben, great post. I have to try this place out next time I’m in YVR.

    What is the typical tip one should leave at a place like this? Would you tip more at a higher end place like Kirin or Sea Harbour?

    I’m so used to tipping 15% minimum, but I think it might be too much for a place like a HK Cafe.


    1. Ben

      Hi Erick:

      For Chinese restaurants, it is quite alright to tip a minimum of 10% on the receipt amount and round it up to the next dollar or two. Some people would tip against the amount before tax and so tipping 10% minimum on the receipt amount and rounding this up will be closer to 12%-13% or so. For higher end restaurants where service is better, we tip a minimum of 15%. Been a while since I saw your comment. Let me know when you are in YVR next time.


      1. Jimmy L

        I tip depends on the service and food, ranging from 20% to nothing. The waiter or waitress on your table doesn’t keep the tips. They pool all the tips during their shift and divided among how many people work that shift which includes the cooks, dishwashers; cashier and bus persons. It’s entirely different from the western food restaurants. That’s why most of the HK type restaurants don’t have good service, the servers don’t get the tips and they don’t care the service…
        I always feel this is not fair, cooks usually pay much more than the waitresses and they don’t do service to customers. They should not entitle any tips.

        Café Gloucester is a very good restaurant; they have good food and reasonable good service. I have been catering them for many years and always enjoy going there. Highly recommended

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