Category Archives: Foreign Restaurants

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

1505 2nd Avenue West | Suite 101

Vancouver, British Columbia V6H 3Y4Canada

604.734.0101

 

Official site:  http://bistro101.com/

Trip Advisor reviews:  http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g154943-d707621-Reviews-Bistro_101_at_Pacific_Institute_of_Culinary_Arts-Vancouver_British_Columbia.html

Yelp:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/bistro-101-vancouver-2

 

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!!!

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[Vancouver, Canada] Ramen Santouka

1690 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 1C7
Canada

(604) 681-8121

 

Official website:  santouka.co.jp

Yelp reviews:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/ramen-santouka-vancouver

 

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
Canada

(604) 669-9030

Official restaurant site:  https://www.vancouverdine.com/sandbar

Yelp:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-sandbar-seafood-restaurant-vancouver-2

 

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

 

[Vancouver, Canada] Richmond Night Market

8351 River Road
Richmond, BC V6X 1Y4
Canada
 
Nearest metro:  Bridgeport station on the Canada Line, about a 10 minute walk
Hours:  mid-May through mid-October, Fridays through Sundays and holidays, 7pm to 11pm (Sun) and to 12am (Fri and Sat)
 

Official site: http://www.richmondnightmarket.com/

Yelp:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/richmond-night-market-richmond-3

 

Somehow, during my research for things to do in Vancouver, I stumbled upon the fact that there are night markets during the summers in Vancouver.  Legit Asian-styled night markets at that.  And not only one… I think there are 2 or 3, all around the Richmond area.  And since our hotel was literally next door to the biggest one, it was a no brainer.

This night market really puts the 626 Night Market to shame.  It is open during the weekends for the WHOLE summer!  Admission is only CAD $2.25 and there are about 100 food vendors, all serving different kinds of food.  Most of the food is reasonably priced, and even though there are tons of people around, waiting for food is surprisingly not too long (maybe 15 – 20 minutes).  Not only is there a large food area, there’s also an area for carnival games, and for vendors that just sells stuff (cell phone cases, cute phone cases, art, socks, etc).  There are places to sit/stand for eating, the stalls are inspected by the health department and it was pretty clean, even with the crowd.

Here are some of the offerings and what we tried:

There were a few squid vendors.  Some sold whole squid, some sold just the tentacles… and I think I saw one that had fried squid!

 

Yes, there’s even ramen at the Night Market!  There were a couple of noodle stands, like ramen, udon, soba, etc.

 

There are also quite a few vendors that sell grilled meats, although there was only one that sold whole grilled fish.  It looked and smelled so good, but unfortunately no room in the stomach!  CAD $10 – $15 for a whole fish

 

Even dim sum is served up fresh at the Night Market!  I saw a few of the dim sum vendors around and they all looked so good~~

 

Slavic rolls!  I saw these desserts when I was in Prague, had no idea that they can be found outside of Eastern Europe!

 

And of course there are Taiwanese night market favorites, like the fried chicken filet and popcorn chicken~

 

The night market is not just about Asian food, traditional fair food can be found too, like the smoked turkey legs!  Comes in 2 sizes, large and XL!

 

I didn’t think I can get fresh squeezed sugar cane juice in North America.  Guess I was wrong!  This was a pretty good substitute, of course it cannot beat the ones in Asia!  I think it was CAD 4.50 for a regular size and CAD 6 for a large.

 

The German roasted pork leg 德國豬腳 had a really long line, and smelled so divine that we just had to give it a try!  The vendor cuts it up into bite-sized pieces and serves it on a platter.  The pork was really juicy, but the skin was toughened/hardened from roasting too long.  Still pretty good ~~  CAD $13

 

Korean bento-box from the Korean vendor.  Choose any 3 items for CAD 10.  Portions were generous and the food was delicious!  The rice cakes were spicy but not overly spicy. The chapchae was tasty with a peppery tone.  Yum!

 

The tofu pudding from this vendor was sooo good!  We got it with taro and you add in the sweetener yourself.  Very authentically Taiwanese.  I wish they had this vendor in LA!  CAD 4.50

 

We were eating and heard people next to us raving about the “sandwich wrap” that they just tried, so we were tempted to check it out.  It’s genius what this vendor is selling — they took a Taiwanese-styled onion pancake, and used that as the “wrap”.  I wasn’t adventurous enough to try the more fusion types of wraps, like ham & cheese, curry chicken and kimchi beef.  I chose a more Taiwanese flavored one, the egg and dried pork.  OMG, it was super delicious!  The onion pancake is flavorful, crispy on the outside, but moist and flaky on the inside.  The filling went really well with the onion pancake. I’m still salivating at the thought of having one~~  CAD 6

 

There are tons of dessert to choose from at the night market.  We chose the one with the longest line, which happened to be serving this:  fresh mango  shaved ice, topped with ice cream!!!  It is a rather large portion, more than enough for 2 people to share.  The fresh mango was really sweet.  That combined with the shaved ice and ice cream is really refreshing.  Mmmm…. CAD 5.75

 

Tip: go early to avoid the lines.  8pm – 9pm is VERY crowded!  Also, since there are lots of food vendors, it’s best to walk around once, to check out all of the offerings, before making your selection(s).  Otherwise, you’ll regret that your stomach is only so big.

 

Have lots of fun at the Night Market!!!

[Vancouver, Canada] Rodney’s Oyster House

1228 Hamilton Street

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

(604) 609-0080

Nearest metro station:  Yaletown

 

Official website:  Rodney’s Oyster House

Yelp:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/rodneys-oyster-house-vancouver

 

I had heard from a few people that Rodney’s is a must when visiting Vancouver.  So, it went on the itinerary and I must say that it did not disappoint!  The restaurant is just about a block away from the Yaletown station, so it’s very convenient to get to.  Happy hour, or “low tide” as referred to at Rodney’s, is a great way to sample their well-known seafood.  “Low tide” happens Mondays through Saturdays, 3pm – 6pm, first come first served.  Even though we arrived shortly before 3pm on a Saturday ( in case there was a line), we were seated promptly and handed the happy hour menu.  Within half an hour, the place was packed, so it pays to arrive early!

 

 

The happy hour menu

 

There are about 5 different house sauces on the table, in addition to the different Tabasco sauces.  The sauces vary by spiciness and tanginess.  My favorites were the Seawitch sauce and the White Boy Soul sauce.

 

Fresh warm bread is served complimentary.  I think it’s marble rye?  Soft and tasty!

 

Fresh shucked oysters are CAD $1.50/piece during low tide.  I haven’t had oysters this good since Fishing with Dynamite!  Best part about Rodney’s is the freshly grated horseradish!  I haven’t seen that anywhere else, so it was a real treat.  Highly recommend trying the oysters with the various sauces.  Yum yum yum…

 

Mussels were also awesome!  Mussels are steamed in dill butter, garlic and wine.  They’re so juicy and tender… not to mention, very well-cleaned!  The sauce was great for dipping the bread!  CAD $13.95

 

Will definitely be back to try some other items next time!

[Paris, France] Chez Marie Louise

11 rue Marie Louise
75010 Paris
France

Tel: +33 1 53 19 02 04

 

Hours:  Monday to Friday Noon to 2:30pm (lunch) & 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m (dinner)

 

Closest metro station is Goncourt, which is on the Brown 11 line

 

Restaurant’s website:  http://www.chezmarielouise.com/

Trip Advisor reviews:  http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d1741036-Reviews-Chez_Marie_Louise-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

 

I found this restaurant while perusing through the Trip Advisor reviews.  It had a lot of great reviews, and seemed like a cozy neighborhood bistro, so I was sold.  The restaurant itself is small, with only a few tables inside, and a few tables outside, so it’s best to make a reservation for dinner.  The restaurant also requires that you reconfirm your reservation 24 hours in advance.  By the end of our dinner, we saw quite a few people getting turned away due to no reservations.

The bistro is run by owner and proprietor, Christophe.  Christophe is a very friendly and wonderful host, who is knowledgeable and passionate about the food.  Service was attentive and the food was spectacular. It ended up being one of the highlights of our trip!

 

The menu is in French, and is written on a chalkboard, which is then displayed near your table.  But do not fret!  Christophe can translate the menu in detail, in English.  Of course, for those of you who’d like to research before-hand, the menu is available on the restaurant’s website.  Just Google Translate it!

 

Terrine de foie gras – a huge chunk of foie gras with warm crusty bread, and a small side salad.  The sis loved it!  EUR 12 (approx USD $15.60)

 

Salade d’artichaut truffée – artichoke slices with truffle oil, topped with a rocket salad.  Yum!  I haven’t had artichoke prepared like this before.  It was a warm salad, but really refreshing.  EUR 9  (approx USD $11.70)

 

Rognon de veau, orecchiette aux fèves et basilic – veal kidney with fava beans and orecchiette pasta.  The veal kidney was cooked medium, so it was really tender.  The pasta and the fava beans had great flavor.  People who like kidney would love this dish!  The portion was pretty generous – I couldn’t even finish~  EUR 15 (approx USD $19.50)

 

Ravioles de St Jacques fraiches au beurre citron et courgettes sautées – scallop raviolis.  The sis could not stop raving about this dish!  This was her ultimate favorite from of the Europe trip.  Inside each ravioli is a giant scallop (the size of each ravioli).  It was juicy, succulent and the light sauce was excellent as well.  Must try!  EUR 20 (approx USD $26)

 

At this point, we were so full, but figured since we’re in Paris, we might as well try the dessert.  This is the Millefeuille Marie Louise à la pistache or the millefeuille with pistachio cream.  It was really light and flaky, but the entrees are definitely the show stoppers!  EUR 8 (approx USD $10.40)

[Paris, France] Le Comptoir

9 Carrefour de l’Odeon
75006 Paris

Tel:  01 44 27 07 97

Hours:   Mon-Thu, Sun 12 pm – 12 am

Fri-Sat 12 pm – 2 am

 

 

Hotel/Restaurant website:  http://www.hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com/flash/us/index.html

Yelp reviews:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/le-comptoir-du-relais-paris

Trip -Advisor reviews:  http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d715026-Reviews-Le_Comptoir-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

 

This is yet another Anthony Bourdain haunt (featured in No Reservations Season 6 episode 19, on Amazon free for Prime members).  In addition to it’s TV fame, the restaurant also came highly recommended by one of my bosses.  So I penciled this into my Paris itinerary.

Just a stone’s throw away from the Odeon station, the restaurant is a part of the Hotel Relais Saint Germain.  Be warned, dinner reservations are very difficult to snag, unless you are a hotel guest, or are making reservations 6 months in advance.  That being said, lunch is a no reservations deal and is first come first served.  From the reviews online, it seems that the best time to arrive for lunch is either just before noon, or after 2pm, to avoid a long wait.  There is a queue right outside the restaurant.  I arrived around 1:40pm and waited 20 – 30 minutes to be seated.  Yes, seating is limited and Parisians take their time while dining, so be prepared to wait.  I think the restaurant is also featured in many of the guide books, so on the day that I was there, I’d say more than half of the patrons were tourists.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, other than what I had seen on the No Reservations episode.  I just knew that the menu is in French, so I was prepared to use my very rudimentary French.  The waiters / waitresses only speak limited English, so it’s a good idea to look up the English translations of the menu before-hand.

The restaurant has both indoor and al fresco dining, like most restaurants in Paris

 

The menu, in French.  It’s almost at the end of the red-bound menu, featuring mostly wines.  Use Google Translate!  🙂

 

The bread was crusty, a bit too crusty for me.

 

Oeuf mayonnaise – deviled eggs.  This was mentioned in the No Reservations episode.  It’s basically boiled eggs, covered with a rich mustard sauce and topped with some bacon bits.  The eggs were good, but I didn’t expect so many to come in 1 order!  EUR 5 (approx USD $6.50)

 

Toast foie gras – like the name says, it’s basically foie gras slices on toast.  The foie gras was rich and creamy, the toast was really crunchy —  it was just a great dish.  It’s funny that this dish and the oeuf mayonnaise had the same garnish.  EUR 13 (approx USD $16.90)

 

When in Paris, of course I had to order the escargot!  Baked in garlic pesto sauce, these escargot were not like the ones I’ve ever had before. These escargot were really fresh — the chewy and meaty texture is just different than the ones I’ve had in the States.  Yum!  EUR 9 (approx USD $11.70)

 

I had food envy when I saw the neighboring tables order the octopus salad, the bone marrow and the stuffed squid.   Will have to make a return trip to Le Comptoir to try those next time!