Coquille Fine Seafood

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Coquille Fine Seafood is the newest sister restaurant of L’abbatoir. The restaurant is located in Gastown where Secret Location used to be and opened up earlier this year.

 

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The decor is upscale and modern. Love the coral coloured couches!

 

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I came here with S and M to check out their happy hour menu which is available every day from 3pm to 6pm. They have a good selection of both food and drink choices.

 

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Octopus Toast

Our server recommended the Octopus Toast for us but the portion is quite small for $6. You only get one piece so we ended up getting three of them. The grilled octopus was cooked perfectly with a nice char and topped on toasted bread. I was not crazy for the flavours as there were olives on it and I’m personally not a fan of olives. I’d say this is just average and not the highlight of my meal.

 

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Crab and Shrimp Roll

The next dish we ordered was the Crab and Shrimp Roll. This was also really small for $10! It was only half a roll and there wasn’t even lobster in it. Only crab and shrimp although the filling was delicious with a well seasoned sauce. However, I would rather get the lobster rolls at Joe Fortes which are  better deal.

 

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Cod Croquettes

One of my favourite happy hour dishes were the Cod Croquettes. For $9, you get 6 big pieces, so this is great for sharing and reasonably priced. The cod is mixed with some potato filling and the outside is battered and crispy.

 

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Fritto Misto

Another dish great for sharing is the Fritto Misto. This is essentially fried mixed seafood, topped with fennel and served with a side of aioli. For $12, the portion is decent and you get a variety of fish, calamari, and sweet onion.

 

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Coquille White

For drinks, I had the Coquille White which is a great deal for only $6.

 

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Overall, I found some of the happy hour items to be slightly pricey for the portion and felt I could get something similar at another restaurant during happy hour for cheaper. I guess their regular menu is quite expensive, so these are already considered discounted. The food itself is pretty good though and great if you enjoy seafood. On a Sunday afternoon, the restaurant wasn’t very busy, so this makes a good spot to relax with no rush to leave.

Pros:
– Great seafood snacks for sharing

Cons:
– Some of the happy hour items are still pricey for the portion size

Price Range: $25-35 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4.5 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 3.5

 

Coquille Fine Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Poke Shop

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own experience.

Thanks to Naomi of Constant Cravings, a group of bloggers and I were invited to one of the newest poke shop in Vancouver. The Poke Shop is located in Gastown, but quite hidden as you must go down some stairs next to Water Street Cafe.

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Poke is great for take out but The Poke Shop also has decent amount of seating so that you can dine in.

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At the Poke Shop, you order at the counter by choosing either a large ($12.95) or super large ($15.95) bowl. You then choose your base which can be simply white rice, organic purple rice, mix greens and baby spinach, zucchini noodles or a mix of two. Most places have brown rice, but I think they may be the only poke shop with purple rice, so a great option for a healthier bowl.

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You can then pick two proteins and a large will get you two scoops, while a super large gets you three scoops. I believe if you get super large, you can choose three proteins.

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Moving on are the toppings, which are unlimited! I think that’s why the prices are slightly higher. They have a large variety including wakame seaweed salad, avocado, edamame, sesame seeds, cucumber, zucchini, mango, pineapple, pea shoots, corn, and nori to name a few. Last but not least, you can choose your sauce with options like horseradish aioli, wasabi, spicy, miso, or their signature sauce.

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This was my super large creation. I chose a mix of organic greens and white rice for my base and ahi tuna and spicy baby scallops for my protein. As for my toppings, I had some imitation crab, pineapple, wakame seaweed salad, corn, mango, masago, sesame seeds and their horseradish aioli. The bowl was pretty big and I frankly could not finish it in one seating, so a large may be enough for me. The seafood itself was fresh and marinated and the sauce was really good with a hint of spice.

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These were the other food bloggers’ poke bowls. There is seriously something for everyone. For size comparison, the bottom right is a large while the rest are super larges. Quite impressed with the poke bowls to be honest.

