Tag Archives: worth another visit

Happy Hour Quickie: Craft Beer & Nibbles at The Blind Sparrow

The Blind Sparrow on Denman (across the street from Kintaro Ramen) calls themselves “Vancouver’s first gastrotavern”. I fail to see the difference between “gastrotavern” and the more popular term “gastropub”. Let’s see if my visit during their happy hour cuts through the bs and answers the question, “Is this place good enough to return to?”

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Moaning over Jamón at Cabrito Tapas

Ever had one of those toe-curling experiences with food? Jamón Ibérico does it to me every time. They have at Cabrito and sometimes you just need that one thing to keep you coming back. Luckily, the rest of the food (for the most part) is executed well and warrants repeat visits if you’re looking for tapas/small plates. This is just the start of my journey to find out if Vancouver can do tapas/pintxos, and not just leave it to Toronto (eg. the exemplary Bar Raval and well-regarded Bar Isabel).

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First Look: Great Pizza at Strathcona Beer Company

Everyone seen the promo video for Strathcona Beer Company yet? They’re really showing their love for skaters, motocross, bocce ball, weenie-roasting, working out on rooftops, and beer! This place finally opened on Friday, July 15 after a bit of controversy over opening up a brewery in a low-income neighborhood that struggles with addiction.

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Lunch Quickie: Bun Cha Ca (Fish Cake Soup Noodles) at Hoang Yen

Hoang Yen on Victoria Drive (across the street from Chau VeggieExpress and Amay’s House) seems to have been there for ages but I never paid attention to it because of the “Vietnamese & Canadian Cuisine” noted on their sign and menu. It brought to mind those increasingly rare “Chinese & Canadian Food”-type diners that I would never eat at unironically. But the constant lineups at this small place made us curious. We tried their most famous dish, the “Bun Cha Ca” (housemade fish cakes in vermicelli noodle soup) and we liked it!

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Nouveau Vietnamese at House Special Modern Vietnamese in Yaletown

From the family that brought you the well-regarded Green Lemongrass and Broken Rice restaurants comes their new modern take on Vietnamese food at House Special in Yaletown. For some interesting background on the people and the restaurant, read this handy Georgia Straight article (informative writing, horrible photos).

This early review is a compilation of three visits. I still feel like I need another visit to fully understand their breadth (and try a couple of their soup noodles), but I have some travelling coming up so I feel the need to put this review out there first and revisit this place in July when I get back.

TLDR: Great beer list, some really great dishes, a few of the modern takes are less successful, restaurant still finding their legs. Worthy of your time.

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David Hawksworth Unbuttoned: First Look at Nightingale

Everyone knows about Hawksworth, the multi-award-winning upscale restaurant in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, right? I’ve actually never been there! More generous relatives have brought their families there and quite enjoyed it, but I’ve never step foot in there. An old boss of mine remarked that dining there is actually a good value! I thought, “WTF?! Maybe in your gated community mentality it’s a good value, but… I think you’re not paying me enough, then!”

Thankfully, David Hawksworth has opened his more casual and accessible share-plates restaurant Nightingale last week. Prices are about 1/2 to 1/3 cheaper than Hawksworth, with a focus on pizzas. Can’t get more casual than pizza! Are you ready for a taste of David Hawksworth unbuttoned?*

* Wicca actually came up with that phrase. I was thinking up tortured stuff like “Hawksworth with his two top buttons unbuttoned” and “Hawksworth rolling up his pants, going sockless, and wearing fashion sneakers.” Gah.

DISCLAIMER: As usual with these early “First Look” reviews, take everything with a grain of salt. It’s only been a week and I’m sure it’ll take more time before the team gets into a rhythm and gets to know that pizza oven and it’s quirks. But early impressions are good! Service was good and dishes were timed well.

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