Monthly Archives: August 2014

[Vancouver, Canada] Bistro 101 At Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

1505 2nd Avenue West | Suite 101

Vancouver, British Columbia V6H 3Y4Canada



Official site:

Trip Advisor reviews:



I was researching restaurants in Vancouver, and came upon this highly rated restaurant on Trip Advisor.  All of the reviews had nothing but great things to say about this place, so I quickly made a reservation when the date became available.  Totally agree with all of the reviews, this is one of the best meals I had in Vancouver!

Bistro 101 is located at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, right at the gateway/bridge to Granville Island.  The menu is prix fixe and changes monthly.  Reservations and the menu are online via the official site.  The 3 course lunch is CAD $20 and the 3 course dinner is CAD $26.  Since the Bistro is part of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, all of the cooking is done by the students, with the supervision of the chef teachers.  Expect the service and food to be a little slow, since it is run by the students.  Also, please note that the restaurant is only open Mondays through Fridays.


There is a live kitchen camera which lets you watch the action in the kitchen.  Pretty cool.


Bistro 101 also has a pretty extensive wine list.  Prices were reasonable.


Complimentary basket of bread.  There were at least 4 – 5 different kinds of bread.  Although they were not warm, they were all pretty tasty.  These are made by the bakery students.


This was the aperitif(飯前酒) for June – Kir Petillant – segura viudas brut reserva cava enhanced with L’Hertier Guyot Creme de Cassis. It was light and refreshing,  tasted like a bubbly rosé.  Good way to start the meal. + CAD $7


We went for dinner, so it’s CAD $26 per person.  Appetizer – sea scallops three ways – ceviche, miso glazed and a la Veronique.  The scallops were sashimi grade and just barely cooked, but the sauces were not memorable.


Entree – pan-seared halibut filet with asparagus veloute and tomato confit.  This was the highlight of the meal.  They did not skimp out on the halibut at all.  Even though the fish was a big hunk, it was perfectly cooked — tender and juicy inside.  The asparagus puree also went well with the potatoes.  Mmmm….


Dessert – vanilla infused pineapple with coconut sorbet, coca nib streusel and lime foam.  The pineapple was meh, didn’t really taste the vanilla in it.  However, the coconut sorbet was outstanding!  The lime foam was a great thought, as it balanced out the heaviness/richness of the coconut sorbet.


Will definitely return on my next trip to Vancouver!!!

[Vancouver, Canada] Ramen Santouka

1690 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 1C7

(604) 681-8121


Official website:

Yelp reviews:


I know what you guys are probably thinking – there are already several Santouka’s in LA, why did I go try the one in Vancouver?  Shouldn’t I try foods that I can’t get in LA?  I know, I was kind of thinking that myself.  However, according to all the reviews that I’ve read, the Vancouver location more closely resemble the ones in Japan.  So I had to go try it.  My verdict:  it IS better than the ones in LA!

The Vancouver shop is literally a shop.  It is very small — seats about 30 people. It’s operated on a first come first served basis.  Since the restaurant is small, you might very likely be sharing tables with other parties, so prepare to rub elbows with your neighbors! The restaurant opens at 11am, so getting there relatively early is the key to avoiding a long line.  We got there about 11:30am and had  a ~20 minute wait.  When we left around 1pm, the line had grown very long. So, do the math!


The store front, with the usual display of the menu.  The Vancouver Santouka has received quite a few accolades!  There are 4 types of soup broths:  shio (salt), shoyu (soy-sauce base), miso and kara-miso (spicy miso).  You could pair it with the different rice bowls for a combo:  negi meshi (dried bonito with green onions), cha-shu (braised pork), ikura (salmon roe) and grilled salmon.  All of the combos also come with pickled radish and half of a braised egg.


Interior of the restaurant.  There’s also a communal table, where we sat.  But like I mentioned, it’s a really small restaurant.


The shio ramen (salt-based broth ramen) combo with the ikura rice (aka salmon roe) and braised egg.  The ikura rice bowl in LA doesn’t have the shredded egg, so that was a nice touch.  Portions are comparable to the ones in LA.  However, the broth is much more flavorful and less salty/greasy than the LA ones.  The noodles were also more chewy/al dente.  Yum yum yum….  CAD $15.90 for the combo


Almost every review I read raved about the toroniku ramen (pork jowl).  Basically, a bowl of the standard shio ramen comes with a plate of the pork jowl meat, and fixins (scallions, bamboo, wood ear and fish cake) on the side.  The toroniku was melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness, without being too fatty!  Let it warm up in the ramen broth for a few minutes for it to get more umami!  There’s enough meat for 2 to share.  Highly recommend!  CAD $14.50 for the Toroniku ramen.

[Vancouver, Canada] The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant

1535 Johnston Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9

(604) 669-9030

Official restaurant site:



I had bookmarked a few restaurants to visit on Granville Island.  My first choice was going to be Go Fish Ocean Emporium but couldn’t find it on Granville Island, so settled for second choice, The Sandbar, instead. Turned out to be a good choice for lunch!

The restaurant itself is fairly large, and covers 3 floors.  For lunch, we were lucky enough to be seated in the outdoors patio area, which has a nice view of the harbor.


The Sandbar is easily recognizable — it’s near the public market on Granville Island, and has a large boat hanging by the restaurant.


The menu


There is also a supplemental menu sheet for the fresh catch of the day.  The items with a hole punch next to it means that it’s available.


Nice view of the harbor from the patio area.  There’s also a fireplace and plenty of heat lamps outside, in case it gets cold.  AND there’s a blanket draping on each seat, just in case!


Warm crusty bread.  Mmm…


Manila clams – steamed in leek and roasted garlic cream.  The clams were juicy and succulent.  Yum!  CAD$15


Salmon burger – an actual salmon filet prepared medium, with Yukon Gold fries. The salmon was perfectly cooked and the fries were crunchy on the outside, and piping hot and mushy on the inside.  Just the way I like them!  CAD$15


Arctic char – this was on the  fresh catch sheet.  We had seen it in the market, and Arctic char, being that it’s from sub-arctic waters, is hard to find.  When we saw it on the menu, we weren’t sure if we’d be served the whole fish.  Turned out to be a filet of the Arctic char, pan-fried in citrus butter sauce.  The texture of the fish is light and flaky, kind of like a flounder.  Glad we tried it, but it wasn’t as good as the clams or the salmon burger.  CAD $25