Hapa Izakaya – Dine Out Vancouver 2018

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The last Dine Out Vancouver restaurant we tried was Hapa Izakaya at the Coal Harbour location. To be honest, I was never a huge fan of Hapa because I thought the dishes were just average for the price. However, a recent visit for happy hour changed my mind and N wanted to try the restaurant anyways, so I thought I would give it another try. Plus, the selling point for me was the 3 course savory dishes which was a nice change from the typical appie, main, and dessert. This menu was great for sharing and actually filled me up!

 

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Beef Tartare

To start, we had two of the Beef Tartare. The AAA beef was mixed with maple soy, yuzu ginger and crispy capers. Nori sheets were provided to wrap the beef in. This was one of my favourite dishes. The beef tasted fresh and I like the light soy sauce which accompanied it. Portions were also pretty big and perfect for sharing.

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Albacore Tomato Gelee

The second appetizer was the Albacore Tomato Gelee which was essentially sliced albacore tuna sashimi topped with a house made shiso pesto and tomato jelly. Tuna was fresh and the sauces were pretty unique.

 

 

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Confit Duck Leg

Moving onto the second course, the Confit Dug Leg was marinated with apple ginger and sake. This was paired with grilled zucchini and green beans. The duck was pretty tender but didn’t think this was anything too special.

 

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Panko Sockeye Salmon

Another dish was the Panko Sockeye Salmon which was butter sauteed and served with a karashi mustard hollaindaise sauce. I liked the panko crust, but found the salmon to be slightly on the dry side.

 

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Ankake Agedashi Tofu

I always love a good agedashi tofu and the Ankake Agedashi Tofu was served with bok choy, carrots and green onion. The skin was crispy but I think the sauce should have sat on the side as the bottom of the tofu became quite soggy.

 

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Beef Stew

The third course was the Beef Stew which we thought was pretty random at a Japanese restaurant. However, the flavours were actually rpetty good. This was tomato and onion based beef stew topped with mozzarella, cheddar and monterey cheese. The dish was served with garlic toast so you could spread the stew on top. Tasted sort of like spaghetti sauce but I actually really liked it.

 

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Salmon Sushi Cake

One of the items I was excited about was the Salmon Sushi Cake. But I think we all agreed it wasn’t what we expected. Chopped sockeye salmon was mixed with cream cheese, shiso, miso and karashi mustard and served on top of a bed of sushi rice. I think we didn’t like it was because it was so heavy with cream cheese. A Japanese mayo would have been enough. It was too heavy and covered the flavours of the salmon.

 

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Shiitake Jya-Jyamen Ramen

Last but not least was the Shiitake Jya-Jyamen Ramen. The ramen noodles were served in a soy milk, spicy miso broth and topped with mushroom rice ball. The broth was very thick and heavy. Definitely more of a sauce than broth but it was good to coat the noodles. Personally, I thought this was just average.

Overall, there were some hits and misses but the portions are great for sharing and for only $30. I enjoyed the appetizer dishes more and felt we could skip the entrees next time.

Pros:
– Fun ambiance for drinks and sharing dishes

Cons:
– Dishes were a hit or miss

Price Range: $30 per person (Dine Out Menu)

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

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Street parking or paid parkade Overall: 3

 

Hapa Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Forage – Dine Out Vancouver 2018

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Another good deal for Vancouver Dine Out Festival is Forage as their 3 course menu is only $30. The restaurant was packed and they were pretty strict on the seating’s time limit but service was still pretty good.

 

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Vietnamese Style Bison Shank Salad

To start, we tried all three appetizers which did not require additional cost. The Vietnamese Style Bison Shank Salad was served with shaved squash, braised daikon, crispy shallots, cilantro, mint and fermented chilies. The bison shank reminded me of beef jerky and the seasoning was on point.

 

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Grilled Humboldt Squid

My favourite appetizer was the Grilled Humboldt Squid which was served with radish kimchi, puffed wild rice, sweet soy, and parsley. The squid was cooked to tender and the radish kimchi actually paired very well with the seafood. I also liked the crispy puffed rice which gave some different textures to the dish.

 

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Beetroot Salad

IC tried the Beetroot Salad since she was the only one who wanted to try the vegetable dish. It was actually very colourful and the different coloured beets were served with roasted bruseels sprouts, brusselkraut, and bull kelp granola. I didn’t get a chance to try it but she said it was pretty good for an all vegetable dish.

 

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Crispy Halibut Cheeks

For mains, I had the Crispy Halibut Cheeks which were served with cauliflower “cous cous”, smoked yogurt, poached radish, and pickled mustard seed. They were like fish fritters but the cheeks had a more “chewy” type of texture so I really enjoyed it. I always love to eat the cheeks of the fish because of the texture. Really enjoyed the flavours even though the dish was lighter.

 

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Harissa Grilled Duck Leg

The boys got the Harissa Grilled Duck Leg served with white bean puree, braised greens, sweet and sour carrots and jus. The portion was slightly on the smaller side, but all the flavours accompanied the duck well.

 

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Elderflower Cheese Puff

For dessert, I had the Elderflower Cheese Puff which I’ve had at my last visit. The puff is served with gin spiked blueberries and vanilla ice cream. The top is crunchy pastry like texture similar to Beta 5’s and you can taste a bit of saltiness from the cheese and floral flavours from the elderflower. Paired with the sweet blueberries and ice cream, this is a must try dessert at Forage!

 

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Chocolate Cherry Bar

Our table also tried the Chocolate Cherry Bar which was served with hazelnut crumble, white chocolate cherry cream, and chocolate sauce. I thought this dessert was too dense as it’s more of a ganache and quite a heavy way to end the meal. Not my personal favourite.

Overall, a good option for Dine Out Vancouver but also a great spot even on a regular night. If you’re looking for west coast Canadian food with a seafood and meat selection, this is a great option. Be sure to try the seafood chowder on a regular night!

Pros:
– Great flavours and concepts
– Well executed dishes even during Dine Out

Cons:
– Portions are slightly on the smaller side for 3 courses (could probably still grab a snack after)

Price Range: $30 per person (Dine Out Menu)

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

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Street parking only Overall: 4

 

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

Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse – Dine Out Vancouver 2018

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Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse has been participating in the Dine Out Vancouver Festival for many years now. For whatever reason, the restaurant never stood out to me since it’s not really in the media and the restaurant is pretty out of the way for me. However, this year, I was looking for some restaurants that had “good deals” for the dine out festival. This one falls exactly in that category. For $25, you get a 3 course meal which includes steak and a beautiful ambiance. Honestly, there aren’t many restaurants in the $25 category and most of them feature pub food.

 

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I mean, look at this menu! $25 for this type of food? I can’t even get a 3 course meal at Cactus or other chain restaurants.

 

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Get your reservations in early because the place sells out every year! It’s odd because when we arrived, the place was not full and it was not full throughout the evening. But still, they say that they are fully booked. Perhaps because they know the kitchen can’t handle a full house, but that’s smart of them to not overbook themselves if they can’t handle it. As you can see, the interior is actually really nice. I think in the daytime, you’ll have a view of the golf course. For some reason, we were seated in an elevated area at this long table facing the rest of the restaurant. We found it a bit odd to watch the other diners eat from above, and preferred to sit across from each other since it was sort of date night. After letting the servers know, they finally moved us to the lower dining area since they had plenty of tables open anyways.

 

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Trio of Creamed Mushroom Soup

For appetizers, we both got the Trio of Creamed Mushroom Soup which was topped with black pepper, chive creme fraiche, and truffle oil. I could smell the truffle oil once the bowl came. This was creamy and smooth with bits of mushrooms still in the soup. The other appetizer was the Kale Caesar Salad, and I hadn’t chose it because it seemed super simple, but I later learned it came with battered shrimp! Wow, what a deal!

 

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Seared Sea Scallop & Prawn Risotto

For entrees, I chose the Seared Sea Scallop & Prawn Risotto, which was served with grape tomatoes, shaved grana padano, and fresh watercress. The scallops were beautifully seared and they didn’t skimp on the ingredients. It came with three scallops and three prawns! The risotto was rich and creamy although I found it to be slightly under cooked. Still, this was a great dish for the price. It was also a huge portion and I could not even finish all the rice.

 

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AAA Angus Striploin Steak

The main dish that had attracted me here was actually the AAA Angus Striploin Steak. S chose this and it came with roasted garlic yukon mash, market vegetables and a red wine jus. We asked to have the steak cooked medium rare but we found it to be slightly more on the rare side. That didn’t bother us as I rather it be more rare than over cooked. The steak itself had some tendon/fatty parts, but it was still a decent cut given the price. Nothing to complain and I loved that it had a really nice char and smoky flavour to it. Highly recommend getting this for the best deal!

 

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Warm Apple Crisp

As for desserts, the first was the Warm Apple Crisp which was my favourite. To be honest, when it was presented to us, I was a bit disappointed. Presentation was not the nicest, but the flavours worked so well together that it didn’t matter how it looked! There were oat pecan crumbles, french vanilla ice cream and a dulce de leche sauce. This was really good all mixed together!

 

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Black Forest Mousse

S chose the Black Forest Mousse which featured a cherry compote, chocolate cookie crumbs, chocolate shavings, and creme chantilly. This tasted more like a chocolate pudding and I found it too sweet for my liking. I wouldn’t say their desserts are anything too special, but the flavours work.

Overall, I highly recommend Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse during dine out. I almost want to keep this a secret so I can get my reservations again next year! Even during regular occasions, their menu is very well priced and they often have 3 course menu deals. I think it must be because the location is not the most accessible. If you have a car though, this is a must try!

Pros:
– Great deals for portion and quality
– Ambiance is great for date night

Cons:
– Desserts are quite average
– Location is out of the way

Price Range: $25 per person (Dine Out Menu)

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Plenty of free parking in their own lot Overall: 4

 

Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Trump Champagne Lounge – Dine Out Vancouver 2018

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Posting quite a few months later for this year’s Dine Out Vancouver 2018, but I might as well in case it comes handy for next year’s festival. My first dine out this year was at the Trump Champagne Lounge and I went with S and M for a girls night out. We thought the dishes on the menu sounded decent and the price tag of $30 per person wasn’t too bad for a 3 course meal. We all didn’t know that the lounge served actual food as we always thought it was just afternoon tea, snacks, and drinks. The interior of the lounge was pretty as expected, but it was also a bit odd as the lounge is not really enclosed in another area. Once you open the door to the hotel, you’ve basically stepped foot into the lounge. Can be a bit odd as you see many hotel guests with luggage trying to find the check in area. Also, because it is a lounge, the tables and couches are extremely low. My back was hurting by the end of the night. Definitely a place more for drinks and light snacks, rather than a 3 course meal which requires full use of utensils.

 

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Grilled Octopus

Anyways, onto the food. We tried both appetizers and the Grilled Octopus was my favourite. The tentacles were served with crushed fingerling potatoes, black olives, toasted pistachio, and a balsamic dressing. The octopus was not chewy at all. It was cooked perfectly to tender and had a nice char.

 

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Albacore Aburi Style

The second appetizer was the Albacore Aburi Style. The lightly seared albacore tuna was served with homemade pickled vegetables and a burrata cheese sauce. This was quite average. If you like pickled veggies, then you might enjoy this as they were definitely very sour and acidic.

 

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Slow Cooked Lamb Shank

For entrees, we got both of the non-vegetarian options. The first was the Slow Cooked Lamb Shank. The lamb shank was served with the bone in and paired with a butternut squash puree and seasonal vegetables. The lamb was moist and the meat fell off the bone. However, this was quite a heavy dish. We found it hard to finish alone as both the sauce and puree were very thick.

 

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Roasted Lingcod

The second entree was the Roasted Lingcod which sat on top of a white bean fricassee, topped with green onion and smoked pancetta. The lingcod was moist and the top was seared to a nice crisp. However, I found the dish to be quite boring and bland. I really needed to eat the fish with the white beans to get some flavour out of it. It was definitely missing something to bring out the flavours.

 

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Chocolate Banana and Passion Fruit Pudding

By now, we were actually quite full as the portions were actually very reasonable given this being a more fancy restaurant. For dessert, S got the Chocolate Banana and Passion Fruit Pudding topped with some chocolate shavings. This tasted sort of like banana pudding. Not bad but nothing too special.

 

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Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

M and I chose the Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream. For some reason, only one came out and the second came out almost 30 minutes later. I ended up just digging into M’s dessert and was too full to really eat my own in the end. Not sure what happened with the timing there. Anyways, the Apple Crumble was not too sweet, and I always like a good pairing of cold and warm for dessert, so this was great.

Overall, would I come back here for dinner? Probably not as nothing really stood out to me. Plus, the seating is way too uncomfortable for a full on meal. However, I wouldn’t mind coming back for some drinks or light snacks as the ambiance is quite nice. I think their regular menu is not cheap though so dine out is a good option if you’d like to give their food a try. Because this was probably not the most attractive spot given it’s in the Trump tower for obvious reasons, the restaurant was also not fully booked during dine out. Our friend was almost an hour late from work, and the servers didn’t mind us just sitting around and we probably ended up sitting there for almost 3 hours with no issues. Definitely would’ve been kicked out at another restaurant during dine out season!

Pros:
– Ambiance is nice for drinks and snacks

Cons:
– Seating is really uncomfortable with low tables
– Nothing stood out for food

Price Range: $30 per person (Dine Out Menu)

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

Food: 3 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: Street/Parkade Overall: 3

 

Trump Champagne Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bufala – Dine Out Vancouver 2016

For my last Dine Out Vancouver Festival of 2016, I checked out Bufala in Kerrisdale with MH and MW. They offered a lunch menu for $20 for two courses or $25 for three courses. Since the lunch price is cheaper than dinner for the same menu items, it was a better deal to visit at lunch.

They didn’t take reservations for Dine Out, but the restaurant wasn’t super busy on a Saturday, so we got a seat right away.

We were able to order off their regular menu during the festival as well. However, their dine out menu pizzas ranged from $14-17 anyways, so the dine out menu was a pretty good deal. We ended up being able to try all their dine out menu items since we had three people.

They don’t use a wood oven here, but they still make the pizzas fresh. Love the fun and bright decor in here.

Beef Carpaccio

The first appetizer was the Beef Carpaccio which were topped with fennel and salted kohlrabi, a type of turnip cabbage. It was also drizzled with an anchovy and black olive aioli. I found it slightly on the saltier side and the beef stuck together a lot for some reason. It was alright.

Meatballs

Their famous Meatballs were my favourite appetizer. It came with ricotta cheese, basil leaves, and some bread to soak up the tasty homemade tomato sauce. These were large meatballs but very moist! The sauce was also very flavourful with the right amount of acidity.

Kale Caesar Salad

The Kale Caesar Salad was also very delicious with the green and purple kale seasoned with anchovy and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano. It was also topped with a couple of slices of crispy bacon and a salt-cured egg yolk. The kale was fresh and crispy and I loved the use of the egg yolk.

Before our pizzas arrived, the server brought us three oils to use along with our pizza. This included the herb, parm, and chili oil. We were told to drizzle some on our plate and dip our pizza into it rather than drizzling straight onto our pizza. However, we found that the oils were not very strong in flavour. The herb oil was the only one that we could really taste the rosemary. I ended up eating the pizza on its own since it was already very flavourful.

Margherita Pizza

The first pizza we had was the classic Margherita Pizza. A beautiful marinara sauce topped with basil and fior di latte. Fior di latte is made of cow’s milk rather than water buffalo which is more costly. However, the mozzarella was still extremely stringy and I enjoyed the cheese very much.

Pesto & Ricotta Pizza Basil Pesto

Next up was the Pesto & Ricotta Pizza Basil Pesto of which we added an additional $5 to add prosciutto. In addition, the pizza was topped with fresh ricotta, pine nuts, Grana Padano cheese, and pesto. Loved the flavours of this pizza and I think the salty prosciutto really added flavour to it.

Finocchiona

The last pizza was the Finocchiona. This had a marinara sauce with fennel sausage, Castelvetrano olives, carmelized onions, provolone cheese and basil leaves. This is perfect for those who are meat lovers.

Classic Affogato

The Classic Affogato featured a vanilla bean gelato soaked in a single origin espresso. You can never go wrong with an affogato for dessert!

Salted Caramel Budino

I tried the Salted Caramel Budino which came in a jar. This was topped with a vanilla bean Mascarpone cream and Maldon sea salt. The budino was smooth and not overly sweet.

Overall, we were quite pleased with Bufala. The pizzas are thin crusted, fluffy, and crispy. Large portions and their meatballs and kale salad are delicious! Service was pretty friendly with our server extremely proud of the dishes.

Pros:
– Great pizza dough and flavours
– Meatballs and Caesar Kale Salad are flavourful

Cons:
– Some of their gourmet pizzas are a bit pricey on the regular menu

Price Range: $25/person for DOVF lunch menu

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

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

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

Supermarine – Dine Out Vancouver 2016

My second Dine Out Vancouver Festival restaurant was at Supermarine, a relatively new restaurant tucked away in Kitsilano in an area I was not even aware of. Located on Yew St and W 1st Ave, the restaurant is quite the hidden gem.

The interior is very small, fitting around 35 diners, with a rustic charm.

Their Dine Out Vancouver Festival menu was $30 so very reasonable, considering we were beyond full by the end of our meal.

Smoked Whitefish

For appetizers, we ended up trying all three choices on the menu. I got the Smoked Whitefish, which was presented a little funky looking with their bottles of homemade hot sauce and creme fraîche served on the plate. On the side were buttered saltines to place your smoked whitefish on. We all really enjoyed this and it reminded me of Fable’s canned tuna.

Crispy Brussels Sprout Salad

SP got the Crispy Brussels Sprout Salad with soy, honey vinaigrette and yogurt. I had a bite and the brussel sprouts were cooked to tender with nice crispy edges. I don’t usually like brussel sprouts, but these were delicious!

Littleneck Clam & Ham Hock Chowder

SK got the Littleneck Clam & Ham Hock Chowder. It comes with oyster crackers and is topped with a green garlic pistou sauce, which is similar to a pesto.

Octopus Chips

We also added on a side of Octopus Chips for around $9. Served in a jar, these were sliced octopus and fingerling potatoes battered and deep fried. A slightly spicy tomato aioli was served alongside for dipping and this made a great snack. The octopus was very tender and potatoes were nice and crispy. Too bad we found that there were way more potatoes than octopus.

Salt Spring Island Mussels

SP and SK both got the Salt Spring Island Mussels for their entree. The mussels came with chorizo, fennel and were cooked in a smoky tomato broth. The mussels were plump and fresh. No empty shells in the bowl! A generous serving alongside with a huge bowl of fries and tartar sauce. The girls could barely make a dent in the fries after finishing the mussels!

Grilled Flat Iron Steak

I sort of wanted the mussels as well, but being a foodie, I had to order something different, so I went for the Grilled Flat Iron Steak. The already sliced steak came on top of a nori potato puree with smoked fingerling potatoes and covered with watercress. The steak was cooked to a beautiful pink medium rare and was very tender. At first I thought the plate looked small, but there were actually a lot of meat and potatoes. Was definitely stuffed by the entree!

Chocolate Semifreddo

For dessert, the girls got the Chocolate Semifreddo. I stole a bite and really enjoyed it! A nice firm chocolate cake with toasted marshmallow, graham crumbs and smoked salt.

Calamansi Lime Curd

For myself, I chose something different again and went for the Calamansi Lime Curd. When I saw it, I was pretty confused at what I had, but it turned out to be a lime curd with whipped ricotta, shortbread crumb, candied citrus and topped with cilantro. The flavours worked very well together with that herb taste coming through from the cilantro. The lime curd was quite sour but when mixed with the sweet ricotta, there was a nice balance. Not bad!

Overall, we were quite impressed with the flavours of the dishes at Supermarine. Prices are also very reasonable and if you enjoy cocktails, they have a great list. Only downside was that our service started out pretty good, but at the end, apparently they had a huge 10 people reservation right after us, so they kept pushing all the diners along one side of the dining table to leave. Felt like the service lacked because of wanting to maximize capacity from Dine Out, so will need to come back on a regular day.

Pros:
– Great portions and reasonable prices
– Flavours in dishes are unique

Cons:
– Service during Dine Out wasn’t very good
– Seating was a bit tight (not sure if it’s like this during regular service)

Price Range: $30/person (DOVF menu)

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

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

Trattoria Italian Kitchen – Dine Out 2014

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For my final Dine Out, it was last minute and we decided to visit Trattoria Italian Kitchen. They don’t take reservations, so we had to wait. There were plenty of people waiting, and we waited almost an hour. Super busy, but their $18 menu for 3 courses was definitely a good deal and probably attracted the crowds. Trattoria is part of the Glowbal group, and having been to the other restaurants, I’m confident that the food can’t be too bad. There’s an open kitchen and it’s quite noisy in here with families gathering for some Italian food.

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Raspberry Italian Soda

We essentially celebrated Chinese New Years at an Italian restaurant ironically, so we started ourselves with some Italian Soda. My family aren’t drinkers, so we got these as virgins. They were surprisingly really good! A bit of fizz and there were a variety of flavours to choose from. I chose the raspberry flavour and it was a bit sweet and sour and definitely very refreshing.

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Raspberry, Cucumber, Passionfruit Italian Soda

We pretty much ordered every flavour on the menu, including peach as well. Pictured here is raspberry, cucumber, and passionfruit. My favourite was actually the cucumber flavour. It was so refreshing! The passionfruit sort of tasted more like peach, so it wasn’t a huge hit.

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Zuppa di Zucca

My mom ordered the Zuppa di Zucca. This was a roasted butternut squash soup with sage oil. It was a medium consistency and my mom enjoyed it. It also came with a prosciutto wrapped grissini, which is like a breadstick. That was a nice touch to the soup.

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Tuna Salad

The rest of us got the Tuna Salad. We were actually slightly disappointed with the salad, since the menu had said seared albacore tuna. We were expecting something like tuna tataki. Turned out, it was more like poached can tuna. I’m not a huge fan of canned tuna since it’s really flaky, so I wasn’t a huge fan. It came with arugula, cannellini beans, radish and finished off with a citrus vinaigrette.

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Pollo Marsala – pan roasted chicken breast, Marsala and mushroom sugo with fennel salad

Mom and dad got the Pollo Marsala as their main. It was a pan roasted chicken breast topped with a Marsala wine and mushroom sugo sauce. A sugo sauce is an Italian tomato based sauce. We weren’t expecting much from this dish, but it turned out to be probably the best! The chicken was so moist and juicy that my parents were raving about it the whole night. The sauce was also absolutely delicious. It wasn’t too creamy or rich, but a perfect consistency to lightly bring some flavour to the chicken. It came with a side of fennel salad that was similar to the tuna salad.

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Braised Lamb Cheek Pappardelle – bean ragout, smoked pancetta

The rest of us got the Braised Lamb Cheek Pappardelle. I found this average. I like to eat lamb, but I found that they didn’t season it enough, so you could still taste the gamey flavour of lamb. However, the lamb cheeks were absolutely soft and tender, which was a plus. I think I just didn’t really enjoy the flavour of this dish overall. Something was a little off for me.

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Tiramisu with Biscotti

Lastly, for dessert, the only choice was the Tiramisu. When the cake came, we were all underwhlemed. This was probably the nicest slice that was plated, as the rest were all lopsided and messy looking. However, when we took a bite into it, we all agreed it was delicious! It felt like a homemade traditional Italian recipe. The cake was moist and soaked in espresso and the Mascarpone cheese mixed with whip cream was just the right amount. The biscotti was also a nice addition on the side. We were all full by the end of our meal, but we still managed to stuff ourselves with the Tiramisu.

Overall, we were all very happy with Trattoria’s Dine Out menu. I wouldn’t say the choices were dishes I would normally order, but for $18, we were literally filled up and the service was great. Their regular menu also looks like a pretty affordable menu and I’m looking forward to coming back to try some of their other dishes. The only downside would be the no reservations policy.

Trattoria Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Miku – Dine Out 2014

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My third dine out was at my favourite Miku Restaurant. The last time I visited, it was back when they were still at their original location. Now, they are located right by Canada Place and features a beautiful view. Miku’s Dine Out Vancouver 2014 dinner menu was for $38, although their lunch menu was only for $28. Of course, the two menus are a little different and you get much more in the dinner menu.

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The inside was actually fairly empty when I arrived at around 6pm. The sushi bar was empty, but all the tables along the window with a view were taken up. Service was excellent. I was waiting for J and M to arrive, and was checked up multiple times. The service wasn’t pushy or anything though.

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Sake Pairing

For an additional $19, we added a sake pairing to our dinner. This was excellent and a good amount of sake to complete our meal. The sake to pair our appetizer was called Umajun. It was the lightest of them all and was my favourite. Next was the Aburi Ginjo to pair our entree. It’s an exclusive sake for their restaurants, but I didn’t like it as I found it too strong in alcohol. Lastly, was the Sparkling Nigori to pair our dessert. It was a cloudy colour and had some fizz to it. Not bad!

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Shortly after, we were presented with our appetizers which came neatly in a wooden box. Miku’s Dine Out Menu does is set and therefore you are not given a choice in each course. For the appetizer, we were given 4 different dishes.

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Tosaka Seaweed and Tofu Salad – arugula, sweet and sour soy vinaigrette

The first appetizer was the Tosaka Seaweed and Tofu Salad. At first, I thought it would be just a plain old salad, but this was so delicious! It came with arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and tofu. I think what made the salad so delicious was the sweet and sour soy vinaigrette. A great way to open up your appetite.

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Ebi Fritter – prawn, sweet chili aioli, soy balsamic reduction

Second was the Ebi Fritter. I’ve had their ebi mayo before, which I had really enjoyed, but we all agreed that the Ebi Fritter was a bit underwhelming. The prawn was huge and fresh, and it was lightly battered, but it wasn’t the star of the show. A nice aioli sauce too and also a drizzle of soy balsamic reduction. It also came with a small salad on the side.

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Baked BC Oyster – spinach, miso aioli

Third was the Baked BC Oyster, which was probably my favourite appetizer. The oyster was so fatty and fresh. It wasn’t like those terrible baked oysters with too much sauce on top. It was a light miso aioli.

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Tamari Glazed Short Rib – sterling silver AAA, yukon potato puree

The last appetizer was the Tamari Glazed Short Rib. This was a sterling silver AAA short rib, and the meat would just flake off. It came with a bit of wasabi on top to give it a Japanese flare. Under the short rib was a potato puree, which was very creamy and smooth.

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Miku Signature Sushi – selection of Aburi, Nigiri, Roll and Oshi Sushi

The entree was the Miku Signature Sushi. This was what I was looking forward to the most. Miku is known for their aburi and oshi sushi. They are extremely creative in their rolls too. None of their sushi require soy sauce since they already come prepared with a sauce. Starting from the left to right, we have the Tuna Nigiri. This was very smooth. Next was the Ebi Nigiri, which came with a pesto sauce. This was just alright. Next was a Hamachi Roll with a wasabi dressing. I believe the one after was called the Red Wave Roll. It had crab and avocado and was wrapped in red tuna. The last two were my favourite since they were the oshi sushi, which means they are pressed sushi. First was the Saba Oshi Sushi, which is house cured mackarel and came with a miso sauce. The last on the right was the Salmon Oshi Sushi, which was pressed BC wild sockeye salmon, topped with jalapeno and Miku sauce. This is always my favourite at Miku. The aburi style creates a smooth, fatty texture in your mouth when you have the fish in your mouth.Extremely fresh fish as usual!

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Lemon and Chardonnay Cream – raspberry sorbet, lemon coconut cookie

Lastly, we had the Lemon and Chardonnay Cream for dessert. The presentation was beautiful on a black charcoal-like plate to keep it cool. A lemon coconut cookie sat beneath the raspberry sorbet. On the side was a bit of mango puree and sauce. There was also something similar to a blackberry cheesecake on the side. Not bad, but not their best dessert. I still enjoy their Green Tea Opera much more.

All in all, a good deal for $38 if you want to try a selection of their appetizers and signature sushi. Miku is quite pricey regularly, so this is actually a decent priced menu. You will actually feel filled up just right after dinner. Not overly full, but just right.

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