Au Comptoir

The only encounter I had with French was years ago in highschool, and I’ve never learned the language well. Currently, my entire French vocabulary consists of probably less than a dozen words. Whenever I go to a French joint, which is not all that often, I always wonder if I should try speaking French to the staff or if I’m just being insulting by butchering their language. Such as the dilemma that I encountered when I visited Au Comptoir. They are a small French bistro located in Kits, on 4th Avenue. I stopped by the joint during breakfast hours, which goes from 8:00-11:00 on weekdays. I had their Breakfast Au Comptoir, which came with a variety of breakfast items.

Breakfast Au Comptoir ($14):


3.5/5
This came with egg cocotte, your choice of bacon or sausage (I had the sausage), country bread, potato rosti, and a side of salad. The salad was actually quite nicely dressed. The baked eggs were tender and had a custardy texture; it was a tad underseasoned, but nothing some salt won’t fix. The sausage was tender and juicy, although I did find it to be quite salty on its own. I actually ate it with the potato rosti, which had a great crispness on the outside and tender on the interior.

I really enjoyed my visit to Au Comptoir. The food was tasty, and although the portion wasn’t very large, it was quite rich and filling. The server I had was very attentive and professional. He spoke French, and I think I probably embarassed myself trying to say things like “merci” and “au revoir” and completely butchering the pronounciation as a result. All in all however, this is a place that I’d highly recommend checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Breakfast Au Comptoir
Au Comptoir Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe FortyOne

This is a cafe located on the corner of 41st and Oak, at the Jewish centre. They offer up a menu of Kosher breakfast and lunch items, pizzas, drinks, and bakeries. You order at the front counter, and the staff will bring the food to you once it’s ready. I had their Cheese Blintzes and a small Mocha. The food was good; I did find the mocha to be a little grainy however. The prices are very reasonable and the staff is friendly. This is a spot that I definitely recommend checking out.

Cheese Blintzes ($9.95):


3.5/5
This consists of two rolled up crepes, and are served with a side of sour cream and strawberry preserves. I thought from the name that the crepes would be filled with cheese, but instead it was this clear, thick filling that was sweet. I found the filling to be a bit on the overly sweet side, although still good; the crepes themselves were tender and chewy. I do wish that the preserves could have been raspberry or something more tart to balance the sweetness. The sour cream was a nice touch.

Small Mocha ($3.75):


3/5
This was served with two small pieces of chocolate, which were bittersweet and not waxy. The mocha had a pretty good flavour, being sweet and chocolaty with a bit of bitterness. Unfortunately, I found it to be quite grainy near the bottom.

I quite enjoyed my visit to Cafe FortyOne. The food was good; I did find the mocha to be a little grainy however. The prices are very reasonable and the staff is friendly. This is a spot that I definitely recommend checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Cheese Blintzes
Cafe FortyOne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bao Place

The Bao Place is a small shop located on Kingsway, just across from Metrotown. As the name suggests, they specialize in steamed buns, which they offer in about a dozen varieties. I finally had a chance to check the place out during a recent visit to Superstore. I had their BBQ Delight, Buttermilk, Taro, Pork Deluxe, Curry Dynamite, and Belly Belly Pork buns, as well as a sample of their Chili Oil.

BBQ Delight ($3):


4/5
This was filled with ground pork in a bbq sauce. The bun looked a bit flat in appearance, but was actually quite light and fluffy. The pork was tender and juicy, and had a nice bit of sweetness.

Buttermilk ($2.50):


3.5/5
The filling was actually more custard-like, and contained coconut. It was on the sweeter side while the coconut provided a great fragrance.

Taro ($2.50):


3.5/5
The filling was quite creamy and mildly sweet. I did find the flavour here to be a tad subtle/mild, but it was still tasty.

Pork Deluxe ($3.75):


4/5
This was filled whit ground pork, sausage, egg, water chestnuts and other ingredients. The pork was very tender, juicy, and well-seasoned. The chestnuts provided a great texture while the egg provided a nice creaminess.

Curry Dynamite ($3):


3.5/5
This was filled with beef. The meat had a nice bit of heat, although I didn’t get much fragrance of the filling.

Belly Belly Pork ($3.25):


4/5
This was filled with pieces of pork belly. The pork was very tender and juicy. I did find it to be a tad on the underseasoned side.

Chili Oil:
This provided a really nice fragrance, richness as well as heat, and was a nice sauce for the bun to be dipped in.

I’m glad to have finally stopped by The Bao Place. Their buns, although a bit flat-looking, are nevertheless still soft and fluffy; the fillings are also tasty, and I quite enjoyed their chili oil. All in all this, is a spot that I think is worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: BBQ Delight, Pork Deluxe, Belly Belly Pork
Bao Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Agora Cafe

While I keep on emphasizing on the fact that I’m quite the meat eater, but I don’t mind having some vegetarian cuisine every now and again. My most recent dallying into the world of vegetarism is at Agora Cafe. They are a spot tucked at the back of the Orchard Commons student residence on UBC. They’re open during the academic year (September to April), where they offer a small menu of sandwiches, lunch items, and baked goods, most of it appearing to be vegetarian and/or vegan. During my visit there, I had an Agora Sandwich and Granola Bar.

