Trattoria Italian Kitchen – Kits

I’ve had pasta several times at different Italian restaurants. On every occasion, the waiter could come with parmesan, shave some over the dish and leave on their own. The staff I encountered at Tratorria was a bit different however. The aforementioned restaurant belongs to the Glowbal franchise and has a couple of locations in Metro Vancouver; I had the opportunity to visit their Kits location. Of course, being the cheap Asian I am, I visited on a Tuesday where they have all their pastas for just $13. Being the even cheaper Asian that I am, I ordered the most expensive pastas: Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs and Crab & Lobster Ravioli (even though I don’t really care for seafood, but it’s normally $25 so I’m saving more money). Once the dishes came out, one of the waiters came to bring me parmesan. I expected him to just shave the amount he thinks is acceptable and leave, but no, he just kept on shaving. And shaving. And shaving. My spaghetti was soon covered in a soft layer of parmesan, and I noticed the waiter glancing at me (while still shaving), and it finally dawned on me that he was waiting for me to tell him when to stop (I can be quite slow). I quickly told him to stop.

Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs ($24.95, $13 on Tuesdays):

 


3.5/5
This came with three good-sized meatballs and a dollop of truffle cream. The spaghetti itself was perfectly cooked to my personal liking, being tender while still retaining a good chew. The cream provided great richness and had a wonderful fragrance. The meatballs appear to be made from beef, and were quite tender and juicy; unfortunately, I did find them to be a tad underseasoned and bland.

Crab & Lobster Ravioli ($24.95, $13 on Tuesdays):

 


4/5
This came in a creamy tomato sauce. Again, the ravioli was cooked to my liking and contained a generous amount of filling, which was flavourful and very savoury (I’m not even a big seafood fan, and I still really enjoyed it). The sauce was also very flavourful and rich. The portion was a bit on the smaller side (the dish came with half a dozen in total); personally, I wouldn’t have paid for the full price.

I quite enjoyed the pastas at Trattorria. The prices were a bit on the higher side during regular days, but a great bargain during Tuesdays. The service was very good: the food comes out quite quickly, and the waiter I had was great (and didn’t seem to get mad at me for making him shave all that parmesan, or if he did, at least he didn’t show it). Definitely check this place out (and if you’re cheap like me, go on Tuesdays).

mde
Saved about $24 by going on Tuesday.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5 (4/5 on Tuesdays)
Service: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs, Crab & Lobster Ravioli
Trattoria Italian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Angus Bakery & Cafe

I’ve never been particularly interested in danishes (unless they’re named Mads Mikkelsen of course). They just don’t seem to be a very interesting pastry. However, during my recent visit to Angus Bakery, I was surprised to see that the shop was apparently specialized in danishes, which they sell in probably over a dozen varieties. Seeing that there isn’t really much other options, I got a Cream Cheese, Almond, and Butterfly Custard danish. I also picked up a cheese croissant for my mom.

Cream Cheese Danish ($3.25):

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Cream Cheese Danish

3.5/5
The outer layer was tender and had a more chewy, bread-like texture and was covered in a sweet glaze. The cream cheese lent a nice bit of tang; I do wish there could be a bit more of the filling however.

 

Almond Danish ($3.25):

dav
Almond Danish

3.5/5
This was covered in a sweet glaze and contained ground almonds and was topped with almond paste. Again, the danish had a bread-like texture and was mildly sweet. I really enjoyed the almond paste, which provided a nice fragrance and flavour.

Butterfly Custard Danish ($3.25):

dav
Butterfly Custard Danish

4/5
This contained custard and strawberry/raspberry jam. The pastry, which was similar to the two previous danishes, contained some sugar, which provided a nice bit of crunch. I quite enjoyed the custard and jam.

Cheese Croissant ($3.25):

dav
Cheese Croissant

N/A

I quite enjoyed the danishes at Angus Bakery; while they haven’t exactly completely changed my view of the pastry, I do have greater appreciation for them. The prices are also fairly reasonable, and the staff I met was very friendly. This is a shop that’s worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Almond Danish, Butterfly Custard Danish
Angus Bakery & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Indian Oven Restaurant

Last week I got dragged to a seminar/poster session in the biochemistry department (which is the program that I’m in). Fortunately, there was free food provided; strangely, whoever organized the refreshments opted for Indian food instead of the usual pizza. That was fine with me of course: I do love Indian food. Unfortunately, I was slow and ended up near the end of the lineup for food. By the time I reached the table, all the “chicken” in the butter chicken was gone, and the only thing left was the “butter (aka creamy tomato sauce)”. *sigh*.

