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Now lets talk about food. We did a 2 day trip to Vancouver, BC last weekend and discovered some amazing places to eat. 48 hours, 4 restaurants, 3 bakeries, 20 hours of sleep, 3 happy tummies, now this is what I call a great vacation. We have been to Vancouver several times and each time the place continues to impress us with its ever growing list of restaurants. North of California, this place probably has the best Indian and Chinese restaurants. I wish some of these restaurants would hear our fervent pleas and open up branches across the border in Seattle. Here are some pictures and details of food we ate during our trip.
Address: 5750 Fraser St Vancouver, BC V5W 2Z5, Canada
Price:$ (average price of entrée less than USD 10)
Cuisine type: Bangladeshi, Indian
Yelp, my trusted resource for reviews had great things to say about the place. But me, not so much. We ordered vegetable soup which was served family style in a big bowl with 4 smaller bowls. It looked and tasted more like vegetable curry, the kind one would eat with rotis or rice than soup. Yumjay ordered chicken biryani (spiced basmati rice with chicken) and I ordered vegetable biryani. I expected the portions to be small going by the price. I was wrong, there was this huge plate full of rice sitting before my eyes. I saw zucchini in my biryani and I knew this was going to be far from authentic. The consistency was more like a porridge and that’s not the way a biryani should be. I wish I had pictures to share. My cell phone was out of charge and I didn’t take my camera for the trip. I ate couple of spoons of the biryani and decided to eat the veggie soup with a portion of roti to scoop it up with. Prices were very reasonable. But I’d rather pay little more for better quality food. They run specials throughout the week on biryani and other curries. I noticed some Bangla speaking guys at another table order some fish curry. Maybe that’s what they are good at. So if you are a sea food lover, try this place and let me know your comments. Parking is a huge challenge, road side parking with meters are available but on a busy evening it may be a bit of a walk.
Website: website expired and waiting for renewal at the time of this post
Address: 1391 Kingsway Vancouver, BC V5V 3E3, Canada
Telephone: +1 604 875-1283 Price: $$ (average price of entrée between USD 11 and USD 25)
Cuisine: Sri Lankan, South Indian
Next morning we wanted to try Sri Lankan food which is almost the same as south Indian cuisine, more like Kerala cuisine . We wanted to try JR’s taste of Ceylon, they didn’t have hours listed on their website and when we got there we figured they are open only for dinner. So we went to house of dosas ( indian crepes) nearby and I am so glad we did. The service was very friendly. The place was clean and kid friendly. Yumjay ordered chicken biryani ( yes, he can eat biryani for all 3 meals:) ) and I ordered veggie kothu roti.
Kothu roti is roti torn into tiny pieces mixed with spices and vegetables, very similar to kothu parota. Oh my god!! This kothu roti was huge, juicy, spicy, tangy and yummy. I couldn’t even finish half the portion. We also ordered mango lassi and masala chai and they were so good. They have dosa specials on Mondays and I noticed their paper roast dosa looked really good. If you are looking for ambience this may not be your place. As with most Vancouver restaurants, only road side parking is available.
Address: 2141 East Hastings Vancouver B.C., Canada
Telephone: +1 (604) 563-5094
Price: $ (average price less than USD 10)
We were driving on E Hastings street after lunch and spotted this huge glass window with women baking away on the other side. So naturally I had to stop and take a peek to see what was that all about. I stepped into Black Rook and felt like I was transported to Julia Child’s kitchen. It was rustic and charming. A friendly, cheerful lady at the till greeted me and a lady busily working on a pie behind in the cute kitchen gave me a coy smile. Loaves of fresh baked bread adorned the shelves and long, wooden tables and benches were filled with people sipping on their coffee, eating their pies and reading complimentary newspapers. I wanted a slice of chocolate cake, I had to wait for 10minutes though, which I happily did sipping on the complimentary organic salt spring coffee.
I ordered a slice of their black and tan cake to go and apparently it was featured on a local magazine’s ” 25 things to eat before you die” list. I am not surprised, it was the most decadent chocolate stout cake with whiskey buttercream frosting, butterscotch and chocolate ganache. The cakes are priced at $5.25 a slice. The cakes look like they came straight out of a Martha Stewart magazine and taste divine unlike some grocery stores’ sugary, waxy cakes. The bake house also serves breakfast and lunch and is famous for pies. There’s plenty of parking available in the rear which is a big bonus in rainy weather.
Address: 955 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K3, Canada
Telephone: +1 (604)-732-7700
Price: $$ (average price of entrée between USD 11 and USD 25)
Cuisine: South Indian
Every South Indian who visits vancouver will visit Saravanaa Bhavan at least once during their trip. This place is synonymous with good South Indian food. They are popular for lunch buffets and thali meals. We went there for dinner on day 2 of our trip and I ordered my mini tiffin. Whether it is Vadapalani or Vancouver, my loyalty towards mini tiffin remains the same.
Mini tiffin has 4 mini idlies( rice cakes) floating in sambar, a mini masala dosa ( Indian crepe stuffed with spicy potato dry curry), coconut chutney, more sambar on the side, rava upma ( semolina porridge ), rava kesari( a dessert made from semolina) and a cup of tea or coffee. I liked the upma and kesari but nothing special to write home about. Yumjay ordered rasa vada and ven pongal ( a rice porridge) and declared it very dry and unimpressive. While I make south Indian tiffin items regularly at home and yumjay and I both agreed that my idlies are way softer than HSB’s , I do like eating at a good south Indian restaurant once in a while. I was really disappointed with the quality of food at HSB this time. The restaurant is clean and kid friendly. Parking available in the rear with elevators to the restaurant.
Address: 6533 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5X, Canada
Telephone: +1 (604)-325-6612
Price: $ (average price less than USD 10)
If you want breakfast before 7am in Vancouver on a Sunday morning, there aren’t too many options. Well, there’s always good old starbucks or its Canadian equivalent, Tim Hortons. But not too many local bakeries and cafes or diners. Breka is one of the few that is open 24 hours and has free Wi-Fi too. This was about 7 miles from our downtown hotel but their croissant alone was enough to make our drive worthwhile.
We shared a multigrain bagel with cream cheese, a croissant, a veggie roll and couple of kifle cookies. Kifle is a crescent shaped Yugoslavian cookie made with cinnamon and butter and has a walnut filling. These cookies are to die for. They taste like a cross between a cookie and croissant and melt in your mouth. Even at 6am, they tasted so good with my chai latte. The veggie roll was stuffed with vegetables and tofu and it had the right amount of spice. It was small enough to be a mid morning snack. Breka bakery’s rye bread was voted the best in Vancouver last year. They also have other cakes and pastries. Their service is very friendly and road side parking is available.
Address: 147 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1W1, Canada
Telephone: +1 604-872-2228
Price: $$ (average price between USD 11 and USD 25)
Cuisine: South Indian, Sri Lankan
The biggest highlight of our trip was definitely the lunch at chutney villa . It is a hidden gem for south Indian food in Vancouver. A charming, friendly girl greeted us when we walked in and seated us promptly. They have puttu, kadalai curry and idiyappam on their menu. I haven’t seen such Kerala specialty food on the menus of restaurants here in the north west.
I was torn between ordering puttu/kadalai curry and their Sunday special tiffin platter which came with a dosa, couple of idlies, adai, vada, sambar, Kara kozhambu, 3 types of chutneys and a cup of masala tea. I finally ordered their special. I would rate this much higher than HSB’s mini tiffin. The price was just a tad higher than HSB, but the quality was way better. The Kara kozhambu was exceptionally good and I mentioned it to our waitress. Within minutes, chef Venkatesh originally from Kancheepuram, near Chennai, India came out to talk to us and even gave me the recipe for his kara kozhambu. Yumjay ordered pepper chicken thali which he was more than happy with. Parking was again a hassle, we found a spot 2 blocks away and walked in the rain.
Address: 7035 128 St, Surrey, BC V3W 4E1, Canada
Telephone number: +1 604-596-1308
Price: $ ( average price less than USD 10)
Cuisine: Indian sweets and chaat
Our trip to Vancouver is never complete without a visit to this place. Surrey is the Indian food capital of British Columbia especially Indian chats and Punjabi sweets and food. Please try their gulab jamun( donut hole in sugar syrup) or ras malai ( sweet cream) and then you’ll know what i am talking about.
Don’t expect friendly service, just go for their food. Their giant sized samosas are undoubtedly the best at $0.75 a pop. This place of plenty of parking space, it doesn’t have proper seating except for couple of benches.
Overall it was a fabulous trip and we can’t wait to go back again when the weather gets better to try more restaurants and spend time outdoors in beautiful British Columbia.