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Openings and closings (2006–2008 part 2)


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A long time Vancouver name in the restaurant business is no more.

Varsity Grill has become

Win's Chinese Restaurant-Authentic Cantonese Cuisine-1909 W4th

Had the Spicy Squid last night, quite tasty-done with a fine deft touch.

A warm Welcoming place run by friendly happy people.

Do you know if it's the same Win's that used to be on Arbutus - where Finest at Sea is now? They used to be my delivery place of choice before the fire . . ..

Definitely the same Folks-had a chance to talk to the Manager today got the whole sad story about what happened after the fire.

Anyway they've landed on their feet and lunch today was excellent.

A fine addition to the 'hood-ready to give Connie's a run for their money. :cool:

Thanks Sam - I'll definitely check them out - Connie's became my second-best backup when Win's burnt down. Happy that they've reopened - they are doing delivery, right?

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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A long time Vancouver name in the restaurant business is no more.

Varsity Grill has become

Win's Chinese Restaurant-Authentic Cantonese Cuisine-1909 W4th

Had the Spicy Squid last night, quite tasty-done with a fine deft touch.

A warm Welcoming place run by friendly happy people.

Do you know if it's the same Win's that used to be on Arbutus - where Finest at Sea is now? They used to be my delivery place of choice before the fire . . ..

Definitely the same Folks-had a chance to talk to the Manager today got the whole sad story about what happened after the fire.

Anyway they've landed on their feet and lunch today was excellent.

A fine addition to the 'hood-ready to give Connie's a run for their money. :cool:

Thanks Sam - I'll definitely check them out - Connie's became my second-best backup when Win's burnt down. Happy that they've reopened - they are doing delivery, right?

yes they do delivery. I received their pink flyer in the mail on Friday the menu looks the same as it did before the fire.

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This place opened 6 months ago but I had to mention it because I was really pleasantly surprised!

Chada Thai is a tiny little spot in Coquitlam by Coquitlam center run by a chef Brian. I dropped by there on a whim after work tonight and had a great meal. My friends and I ordered:

Tom Kah Gai - The soup to which I compare all Thai spots. The one here was within the top three I've ever had. The flavours were rich, complex and packed with so many "inedibles" (lime leaves, lemon grass, galanga). The chef even finely chopped the lime leaf so it was edible. Damn good. Will be back for more.

Stuffed chicken wings - It did not look anything like what I had in mind. I liken it to a giant spring roll but instead of rice wrapper, it's chicken skin. My lord it was also good. It reminded me of the spring rolls from Au Petit Cafe but it was chicken. I did a double take on this one. The tangly dipping sauce was a perfect match

Red Curry - Chicken - Wow. First bite of the chicken curry with some jasmin rice whisked me right to Bankok in a famous Thai spot with my aunt. It was just that good. The flavours were so, well, genuine. I asked the chef how he did it and he said all his ingredients come from Thailand. He wanted the flavours of home so badly he flew them from there. The curry was so rich with coconut milk but not overly so that you feel ill after. The chili oil was floating on top. The whole arrangement was beautiful.

Basil Chicken Noodles - So much more complex than the title. A wonderful aroma from the Thai basil and peppers matched with the tangyness of some lime and fish sauce and something else I could not figure out.

The last item was of course dessert. FBI. Fried Bananas and Ice cream. I'm no stranger to this dish but I was definately a stranger to this one. Chef Brian's FBI is like no other. If I can remember his description:

"I slice the bananas thinly and make them into a ball by wrapping them into a wonton wrapper. Then I freeze it (!!). Why? Because when you drop raw bananas into hot oil they get VERY sweet and assume an almost overripe flavour. To avoid this I freeze it and when it drops, the oil simply thaws and then lightly cooks it keeping the raw banana flavour and sweetness. The whole thing is then wrapped with soda water embedded batter such that the soda bubbles escape during the deep frying process (this somehow prevents oil from penetrating the batter as much leaving a much lighter crust). The mixture also has jasmin water and black sesame. The whole thing is then deep fried and served with three ice creams: coconut, vanilla and mango."

My god. And here I was thinking bananas, batter, fry, ice cream.

The end product was very tasty and the crust was thicker than usual but more cake like than deep fried. I really liked the bananas as they tasted warm and fresh and not overly sweet.

Will certainly go back. It's a real find for me and I hope it continues to serve top notch Thai with this strange European flare.

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Went by El Patio on Denman today. Don't know if it ever opened, but there was tons of mail in the door and it didn't look very "open". The room looks like crap :o). I used to work at the original El Patio and there was such an authenticity about the place (hey I can pass for Spanish when my hair is dyed appropriately). The food was consistently average, but tapas were "the new thing" at the time and there was some interesting stuff for this city (my staff meals were amazingly improved once I started dating the Chef).

Chico and Leo were charming hosts and Leo an excellent boss (but god it's hard to say anything nice about Chico as he was a bastard to work for. Sidebar - he was emptying the spitons at the last IVSA and rather than strutting by and gloating I refrained and turned the other cheek).

Back to the point. I am sad to see the El Patio name on this less-than-stellar place. It's a real shame. Long live the old days!

Edited by Vancitygirl (log)

Gastronomista

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Went by El Patio on Denman today.  Don't know if it ever opened, but there was tons of mail in the door and it didn't look very "open".  The room looks like crap :o).  I used to work at the original El Patio and there was such an authenticity about the place (hey I can pass for Spanish when my hair is dyed appropriately).  The food was consistently average, but tapas were "the new thing" at the time and there was some interesting stuff for this city (my staff meals were amazingly improved once I started dating the Chef).

Chico and Leo were charming hosts and Leo an excellent boss (but god it's hard to say anything nice about Chico as he was a bastard to work for.  Sidebar - he was emptying the spitons at the last IVSA and rather than strutting by and gloating I refrained and turned the other cheek).

Back to the point.  I am sad to see the El Patio name on this less-than-stellar place.  It's a real shame.  Long live the old days!

What is going on with this place?? To my knowledge it has never opened it's doors on Denman but it has been sitting vacant for what, a few months?

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Chico officially retired and sold the restaurant almost 2 years ago, but still owned the lease up until about a year ago so we would see him in the neighbourhood quite often. I only knew him to say hello from his Il Giardino days and thought he was very nice.

When the Bailiffs came to close and strip El Patio on Cambie down a few months ago I asked them what was going on and they mumbled something about unpaid liquor taxes. That was after a lock had already gone on the door from the landlord with a letter about unpaid rent. I also heard them chatting about the new location of El Patio on Denman Street being about to open (there had been midnight runs for weeks with the owners of El Patio on Cambie moving food and equipment out) saying that if it did open, it wasn't for long. I don't think it ever did open and I doubt they would have been able to keep their liquor license if in-fact, unpaid liquor taxes was the culprit.

The staff of El Patio were very nice, as were the owners wife and mother-in-law. He on the other hand....

It does seem a shame after all those years of El Patio having such a good name that it had to end this way. Poor Leo must be rolling over in his grave and I am sure that Chico can't be happy about his reputation being sullied.

Cate Simpson

Les Dames d'Escoffier International

www.ldei.org

www.lesdames.ca

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The Windjammer is now being operated by some of the Sri Lankan lads that toiled for years at Il Giardino, and some other gigs around town. They took over from long time owners, and reports are that they have spiffed it up big time.

The old english pub decor is warm, and inviting, and the food much improved. The oil is clean, so the Fish and Chips is first rate. The halibut and cod were tasty, and the accompianments were authentic good. Mushy peas for anyone.

Tas, and Jiggen have added some really great pasta dishes. They learnt from the best, and the Seafood Linguini was the same quality as Mr. Menghis, and the Lasagne was so light, and tasty. They are introducing these dishes along with others to their clientelle at serious good deals. My Lasagne was a bargain $4.50, but wow!!!.

They will add a few other goodies to a new menu soon.

These guys are definetly worth checking out. They are across from JJ Bean at 15th and Main. Interested in hearing your thoughts.

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The Windjammer is now being operated by some of the Sri Lankan lads that toiled for years at Il Giardino, and some other gigs around town.  They took over from long time owners, and reports are that they have spiffed it up big time. 

The old english pub decor is warm, and inviting, and the food much improved.  The oil is clean, so the Fish and Chips is first rate.  The halibut and cod were tasty, and the accompianments were authentic good.  Mushy peas for anyone.

Tas, and Jiggen have added some really great pasta dishes.  They learnt from the best, and the Seafood Linguini was the same quality as Mr. Menghis, and the Lasagne was so light, and tasty.  They are introducing these dishes along with others to their clientelle at serious good deals.  My Lasagne was a bargain $4.50, but wow!!!.

They will add a few other goodies to a new menu soon.

These guys are definetly worth checking out.  They are across from JJ Bean at 15th and Main.  Interested in hearing your thoughts.

I am really glad to hear that!

I used to go a lot in the old location on Main when it was run by the Scottish Auntie but quality has gone the tube of late.

Will definitely check it out.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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I've always thought that Heather had created a really great place with Diner - I am glad that she has decided to continue with producing her top notch baked goods and desserts at her new venue. They were always of the highest quality and delicousness.

Obviously the new team is going to make a tremendous run with Lucky Diner. As an absolute fanatic of Salt - I am really looking forward to checking this place out. Their restraining order against me runs out soon - ha! I thumb my nose at the law.

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Jonker Street - Simply Malaysian, on Pacific and Beatty.

I had been eyeing this place since they took over the Orange Chopstick and did their remodel. After seeing it was now open Mrs. PaoPao and I decided to drop in and try it last night. Now I have to admit my experience with Malaysian food is not indepth but since the Mrs. side of the family is Indonesian I have had my fair share. Alot of amazing home cooking by aunts, adventure eating in Los Angeles, etc.

To start we had the Roti, for the mains we had the lahksa and a combo plate with curry chicken, beef rendang, spicy prawns, and coconut rice. With two limonatas the total bill with tip was approx. $35. The food was really nothing to brag to my relatives about. Tough mushy beef, watery curry, over cooked noodles that fall apart annoyingly ... just really a disappointing meal.

Conversely though about two weeks ago we tried the new Malaysian place (forgot the name) on Robson by Seymore. That place we both thought was very good.

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Jonker Street - Simply Malaysian, on Pacific and Beatty.

I had been eyeing this place since they took over the Orange Chopstick and did their remodel.  After seeing it was now open Mrs. PaoPao and I decided to drop in and try it last night.  Now I have to admit my experience with Malaysian food is not indepth but since the Mrs. side of the family is Indonesian I have had my fair share.  Alot of amazing home cooking by aunts, adventure eating in Los Angeles, etc. 

To start we had the Roti, for the mains we had the lahksa and a combo plate with curry chicken, beef rendang, spicy prawns, and coconut rice.  With two limonatas the total bill with tip was approx. $35.  The food was really nothing to brag to my relatives about.  Tough mushy beef, watery curry, over cooked noodles that fall apart annoyingly ... just really a disappointing meal.

Conversely though about two weeks ago we tried the new Malaysian place (forgot the name) on Robson by Seymore.  That place we both thought was very good.

Thanks for the review. I was wondering about Jonker Street. Very disappointing though.

The one on Robson is called Prima Taste and it's a Singaporean restaurant. The fried chicken rice and laksa there are very good!

Quentina

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Tojo's has a sign up across the street from our beloved BOWMAC/Toy's R Us sign on Broadway west of Oak. Looks like a slick new place-in-the-works! Finally he's updating the restaurant! :biggrin:

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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noticed zanzibar on the drive all papered up, bummer as morrocan restos are few and far between here

From the type of work being done at the place I think they're actually doing renovations. They've redone the doorway in the same style that the restaurant used to have. Hopefully that's the case, they were a good place to have mint tea and a light dessert after a show on the drive.

Speaking of that area, specifically that block, I noticed there's a new place being set up that labels itself a "real estate coffee bar". What the heck does that mean? It sounds ridiculous, but perhaps combining the two great passions of Vancouverites is pure marketing genius.

Edited by Sylphid (log)
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