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Pineapple Plantation Iced Tea, 3 Berry and Lemon Soda, and Iced Matcha Green Tea with Honey (left to right)

As for drinks, they have plenty of options and pictured are the Pineapple Plantation Iced Tea, 3 Berry and Lemon Soda, and Iced Matcha Green Tea with Honey. I had the Pineapple Plantation Iced Tea which actually had bits of pineapple in it. The drink is not overly sweet which I enjoyed, but some others wanted it sweeter.

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Poke and Avocado on Toast

Lastly, the owner gave us a new dish for us to taste test which they are thinking of selling. This was Poke and Avocado on Toast and feature ahi tuna , avocados, mixed greens, and masago on the toast. The bread was toasted well and the combination was not bad, but I found it very difficult to eat as everything came falling apart. Perhaps, a sandwich might work better?

The Poke Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bauhaus

Bauhaus has been opened for over a year now and is famous for two things: the owner, Uwe Boll, a Hollywood director who some may dislike, and Michelin chef Stefan Hartmann. Bauhaus offers German fine dining, so the prices are definitely up there which is why I’ve delayed visiting for so long. Luckily, I found a Travelzoo deal (Groupon-like website) for $79 for a 2-course lunch for 4. That comes to around $20 before tax and tips per person which is a pretty good deal since their appies range from $13-14 and entrees go from $20-28 normally. And guess what, the travel zoo deal is still available! Check it out here.

Anyways, we called to make reservations ahead of time, and the deal is only available on weekdays for lunch. When we arrived, we quickly mentioned that we had the deal again just so it wouldn’t get awkward and the hostess kindly just asked me to pull up my voucher. We didn’t feel like we were treated differently at all.

The interior is modern and beautiful. We loved the white marble table tops and the business like leather chairs. The restaurant felt really upscale and polished with the high ceilings and use of mirrors.

Even the table setting was really nice. Definitely a place to impress your date.

We started off lunch with complimentary bread which came with a ricotta pesto spread and sea salt butter. Loved how they elevated the normal butter with the sea salt.

Nelson the Seagull Sourdough Bread

We were told the sourdough bread is from Nelson the Seagull, which is also in Gastown, so you know the bread is fresh.

Summer Greens
Although the Travelzoo had shown a sample menu, we were actually allowed to choose any item off their regular menu. This consisted of one appetizer and one entree. Since we had four people, we ended up trying every appetizer. I started off with the Summer Greens which normally comes with burrata and tomatoes. However, they told me that they did not have burrata today, so it was substituted with a crumbly ricotta cheese. Not bad, but I didn’t think this was anything special. I definitely wouldn’t pay $13 for this normally.

Smoked Cauliflower Soup

MH got the Smoked Cauliflower Soup. It was pretty funny since when the server presented his bowl, there were only tiny pieces of cauliflower on the bowl. So we thought that was it. Luckily, he also had a pot handy which contained the actual soup, of which he poured in front of us.

This was really creamy and flavourful!

Smoked Mackerel
S got the Smoked Mackerel with green apple, horseradish and pumpernickel foam. Although the dish was small, it was absolutely tasty with the fish being moist and the right amount of saltiness.

Backhendl
MW got the Blackhendl, which I had no idea what it was. Turns out it’s fried chicken! The chicken was tender and moist with the batter being crispy.

Halibut
Onto the entrees! S got the Halibut which came with squash, risotto and zucchini. Although small in portion, the halibut was very moist and the risotto was flavourful and cooked to perfection! S complained that it was too small in portion (probably because both the items he ordered were the smallest!) but I really enjoyed the flavours and execution of this dish.

Braised Veal
MW got the Braised Veal which came with fried onion purée, sauteéd salad hearts and fava beans. Although veal can be tough sometimes, this one retained the moisture and was not chewy at all. A great dish!

Beef Roulade
MH got the Beef Roulade which was much tougher. The red wine sauce was a great match and this came with chanterelles, a type of funghi. This dish was just average since the meat was not as tender.

Wiener Schnitzel
Last but not least, I had the Wiener Schnitzel which was a big as my face! All the guys were jealous of the portion but to be honest, the veal is quite thin, so it’s not that much. The batter was thin and crispy with the veal remaining moist. I loved the cranberry sauce on the side and the potato cucumber salad underneath. A perfect pair and reminded me of the days when I traveled in Germany.
Overall, we all enjoyed the food at Bauhaus and it did not disappoint. I felt that the portions were actually decent because we weren’t starving after, which can be the case with fine dining often! Still, the price can be a bit hefty for a regular dinner/lunch, so leave it for a special occasion or grab the Travelzoo deal!

Pros:
– Well executed German fine dining dishes
– Beautiful ambiance

Cons:
– Can be quite pricey without deals
– Some dishes are smaller in portion

Price Range: $20 (based on Travelzoo voucher)

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

Food: 4 Service:4 Ambiance: 5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Bauhaus Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sof Peaks: Ice Milk Bars Media Tasting

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Note: All items were complimentary.

The last time I was at Soft Peaks was when they first opened. Fast forward a year later, they have revamped their menu and earlier this month, they launched their new Ice Milk Bars. Thanks to Jacqueline, a few other food bloggers and I were invited to get a taste of their new menu.

There aren’t too many seats on the first floor, but upstairs has more seating. Plus, on a sunny day, Soft Peaks is perfect to indulge in while exploring Gastown.

The soft serves are still on the menu with many additions since they first opened. They now have milkshakes as well. Our event was focused on the Ice Milk Bars which are $4 without any toppings or syrups. PS. Ice Milk Sandwiches are supposed to be launching in June!!

The new Milk Ice Bars currently feature four flavours: mango, milk & honey, and matcha.

Milk and Honey Ice Milk Bar, Matcha Ice Milk Bar

The Milk and Honey flavour is quite like their original honey soft serve. I liked the subtle sweetness along with the creamy milkiness. The Matcha flavour was your typical strong tea flavour, so I didn’t find that flavour too special. Their ice milk bars are made with organic Avalon milk and have no preservatives added, and therefore they melt quicker than off-the-shelf bars. A good excuse to eat them quickly!

Mango Ice Milk Bar, Blueberry Ice Milk Bar

My favourites were actually their fruit flavoured bars. Both the Mango and Blueberry were not overly sweet. Again, no preservatives, so you can really taste the natural ingredients!

Mango Mango Milk Ice Bar

Other than the original flavours, you can also add various toppings and syrups to customize your bars. You can also ask the servers to replicate a similar topping to their soft serves. For example, the Mango Mango Milk Ice Bar comes loaded with mango cubes and drizzled with honey. You’ll need a spoon to eat this though.

We ended up trying a wide variety of their toppings and syrups. The toppings really make the bars much more fancy looking, but I think I prefer the bars on their own so you can really taste the original flavour itself. Plus, you need two hands to eat these when they have toppings! Nevertheless, one of my favouties was the yuzu marmalade (in the center) as I’m a sucker for anything yuzu and I liked how the sweetness of the marmalade paired really well with the milky flavour.

North Pole Breakfast

Although we were here for the launch of the ice milk bars, we couldn’t leave without trying some of their soft serves. Perfect since I had only tried two flavours back when they opened. First up was the North Pole Breakfast, which featured cereal flakes and a caramel syrup. Simple so you can still taste the original milk flavour, but the cereal gives it some texture.

Blue Mountain, Honeycomb Peak

Onto the Blue Mountain on the left which was loaded with blueberries and a homemade blueberry puree. I liked how the puree wasn’t overly sweet again. And on the right was their famous Honeycomb Peak, which features a piece of local honeycomb on top and cereal flakes at the bottom.

Green Forest

The Green Forest on the right features organic premium matcha powder, sweet red beans and condensed milk. This was definitely an improvement from when they first opened. I remember complaining how the toppings and syrups were not distributed throughout the cup so you only got the flavours at the top. They have clearly taken that into consideration and you get a bite of everything throughout now.

Rocky Mountain

Lastly, we tried the Rocky Mountain which features toasted coconut and your choice of syrup, which in this case we got the chocolate sauce. Again, the toasted coconut gives a light crunch for some texture.

Soft Peaks has stepped it up with an alternative to their soft serve ice cream. Same quality ingredients, but a different form and way of eating. Overall, I quite enjoyed the bars, but would prefer them on their own. I would prefer getting the toppings on the soft serve ice cream instead. Soft Peak ice cream isn’t cheap, but great when you want to give yourself a treat! Looking forward to the launch of their ice cream sandwiches!

Soft Peaks Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Belgard Kitchen

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Belgard Kitchen has been on my list for a long time and thanks to K’s gift card, I finally got to go try it! Belgard is located in a very random area east of Gastown, and past Ask For Luigi near the Railtown area. It’s mostly industrial area there, but those who know about Belgard Kitchen will make their way here.

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The building is actually called the Settlement Building and houses Belgard Kitchen, Postmark Brewing, and the Vancouver Urban Winery. High ceilings and super cool area for the Postmark Brewing. You can also purchase beer in bottles here.

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The interior is rustic and hip.

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Be ready to wait for a seat though… We arrived on a Saturday at around 2 pm and wanted to make it before brunch ended at 3pm. Even though it was really late already, the place was packed and we still had to wait for around 15 minutes. We were still able to get the brunch menu though! A very late brunch for us!

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They change up what’s on tap and they usually have food features.

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Tasting Paddle

I started brunch off with a Tasting Paddle. You can choose the beers you want or have the waitress choose for you. I told her to choose some lighter beers for me. If I remember correctly, from left to right is the Lager, Pilsner, Strawberry Blonde, and West Coast Pale Ale. My favourite was the Strawberry Blonde since it had a hint of fruitiness to it. The West Coast Pale Ale was too bitter for my liking. For $8, this is a great way to try different beers.

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Raspberry Lemon Zest Hefe

S got the beer on tap which was the Raspberry Lemon Zest Hefe. I actually really enjoyed this one since it was light and fruity.

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Steak and Eggs

For food, S got the Steak and Eggs, which featured Argentinian spice rubbed flank, chimichurri, and poached eggs. It normally comes with Parmesan cream, but he asked for it without. I thought the portion looked a bit small, but it’s still quite acceptable.

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S said the steak itself was a bit chewy though and wished that there was a bit more seasoning to it.

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Brunch Spuds and side of Grilled Sausage

The Steak and Eggs also come a side of Brunch Spuds. These are basically roasted potatoes. Not bad, but could be more seasoned. We also added an additional side of Grilled Sausages to share. These came in a glass jar and the sausages are cut in half. It basically equals one sausage but is quite pricey for $5. Flavourwise, we thought it was just average. I personally thought it was rather dry.

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Belgard Meatball Brunch Skillet

For myself, I got the Belgard Meatball Brunch Skillet, which features fresh mozza, San Marzano tomato sauce, poached eggs, smoky onion and Parmesan cream, and a side of brunch spuds. I loved the meatballs! The Parmesan cream sauce mixed with the tomato sauce was delicious. At first, I thought four meatballs and 2 poached eggs would not be enough, but the heavy cream made the dish very filling. I loved how the poached eggs were cooked just until the yolks spilled out.

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Overall, I was quite pleased with the food and drinks at Belgard Kitchen for brunch. Definitely the place to go if you want drinks. Prices can be a bit pricey and there is often a wait. Cool hip ambiance though and service was decent.

Pros:
– Large variety of beers and wine
– Decent eats

Cons:
– Some items can be a bit pricey
– Usually a wait to get a seat

Price Range: $20-30

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

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

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Nuba (Gastown)

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A trip to Bao Down ended up being a trip to Nuba. Since it was rather busy at Bao Down, N and I decided try Nuba. It’s been on my list of restaurants to try for some time now, but for one reason or another, I never made it here. Nuba offers Lebanese food, which I’m not very familiar with, so I was excited for this lunch.

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The interior is pretty nice and hip. Their lunch plates are around $10-15, but will fill you up quite well. Dinner is a bit more pricey, so lunch is a good option to give it a try. The plates are beautifully presented and colourful!

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Chicken Tawook Plate

I had the Chicken Tawook Plate, which featured grilled Mount Lehman chicken breast marinated in paprika, thyme, lemon, garlic confit and drizzled with tahini. All the lunch plates are also served with hummus, salad, pickled cabbage, olives, pita and your choice of organic brown rice or roasted potatoes. I had asked for roasted potatoes, but for some reason my plate came with half brown rice and half roasted potatoes…The chicken was moist and and tender. The seasoning wasn’t overwhelming, but rather simple. The pickled cabbage was very sour but was a good way to open up your appetite. The roasted potatoes were also delicious with a nice char on them. I quite enjoyed the hummus as it was drizzled with olive oil and I also asked for hot sauce on top which is optional. It was very smooth and paired well with the pita.

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Lamb Kafta

N got the Lamb Kafta, which featured grilled grain-fed halal lamb patty, seasoned with onions, parsley, and spices. I had a piece of this and it wasn’t too gamy in flavour. Very moist again. N quite enjoyed her dish.

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Pita

This is the Pita that comes with your lunch plates. This was for the two of us and was the perfect amount for us to finish our hummus. Thinly rolled pita is rather bland by itself, but great paired with the hummus.

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Overall, we were extremely pleased with the food at Nuba. The plates look small at first especially since you don’t seem to get a lot of meat (and I love meat), but I ended up being beyond full. Great place to feel healthy and they also have many vegan friendly dishes.

Pros:
– Vegan-friendly dishes
– Great assortment of nutritious items on your plate

Cons:
– Can be a bit pricey

Price Range: $15-25

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 3.5

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Tacofino Taco Bar

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The Taco Bar at Tacofino has been open for quite a while now and it’s been on my list of must try restaurants. Finally, I visited the famous Taco Bar with A, M, and K. M and A had arrived early, but we still had to wait for over 30 minutes to get a table. This place is so busy, so be sure to arrive early and place your name on the wait list. They will send you a text message when your table is ready. Also, the Taco Bar is situated behind the Burrito Bar which is for take out. You can enter the restaurant from the front, or from the Blood Alley.

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The inside ambiance is super cool. I love the whole design of the restaurant with tiled floors and brick walls. Super hipster! Too bad it was rather dim inside, so it was difficult to take good pictures. They also have a patio outside, perfect for those sunny warm evenings.

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Pitcher of Sangria

We ended up sharing a pitcher of red Sangria, which seems to be offered during the summer season. It’s a rather small pitcher for the price, but we still managed to get 4 full glasses.

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Nachos 

M recommended the Nachos and said they were really delicious. When I saw it, I thought it looked average, but boy was this delicious! The nachos are crunchy and layered with salsa fresca, chipotle and sour cream. We also added guacomole on the side for an extra $4. The portion may look small, but it will fill you up and we shared this among four girls.

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Since we weren’t sure how much we could eat, we all started off by ordering one taco each for ourselves. In the end, this was just perfect for us. Their tacos are quite big and the filling is very generous. If you come here just for the tacos, you can probably fill up with just two. Most of their tacos are $6 to $7.

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Al Pastor

I really wanted to try all the tacos, but since I had to pick one, I chose the Al Pastor. The only reason I chose it was because it said “while quantities last” on the menu. I immediately thought this would mean it’s one of the best and they sell out quick! Well luckily, they weren’t sold out yet and this was amazing. It had roasted pork, pineapples, pickled onions and cilantro. I loved the mix of the fruity pineapple with the meat. Who knew they would go together so well! I also like how they sort of toast or grill the tortilla itself first, so it doesn’t taste as bland.

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Steak Taco

M went for her all time favourite Steak Taco, and I got to sample a bit of her steak bites. It was delicious, with a nice char and seasoning on the steak. The soft shell taco is filled with grilled skirt steak, pickled chayote and pineapples. Again, M commented that the pineapples surprisingly paired very well with the steak.

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Mushroom Quesadilla

A got the Mushroom Quesadilla, which featured two tortillas sandwiched with seasonal mushrooms, aged cheddar, and cotija. She said it was pretty good but had way too much mushrooms. I guess she likes her meat… This is more of a taco for vegetarians.

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Potato and Mushroom Taco

K got the Potato and Mushroom Taco. Unfortunately, the taco was a hard shell, which K was pretty disappointed about, since she had assumed all tacos were soft shelled. She found it to be a bit more messy to eat since the hard shell tacos usually crack at odd spots when you bite into it. It was filled with collard greens, almond herb crumb, chipotle crema, queso fresco, and of course potatoes and mushrooms. She said that there were way too many potatoes compared to mushrooms though.

Overall, I was very happy with Taco Bar. I can see why people love this place and will wait for it. If you’re in a rush, then you can visit the Burrito Bar, although they only sell burritos. It’s essentially the same fillings though. Otherwise, enjoy some amazing tacos and drinks inside the Taco Bar with a cool ambiance. Oh and if you didn’t already know, they also have their Tacofino Commissary in East Van and their food truck which is usually in downtown.

Pros:
– Nachos are the bomb!
– Tacos are filled generously and taste delicious

Cons:
– Long waits
– Service is average – our waitress wasn’t very friendly

Price Range: $15-20

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

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

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Save On Meats

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Save On Meats has been on my list of “to try” restaurants ever since it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. So when K suggested we give it a try, I was excited to see what it’s all about. What’s cool is that the building was actually built in 1891, so it has over 100 years of history! You cannot miss this building driving down Hastings because you’ll see the neon pig sign. Save On Meats also has a butcher shop next to the diner, so you can conveniently head over there for some fresh and local meats.

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You can see that the interior has that retro old diner feel to it, but the seats and tables were well kept and clean. Funny paintings and signs decorate the walls of the diner.

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Coffee SOM Milkshake

SOM is famous for their milkshakes, so I decided to share the Coffee SOM Milkshake with K. It’s quite the large one and it’s great since they give you all the leftovers from making it in a metal cup. You end up getting 1 and a half cups of the shake for under $5. The milkshake is thick spun and I loved the light coffee flavour we chose. It reminded me of an iced cappuccino! There are also various other flavours you can choose from.

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Real Nova Scotian Seafood Chowder, Caesar Salad

We were supposed to be here for brunch, but it ended up more like lunch as usual… Well lucky us, since they feature breakfast and brunch items until 4pm on weekends. Both of us didn’t end up going for their breakfast menu though. Instead, K went for a simple soup and salad. She had the Real Nova Scotian Seafood Chowder, which came with a cheese scone on the side. She said the chowder was not as thick as she had expected, but filled with lots of ingredients. She was thinking it would be something like canned soup, but nope, it seemed to be homemade. She also got a side of Caesar Salad which was lightly dressed and topped with croutons and Parmesan.

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Shepherd’s Pie

For myself, I was feeling like it was a pie day. I chose the Shepherd’s Pie, which showed up on a skillet with a side of green salad. I was slightly disappointed at first because I was expecting a pie, but this was rather deconstructed. Nevertheless, it actually tasted pretty good. There was a mixture of ground beef and vegetable stew and it was topped with a cheesy mashed potato crumble. It was very simple and probably something very easy to reconstruct at home but tasty.

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Overall, I was quite pleased with Save On Meats. You will find simple diner food here – nothing extravagant or fancy. I wouldn’t say it blew my mind, but I don’t think I was expecting much anyways. Prices are kept low and probably the most expensive item is roughly $12. Plus, I think what makes SOM very special and worth a visit is that they are a strong supporter of the Downtown Eastside community and partner with various organizations in giving back to those in need. They also have a token program where you can purchase a token for $2.25 and this will allow you to redeem a Breakfast Sandwich. You can either distribute this yourself or have SOM do so. A great way to help those in needs and I personally think it’s a better way than donating money. Definitely a cool place to check out!

Pros:
– Cool retro ambiance
– Cheap simple food

Cons:
– Service was a bit slow at times

Price Range: $5-15

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

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

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