Helen’s Grill

I’m not picky when it comes to hashbrowns; it doesn’t matter if it’s shredded, diced, whole or cubed potatoes, just as long as it tastes good, I’m happy. For some reason however, not many places appear to be able to make tasty hashbrowns. In most places, they turn out to be bland and/or mushy. Unfortunately, Helen’s Grill ended up falling into that camp. They are an old(er) diner located on the corner of King Edward and Main. Their seating includes a row of booths with jukeboxes on each table. Their menu consists of all day breakfast, lunch items and a few dinner and desserts. I had their Montreal Eggs Benny and Gyro with Chicken and Fries.

Montreal Eggs Benny ($13.95):


3/5
This comes with a side of hashbrowns. The eggs were poached overeasy, with the yolk being orange and runny. The hollandaise was creamy, but a bit underseasoned/bland for my taste. I also found their smoked meat to be a bit on the bland side, and tasted a bit watered down. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like their hashbrowns, which was mushy and very bland.

Gyro with Chicken and Fries ($13.95):


4/5
This comes with your choice of either chicken or lamb and a side of salad or fries (I had the fries). The pita was soft, and stuffed with a generous amount of filling; there was a good amount of chicken, which was tender and well-seasoned. The fries were thankfully a lot better than the hashbrowns, and were crispy and well-seasoned.

I really didn’t care for the hashbrowns at Helen’s Grill (to be fair though, I’ve never tried making them myself, so maybe it’s exceptionally difficult) and the eggs benny was just decent; however, their gyro was quite tasty. The prices are reasonable, and the service was fairly decent. This isn’t the greatest diner that I’ve been to, but I think it’s still worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Gyro
Helen's Grill & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Argo Cafe

When I visited Argo Cafe lately, I couldn’t help but think “Argo f*** yourself”. I’m quite sure that Argo Cafe is not named after Argo the Batfleck movie however (brief digression: I actually quite liked Ben Affleck’s batman), seeing that the diner existed long before the movie came out. The latter is a small but quite popular diner/cafe located in Olympic Village, right by 2nd Avenue. The atmosphere is very casual, and they don’t have printed menu: everything is written on the board. They have a breakfast menu that’s served till 11:00, a lunch menu consisting of burgers, sandwiches, and various Western/Asian/Mexican plates, and a specials menu that rotates daily. I had their Argo Plate and Chicken Chilli Con Queso.

Argo Plate ($17.95):


4/5
This was from one of their specials menu, which rotates daily. It consists of short rib, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, and roast lamb, and is served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I found the lamb to be a bit tough and chewy; the pork was quite tender and well seasoned however, and the shortribs were tender and flavourful. The mashed potatoes were also very tasty, and were smooth, creamy and flavourful.

Chicken Chilli Con Queso ($14.95):


4/5
This consists of a thick stew-like chicken with cheese, and is served with either fries or rice. The stew was thick and very flavourful, and had a nice bit of spice. The chicken was tender and juicy (I think they used dark meat, which in my opinion is always superior to white), although I did find it to be a bit underseasoned on its own.

I quite enjoyed the food at Argo Cafe. The price was a bit higher for a diner, but still reasonable. The service was quite casual; the food comes reasonably fast and the staff were fairly friendly but generally leaves you alone. All in all, this is definitely worth checking out.

P.S. The staff asked me if I wanted soup, and I turned it down because I thought that it was going to cost extra (and I was too shy/scared to ask if that was the case). But apparently, after checking their website, the soup is complimentary with their meals. So if the staff asks you, don’t be an idiot like me and turn it down.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chicken Chilli Con Queso
Argo Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Zen on Yew

I’m certainly learning new things from eating out at restaurants. Like a couple of days ago, I’ve learned what an orangerie was. More recently, I’ve been subjected to some ancient Chinese wisdom a la Confucius.

dav

If you’re wondering where I got that quote from, it’s from Cafe Zen on Yew. They are a small diner/cafe located not far from Kits beach serving up a small menu of breakfast/brunch and lunch items. In addition to their regular menu, they do also have daily specials that are written on a board. During my visit, I had their California Club Sandwich and Chorizo Bennie.

California Club Sandwich ($14.25):


4/5
This consisted of two layers filled with grilled chicken breast, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and your choice of either avocado or bacon (I went went bacon), and is served with French fries. The bread was nicely toasted. There was a generous amount of filling, which was very flavourful and tasty. The standout for me however, were the fries, which were were hot, cripsy and well seasoned.

Chorizo Bennie ($12.49):


3.5/5
This consisted of large chunks of chorizo on toasted English muffin with poached eggs and hollandaise, and is served with hashbrowns. There was a good amount of chorizo, which is juicy, flavourful with a nice amount of spice. I asked for my eggs to be overmedium and they were more overhard, but I didn’t mind (I actually enjoy firmer yolks). The hollandaise, while thick and creamy, was a bit on the bland side for me. I also found the muffin to be a bit gummy and hard to cut through. I did quite enjoy the hashbrowns, which were crispy and well seasoned.

I really enjoyed my visit to Cafe Zen. Not only was I given some Chinese wisdom, the food was also tasty and reasonably priced. The staff I encountered was friendly and fairly attentive. This is certainly worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: California Club Sandwich
Cafe Zen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Slikity Jim’s Chat & Choux

I’ve just had the most ridiculously awful experience with Vancouver public transit in recent memory. I was traveling to Slikity Jim’s a diner located in on 7th Avenue (they also have another location on Main Street). Since it as close to Broadway, I was taking the 99. The first bus that I was on broke down at the Arbutus stop (aka one stop away from Granville, where the restaurant is). I wasn’t too worried, seeing that the 99 came every couple of minutes; I simply unboarded and got onto the next bus. The bus travels maybe two blocks before it struck a car that was parked on the side of the road. Apparently, what happened is that the driver of the car happened to open their door right into the way of the oncoming bus. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but I was seriously just about to give up on going to Slikity Jim’s. I mean what are the chances that you have a bus break down and a second bus crash into a car within two blocks of each other? But then a third 99 comes along and…I got on. Miraculously,  this one actually did manage to make it the few blocks to the Granville stop without any incident. Still slightly traumatized and very hungry, I hurried to my destination and ordered the Chez Fe and When the Chicken Lies Down on Broadway Sandwich. The latter was supposed to come with a choice of either salad, soup or potato, but unfortunately (because this is really not my lucky day) I didn’t have the opportunity to chose because just as I was ordering, the phone rang and the waitress went to answer. She didn’t get back to me, and had apparently already put in my order; when I received it, I ended up getting salad as my side (I would have actually picked soup).

Chez Fe ($13.75):


3.5/5
This consisted of braised short ribs and roasted potatoes in a gravy-like sauce, topped with two eggs and chimicuhurri, and is served with toasted focacccia. The short ribs were quite tender, although I do find it to be a bit underseasoned and one-note in flavour. The potatoes had a nice crispiness to them, even when smothered in the sauce. I quite enjoyed the eggs, which were well-seasoned. Strangely, my favourite part of the dish was probably the bread, which was like garlic bread and was great for mopping up the sauce.

When the Chicken Lies Down on Broadway Sandwich ($13.50):


4/5
This was a sandwich containing chicken breast, brie, and fig balsamic on a grilled baguette. It was supposed to come with a choice of salad, soup or potato; unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I didn’t have the opportunity to chose and ended up with rabbit food (aka salad). Again, I loved the bread here, which was buttered and nicely toasted. The chicken was quite tender and flavourul and the fig balsamic provided a great tanginess. I do wish that there could be more brie present however; I wasn’t able to get much of it in the sandwich.

In spite of the horrible experience I had getting to Slikity Jim’s, as well as the unfortunate incident where I wasn’t able to pick my side for my sandwich, I did quite enjoy the food. The prices were also fairly reasonable. Service- wise, the waitress I had was fairly friendly but a bit inattentive. All in all, while I wasn’t blown away by the place, I did still enjoy my visit and would recommend checking it out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chez Fe, When the Chicken Lies Down on Broadway Sandwich
Slickity Jim's Chat & Choux Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Templeton

Ever since having had the pulled pork pancakes from the Red Wagon Cafe, I’ve been looking for more places where I can get that version of the dish. Not too long ago, I’ve had a similar dish from Lucy’s Eastside Diner, and quite enjoyed that. After learning that The Templeton now also has Pulled Pork Pancakes on their menu, I decided to check their version out. The latter is a small casual diner located on Granville, not far from Davie. Their menu consists of classic casual comfort food. In addition to the aforementioned Pulled Pork Pancakes, I also got their Mangled Eggs and a side of French Toast.

Pulled Pork Pancakes ($13.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of pancakes layered with pulled pork. The pancakes themselves were a bit tough, but still tasty and had a nice chew. They were a bit bland on their own, but tasted nice with the pulled pork, which was very tender and juicy, and flavourful with a nice bit of sweetness that I quite enjoyed. While I do prefer the versions from Lucy’s Eastside Diner and Red Wagon, this is still a pretty good renditions.

Mangled Eggs ($10.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of a croissant that’s filled with scrambled eggs, brie, and a choice of either bacon or veggie bacon (I had the bacon), and was served with a side of rosemary potatoes. The croissant was nice and buttery, and had a great amount of filling. I really enjoyed the brie, which were rich, creamy, and flavourful. While the eggs were fluffy, I did find them to be a bit too bland, even with the bacon. The rosemary potatoes were crispy with a nice fragrance, but also a bit bland and underseasoned.

Side French Toast ($3.50):

dav
French Toast

3/5
The bread was toasted well, but not really fluffy, which is what I prefer. It was also a bit bland on its own. This was not bad, but not memorable either.

Although I was not blown away by the food at The Templeton, I still quite enjoyed my visit. Moreover, the staff was friendly (seriously thanks for not judging me for ordering so much food) and the prices and portions are fairly reasonable. This is a place that’s definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pulled Pork Pancakes, Mangled Eggs
The Templeton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Deacon’s Corner – Gastown

I love French toast, I love fried chicken, I love pulled pork. Thus, when I heard about the Big Mounties, which consists of three pieces of French toast layered with fried chicken and pulled pork, along with swiss cheese and two eggs for good measure, I just HAD to try it. The dish can be found at Deacon’s Corner, a casual diner specializing in American comfort food. They have two locations, one in Kits and one in Gastown. I’ve visited their Kits location several months ago and decided to check out their Gastown location. In addition to the Big Mounties, I also had their Souther Belly Biscuit.

Big Mounties ($15.50):


4/5
This consisted of three slices of French toast sandwiching a layer of pulled pork and a piece of fried chicken, and was topped with two eggs. I LOVED the French toast: they were soft and fluffy with a wonderful sweet fragrance of cinnamon. The fried chicken was not the greatest: even though it was reasonably juicy for white meat and well-seasoned, the breading was quite soggy. I did really enjoy their pulled pork however, which was very tender and juicy, and had a nice sweetness, which I like in my pulled pork. Personally, I’d go with their Pulled Pork Monte Cristo, which is a similar dish but missing the top layer of fried chicken.

Southern Belly Biscuit ($13.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of bacon, an egg, cheddar cheese, biscuits, and two sausage patties, all topped with gravy and slices of jalapeno peppers, and came with a side of hashbrowns. I found the biscuits themselves to be a bit too soft and soggy, without any discernable flavour; I actually preferred the ones from Jethros a bit more. The gravy was not overly thick/gummy, but was also a bit bland for my taste. The meat was tasty however: the bacon was quite crispy and the sausage patties were tender, juicy, and had a nice spicy flavour. The jalapenos also helped lend more flavour to the dish. I also really enjoyed their hashbrowns, which were shredded and very crispy on the outside and was also quite well-seasoned.

I quite enjoyed the dishes that I had at Deacon’s Corner. While neither are perfect, I absolutely loved their French toast and I quite enjoyed their pulled pork. The food is also very filling and the prices are reasonable. The staff is not the most attentive, but are quite friendly. All in all, this is a place that I’d highly recommend checking out for some tasty, hearty comfort food.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Pulled Pork Monte Cristo, French toast

Deacon's Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lucy’s Eastside Diner

I’ve never watched I Love Lucy’s. However, I can say that I love Lucy’s Eastside Diner. The latter is a casual, 24-hour joint located on Main Street, not far from Broadway that serves up a menu of casual diner breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. During my visit, I had their Pulled Pork Pancakes and Mac N Cheese with Bacon.

P.S. They also have a pretty epic and tasty-looking eating challenge (Uncle Grant).

Pulled Pork Pancakes ($10):


4/5
This came with three pancakes, a small dollop of pulled pork, a side of hashbrowns, and an egg. The pancakes were a tad flat and chewy, but still tasty, and contained some pulled pork baked in the middle. The pulled pork was quite tender and flavourful, with a nice sweetness that I really enjoyed – I did find it to have a slightly pungent spice that I didn’t particularly care for. I really enjoyed the hashbrowns, which were like small diced fries, and were very crispy on the outside while tender on the inside.

Mac N Cheese + Bacon ($9.25 + $3):


4/5
The noodles were well-coated in a rich, creamy sauce, as well as a good amount of cheese. I did find the noodles themselves to be a bit too soft. The dish on its own was also a bit on the bland side and could use more salt/seasoning. However, the addition of the bacon really helped add flavour to the dish.

The quite enjoyed the food at Lucy’s Eastside Diner. Service was casual but friendly. All in all, after my visit, I can say that I left saying “I Love Lucy”. I highly recomend checking this joint out if you are in the mood for some hearty comfort food at bargain prices.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Pulled Pork Pancakes, Mac N Cheese (get it with bacon)
Lucy's Eastside Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Scandilicious

I’ve yet to find the perfect rendition of Chicken and Waffles. I think that so far Tuc Craft came the closes, even though I did find their waffles to be a bit too flat and not as fluffy and chewy as I would have liked. With the majority of other joints, they typically fall under the category of good waffle, but bad (Yolks) to sub par (Chewies, Devil’s Elbow) chicken. And now I can add Scandilicious to that category. The latter is a cafe/bakery located near the end of Victoria Drive, just a few blocks from Hasting Street. They are probably best known for their waffles, although they do also serve burgers, sandwiches and other breakfast/lunch items, as well as a small selection of baked goods. You order at the front counter, and the staff brings you your food once it’s ready. During my visit, I had their Chicken and Waffles and Monkeys Munchies waffle.

Chicken and Waffles ($16):


3.5/5
This consisted of fried chicken that was served with a cornbread-style waffle, maple bacon, sour cream, and maple syrup. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the fried chicken: although it was tender, there wasn’t all that much meat present and it was not as crispy as I would have liked. I also found it to be a tad bland, although it was still enjoyable. I quite enjoyed the waffle, which was a bit crispier and chewier, and had a slightly savoury, spicy flavour to it.

Monkeys Munchies ($9):


4.5/5
This consisted of a Brussels waffle topped with peanut butter, cookie dough, bananas, whipped cream, peanut butter caramel sauce, and crushed peanuts. I absolutely loved this waffle: it had a perfect balance between salty from the peanut butter and sweet from the cookie dough, whipped cream, and bananas. The waffle had a great fluffiness and chew.

While the Chicken and Waffles at Scandilicious did not surpass Tuc Craft, I thoroughly enjoyed their Monkeys Munchies waffle. This is defnitely a good breakfast/lunch joint that’s worth paying a visit to.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Monkey’s Munchies
Scandilicious Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jethro’s Fine Grub

It’s always sad when I see a non-chain restaurant close down, but that just seems to be a common occurrence in Vancouver nowadays. One of the latest victims to fall is the Dunbar location of Jethro’s Fine Grub. Even though I wasn’t completely blown away by their Gold Rush Pancakes – I thought that they had too much baking soda in them – I did really like their Banana Bread French Toast (whcih was seriously just as good as it sounds). Moreover, their portion sizes were seriously huge. I’m a massive eater, and in 95% of cases I can easily put down a plate of food that other reviewers claim is large enough to stretch into two meals. I seriously could not finish a stack of their pancakes. In fact, Jethro’s currently holds the ‘honours’ of being the only place that I’ve visited thus far where I could not finish a serving of their food. RIP.

Fortunately, Jethro’s does have another location on Fraser, which is currently still operating. Not knowing how long that place is going to stay open, and wanting to make sure that I get at least another go at their huge pancakes, I paid them a visit. I got their Rooster Pancakes a side of Biscuits & Gravy, and a side of their Pulled Pork.

The Rooster ($14):

dav
The Rooster pancakes – massive!


3.5/5
This consisted of two buttermilk pancakes that are stuffed with chocolate chips and are topped with whipped cream. Jethro’s are known for having probably the largest pancakes in Vancouver, with each pancake being about 2-3 times larger than most places. I quite liked the texture, with the pancakes being quite light and fluffy. Previously, I’ve had issues with the overpowering flavour of baking soda; this time around, it actually wasn’t nearly as bad (I could still taste it, but it wasn’t nearly as strong). I loved the chocolate chips, which were sweet and gooey – I do wish that they had more of it present. I do have to mention that the top pancake is better than the bottom one, which is much flatter (perhaps from being squished by the top one) and smaller. Of course, with all the other food that I had ordered, I was not able to make much of a dent into my pancakes and ended up taking most of the dish home in their pizza-sized boxes.

Side Biscuits & Gravy ($6):


3.5/5
This consisted of two large pieces of biscuits smothered in gravy. The gravy was a bit overly thick, but was not gummy and still quite enjoyable. The biscuits had quite a hard outer crust (you can’t cut through it; you have to pick the biscuit up and bite it), but a relatively tender interior. While neither the biscuits nor the gravy were particularly salty on its own, I did find that when eaten together it does get a bit too much (and I’m one who loves salt). It is quite filling, and a very good deal for only $6.

Side Pulled Pork ($4):

dav
Side Pulled Pork

2.5/5
The pork was quite tender and juicy. Unfortunately, it was seriously underseasoned: it was just flavourless and bland on its own. I did enjoy it with my side of biscuits however.

I really enjoyed my visit to Jethro’s. Although the food’s not exactly mindblowing, it was still very enjoyable and being the gluten I am, I love their huge portions. The service is also very good for the type of place it is: the server I had was very friendly and attentive. All in all, I’d recommend checking this place out for some affordable and reasonably tasty diner food. Just be warned, they do only take cash or debit (I know that their site appears to say they accept visa as well, but that’s not the case).

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Rooster Pancakes, Biscuits & Gravy, Banana Bread French Toast (from previous visit)
Jethro's Fine Grub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fable Diner

Fable is quite a well known and liked restaurant in Kits. I have been pretty reluctant to try it out however: usually when places are highly hyped, I end up getting disappointed. And the menu doesn’t look all that exciting to be honest. However, they apparently have another location called Fable Diner located on Broadway, near Main. The latter is a sort of upscale diner serving up a menu of traditional diner food with a more modern twist. During my visit there, I got their Baked Mac and Cheese, which I added Bacon to for an additional $5. I initially wanted their Nutella French Toast, but unfortunately some a-hole customer in front of me ordered the last slice. I ended up going with their Roasted Duck Pancake, which I added an egg to for $2.

dav
Roasted Duck Pancake and Baked Mac & Cheese

Baked Mac and Cheese + Bacon ($13 + $5):


4/5
This came topped with breadcrumbs, green onions, and goat cheese. The noodles were perfectly cooked for me, being sufficiently tender but still maintaining some chew. I loved the sauce, which was rich and thick, and coated the noodles well. The goat cheese also lent a nice saltiness. I also really liked their version of bacon, which wasn’t really bacon per se, but rather chunks of tender pork belly. I did find it to be a bit underseasoned, however. The portion was pretty small; more like a side to me than a main.

Roasted Duck Pancake + Egg ($15 + $2):


4/5
This consisted was topped with pulled duck, kimchi, onion, sesame and kewpie mayo. I loved the pancake itself, which was really soft and fluffy, and was of a fair size. The flavours of the toppings were just fantastic, and a perfect blend of savoury and sweet. I did find the portion of duck to be a bit stingy however. I added a poached egg for an addition $2, but to be honest, I’m really not sure if it really added all that much. While I certainly did enjoy the dish, I don’t think it’s better than the pancakes from Red Wagon, which is cheaper and comes at a much heartier portion.

The food at Fable was pretty good. I did find their portions to be rather small, especially for the prices that they were charging. The service was also uneven: the servers were very friendly at first, but towards the end of the meal, they seemed to forget my existence and it took me 15 minutes to finally flag one down and get the bill. All in all, while I did like the food in this place, the prices and uneven service prevents me from giving this place a full-hearted recommendation.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Roasted Duck Pancake, Baked Mac and Cheese
Fable Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato