Hapa Umi

Hapa Umi by the waterfront of Coal Harbour is a sister restaurant to Hapa Izakaya (which now has many different branches at many locations). I have been to Hapa a couple of times in previous years, and I really liked their food. When I realize their new restaurant at Coal Harbour, I wanted to give it a try. Then soon there was a voucher for it at Living Social, so I got it and went right away. (Photos aren’t great, we were sitting outside and it got dark so quickly!)

To start Fanny Bay Tempura Oyster – tempura oyster with miso vinegrette and pickled shallots. This was pretty good, I felt like the tempura part could be a little crispier. (But maybe it is hard to tempura oyster?) But overall the taste of the miso vinegrette worked very well with the osyter.

Pemberton Meadows Beef Tataki – I really liked the green onion oil on top of the tataki, almost give you that feeling you get with Negitoro. 🙂 And I like how these beef tataki are small bite size pieces, saves trying to fold the tataki together before putting it into your mouth.

Hapa BC Roll – a side order to try out the skills of the sushi bar. Pretty good, but nothing really stunning. Though the salmon is really fresh and taste balance is good also (with cream cheese!).

BC Wild Spring Salmon  – Pan-seared salmon, gnocchi, roasted cauliflower, cauliflower puree, grilled zucchini, miso-hollandaise foam. The salmon is seared at the right level, not overly dried and stayed moist inside. I liked the thinly sliced grilled zucchini, but the foam looks very not appealing to me (and it really didn’t taste like anything). Everything I see foam on any dish, it throws me off. 😛

Tofu Two Way – Crispy Tofu steak, scallion-ginger soy, truffled hakusai, basil cream. I guess I got distracted by the name, I was expecting something more. Tofu steaks are lightly deep fried tofu, something you can eat a dim sum restaurant? The truffled hakusai was tightly wrap to a point it was hard to chew and hard to cut. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, I didn’t really like it the texture is not right.


Umi Cannoli – This is one interesting dessert. Fresh berries with whipped cream and caramel glitz and crispy pastry. It is all the texture mixed together. Though presentation seems a bit scattered but if you combine different things you will get different feeling in every bite.

Yuzu Tart – The ice cream was yummy, tastes good with the tart. The tart however tastes sort of like Malaysian Style Pandan (which you can order at any dim sum places). Difference is the citrus taste, which is good with the ice cream. But I didn’t have any special feeling towards this dessert because it really just taste like Malaysian Style Pandan.

Overall the service was great, the waitress took the time to explain any questions we had. I am sure this is a great place to enjoy a drink in the summer in front of the coal harbour area. But I just don’t know if the price I am paying for is worth it for the not so interesting food I am getting.

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Adesso Bistro

I should have post this two months ago. I visited Adesso Bistro on Valentine’s day for their $45 set dinner. I made the reservation about 3 months ago to avoid any type of disappointment. We arrived right on time for our reservation and right away we got seated.

This is how the menu works, for $45 per person we can choose an appetizer, a pasta, an entree and a dessert platter to share between the two. (It is quite a bit of food, I couldn’t finish the pasta and the entree.)

For my appetizer, I selected the beet salad. There are two types of beets in this salad and I especially liked the orange one. So sweet. 🙂 These are served with goat cheese. Yumyum! 😀

My Valentine selected the house cured meat – some what similar to salami. Salty but very good meat with olive oil and olives. Worked really well with the salad.

Pasta is asparagus risotto with fresh slices of parmesan cheese, this is a decent risotto. And below is the dungeness crab pasta. The pasta was really good! I really liked it, with a good light sauce to show off the freshness of the crab. This is a must re order next time. 🙂

For entree, beef tenderloin and sablefish. The tenderloin was cooked perfectly with a nice sauce and the creamy potatoe at the bottom. Sablefish was so smooth and had a great lemon sauce to go with! I enjoyed both of these entrees. 🙂

Last but not least the dessert platter with chocolate mousse covered by dark chocolate and chocolate truffle. The mousse was so rich! (The outside chocolate coating was so hard, it took some effort to break. :P) But it wasn’t overly sweet, though it is filling but I just couldn’t help but nibble away. Truffle cake was good to balance out the richness, light sponge chocolate cakes layered with cream. And the hazelnut gelato was also very delicious.

This is a small restaurant tucked away in the Stanley Park residential neighbourhood. You probably wouldn’t expect a restaurant there. I would love to go back to this restaurant. 🙂

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Thierry 2

Had a beautiful sunny weekend afternoon so popped Thierry in downtown after  a car show. Upon entrance my eyes went onto the colourful macarons right away, so I ordered three to have along with my Passion Fruit Cake.

Pink Praline (candied almonds), Lemon and Lychee. I would say I mostly taste the lemon out of the three. The other two tastes awfully similar to each other. But I am so disappointed at the macarons this time. They were so hard… like I used some force to take off a bite. I suppose I am comparing it at Soirette, these  ones were really sweet and hard (sorry I can’t get over the hard).

The Passion Fruit Cake was very very sour… (could it be because of the very sweet macarons?) I kept sipping on my green tea (with nothing in it), trying to get ride of the macarons sweet and passion fruit sour. I know passion fruit will be sour but maybe not that sour? I almost thought I was eating some sort of very strong lemon dessert.

My friend got the plain croissant. It was alright, not cripsy and fluffy enough. Doesn’t have the texture I usually look for in a croissant.

The latte however was very aromatic, very strong of the coffee aroma not being covered by milk. It was so nice and smooth, I liked it. (Their coffee are usually non sweet, so add as you please or tell them first before you order for cold drinks.)

Thierry is getting really huge in Vancouver and is one of the few dessert/cafe places opens til late. But I probably wouldn’t eat their macarons again (despite of the beautiful packaging they offer).

Sandbar

I have heard of this place for a while but never got a chance to visit. My dad told me that their oyster burger was very good. So finally for a friend’s birthday I have visited Sandbar on Granville Island. The restaurant is two levels high and sits half on water – the lower level is the restaurant and upper level is the Teredo Lounge. I am sure if you go as a couple and get s a window seat it would be very romantic and halfway through dinner it had live piano playing upstairs also!

This place has very interesting décor – lots of wood fishes hanging on sea blue walls. I liked the feeling the restaurant gives. 🙂

My stomach wasn’t feeling at its best that night, so I avoided seafood that tends to upset stomach. My friend had ordered the Blue Shell Mussels which was steamed with coconut red curry sauce. I had one piece to try, I loved the sauce! It was so delicious. Too bad I wasn’t feeling well. 😛

For my entree I had the daily special fish – Ling Cod with oven roasted tomato vinaigrette. Yes the cod is fresh and tender but I am not sure what sauce I was eating. It felt like water downed tomato juice? It was alright, I didn’t felt like that sauce was appropriate for the cod. I probably wouldn’t order this again.

I was looking over their brunch and lunch menus, they looked pretty good. Maybe they will do better for brunch so I would revisit for a nice summer weekend brunch to see. 🙂

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Siena

My friend told me about newly opened affordable Italian place, so I paid a visit right away. Siena is off corner to Granville on West 12th, as I approach I realize that I have been to this place when it was a Thai restaurant. (It was a very very dark restaurant without much lights and windows.) The new renovated place has lots of big windows and we visited around 6:00pm which gave it a nice soft sunset glow.

We got seated right away since it’s only 6:00pm, no one else at the restaurant yet. It got busy as we have our meals.

To start, we ordered the All Bruschette – Caramelized Onions, Mushroom Mascarpone, Eggplant & Bell Pepper with Fresh Basil. The bread is really good, crispy on the outside and very soft on the inside with a hint of butter.

The onion is very good, soft and very nicely flavoured. Mushroom mascarpone would be good if that is the only piece you are having – it stuffs you up very quickly. The eggplant and bell pepper chopped with a large piece of fresh basil at the bottom, which brings out the flavours. I enjoyed all the bruschette lots. 🙂

Today’s Pasta – Prawn Ravioli with Lobster cream served with oven baked tomatoes and fresh basils. This is indeed a very good ravioli and the lobster cream sauce was great. Usually when I go out and order ravioli I only get about three pieces, but this one is the right proportion.

Today’s Risotto Special – Ling cod with tomatoes and basils topped with crispy garlic flakes. The ling cod was cooked just right, mixed well with the tomatoes and basils. I loved the garlic flakes, so crispy and full of garlic. I loved it!(Maybe I should make that at home and put it in my dishes! :D)

A Side Note:  This dish gets saltier as I go through it. If you are not into salty dishes, maybe ask them to reduce the salt.

Last we ordered a chocolate marshmallow tart – it was a very nice dark chocolate tart mixed marshmallow. It is a very rich dessert, if you are not into chocolate you won’t like this. I was quite stuffed from the bruschette, so I couldn’t finish this. but it was a yummy dessert.

This restaurant is a neighbourhood gem, with nice décor and good service. I would revisit with a few friends again and try out other Today’s Specials.

Another Note: Their wine goes on 50% off on Mondays. If you are into wine and cheese, this would be a great place to go on Monday nights. 🙂

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Nook

Nook is at the end of Robson on Denman (towards Stanley Park). I saw this place a couple of times during the summer when I went biking at Stanley Park. So finally one evening before a trade show, I popped in for a quick dinner. It was quite early (5:30pm) therefore there isn’t much customers (yay, no waiting in line!) The first thing I notice about Nook is that everything is so red. The lights are red and dim with lots of red furnitures, but very modern decor. Since we were going for dessert after the show, so we decided to share a pizza and a pasta together.

For pizza, we got the Margherita Pizza. It is a very simple pizza, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. The crust was thin but very crisp but wasn’t too dry. Maybe it’s the cheese or the tomatoes, I am not sure what it is but I quite liked this pizza. (I am normally not that into pizza)

As for pasta we got the a daily special spaghetti (which I forgot the name of it), but it has tomatoes, lots of parmesan, bits of fresh parsley and chicken. This is a clear sauce pasta (which I usually enjoy over any cream or tomato sauces). I liked it, just like the pizza the ingredients are really fresh. However this dish is a little salty, not too crazy but on the little salty side.

Overall this is a great little Italian restaurant tucked away on Denman, at times when I pass by I do see lines (on weekends). I would love to go back and try some other things. 🙂
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Oakwood Canadian Bistro

Visited Oakwood Canadian Bistro for a friend’s birthday. She is always a great foodie source for me, and this time she once again found something great. 🙂 It was a very energetic place down on West 4th. Street meter parking available.

My friend ordered a All Canadian Poutine. I don’t have a photo of it but you will be able to see you once you click into their website. Poutine with real bacon, it was a very delicious poutine for sure although I was just trying out small bites. I would recommend this dish to others if I revisit.

Anyways for my main dish, I ordered the braised boar with potatoe agnolotti, baby carrot and hedghog mushrooms. With fresh parmason on top! Ravioli with cheese inside. The whole dish is quite heavy flavoured but is very good. The dish has a lot of different flavours the boar (rich and tender), the ravioli (aromatic and soft), the mushrooms (spongy and juicy). If you are not into strong flavoured and cheese, you probably won’t like this.

This is not my dish, I only tried out the beet. But o really like the look of the presentation. Duck duo. Almost looks like a sushi dish. But indeed very nice presentation. 🙂

This is also my friend’s dish. I tried it out and it sort of taste like Chinese grilled pork belly. It is pork meat with layers of fat. The crispy pieces on the side are quite oily. I am not sure what they are made of. This dish in general is not suited to my taste.

This is one of those places great for drinks and chat for the night with a small group of friends. I probably would visit if I am in the neighbour.

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The Observatory

The Observatory located at peak of Grouse Mountain. You will need to take the gondola up, but the ticket is free if you are dining at The Observatory. I visited this place during the winter (a while back). I was dressed up and it was quite chilly on the way up because it was so windy!! But really the view is worth it, it’s beautiful on the way up and while you sit there looking over Vancouver.

Guess what this is. This cute little dish is the butter. Very pretty displayed with a light olive oil on top. It wasn’t a strong flavoured butter, but I liked the olive oil. 🙂

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I always like scallops so we shared a seared Qualicum Bay scallops as appetizer, the scallops were really fresh and tender. I really enjoyed this.

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Here’s the duck, was very very tender and soft. The sauce was also very good with gnocchi like objects at the bottom.

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The Lois Lake Steelhead Trout with baby radish, tomatoes and I really don’t know what those black things are. But they are very yummy, almost taste like cranberries. Trout was so nice and smooth. 🙂 With the right amount of flavour but I absolutely love the baby radish, so sweet!!

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Dessert :D! Crispy donuts with pear ice cream (if I remember correctly, the ice cream were house made). With small bits of jello infused with pear juice. I loved the jello. Of course these warm pastry with ice cream is always tasty, but the jello definitely adds the wow value. I really really liked the jello bits. 😛

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Meringue layers with vanilla ice cream and rhubarb berry sauce top with a few pistachios. If you have tried meringue layers are foamy and crispy at the same time. Works very well with soft vanilla ice cream and the rhubarb berry sauce. But the pastry layers are a bit sweet. If only a little less sweet. Otherwise, this dessert is very tasty.

I would for sure revisit maybe during a summer evening to enjoy the beautiful view again and a delicious summer menu. 🙂

The Observatory on Urbanspoon

Havana Restaurant and Gallery

Havana locates at the end of Commerical Drive (towards all the vintage stores). I never go down to that area, but knows about their strip of vintage shops. So I thought I would go for a nice Sunday morning brunch then visit all the shops. 🙂

I wish I have photos of the decor, I really like the way the restaurant look and feel. Everything so rustic, and a gallery right next to the restaurant.

Wasn’t really hungry so I ordered a yogurt parfait and my friend got a hashbrown breakfast combo.

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Like any other yogurt parfait, I really don’t know what type of difference it really makes eating it anywhere else. But to add a note, the items are fresh. Therefore made it a good parfait. I was craving for granola, so it was good enough for me.

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Hashbrowns were a bit dry, but I guess all hasbrowns are generally dry. 😛 Toast was good though! It also comes with a mushroom omelette. Was a bit watery, feels like something I sort of fail at making at home. But the taste was alright.

I would have to say, the food is decent. But for the price I am paying for, I just really don’t know if it is worth the price. I guess the decor makes up for it. It was quite a busy morning, so service was a little slow and we waited for a bit for the food and the bill. If you are down for a quick breakfast in the area, or you want to visit the gallery you should give this a try. But I wouldn’t expect too much.

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