Midam Cafe

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Midam Cafe is hidden in a complex just off North Road. It’s been a year since I’ve visited, and K was desperate to get some shikye (a Korean rice drink). So desperate that we drove almost an hour to get here to find out they didn’t offer it right now. Probably because it’s more of a summer drink. Anyways, Midam is famous for their rice cakes, and I have to say they are pretty good! The spot is filled with diners at night for drinks and food, but we were surprised to be the first diners here during your typical lunch time on a weekend.

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We were served the complimentary ban-chan or Korean side dishes. These were all very good, consisting of kimchi, sweet potatoes and marinated kelp. The kimchi was a lot spicier than your typical, but was still delicious.

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Korean Traditional Rice Cake Soup

I chose the Korean Traditional Rice Cake Soup, which was surprisingly a very large bowl of soup. The broth was flavoured well, but definitely not salty. The rice cakes were cooked perfectly, so they were slightly chewy. It was filled with green onions, egg and seaweed. I put some of the kimchi in to give it some spice, which complemented the dish very well.

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Fresh Vegetable Porridge Set

K got the Fresh Vegetable Porridge Set, which again was a very large bowl. It had chopped vegetables and the porridge was flavoured just right. Very delicious!

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Grilled Mochi with Red Bean

We finished off our meal with dessert, which oddly came at the same time as our food. I would’ve appreciated it more if the dessert was served after we finished our meals. The Grilled Mochi with Red Bean came on a hot plate and didn’t look too appetizing, but was actually quite delicious. The mochi was soft with a slight chew, and the sweetness from the red beans and roasted almonds worked well with the dish. The only concern was that the mochi was slightly burnt, so you could taste the charcoal.

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Overall, Midam has solid Korean dishes and is great for desserts and drinks. I would suggest you try their rice cakes as they are probably some of the best in town. Service is just average, and there honestly isn’t much since you need to press the button to get the attention of your server. Parking is pretty good as well, although I can imagine the complex getting busy with the Korean supermarket also located in the complex.

Pros:
– Delicious home-made rice cakes – both savoury and sweet
– Great selection of desserts and drinks

Cons:
– Lack of service

Price Range: $10-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4
Service: 2
Ambiance: 3
Parking: 3
Overall: 3

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Legend House

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Just across Coquitlam Centre is Legend House, a restaurant that specializes in Northern China and Szechuan cuisine.

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Walking in, you can see the chefs preparing handmade noodles and dumplings.

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Chicken with Spicy Sauce

We started off with the Chicken with Spicy Sauce. The free range chicken was tossed in a spicy Szechuan peppercorn dressing & garlic. I found the sauce to be very spicy, but I’ve had a spicier one. I’m sure Szechuan diners would think that this is not spicy enough. The chicken itself was also difficult to eat, since the chicken was chopped up in a way were there were bits of bones everywhere. Not a lot of actual meat to be honest.

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Dan Dan Noodles

Next were the Dan Dan Noodles, which came in a huge bowl for a cheap price of $6.95. Eating this on your own would definitely fill you up very well. The noodles were handmade, but I found that they stuck together a lot. The texture itself is pretty good though, with a nice chew. The sauce was a spicy, tangy peanut sauce, and included minced pork & spinach. Of course, there were crushed peanuts as well. Slightly spicy, but I could still handle it.

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Shanghai “Xiao Long Bao” Soup Dumplings

Next up were the Shanghai “Xiao Long Bao” Soup Dumplings, which were filled with minced pork and ginger. The soup inside was sizzling and creamy. The skin was also a good thickness. Pretty good and comparable to some of the ones in Richmond.

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Legend Beef Rolls

We also got the Legend Beef Rolls, which were ginormous! The five spiced beef were rolled in a crispy green onion flat bread and filled with sweet hoisin sauce. We thought the outside was pretty burnt, but the roll itself was pretty good, with a good amount of filling. I found it difficult to eat since it was such a big roll though.

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Szechuan Hot Chili Dumplings

Last but not least, we got the Szechuan Hot Chili Dumplings, which were filled with pork filling and tossed in chilli oil, garlic, vinegar & spinach. These were actually not very spicy, and we found it too oily. It was literally just dumplings in chili oil.
Overall, Legend House was decent, but not memorable. Service is actually pretty good here and the ambiance is much nicer than many Chinese restaurants. Very reasonable prices and there’s free underground parking. I guess this would be a good choice for Shanghai/ Szechuan food in Coquitlam.

Pros:
– Ambiance and service is pretty good for a Chinese restaurant
– Reasonable prices for decent eats

Cons:
– Some hits and misses for dishes, but overall not very memorable

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Parking: 4
Overall: 3

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The Bombay

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Looking for places to eat in Coquitlam, J suggested we go to The Bombay, since he’s been telling me how good their butter chicken is. However, everytime I try to go there, it’s closed. Finally, we arrived at lunch, and service was sort of sparse. We stood there waiting around and no one acknowledged us. Finally, we were seated, but no menus were given. Apparently during lunch time, they offer a lunch buffet for $9.99, so everyone goes for that. Taking a look in the menu, it seemed like that was a better deal, so we went for it as well. The buffet itself is really small, just like any other Indian buffets. There were an assortment of curries and tandoori chicken.

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There’s also a salad bar, but it did not look appealing at all. Nan and rice is available, but as per buffets, they were not fresh and hence not as good.

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The Butter Chicken was probably the best, but even so, J said that it’s usually better when you order off the menu. That’s probably because you’ll know your food will come hot and fresh. Lots of chicken and the sauce was creamy and flavourful. My other favourite was the Chicken Tikka Masala, which was boneless chicken breast in onion sauce with fresh tomatoes, ginger and garlic. I liked how it had some heat to it, whereas the butter chicken was not spicy at all.

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Roti – whole wheat flour, unleavened bread, baked in a tandoor

We decided to try their Roti, which came sizzling hot, so much better than the nan at the buffet that had been sitting around. However, my complaint would be how oily it was. There was a layer of oil glistening.

Overall, The Bombay’s lunch buffet was average. It’s a good deal if you fill yourself up with the curries, but I wouldn’t say the quality is amazing. Service is also really lacking, but the place was still filled up during lunch hours. Plus, there really aren’t that many other Indian restaurants in Coquitlam, so I guess it’s to their advantage. I’d still like to come back and try their regular menu and see how it compares.

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Makoto Ramenya

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Tuna Tataki

Makoto Ramenya is a relatively new Japanese izakaya restaurant that opened up in Coquitlam. It’s run by Koreans and is open til late. Since it is super close to J’s place, we end up going here whenever we’re lazy to go anywhere far. I thought the restaurant would have ramen, but apparently it’s only offered for lunch. So instead, we had to go for their izakaya food, which is honestly quite limited. We started off with the Tuna Tataki, which had only 4 pieces, but priced at around $9. Pricey! I mean, it wasn’t bad or anything, but I wouldn’t pay that much for so little tuna tataki again.

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Fresh Seafood and Vegetables in Tonkotsu Soup

Next, we got the Fresh Seafood and Vegetables in Tonkotsu Soup. It came in a little hot pot with a flame lit below. The soup comes without noodles, so we had to add $3 for ramen, which seems pretty expensive since the pot was over $10 to begin with. I found that the soup was filled with bean sprouts more than anything. The seafood was probably just frozen seafood. As for the soup, we got the “little spicy” version, which was just plain weird. Something was just missing in the soup. It was really bland. The ramen just tasted like store bought ramen too. Nothing special, which means I’m probably not going to try their ramen for lunch.

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Beef Yaki Udon

Lastly, we had the Beef Yaki Udon. Unfortunately, we were halfway done eating, when I realized I hadn’t gotten a picture. So the dish is actually double the portion pictured here. This was alright, but again, nothing too special. I mean it’s quite hard to mess up a beef yaki udon…

Overall, I wouldn’t say the food is any great at Makoto Ramenya. Everything is just average. However, the second time I came back, I had some drinks and it was really fun. The atmosphere at night is really chill here, so a good place to hang out and have drinks with friends. They have Japanese beers and Korean soju here. The servers and owners end up sitting around with customers too, so service is either a hit or miss, depending if you can get their attention.

 

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Akari Japanese Restaurant (Revisit #2)

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Akari Japanese Restaurant is located in the Coquitlam Town Center and they have made major changes in their menu since the last time I visited. J told me that they now have a $4.95 menu for every item on the menu, so you really need to do some math to figure out which items are a good deal. It’s a Korean owned restaurant, so it’s not exactly authentic Japanese food. We ended up getting several appetizers, but J began to eat them before I even got some pictures! Anyways, here are some of the sushi we got. This included Hamachi, Ebi, Tuna, Sockeye Salmon, and Saba Nigiris. We also got a Chopped Scallop Roll. So basically, each fish was priced at $4.95 and some of them would come with two nigiris or up to four. The salmon and tuna were pretty good deals as each nigiri would come to under $1.25. I found the rolls to be a bit pricey though, as you can usually find typical rolls at a lower price for the same quality. All in all, our food was average. It wasn’t the freshest I’ve had, but it did it’s job. You end up ordering quite a lot since it seems like a good deal, but in the end we ended up paying almost $20 each. You need to be wise when you pick your items here with the new menu.

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Toe Dam Korean Fusion BBQ

 

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Toe Dam Korean Fusion BBQ is located in the same mall as the H-Mart on North Road. I think they are popular for their barbeques since each seating area has a ventilation area and grill installed. Most of the items were large dishes, perfect for sharing, but with only myself and J, we felt like it would be too much food. We saw that they had a lunch menu with set lunches, so we asked if we could get those instead. Even though it was clearly dinner time, they allowed us to order from the lunch menu.

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Food took way too long to come out. I think it was around 30 minutes before we even got the appetizers. But then all our food shortly appeared. They could’ve at least brought us the appetizers a little earlier so we could have something to nibble on. Appetizers included radish, sweet potatoes, kimchi, and spicy marinated zucchinis. Everything was quite typical.

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For my set lunch, I chose Marinated Beef with Spicy Tofu Soup. Portions were quite large, but quality was lacking. The beef was flavourful, but overcooked. It was tough to chew and not even close to being tender. The spicy tofu soup on the other hand, was a bit better. It wasn’t too spicy, and its consistency was a thin broth. Lots of tofu, but not really any other ingredients. The set also came with a bowl of rice.

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J got his usual, Naengmyeon, which is a chewy noodle in a cold beef broth. This one was also spicy.

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Lastly, he also got some Marinated Short Ribs. He also said these were quite tough and overcooked.

All in all, I was quite disappointed with the food at Tae Dam. Perhaps their hot pot or barbeques would be better, where diners can actually cook the meat themselves. Clearly, the chef just overcooks all the meat. Price points are decent for lunch, but the dinner menu looks quite expensive.

 

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Sushi Mori

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We were in Coquitlam and craving some Japanese food as usual. And of course J is always craving his nigiris. So we urbanspooned around for a while to see what was nearby. Sushi Mori popped up and the reviews seemed pretty good so off we went.

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The inside is extremely nice! It’s filled with wooden furniture and cherry blossom trees with lanterns so it glows. It almost feels like you’re in a cherry blossom wonderland in Japan. The place seems to be operated by Koreans though, as they all knew how to speak Korean.

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The tableware is extremely cute. The teapot has an ancient feel to it, and the tea cups are so petite! Okay, a little too small, making the need to repour yourself some tea after every sip… We were also given some Edamame Beans to start as a complementary appetizer.

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Spicy Tuna Roll

J got the Spicy Tuna Roll, and it was drizzled with a lot of spicy sauce. Essentially just a normal tuna roll, but drizzled with the spicy sauce.

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Crazy Boy Roll – Deep Fried California Roll, Masago

Everyday, they also have a list of items that are at a discounted prices. I think the Crazy Boy Roll was one of them for that night, hence we got it. I’ve tried this type of roll at another sushi restaurant, and it is essentially a california roll that has been battered and deep fried. It was covered with a spicy mayo and topped with masago. I thought it was pretty good, but anything deep fried is usually tasty.

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Salmon Don

For myself, I got the Salmon Don. There was a large amount of salmon sashimi – a total of 8 fatty pieces. On the side was a bit of marinated squid and seaweed salad. I did find it quite bland though, and the rice wasn’t cooked that great and wasn’t well seasoned. Something was just lacking, and it tasted rather bland. I wouldn’t say that the salmon was extremely fresh either.

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Complementary Salad

Halfway through dinner, we were also given a Complementary Salad. Sort of random, but we’ll take it if it’s free! It was actually a really large plate too. I’m guessing they had extra scraps of vegetables or something. It was filled with lettuce, julienned cucumbers, beets, and pineapples. The pineapples were  a real surprise for me, but also my favourite part. I love how the sweetness gave the whole salad some flavour. The portion was definitely too big for us though and we didn’t end up finishing it.

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Saba Nigiri, Hamachi Nigiri, Ebi Nigiri

And here were J’s Nigiris. I think the Ebi Nigiri was also on the special menu, hence he ordered quite a few. I didn’t try any, as none of the fish are really my favourites, but he said they weren’t good at all. He was quite disappointed and said they were priced at too high of a price for the quality you are getting.

Overall, I wasn’t too amazed by the food at Sushi Mori. J, on the other hand, was extremely disappointed and said he wouldn’t be coming back. I guess I can’t say much since I only had the Salmon Don, and it honestly isn’t too hard to make. J, however, had high expectations for his nigiris, so he wasn’t happy with them at all. We both agreed that the restaurants atmosphere and decor is probably the reason why people come here. Really nice looking place, but definitely just average food. Probably not coming back again.

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Indian Star Restaurant

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We had originally wanted to go to The Bombay for some butter chicken since J said it was pretty good. Of course, we had to decide to go on a day it wasn’t opened though… Really? A random Tuesday. So yes, we ended up Googling another Indian restaurant closeby, since we were still craving for that butter chicken… And with the limited choices in the Port Coquitlam area, we ended up at Namaste Indian Restaurant. Wait hold on, where is the Namaste on the banner? We got kind of confused, but realized it’s printed on the very side of it vertically… So weird…

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Surprisingly, the inside was really nice compared to the outside. It actually looked pretty fancy. They had their lunch buffet advertised at $10.95 outside, so we asked if we could take a look at what the buffet offered. It’s literally just that tiny section at the back corner of the restaurant and there is a salad bar, which to be honest, looked pretty gross. And then there was the meat, veggies, and curry area. Not a lot of offering, but what do you expect when it’s $10.95 and all you can eat. We also asked to look at their regular menu, and we saw that most entrees were probably more expensive than the buffet, so we ended up going for the buffet. What was funnier, was that we asked the man, who basically operates the whole restaurant, how much the buffet was, and he said it was $9.95! Okay, now that’s definitely a deal.

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There’s Basmati Rice, and Kofta Curry, which I tried a bit of. It was just decent, and wasn’t one of my favourites. Let’s just say it was “alright”.

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I also tried some of their Mixed Vegetables, which were just vegetables, like beans, potatoes, and cauliflower mixed in a seasoning. It was decent, but I felt like their warmer wasn’t heating the food hot enough. They were just warm, and definitely not that great. The Tandoori Chicken were also one of the more popular options. Definitely not the best, but it also wasn’t terrible. It could’ve been more well-seasoned though.

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They also had something called Dal Turka, but I wasn’t too sure what it was, and didn’t really want to try it. It looked like no one had touched it! On the left were some Vegetable Pakoras. They were pretty cold, so they weren’t that great. A lot of batter as well.

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And then there was what we came here for! Our Butter Chicken. It was alright, and definitely one of the repeat items for us, since there were limited items that were actually decent. There was tons of chicken, but we didn’t find it extremely moist. The sauce was on the creamier tomato side and I found it quite salty. I guess it worked well with the rice and Naan though.

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The warmers also had some Naan, but it was cold and quickly gone. So the man occasionally came by and brought us some fresh naan. I found it really oily and it wasn’t flaky at all. Quite disappointing.

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And here’s a picture of our first plates. Not a lot of food, since we wanted to try a bit of everything first to get a sense of what’s good and what’s bad (the key to eating at buffets!). I guess Namaste is alright for what you pay for. I mean, you can probably get really full if you keep going for the butter chicken, tandoori and some rice. And all for the price of $9.95 (since apparently it’s a dollar off now…). But then again, I’m not sure how fresh your food is, since the whole time we were there, there was only one other couple eating with us. So imagine your food being in those warmers for the whole lunch hours. I wonder if their regular menu would be better though.

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