Agora Sandwich ($3.75):


3/5
This is filled with cheese, hummus, and greens, and comes on your choice of bread, I went with white. The bread on the sandwich was nicely toasted and crispy. I found the filling of the hummus and sandwich to be quite salty however.

Granola Bar ($1.25):


3/5
The granola bar was a bit too hard and crunchy for my taste, but did have a nice sweet flavour and was well-toasted. There was a good amount of chocolate chips, dried fruits and nuts mixed inside.

I enjoyed my visit go Agora Cafe. The food was fine, though not great; the prices are very affordable, however. This is definitely a great choice for an affordable campus meal.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Sandwich, Granola Bar
Agora Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bon Cafe

Bon Cafe is located on the corner of 33rd and Main. The place used to be, many years ago, some kind of Chinese dim sum shop. This has now been replaced a Vietnamese joint. They have a menu consisting of pho, rice dishes, vermicelli and drinks. I had their Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli and Vietnamese Coffee.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli ($12.25):


3.5/5
I really enjoyed the spring roll, which was very crispy and had a nice savoury filling. The chicken was quite tender and juicy, although I would have liked it to be a bit more charred, and it was a tad underseasoned. The pickled vegetables were quite nice, but

Vietnamese Coffee, Cold ($5):


4/5
This consisted of drip coffee in a filter that’s over a cup containing a layer of condensed milk. You wait for the coffee to slowly flow into the cup and mix it with the milk. I wanted the coffee to be cold, so it came with a glass of ice. The coffee was quite strong and had a perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness with the condensed milk.

I really enjoyed the food at Bon Cafe. The prices were a bit on the higher end, but not unreasonable. This is a spot that’s worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli, Vietnamese Coffee
Bon Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Artistry Coffee House

During my recent visit to Bangkok Cafe, I passed by Artistry Coffee House. I decided to check the joint out this week. They are a small cafe in Kits, located on 4th Avenue, near MacDonald Street. In addition to coffees, lattes, and other drinks, they have pastries, various breakfast/lunch items, and cinnamon buns from Grounds for Coffee. I had a Matcha Latte, Almond Croissant, Trail Mix Bar, and Morning Glory Muffin.

Almond Croissant ($3.95):


4/5
The croissant was quite flakey and buttery. The almond paste inside was a bit on the thin, watery side, but that didn’t matter as it was still very tasty, with a great almond flavour and sweetness.

Trail Mix Bar ($2.85):


2.5/5
The granola bar had a chewy texture and was mildly sweet in flavour. I found it a little too plain however; I could have done with a little more fruits and nuts mixed in.

12 oz Matcha Latte ($4.45):

dav
Matcha Latte

3.5/5
You have the option to have the latte with sugar or without; I had it without sugar as I wanted to taste the matcha. The latte was smooth and creamy, and a slight bitterness. I did find the matcha flavour to be a tad subtle, but still good.

Morning Glory Muffin ($2.95):


2/5
The muffin was quite tender and moist. It was quite bland however, and had a pretty overwhelming flavour of cinnamon. I also found it to be quite plain: there wasn’t much fruits or nuts mixed in.

The food at Artistry Coffee House is a bit of a hit and miss; I didn’t like their trail mix bar or muffin, but their croissant was tasty. Their latte was also quite good. All in all, while I wasn’t blown away by my visit, I think that this is still a decent alternative to the Starbucks across the street. At least they have lavender lattes.

dav
They’ve got a Starbucks across the street

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Matcha Latte, Almond Croissant
Artistry Coffee House & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Guu Otokomae

Eating out with other people has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage (in addition to having the company of your friends, of course) is that you get to order more dishes without raising any questions from the staff. The disadvantage is that I’ve got less say over which dishes to order. Such is the case when I visited Guu Otokomae with a couple of my friends over the weekend. This is one of several establishments of the Guu franchise, a popular Japanese Izakaya in Vancouver. We went there during lunch time. In addition to tapas, they offer lunch sets (I cannot remember the exact prices for them, but they’re around $10). After much debate, my friends decided share two lunchsets (“Curry Chicken” and “Grilled Mackerel”) and some tapas (Negitoro Garlic, Spicy Calamari, and Chicken Kara-Age), the latter two of which I pushed for since I do love fried food.

Negitoro Garlic ($8.90):

dav
Negitoro Garlic

N/A
This consisted of chopped tuna and avocado and is served with garlic baguette. I wasn’t able to eat the tuna since I’m allergic to avocado, but I did have a slice of the baguette, which was crispy and buttery.

Spicy Calamari ($8.90):

dav
Spicy Calamari

4/5
This was deep fried squid served in a spicy tomato sauce. The tomato sauce had a great flavour, being tangy with just a slight bit of heat. The squid was a bit soggy from the sauce, but that didn’t bother me much.

Chicken Kara-Age ($8.90):

dav
Chicken Kara-Age

3.5/5
This consisted of pieces of boneless deep-fried chicken, and is served with hot & sour onion sauce and garlic mayo. The chicken was dark meat, and was thus tender and juicy, with a great crispy coating. The meat was a bit underseasoned and bland on its own, but did taste good with the garlic mayo.

“Curry Chicken” Lunch Special (around $10):

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“Curry Chicken” Lunch Special

3.5/5
This consisted of grilled chicken with curry sauce, rice, and salad. The chicken was dark meat, and was thus quite tender and juicy, although underseasoned and bland. The curry was thick and had a nice bit of heat, but I did find it to be a bit too salty.

“Grilled Mackerel” Lunch Special (around $10):


2.5/5
This came with a side of rice and miso soup. The mackerel was tender and well-seasoned. Unfortunately, it did have a rather unpleasant, fishy scent, which turned me off.

In spite of my general reluctance to eat out with others, I had a very good time with my friends at Guu. The food, while not outstanding, is still quite good and the prices are reasonable. The service is also friendly. This is a great place to visit with a couple of buddies to share some tapas.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Spicy Calamari, Chicken Kara-age
Guu Otokomae Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bangkok City Cafe

I always prefer dark meat over white, but I have to admit, white meat does have one advantage in that it doesn’t have bones and are hence easier to eat using utensils. That was what I discovered when I visited Bangkok City Cafe recently. They are a small Thai joint located in Kits that’s, I guess, a sort of a sister restaurant to Eat Me Thai, a joint that I’ve previously visited. In addition to their regular menu, they have lunch specials that are currently priced at $11.50. I had their BBQ Chicken off of their lunch menu and a Thai Iced Tea.

B.B.Q. Chicken Lunch Special ($11.50):


3.5/5
The lunch specials came with rice, salad and two fried wontons. I was delighted to see that it was dark meat, consisting of a whole chicken leg. The meat had a curry flavour and crispy skin; it was a bit bland on its own but tasted quite good with the tangy dipping sauce. It was bone-in however and quite difficult and messy to eat; I actually had to use my hands. I really enjoyed the fried wontons, which was crispy and had a sweet filling inside. The rice was a little overcooked and mushy, but had a great coconut fragrance.

Thai Iced Tea ($3.25):


3.5/5
The tea came with a layer of condensed milk on top. It was not overly sweet and had a nice tea fragrance and flavour.

I quite enjoyed my visit to Bangkok City Cafe. Although I struggled quite a bit with their bone-in chicken, the food was quite tasty and reasonably priced. The service was friendly. All in all, this is a good spot for some more than decent Thai food.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: BBQ Chicken, Thai Iced Tea
Bangkok City Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pie R Squared

The time I’ve eaten at UBC, it was at Pie R Squared. Back then, they were located in the old SUB. The shop has now moved over to the new Nest. They serve up various pizzas by the slice or whole, pastas, calzones and various drinks. During my recent revisit, I had their combo 2, which consists of 2 slices of pizza and a pop of your choice. I had their Pulled Pork Pizza and BBQ Chicken Pizza.

Combo 2: 2 slices of pizza + 1 pop ($6.50):

Pulled Pork Pizza:


3.5/5
I have to say from the get-go, I was quite impressed by the crust on the pizza. In spite of having sitten under heat lamps, it remained quite crispy while the edges had a nice, chewy texture. The toppings were flavourful, with the pulled pork being tender with a slightly sweet and tangy flavour.

BBQ Chicken Pizza:


3/5
The crust here was also crispy, although I do find the edges to be a bit too hard and burnt in this case. The topping here was a bit on the bland side, and there was also a lack of chicken. It was still fairly tasty though.

Pie R Squared hasn’t changed much over the years. Their pizzas are fairly average; nothing outstanding but still tasty. Their prices are reasonable. There are definitely better choices available at UBC, but this isn’t bad in a pinch.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 3/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3/5
Recommendations: N/A
Pie R Squared Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Harvest Deli

During my recent visit to Tera V Burger, I noticed Harvest Deli. They are a small shop located in Kits on Broadway serving up a large menu of sandwiches, along with various sides like soup and salad. I decided to go and check the spot out this week. I had their Classic Reuben and Back from Rome to go.

dav
Classic Reuben & Back from Rome

Classic Reuben ($8.25):


4/5
This consisted of pastrami, Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese on grilled rye bread. The sandwich came with a very good amount of meat, which was tender, salty and flavourful. The sauerkraut provided a great bit of tanginess that cut through the richness of the meat and cheese. The bread was also perfectly grilled and crispy.

Back from Rome ($9.25):


3.5/5
This contained chicken breast, pesto, roma tomatoes, and boccocini on grilled ciabatta. The sandwich again has a good amount of filling. The chicken breast, while tender, was a little bland and underseasoned. The pesto had a nice, strong flavour, but was also not salty enough. The bread was again perfectly grilled and crispy.

I really enjoyed my visit to Harvest Deli. Although their chicken was a little bland, their pastrami sandwich was delicious. The prices are also very reasonable. I highly recommend checking this spot out for some good quality and affordable meals.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Classic Reuben
Harvest Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato