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 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.
3 thoughts on “The Casual Restaurant Critic – Vancouver, Canada (Part II)”
So glad to hear you went to Vij. We saw it featured on a TV food show and have been waiting for our next visit to YVR in order to go. Sounds as good as the TV review said it was, or even better if possible! Yum. Just checked out their website…it is a wee bit expensive but it sounds like it’s worth every cent. Their menu has my mouth watering.
So glad you got to Vij’s, and enjoyed it. It’s a favourite of ours. You can now buy Vij’s frozen entrees at higher end grocery stores, but they’re pricey. They do have recipes online though, and a book. One of his chicken curry recipes is a mainstay at our house.
I couldn’t place the Mediterranean Food Store, though we used to live just off Commercial Drive. Been gone too long, I guess. Your post makes me nostalgic for the place.
Juanita – you will ADORE this restaurant! It is SO GOOD.
Debbie – do you make the Indian food here in Merida / Yucatan? And yes, the “Drive” is as vibrant and trendy and funky as ever. Too bad rentals are so freaking expensive there or I would consider hanging out for a while!