Tag Archives: Vancouver restaurants

Casual Restaurant Critic at Scoozis – Vancouver, Canada




It’s 2014 and the Critic hasn’t written anything about Vancouver in a long time so here are some new great places to stop at if you have cruise ship reservations to go to Alaska which seems to be the main reason Mexicans at least get to Vancouver. That, and to study English for a few months and get out of the house and from under the thumb of the catholic household and cut loose. But the Critic digresses.

Here are some new favourite spots. Yes, that’s a Canadian spelling on ‘favourite’.  Once Stephen Harper – along with his army of evil Cheney-like minions – takes over the world you will all be spelling it this way.

Another digression: will be EVER get to the restaurants.


Scoozis was recommended by the nice young man at the front desk (does this sound like an old lady talking or what) when Better Half and Señor Critic asked for someplace where they served real fruit juice for breakfast, not that crap from concentrate. By the way, the word ‘crap’ was not used in the query so no need to worry – in case you were – about offending the locals and besmirching the reputations of Mexicans abroad, as if that needed any more besmirching (think World Cup and “eeeeehhh puuuto!!”). Not only did they have fresh squeezed fruit juices, but also the best eggs benedict anywhere.

Mr. and Mrs. Critic fell for this suggestion like over-ripe guayas and were at Scoozis in just under 2 minutes, as it was located right around the corner from the hotel.

Service was fantastically friendly, not a grumpy face in sight. The food was lovely and reasonably priced. The Critic had the ‘bennies’ but not in their ham version; it was the British Columbia version with smoked salmon. Unbelievably great and it is their justifiably famous hollandaise sauce that makes this signature breakfast dish pop. This was the first time that the Critic didn’t have to add salt to the baked breakfast potatoes to make the bland tuber taste like something – they were perfect just as they were.

Better Half, insistent on eating a healthy breakfast, opted for a fruit and yoghurt combination. This being Vancouver where ethnic authenticity, along with political correctness, is all the rage, the fruit was local and the yoghurt was Greek. Coffee was strong and fresh.

A great way to wake up the day. Or to wake up to the day. Or to wake up and then start the day. Whatever the phrase is, Scoozis is a great place for a real breakfast in downtown Vancouver.

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The Casual Restaurant Critic – Vancouver, Canada (Part II)

Continuing with the Critic and his neurotic reviews, here are some more notes on the restaurant scene in Vancouver which you may or may not find useful. A full refrigerator and invitations from friends for dinners and lunches have scene a drastic decline in the number of establishments visited; nevertheless, there is always something to observe, document or write about and so here goes.


A good friend (who shall be referred to as Ms Cinci for the remainder of this write-up) of the Better Half and the Critic came to Vancouver for a brief visit and says “hey, my friend recommended Vijs for Indian food!” by way of suggestion and so the Critic and BH just had to see what the fuss was about; and were pleasantly blown away by the food!!

One arrives at Vij and sits at an outdoor terrace, where one can order an exotic drink; how does an Indian Mojito sound, with cilantro? Or a mango and masala infused dark rum cocktail called Dark Army?  Both of those were had and they were fantastic, while the little group sat outside waiting for a table in the packed, deliciously lit room. Appetizers are brought out while you wait, courtesy of the restaurant which takes no reservations and seating is on a first come, first served basis.

The food is absolutely glorious! Hearty, complex in the variety of flavors that cross your palate as you savor each and every bite. The Critic ordered the prawns, the Better Half a chicken-based dish and Ms Cinci had “lamb popsicles” which were actually little cutlets perfectly cooked – crispy, crunchy and tender chewy at the same time – in the most delectable, buttery and decadent sauce. All the dishes were served in large bowls so sharing was not only nice (inside joke) but encouraged and easy. Appetizers were fantastic as well; the Samosa with a very spicy stuffing was a meal in itself and who could resist the pork belly? Not this group!

The meal was accompanied by a bottle of crisp white wine going by the name of Joie Farm Market and was the perfect, non-intrusive complement to the outstanding food.

Service was gracious, professional and friendly by a mostly female staff who all took care of all the tables at once; none of this “my section” nonsense.

Ms Cinci picked up the bill so price information is not available, but a look at their website can give you, my dear reader, an idea.

Overall, the experience was gourmet, perfect for foodies, but not pretentious or stuffy in any way. Highly recommended!!

Website for Vij here.

Tomokazu Japanese

Tomokazu is a very popular all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant on Broadway in Vancouver. Thanks to the Mini-Critic, the Casual Restaurant and Better Half were able to experience this incredibly inexpensive sushi restaurant which is one of the few places open late in Vancouver, where you can go at 11 PM and find the place hopping.

The sushi is not the greatest in the world but for an all-you-can-eat option, and at the ridiculous price of 12.95 CDN per person, it is a bargain and you will not be disappointed. The Critic suggests ordering your limit of sashimi (there is a limit of 2 orders per person) and plenty of salmon niguiri (pieces). The fish is fresh and cold and delicious. Service is quick, with servers speaking enough English to get by. Orders are taken via a piece of paper where one marks the amount of each sushi you want and this is handed to the server. The food comes along almost instantly, so those guys at the sushi bar are really cranking it out.

Excellent value for the money.

Write-ups on Urban Spoon here.

That Mediterranean Food Store

There is a little specialty shop on Commercial Drive that has the largest selection of Lebanese and other Mediterranean food you have ever seen – the Critic and BH “discovered” this Vancouver institution while searching for lunch options to have at the vacation rental in Vancouver. If you love Lebanese food – and who in the Yucatan doesn’t – this is the place to go. The owner is there each and every day, doling out olives, humus (garbanza) and fresh-baked sweet and savory pastries and making jokes with his many customers.

Write up on Urban Spoon here.

The Casual Restaurant Critic – Vancouver, Canada

The Casual Restaurant Critic is on vacation from his “relaxed and carefree lifestyle” in Merida (phrase borrowed from a real estate TV show featuring Merida) and lounging in a relaxed and carefree manner in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Here are some random, food-related thoughts.

Sourdough Bread

Having become addicted to Monique’s Sourdough Bread (available at the Slow Food Market ie. her bakery in Colonia Chuburna and soon to be in a new, as yet undisclosed, location, the Critic was looking forward to some great sourdough in Vancouver. Alas, it has not yet been found. There is plenty of excellent looking sourdough but to bite into it, you might as well be chewing hardened Bimbo. The Critic will, in the name of personal research of course, continue his quest to find a sourdough that matches what is available in Merida. Merida!

The Ravenous Raven

The name is so West Coast isn’t it? In the space formerly occupied by the Treefrog restaurant (another good eco-friendly West Coast kind of name) a group of talented women have formed a business partnership and are running this restaurant which also features two guest suites which the Critic did not get a chance to try. But the food is great! Homecooked, abundant and well-priced, it is worth your trip to Texada Island, just off the coast of Powell River. Ideally you would go to Texada Island for something and take advantage of the Ravenous Raven for a good place to lunch. It is good enough though, that you could go to the Ravenous Raven for lunch and then find something else to justify the trip over. Say hello to Wendy. Website here


Havana is a great little spot on Commercial Drive for lunch or dinner whether you prefer your lunches and dinners of the liquid variety, or not. Their drinks are delicious and their yam fries and chipotle mayo are highly addictive. Eat at your own risk. If you order the Latin Burger, you will find, along with the usual trimmings and a thick beef patty, a chunk of sausage in there as well, making this burger impossible to eat with your hands. Website here

Burnaby Keg

The Critic has reviewed or written about The Keg before so he won’t bore you with more of the same. It’s still good, the service is gushy-friendly, the room is relaxed and you can have dinner in front of a fireplace! Nice to warm one’s buns while you’re eating on a chilly September evening. Website here.

Fresh Fruit

One of the things the Critic likes to do on a Canadian visit is to stop at fruit stands and buy fresh peaches, cherries, organic apples etc etc etc. The peaches this year are, apparently, a little late in ripening due to a terrible British Columbia summer and so at the moment the Critic consoles himself with nectarines, which are unbelievable; juicy and sweet. And to bite into a crisp apple is a delight after the mushiness of what is available in the Yucatan in the apple department. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, a mango here costs 84 pesos EACH while in Merida during mango season people are giving them away.

Speaking of fresh fruit, if you are renting a house or apartment in Vancouver and have an oven, do visit Whole Foods, formerly Capers market on Robson Street, downtown, and pick up one of their fresh baked pies made with whatever fruit is good and ripe at the moment. Heat that pie in your oven, add some vanilla ice cream and feast ’till you burst. Last night it was the sour cherry pie for this Critic. It was an OMG moment. Mouthgasms, even.

More later!

Quick Restaurant Critiques – Vancouver, Canada

A recent visit to Vancouver by the curmudgeonly Casual Restaurant Critic featured a lot of restaurant visits, as is to be expected in a city as restaurant-filled as Vancouver. It is truly amazing how many places to eat there are – does no one eat at home? There are of course a lot of Asians in Vancouver and it is only fitting that there be a huge amount of Asian restaurants; everything from Cantonese to Vietnamese to Thai to Northern Thai to Japanese to Malaysian to…

Here are a just a few of the Critic’s notes:

Hon’s Won-Tun House

Located smack dab in the middle of Robson Street, on the West End side, Hon’s has been airlifted out of Chinatown and dropped on the most expensive piece of Vancouver real estate. The Critic went here for lunch and had a plate of BBQ duck, along with some rice and a Alexander Keiths Pale Ale. A great meal for 15 Canadian dollars. Be aware that the duck has been brutally hacked with one of those Chinese cleavers and there are bone fragments throughout. Also, the duck could have been a little hotter. But the flavour (Canadian spelling) was fantastic, the rice was hot and sticky (like a Merida afternoon in late August) and the beer cold. All plates and cups and glasses are made of that plastic material typical of picnic dinnerware.

Capers Market

Also on Robson Street, just down from Hon’s towards trendy Denman Street, is the Capers/WholeFoods market, a mecca for anyone wanting organic and free range and whole grain and gluten free. You know who you are. A great place to stop for dessert or a fresh peach when they are in season. At their bakery on this visit, they had the most scrumptious fresh cherry pie ever. To Die For. Check out their website and if you go, take a bag because that’s the green thing to do.

Sushi Mart

Almost across from Capers Market, on Robson Street, is Sushi Mart which looks interesting from the outside because of the reviews posted in the windows and the one giant table inside. It seats about 14 people and is a kind of communal sushi experience. The fish is fresh, the rice perfect and the service fast. The Critic thinks that to survive in the Vancouver sushi restaurant competition, you have to have something that will make you last, besides fresh fish. This place is just fine for a quick lunch. The Critic had a lunch special which was a large bowl of sushi rice on top of which were about 6 different types of fish sashimi aka Chirashi Bowl. Great stuff and not at all expensive or pretentious. The Critic would like some of that sashimi right now.

Memphis Blues

Finally getting away from the Robson Street/West End area, the Critic had a fantastic early dinner (early by Yucatecan standards anyway) at one of the few southern (US) style barbeque places in Vancouver, on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. Nestled among the funky shops, the Pakistani-run groceries, the Portuguese Social Club, Italian cafes and trendy bars is this restaurant (warning – website has sound) which on the day the Critic appeared at the door, was featuring an All You Can Eat special on ribs and fries for about 20 dollars. B

eers were ordered and the Critic and his Funkified Guests chowed down on enormous ribs with extra bbq sauce all tangy and delicious and cripsy fries, washed down with cool cervezas. Not cheap, but good. Lunch for three as mentioned came to a whopping 90 dollars Canadian which is definitely not the cheapest meal one can have in Vancouver but that one meal lasted the Critic at least 24 hours.


Every town has it’s hipster hangouts; run down diners that appeal to the cheap, the frugal, the hip and the trendy. Bon’s, on Nanaimo Street and Broadway in East Vancouver, is such a place. There is a lineup for their 2.99 breakfast special, a price that is unheard of in Vancouver.

And it is a filling breakfast too, not some pansy-ass continental menu that passes as breakfast at so many places. And it’;s available all day, too. There is bread; 3 kinds to choose from and you get two slices, 2 eggs any way you want ’em, sausage ham or bacon and a big smackdown of breakfast potatoes that you will not finish. Coffee is extra and you may have to get up and serve yourself, it’s that busy. Same thing if you want water. Take a seat, look around at the crowd around you and enjoy. It’s the place to be, whatever time of the day that might happen to be. Check out the write-up on Urban Spoon. Photos too.

Nao Sushi

A newer sushi place, on Kingsway in sunny Burnaby is Nao Sushi. Like the Critic mentioned before, the sushi competition is fierce and there was not really anything about this place that stood out. Service was only average, not slow or unfriendly, but not OMG what great service either. And the sushi was very good, but not OMG this is SO good good. Some of the rolls actually fell apart as one picked them up with the chopsticks, something that the Critic had never experienced before. Is this a good thing or a bad thing as far as sushi goes? No idea.

The Critic suspects that it is not a good thing. It was cheaper than some of the downtown options; lunch for two came to about 27 dollars and the Critic and his Italian Cohort had quite a bit of sushi. Notice also the crudely written ‘specials’ notices haphazardly taped to the wall. Why spend all that money decorating the place and creating some sort of ambience and then plastering the mauve walls with signs that obviously were hand-lettered by a 5 year old? And the TV with the news and a toilet bowl cleanser commercial don’t help either. Don’t bother with this one, there are so many more options for sushi in Vancouver! It might be Nao but it won’t be Then.

The Critic is sure there are more reviews, but it is late and time for some rest. Thanks for reading this far and hopefully this will help on your next visit to Vancouver, providing you were not planning to fly Mexicana, which is another story in and of itself which may get a write-up soon. Stay tuned!