Tapas - Vancouver Restaurants

 

Cassis Bistro (Downtown, French)

I made a visit to Cassis Bistro (map, web site, visitor reviews, 420 West Pender St. Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-605-0420) and was really impressed. Cassis Bistro is a French tapas bistro hidden away in a somewhat seedier area of downtown Vancouver on the edge of Gastown (about two blocks from the Granville Skytrain station).

Ron Brill of Martiniboys (click here to read review) writes of “…elegantly simple, modern tapas fare…alluring French flavours…” and I concur. Cassis Bistro is definitely deserving of the positive buzz it has been getting recently.

Pictured below are some of the items we ordered. First was the complimentary amuse bouche, which was olives and antipasto served with French bread. The olives and antipasto were served in an interesting narrow tray and whetted the appetite perfectly. For an appetizer, we ordered a crepe with Brie cheese (around $10), which tasted great. Looking at the photo brings back fond memories! For the main course I ordered the Duck a l’Orange ($17.50). The menu describes this item as:

Duck and oranges: a combination popular in many countries. This dish consists of Muscovy duck braised with oranges.

Let me say, the Duck a l’Orange was fantastic (or should I say merveilleux “en Francais”). I am a huge fan of orange juice and oranges in general, and duck is always a special treat for me since I don’t cook it at home. So this was a match made in heaven.

We also ordered a side dish of some vegetables: beets and zucchini (also pictured below, around $5). This went very well with a side of bechamel sauce.

Amuse bouche (olives and antipasto) with French bread at Cassis Bistro in downtown Vancouver.

Amuse bouche (olives and antipasto) with French bread at Cassis Bistro in downtown Vancouver.

Crepe with Brie Cheese from Cassis French Bistro restaurant in Downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Crepe with Brie Cheese from Cassis French Bistro restaurant in Downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Duck a lorange (Duck and Oranges), $17.50 from Cassis Bistro, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Duck a l'orange (Duck and Oranges), $17.50 from Cassis Bistro, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Side order of market fresh vegetables from Cassis Bistro in Vancouver (beets and zucchini) - around $5.00.

Side order of market fresh vegetables from Cassis Bistro in Vancouver (beets and zucchini) - around $5.00.

Cassis on Urbanspoon

11,918 views - Posted Thursday, March 19th, 2009

 

ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant (downtown)

ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant (map, web site, 833 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-687-6622) is a new Japanese restaurant downtown (at the former location of Kitto Japanese Restaurant) that is getting rave reviews for its outstanding, upscale Japanese cuisine.

oishii, a reviewer on UrbanSpoon writes (click here to read review):

The menu has a wonderful array of tasty dishes and they have wonderful drinks to go along with the food.  The service is attentive and the ambiance is divine due to the gorgeously designed interior.  Definitely a place to check out!

We went all out and ordered a huge feast, including a bottle of Dreamy Moon Sake (not pictured, $34). Below are pictured some of the items we ordered. The food was very creatively and artistically presented, and tasted great, but I wasn’t entirely full after the meal. Maybe that was a good thing – better than being too full, I guess! I think that ShuRaku is one of those places that favors quality over quantity.

The meal was a treat for the senses and tastebuds. One of my friends commented that he thinks that ShuRaku is better value than (but nearly at the level of quality as) Vancouver’s famed Japanese restaurant, Tojo’s. ShuRaku is a place I would bring an out-of-town guest who I wanted to impress, and not entirely break the bank while doing so.

Roulette Roll ($12) from Shuraku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Roulette Roll ($12) from Shuraku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Enoki Mushroom and pork ($5.60) from Shuraku Japanese Restaurant on Granville in downtown Vancouver.

Enoki Mushroom and pork ($5.60) from Shuraku Japanese Restaurant on Granville in downtown Vancouver.

5 kinds of Sashimi ($24) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

5 kinds of Sashimi ($24) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Deep fried prawn (came with Sashimi) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Deep fried prawn (came with Sashimi) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Fresh oysters ($12 for 5 oysters) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Fresh oysters ($12 for 5 oysters) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Ika Sumi Pasta ($8.75) - a salad made with squid ink pasta and fresh vegetables, from ShuRaku Japanese restaurant.

Ika Sumi Pasta ($8.75) - a salad made with squid ink pasta and fresh vegetables, from ShuRaku Japanese restaurant.

Salmon Foie Gras appetizer ($7.00) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Salmon Foie Gras appetizer ($7.00) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Beef Asparagus ($6.25) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Beef Asparagus ($6.25) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Another shot of the 5 kinds of Sashimi (with glowing ice cubes that give it an interesting lighting effect) from ShuRaku Japanese restaurant

Another shot of the "5 kinds of Sashimi" (with glowing ice cubes that give it an interesting lighting effect) from ShuRaku Japanese restaurant

A nice dessert, the marble cheesecake ($6.99)

A nice dessert, the marble cheesecake ($6.99)

ShuRaku on Urbanspoon

17,544 views - Posted Thursday, January 8th, 2009

 

Wild Rice (Modern Chinese Cuisine)

Wild Rice (web site, map, 117 W. Pender, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-642-288) is a stylish, modern, and upscale restaurant on the edge of Vancouver’s Chinatown that serves innovative Chinese cuisine.

Wild Rice is one of the only restaurants in Vancouver with a menu that takes familiar Chinese dishes and re-imagines them in a marvellous fusion between new and old-world Chinese cuisine and high-end Western-style tapas.

40something, a reviewer on DineHere.ca writes (click here to read review):

The decor is polished and dark with mute dark green panel lighting. Wear black my dear! Very Sean Connery turtle neck. BTW The prices reflect the ambiance.

[…] The food was pretty darn good. Like with other outings, we ordered and shared. It was eclectic and all nicely presented, yet seemed more like elaborate tapas then meals. Our service was good (I guess that has changed for the better recently given the older reviews). And our wait staff seemed knowledgeable and attentive enough.

The restaurant is offering a special menu for Dine Out Vancouver 2009. I have copied it from their website and included it below. Vegetarian (vegan) items are indicated with a “v” symbol.

3-COURSE MENU OPTIONS:
available wednesday, january 14 through sunday, february 1, 2009.
please note that, during dine out, our regular a la carte menu will not be available

1st course:
bc side stripe shrimp congee or
vegan menu item hot & sour soup or
wonton soup with pork dumplings

2nd course:
yarrow meadows duck confit on shanghai noodle or
vegan menu item local mushroom & baby bok choy on noodle or
free range kung po chicken on jasmine rice

3rd course:
red bean panna cotta or
vegan menu item seasonal berry dumplings or
tea cup chocolate pudding

$18 per person. optional VQA wine pairings available.

Pictured below are some of the dishes we tried last week. It was a real feast!

Peking style duck pancakes from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with Yarrow Meadows duck breast, scallion pancakes, and hoisin $18

Peking style duck pancakes from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with yarrow meadows duck breast, scallion pancakes, and hoisin $18

Spicy kung po chicken with twice cooked peanuts from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with Maple Hill free range chicken, broccoli, and rice noodles $18

Spicy kung po chicken with twice cooked peanuts from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with Maple Hill free range chicken, broccoli, and rice noodles $18

Side stripe shrimp congee from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. A modern take on traditional Chinese soup. Made from brown rice $9

Side stripe shrimp congee from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. A modern take on traditional Chinese soup. Made from brown rice $9

Ma po doufu from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with tempura eggplant, chili jam $11

Ma po doufu from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with tempura eggplant, chili jam $11

Gai lan (Chinese brocolli) and crisped shallots from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. $7  (side dish)

Gai lan (Chinese brocolli) and crisped shallots from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. $7 (side dish)

Local fruit dumplings (dessert) from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver.  Star anise caramel, vanilla doufu ‘ice cream’. $8. The Caramel sauce was stupendous!

Local fruit dumplings (dessert) from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Star anise caramel, vanilla doufu ‘ice cream’. $8. The Caramel sauce was stupendous!

Wild Rice on Urbanspoon

14,680 views - Posted Monday, January 5th, 2009