Wanting to satisfy my craving for butter chicken, both the butter and the chicken, I decided to check out Indian Oven. They are an Indian restaurant located on 4th Avenue in Kits. I was actually quite surprised by the interior, which was very sleek and tidy, like that of a fancier, higher-end restaurants. In addition to having a main menu, they also offer specials that are written on a board outside. I had their Butter Chicken Special and Lamb Biryani.

hdr
Specials

Butter Chicken Special ($18):


4/5
This is from their specials menu, and comes with rice and naan. The butter chicken itself was flavourful and creamy, with a nice bit of sweetness and a fragrance of cilantro. I found the naan to be a bit on the crispy side for my liking, but stil tasty.

Lamb Biryani ($15.95):


3.5/5
This consists of rice flavoured with saffron and other spices, and cooked with vegetables and lamb. The rice was flavourful and savoury, with a really great bit of spice. There was a good amount of lamb present, which were well-seasoned. Unfortunately, I did find the lamb to be a bit dry and also having a slightly gamey flavour.

My trip to Indian Oven really satisfied my itch for the butter chicken that I missed out on last week. The prices are a bit on the higher side, but not unreasonable. The staff was quite friendly and attentive. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out for some tasty Indian food.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Butter Chicken
Indian Oven 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

The Wolf and Hound

Wolf & Hound is an Irish Pub located on Broadway, near Alma. I’ve passed by the place several times on my way to and from UBC, but being a non-drinker, I’ve never had any particular interest in visiting the pub. Not too long ago however, my supervisor organized a research conference at UBC and he was looking for pubs for the attendees to hangout post conference since scientists appear to have a great penchant for alcohol (guess that’s why I’m never going to become a successful scientist). One of my co-workers (who is French) suggested Wolf & Hound, claiming that the food there is delicious. Seeing Wolf & Hound has a stamp of approval from a snooty French person (she’s seriously one of the nicest people I know), I was now interested in checking the place out. I’ve finally had the opportunity recently. In spite of being a pub, they have quite an extensive menu filled with classic comfort/pub food. I had a 1/2 Order of their Beer Battered Cod and Chips and Homestyle Meatloaf.

Beer Battered Cod and Chips, 1/2 Order ($11):


4/5
This came served with a side of tartare sauce. The batter on the fish (which is pacific cod) is wonderfully crispy. The quality of the fish was not the greatest – I did find the texture to be a tad mushy, but not fishy. I really enjoyed the fries, which were again wonderfully crispy while having a somewhat starchy interior. The tartar sauce was wonderfully thick and tangy.

Homestyle Meatloaf ($19):


4/5
This came served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The meatloaf was tender and well-seasoned, and had a nice sweet glaze. The potatoes were well-seasoned and quite smooth and creamy. The vegetables, which consisted of zucchini and carrots, were simple and nothing to write home about, but well-cooked and not overly bland.

I really enjoyed my trip to Wolf & Hound. Even though I haven’t tried any of their drinks, their food is absolutely delicious. Service-wise, the waitress I had was relatively friendly but a bit slow; I can’t really blame her though since she was the only person present and there were several tables that she had to manage. This is definitely a place worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Beer Battered Cod and Chips, Homestyle Meatloaf
The Wolf and Hound Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bon Macaron Patisserie

I don’t really understand the current obsession with macarons. I don’t understand why people all seem to be going crazy over meringue (aka low fat, whipped egg white) cookies; they just don’t sound overly tasty to me. But curiosity ended up getting the better of me, and there happened to be a macaron shop – Bon Macaron – that’s located on Broadway, just a short trip away from UBC. I decided to check the place out recently. They are, of course, specialized in macarons and offer them in several dozen different flavours (and also classes on making them). Unable to pick from such a large selection, I ended up going for a dozen macarons, which are priced at $18.

Dozen Assorted Macarons ($18):


4/5
All the cookies were crispy on the outside and slightly soft and chewy on the interior, and just melted in my mouth. Their flavours were all very intense and distinct; even if you can’t remember which cookies are which, you can quite easily tell most of them from taste/smell alone. My favourite varieties were the Dulce de Leche, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Tiramisu, Matcha, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Nutella. A couple of them, in particular the caramels, were a bit on the sweeter side; I didn’t mind, but my mom (who also tried a couple) actually complained that they were too sweet for her taste.

I was pretty skeptical about macarons and I have to say, Bon Macaron has really changed my mind. While I wasn’t completely blown away from the treats – I do still very much prefer regular, chewy cookies – I still really enjoyed the cookies. The prices are a bit high, but considering the quality of their ingredients and flavours, I think that they are worth it. All in all, this is definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Macarons (duh!)
Bon Macaron Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Doner Kebab

I do love my meat, but I do also enjoy falafels. And for the second time in a row now I’ve actually found myself enjoying a vegetarian falafel donair over a lamb. The first time occurred at Al Basha, which had absolutely amazing falafels (and very tasty lamb too). More recently, I visited Doner Kebab (also known as Silk Road Cafe), another donair shop located on 4th Avenue in Kits. They have a basic menu consisting of donairs, platters, as well as side items. I had their Falafel and Lamb donair. Each donair comes with vegetables (lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, tabouli and pickles) as well as sauces (garlic, tzatziki, and hot sauce). I had their falafel and lamb donair.

Falafel Donair ($7.62):


4/5
I found the falafels here to be not as crispy as the ones from Al Basha, but still delicious, and was tender and moist on the interior, with a great amount of flavour and spice. I also quite enjoyed the sauces, which provided great flavour. The vegetables weren’t as fresh as some other places, but still tasty. I did find their pita wrap to be a bit flimsy and tore/got soggy easily.

Lamb Donair ($8.57):


3/5
The lamb was pretty flavourful and well-seasoned with a nice amount of spice. I did unfortunately find it to be a bit dry and overly charred, and also have a slightly odd texture/flavour: it actually reminded me of faux meat than real meat. It was still tasty though. Again, their pita wrap tore quite easily, which made eating a bit difficult.

Even though I did not really care too much for the lamb at Doner Kebab, their falafels were very tasty. Their prices are also quite reasonable. This is a donair spot that’s worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Falafel Donair
Silk Road Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beyond Bread Artisan Bakery

Not too long ago, I got dragged onto a retreat with the rest of my  lab members to Chilliwack. It was a couple of hours long drive, which is extended by the fact that they made a stop at some vineyard along the way to do some wine tasting (I didn’t partake since I hate the taste of alcohol). Fortunately, there were plenty of snacks to help pull us through, including a bag of baked goods from Beyond Bread. Of course, I couldn’t take too much food as it was meant to be shared between everyone, but I was able to try a scone and really enjoyed it, so much so that I decided to visit this bakery this week. In addition to their Cheddar & Green Onion Scone, I also got a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Pain au Chocolat, and Monkey Bread. I also picked up an Almond Croissant for my mom.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($6):


3.5/5
According to their site, this contained aged cheddar, emmental, sharp provolone on Country bread. The sandwich was a good size and had a pretty generous amount of filling, and was quite rich. I did find the cheese to be a bit too sharp and pungent for my liking – I personally would liked a bit milder cheese. The bread was nicely toasted and tender near the centre, although I did find it to be a bit too hard near the edges and hurt my mouth a bit.

Pain au Chocolat ($3.50):


3/5
The pastry was buttery, and had a nice bit of saltiness. I found the outer layer to be a bit on the chewy side, and not flaky enough for my liking. The chocolate was good quality and was not waxy. Not the best croissant I’ve had, but still tasty.

Cheddar & Green Onion Scone ($3):


4/5
The scone was rich and had a great savoury flavour and fragrance from the onions. The interior is incredibly moist and tender. It is a bit on the salty side; while I personally really enjoy the salt, it may get a bit overwhelming for some others after several bites.

Monkey Bread ($3.75):


3/5
This consisted of pieces of croissants baked together with cinnamon sugar and orange peel. The dough was pretty soft and buttery, and was mildly sweet with a nice fragrance from the cinnamon. While I liked the flavour of the orange, I find the pieces of zest they used to be too large and slightly bitter.

Almond Croissant ($4.25):

mde
Almond Croissant

N/A
I didn’t have this; my mom did. She really enjoyed it though and said that it was made with quality ingredients.

I’m really glad to have the scone again from Beyond Bread; it isn’t a treat that I normally order and after having tried it, it is something that I’m likely going to get more often. The rest of the food I tried was decent, though nothing particularly memorable. The prices are fairly reasonable. All in all, while I wasn’t exactly blown away by Beyond Bread, I did enjoy their food enough, and I do think that the place is worth a visit if you are in the area.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Cheddar & Green Onion Scone, Almond Croissant
Beyond Bread Artisan Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Al Basha – Kits

I’m a complete carnivore. I LOVE my meat. I seriously cannot imagine living without meat…until my recent trip to Al Basha. They are a donair shop with currently three locations in Vancouver (West Broadway, Kits, and Davie); unfortunately however, their Broadway location appears to be closing soon. In addition to their regular menu, which is small and consists of donair wraps and plates, they do also have specials on wraps that change every day of the week. Since it was Thursday, their Lamb Donair wrap was on special for $6.75 (regular $8.60). I got the latter, as well as a Falafel wrap.

Lamb Donair Wrap ($6.75 on Thursdays, $8.60):


4/5
The wrap contained hummus, tzatziki, hot sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a very generous amount of lamb. The lamb itself was tender and juicy, and very well-seasoned and flavourful with just the right amount of spice. It did have a slightly gamey taste that was not unpleasant, just present so that you know what the meat is. All the vegetables were very fresh and the sauces all blended perfectly to lend great flavour to the wrap.

Falafel Wrap ($7.40, $5.70 on Tuesdays):


5/5
The wrap contained the same ingredients as the lamb wrap, but just with three falafels in place of the meat. I’ve never had a falafel before, and all I can say is, I seriously need to order them more often. They were just spectacular: crunchy on the outside, soft, tender and juicy on the inside, and incredibly well-seasoned with the perfect amount of spice and heat. Again, all the vegetables were fresh and the sauces were flavourful.

I loved the food at Al Basha. While the lamb donair was delicious, the falafel wrap was just outstanding. Seriously, while I’m certainly not going to be giving up meat any time soon, if circumstances do arise and all meat is gone, these falafels just might pull me through. I highly recommend checking this place out for some quality, reasonably priced, and relatively healthy food (just hope that they don’t close any more locations).

Summary:
Food: 4.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4.5/5
Recommendations: Falafels, Lamb Donair Wrap
Al Basha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Romer’s Burger Bar

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I do try to keep an open mind when it comes to people’s food preferences. There are exceptions however, and one thing that I just CANNOT get behind are lettuce buns. Like why? Seriously, why? I consider myself to be pretty relaxed when it comes to things like “authenticity” (a term that I do not believe in when it comes to food). I’m fine with people putting their own spins are different dishes. But lettuce buns are just a ten steps too far. A burger with a lettuce bun is just not a burger to me; its an abomination. If I were running the country, I’d have the practice of using lettuce buns banned. People who order burgers with lettuce buns should be stoned…okay, maybe that’s a bit too much, but you know what I mean. And I know that you can make the argument that it isn’t any of my business and that it doesn’t really “affect” me the way other people eat, but that’s not quite true: I honestly die a little on the inside whenever I see a burger wrapped in lettuce :(.

Thus, when I went to Romer’s Burger Bar, there was no question on what bun I was going with for my burger. The latter is a popular oint with several locations around Greater Vancouver; the one I went to was their Kits location located on 4th Avenue. Although they are a ‘burger bar’ they do also serve a pretty good variety of casual pub fare and snacks. I got their Righteous Rib Burger as well as Romer’s Almost World Famous Drunken Doughnuts.

Righteous Rib Burger ($13.95):


3.5/5
In addition to a beef patty, this burger contained braised short rib, maple smoked bacon, sweet onions, gorgonzola cream, and fresh thyme. I was quite impressed by the patty itself, which was tender and juicy. The short rib was a bit uneven, being tender in some parts, but quite dry and hard in some others, particularly around the edges. I really enjoyed the gorgonzola cream, which added a great juiciness and flavour and the brioche bun (because a real burger has to have an actual bun and not lettuce) was soft and fluffy. I did find the overall flavour to be a bit one note: everything was savoury and I could have done with a bit of sweetness to balance out the flavour.

Romer’s Almost World Famous Drunken Doughnuts ($8.95):


4/5
This consisted of 10 small donuts that were dusted in powdered sugar, and were served with a trio of dips: limoncello, maple whisky, and Kahula Nutella. The donuts themselves were fresh, warm and soft, reminiscent of the mini donuts that you can get at PNE. The limoncello dip was similar to that of the curd in a lemon tart, and was quite thick with a wonderful tanginess. In all honesty, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the other two dips, although both were tasty, except that one (the darker dip, which is probably the Khula Nutella) had a stronger liquor flavour than the other.

I quite enjoyed the food that I’ve sampled at Romer’s. While I didn’t find their burgers to be mind-blowing, especially for the pretty steep price (quite frankly, I actually think Red Robins is better), I did really enjoy their doughnuts. The server I had was quite friendly, although not particularly attentive. All in all, not a bad place to check out if you’re craving a burger or some other pub fare (Proven fact: a cute innocent puppy dies every time someone orders a lettuce bun, so keep that in mind when you’re ordering your burger).

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Romer’s Almost World Famous Drunken Doughnuts

Romer's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato