Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant

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Kimchi Hot Pot

Morak Koeran Fusion Restaurant has been a spot I’ve wanted to try for quite a while. Finally, we were at Metrotown and looking for lunch nearby so I suggested we go try since it’s only a short walk from the mall. The restaurant is quite small and run by mainly two ladies in the front so service can be a bit slow.

It was a cold and gloomy day so a hot soup was all I wanted. I decided to go for the Kimchi Hot Pot and this was served with a bowl of rice. The soup was piping hot and filled with kimchi, pork and tofu. I really enjoyed this as the soup was extremely flavourful with spice and pickled flavours. This was the individual size but you can choose a larger pot if you have two people sharing.

 

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Gganpoong Chicken

Of course S went for the Gganpoong Chicken and it was surprisingly delicious! At first, I thought the portion was pretty small given it was almost $30, but the chicken was juicy and moist and crispy on the outside. The boneless chicken are cut into smaller pieces and fried with garlic oil and then covered with a sweet and sour sauce. The garlic flavour really came through and this was quite a different flavour from the fried chicken I’ve had at other Korean restaurants. You’ll have a bit of garlic breath after, but I loved it!

 

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We were also given banchan or side dishes to start. These consisted of bean sprouts, sweet potato, and pickled radish. I was surprised there wasn’t kimchi, but to be honest the side dishes didn’t really impress me. I thought the flavours were extremely mild and there was barely any flavour to it. For example, I usually love Korean sweet potatoes but these tasted just like cooked potatoes without any syrup or soy.

The rest of the food we ordered were delicious though and I would love to come back to try the other dishes. Prices are a bit higher than other Korean spots, but the food tastes great.

Pros:
– Flavourful and well executed main dishes

Cons:
– Prices slightly on the higher end
– Seating can be a bit cramped and service a bit slow

Price Range: $15-30 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: Free or meter parking at nearby streets Overall: 4

 

Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Kizami Japanese Cuisine

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Salmon Oshi

Kizami opened up earlier last year in a tiny strip mall on Leslie Road. Parking can be quite difficult here during peak hours and I would recommend making reservations as the restaurant itself is quite small. The restaurant seems to be Chinese run but the quality of the fish is quite fresh. This comes at a premium price though and they seem to enjoy upselling whenever possible.

To start, we tried the Salmon Oshi. I thought the rice was a bit too dense and although a lot of salmon was provided, it didn’t really have that melt in your mouth texture like Miku’s. For $13, I much rather go to Yui’s which is the closest I’ve had to Miku’s salmon oshi.

 

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Sakura Roll

They don’t really offer any classic traditional rolls, but rather all creative rolls. We tried their Sakura Roll which features spicy tuna, cucumber, and topped with chopped scallop and tobiko. Not bad, but for $13, this is a bit pricey given I could get something similar for around $8 at most sushi joints.

 

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Dungeness Roll

Another roll we tried was the Dungeness Roll which features real crab, salmon, asparagus, avocado, and topped with tobiko. The roll was well constructed but again quite pricey at $13. This is a pretty common roll you can find elsewhere, but I guess they use real crab so it increases the prices.

 

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Yakitori

Kizami has a large robata menu which I quite enjoyed. The Yakitori was glazed with a sweet soy sauce. Each order comes with 2 skewers, so these came to around $2.50 each which is comparable to the ones at Zakusshi. I just wished they had more of a char flavour.

 

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Enoki Beef

The Enoki Beef was one of my favourite. The enoki was wrapped with tender beef and was full of flavour and juicy. Each skewer came with 3 beef wraps. Each skewer was around $3.50.

 

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Chicken Wings

The Chicken Wings were quite tasty as well but interesting how they stressed them out. It made them much easier to eat as the bones easily fell off. Skin was grilled to crispy. Each skewer had two wings and came to $3 per skewer.

 

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Beef Tongue

Last but not least, the Beef Tongue was thinly sliced and lightly salted and flavoured with a sweet soy. Topped with a squeeze of lemon, these were chewy and flavourful. Keep in mind that one order comes with 4 skewers for Beef Tongue and therefore one order is $9.

 

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Sake Clam

Moving on to some appetizer dishes were the Sake Clams. The clams were sweet and plump in a milky sake broth. We were upselled to add uni (sea urchin) on our dish, but it literally was just a dollop of uni and when mixed with the broth, it just melted. I’d much rather just order uni as sashimi or with sushi as I thought this was a bit waste and pricey.

 

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Mentaiko Tofu

I think the Mentaiko Tofu was off their daily special menu and the mentaiko was topped on smooth tofu along with some creamy mayo and seaweed. Not bad but I thought the tofu itself could be a bit more seasoned.

 

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Eggplant

The marinated Eggplant was doused in lots of sweet and savoury sauce with a hint of spice and topped with lots of bonito flakes. The eggplant was cooked to soft and tender. Quite delicious!

 

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Chef’s Choice Sushi

Lastly, we ordered the Chef’s Choice Sushi which features 9 pieces for $28 which isn’t too bad given you get foie gras and wagyu beef topped with a quail egg and these along normally cost $7 each here. All of these nigiri were aburi-style so lightly torched. I’m personally not a huge fan of aburi nigiris unless they are done oshi-style as I much rather enjoy the fresh sashimi itself. If you like aburi nigiri though, then this is a pretty good choice given the quality of ingredients you get and reasonable price.

Overall, I thought Kizami offers some decent dishes if you’re not looking for traditional Japanese cuisine. However, it comes at a hefty price. I do appreciate that they have a good variety of sushi and robata items though and also a large drink menu.

Pros:
– Robata dishes are good
– Quality of ingredients are pretty good

Cons:
– Dishes are on the pricier side

Price Range: $30-$40 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in complex Overall: 3.5

 

Kizami Japanese Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy Tree House BBQ 木屋碳烤

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Shredded Potatoes

I always drive by Happy Tree House BBQ and noticed there are always so many diners here. Finally, I gave it a try and I would highly recommend making reservations in advance as the place fills up quick! I even noticed people getting delivery which I wonder if it still tastes as good!

Anyways, to start, J suggested we get the Shredded Potatoes. I was a bit hesitant what was so special about these at first, but they were addicting! the potato is shredded so has this crunchy al dente texture and is covered in a spicy chili oil. Highly recommend getting this dish as a starter if you like spicy.

 

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Squid Tentacles

Moving on, the Squid Tentacles were quite a large plate and were also smothered in a spicy sauce. The tentacles were all cooked to tender and not tough at all.

 

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Lamb Kebab (original)

The Lamb Kebabs are what they are famous for. They have original and spicy, but even the original skewers are topped with lots of Chinese spices. The spices remind me of the ones you can get at the night market but stronger. The lamb were tender and you get quite a lot of meat on each skewer. For $1.50 each, these are a great deal compared to the night market. Similar to other skewer restaurants, the minimum order for most skewers are 5 skewers, so it’s best to have a large group when dining here.

 

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Chicken Gristle, Premium Beef  Skewers

We had a variety of skewers and I lost track of taking pictures, but here are the Chicken Gristle and Premium Beef Skewers. I definitely prefer the lamb over the beef as the lamb is more moist. The Chicken Gristle were very crunchy and enjoyable. Again, these skewers are topped with a Chinese spice. They are not spicy like chili oil, but for those who don’t regularly eat spicy food, then this may be a bit spicy. I found almost all their skewers were spicy even if it did not say “spicy” on the menu so they definitely cater to those who love spice.

 

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Spicy Fish Balls Pot

I suggested we get the Spicy Fish Balls Pot as I love fish balls! Wow, the amount of fish balls you get was a bit shocking for me, especially since we only had 4 girls. The fish balls are quite tiny though, so not too filling. The fish balls are soaked in a spicy chili oil. Delicious!

 

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Hand Made Noodle in Lamb Meat Soup

To counter some of the spice, we ordered the Hand Made Noodle in Lamb Meat Soup which is a must try! The noodles were bouncy and the soup was rich and flavourful.

 

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Spicy Talipa

On another visit, we had a much larger group so in addition to ordering the usual, we also tried the Spicy Talipa. This is a huge pot with a large fish topped with lots of chilies! You can pay extra to get other toppings and we added quail eggs to ours. The dish comes with a whole fish so still has bone in the middle, so it’s actually not that much if you have a large group. Other dishes we tried during my second visit included Yam Chips which were nice to fight the heat and Saury Fish which were slightly salty and a nice snack on the side.

Overall, I enjoyed Happy Tree House BBQ but their dishes are a bit on the pricier side. Further, if you’re not a fan of spice, then this is definitely not for you as few dishes are non-spicy. I wish they had the options for non-spicy but I guess that’s not their target market. They also play really loud live Mandarin Pop concerts on their screens so it’s hard to have a conversation without screaming a bit. Nice music, but hard to have a conversation.

Pros:
– Well executed dishes for those who enjoy spice
– Large variety of choices for skewers

Cons:
– Music is too loud

Price Range: $30-$50 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in complex Overall: 3.5

 

Happy Tree House BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fayuca (Happy Hour)

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Fayuca opened up earlier last year in Yaletown and features a Northern Pacific Mexican menu. E, K and I decided to come here for a girls night out.

 

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The restaurant has a really nice patio with cute cushions and chairs. The only downside is there are no heaters or blankets outside, so only great on a sunny day.

 

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The interior is also uniquely designed and features a small bar.

 

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When we visited, we were able to check out their happy hour menu which is available Monday to Friday from 4pm-6pm (it used to be start at 3pm but has since changed). Keep in mind this menu was from the end of summer so may have changed since. Dishes are $7-$12 and are meant for sharing.

 

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There are quite a few drinks on the happy menu as well. Beers, wines, and cocktails are among the choices.

 

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Mezcal Jamaica

To start, I tried the Mezcal Jamaica which featured Sombra artisanal Mezcal with tart hibiscus “Jamaica”, cinnamon and orange. I actually didn’t end up enjoying this drink as I personally don’t enjoy cinnamon in my drinks and it was a bit too tart for me. Instead, I switched to a glass of Nate’s syrah which I enjoyed.

 

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Half-Dozen Sawmill Bay Oysters

Moving on to food, we ended up trying almost all items on the happy hour menu except for the grilled oysters. We decided on the Half-Dozen Sawmill Bay Oysters which were served with a daily aguachile. As expected, the Sawmill Bay oysters were rather small and not as sweet I’d like them to be. They were okay but nothing mind blowing. For $1.50 each, I would probably skip this next time.

 

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Sockeye Salmon Ceviche

Next was the Sockeye Salmon Ceviche which is served with a jicama aguachile. It was also served with this crispy cracker. The salmon was fresh and had just the right amount of acidity.

 

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Roasted Golden Beet Ceviche

The Roasted Golden Beet Ceviche looked almost like salmon ceviche! It was served with a carrot aguachile along with some avocados. I normally don’t like to eat beets, but this is a much try! The texture reminded me of salmon and the ceviche was served with corn tortillas.

 

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Guacamole with Crispy Sunchokes

Another dish I enjoyed was the Guacamole with Crispy Sunchokes. It was topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and Macedonian feta. The guacamole was so flavourful and the pumpkin seeds added a nice texture. Again, these were served with corn tortillas.

 

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Albacore Ceviche Tostada

Lastly, an order of the Albacore Ceviche Tostada comes with two tortillas and is topped with avocado and purple cabbage. The dish also comes with a habanero sauce but it was way too spicy for me! These tostadas were really enjoyable and flavourful.

 

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Tostadas

Almost all dishes on the happy hour menu came with a dish of Tostadas or corn tortillas. These were crunchy and lightly salted. However, because almost all our dishes came with tostadas, it got a bit salty after a while. I think we wouldn’t have minded them as much if we only had 1 or 2 dishes with the tostada.

 

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Overall, I enjoyed the happy hour menu at Fayuca but wished there was a bit more variety. I found most of the dishes were ceviches and therefore served with the same tostada to get a bit boring after a while. However, there are definitely some solid dishes during happy hour and I’d love to come back to try out their dinner menu. Happy hour ends up being not as discounted as you’d think as most dishes are around $10.

Pros:
– Solid dishes during happy hour
– Large variety of drinks to choose from on happy hour menu

Cons:
– Almost all dishes during happy hour are served with tostadas so can get a bit repetitive

Price Range: $25-$40 per person (happy hour)

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: Paid meter parking on street Overall: 3.5

 

Fayuca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Earls Ambleside Beach

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S and I both enjoy the food at Earls even though it is a chain restaurant and I especially love their happy hour menu. I feel like they have really upped their game with their dishes and the prices are also very reasonable. So when I heard they opened a new location by Ambleside Beach, I was excited to check it out. One thing very different from the locations in Richmond and Vancouver is the interior. The interior design and furniture at this location is amazing! With the navy blue couches and grey tones against marble table tops, this felt like a high class hotel restaurant.

 

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They have a decent sized bar and the dining area is also very large. I loved the colourful wall paintings in the restaurant.

 

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They also have a beautiful patio which is perfect on a sunny day. However, the view is not exactly the waterfront. It’s mostly just cars driving along the road. Still, the greenery in front is quite enjoyable.

 

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Earls Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nightingale

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Nightingale is Hawksworth’s sister restaurant and located in a beautiful building next to the MNP Tower. You could easily walk by the building without realizing its a restaurant. I wish I got some outside and interior pictures because the decor is seriously beautiful. The interior is extremely posh and we were seated in their upper level during lunch. The menu is Canadian but you’ll find pizzas, pastas, and a variety of seafood, meat, and vegetables showcasing what the Westcoast has to offer. The restaurant is family style so the dishes are meant to be shared. Of course, you can choose to enjoy an entree all to yourself.

To start, we had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken which was drizzled with a spiced maple syrup, sumac and pickles. The fried chicken was extremely crispy with the meat still moist. It didn’t feel greasy at all and the sour pickles were a nice compliment to the fried chicken.

 

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Roasted Mushroom Pizza

Of course we had to try the pizzas, so we chose the Roasted Mushroom which is vegetarian. This consisted of mushrooms, fontina cheese, confit garlic, and arugula pesto. The pizzas are thin crust crust with the edges charred with pockets. The dough is very light which was great since the cheese was quite heavy. Loved the flavours of the dish and the ingredients were abundant and well distributed.

 

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Spaghetti with Manila Clams

Finally, we tried one of their pastas and chose the Spaghetti with Manila Clams, jalapeño, scallion, and white wine. The spaghetti was cooked to al dente and the sauce was light but enough to keep the pasta moist. There were also many clams in the dish and none of them had sand in it. This is the entree portion, but you can choose to get an appetizer size as well.

Overall, I was very pleased with the food at Nightingale. I thought each dish was well executed and the pricing is quite reasonable for the portions and quality of food given the beautiful ambiance. The prices were a pleasant surprise given Hawksworth can be very pricey. I thought service was a bit intimidating though as our waitress seemed slightly cold although professional. A great place for date night or a casual lunch with a nicer ambiance.

Pros:
– Well executed dishes
– Beautiful ambiance and interior design

Cons:
– Wish our waitress was a bit more warm and friendly

Price Range: $20-40 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 5 Parking: Paid parking in the area Overall: 4

 

Nightingale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

The Holy Crab

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Seafood boils have been popping up everywhere in Metro Vancouver, and The Holy Crab is one of them. The restaurant is located on Robson and Cardero, so definitely a bit of a walk if you’re coming from the downtown core. The restaurant is Louisiana inspired and focuses on fresh seafood. To start, you’ll be given a fun bib and gloves to ensure you keep clean. You’ll also get scissors, seafood crackers, and paper towel for this seafood mess.

 

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Shrimp Roll

What I love about The Holy Crab is that there is much more other than seafood boils, and they seem to do these sides right. We got the Shrimp Roll which was seasoned with mayo and cajun powder. The shrimp was filled generously in a delicious butter toasted roll. Loved it!

 

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Crispy Fish and Chips

Another snack we got were the Crispy Fish and Chips, but really, this could be a full meal for one. And this is at the great price of only $9! I wish this was closer to work, so I could come here for lunch. I believe the fish is catfish but it’s super long! The batter was flaky and didn’t feel oily at all. Be sure to get the Cajun fries for your chips as the seasoning is so addictive!

 

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1 lb of Shrimp (half Cajun sauce and half garlic pepper)

Lastly, we had to try their seafood boil, so we chose 1 lb of Shrimp which is a decent amount to share for two if you are getting other items. There are two sauces to choose from – the original Cajun sauce or garlic pepper. With the Cajun sauce, you can also choose how spicy you’d like it. I chose mild and it really wasn’t much spice at all. The garlic pepper is not spicy at all. We were also allowed to get half half for the sauce and next time I would ask for the sauce on the side. I prefer dipping my seafood in the sauce so the sauce isn’t too overwhelming. The shrimp were pretty big and were juicy and we had no complaints. Apparently, some of their other seafood such as crab and lobsters are live so you know the seafood will be fresh.

 

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Overall, I was really pleased with the food at The Holy Crab. I find that the seafood is priced slightly higher than other restaurants, but it seems like the quality is there so it’s worth paying a little more. Also, they don’t boil the seafood in plastic bags which can be a little concerning. Lastly, service was very friendly and prompt and seating is quite comfortable.

Pros:
– Seafood tastes fresh and isn’t overly seasoned
– Side snacks are also well executed

Cons:
– Prices for seafood can be slightly higher than other seafood boils

Price Range: $20-30 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Meter parking on nearby streets Overall: 4

 

The Holy Crab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Taste of Yaletown 2018

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The Yaletown Business Improvement Association (YBIA) is proud to announce the 14th annual Taste of Yaletown (TOY), a popular community-based event that invites the public to try a variety of dishes from 25 premier restaurants throughout the neighbourhood. From October 18th to 28th, restaurants will offer innovative pairings, and special menus at set prices of $25, $35, and $45.

The list of participating restaurants for Taste of Yaletown 2018:

  • Banter Room
  • Bistro Sakana
  • Brix and Mortar
  • Cactus Club Café Yaletown
  • The Distillery Bar + Kitchen
  • Earls Yaletown
  • Fayuca
  • Flying Pig
  • The Greek by Anatoli
  • Hapa Izakaya
  • House Special
  • The Keg Steakhouse + Bar
  • La Pentola
  • Milssam Tacorea
  • The New Oxford
  • The Parlour
  • Provence Marinaside
  • Robba da Matti
  • Rodney’s Oyster House
  • Simply Thai
  • Urban Thai Bistro
  • West Oak Restaurant
  • White Lounge
  • WildTale Coastal Grill
  • Yaletown Brewing Company

Please visit https://yaletowninfo.com/taste-of-yaletown-2018/ for menu details from each restaurant and join the conversation online using the official Taste of Yaletown hashtag: #TOY2018.