By Theresa-Anne Clarke Harter
I’m here to tell you that I love Dine Out Vancouver. To me, it’s essentially a second Christmas – that joyful. Every year my parents and I (my parents are the Lorelei to my Rory) check out a number of Yelp reviews and pick a handful of restaurants we want to try. This year, we focused on variety. Read on for a snapshot of what we ate, what we liked, and what we didn’t from four very different types of restaurants.
Bistro Patis: classic French cuisine using local ingredients.
The first course was a fantastic first impression. I had the warm goat cheese salad which sounds terrible average but it was genuinely one of the best salads I’ve had in ages. The added fennel gave an added flare, it was perfectly dressed, and the goat cheese crostini will be forever in my heart.
Bistro Patis has a lovely ambiance. White tablecloths, a beautiful fireplace, and cozy vibes. The tables were set comfortably apart as well, which can be a luxury in some Vancouver restaurants. The host and the owner at the front door were friendly and inviting.
For our main course I had the Arctic Char. One word: bland. There was little to no flavour in the fish, the buerre blanc, or the whipped potato. The saving grace of this meal was the red beets as they provided the only present flavour in the dish.
Our desserts were decent, but nothing to write home about. I had the earl grey crème brûlée, which I enjoyed (scraped to the bottom) but it was evident in the taste that they had mass produced these 2 days prior to accommodate the Dine Out Vancouver traffic.
Despite rave reviews on the internet, I would probably not return to Bistro Patis on my own accord.
The Lucky Taco: a Mexican eatery with an exceptional array of tequila.
Okay, the tacos were amazing. My favourites were the cauliflower taco and the fish taco-the corn tortillas were fresh and the sauces full of zest. Spicy jalapeños, fresh pico de gallo, and an excess of refreshing cilantro and lime, oh my! Bonus: the margaritas, made with fresh lime juice and shaken in front of you.
The dessert was a dulce de leche dark chocolate cake. Sounds amazing but unfortunately it turned out to be very dry.
For an appetizer, I picked the tuna poke, which was evidently out of Lucky Taco’s forte. Although it was probably a poor choice to order poke at a Mexican restaurant, I couldn’t resist as it’s a favourite of mine. Sadly, the tuna was low quality but the fresh crunchy tostada redeemed it to a degree.
With the fair prices and the beach adjacent location, I definitely would return to Lucky Taco. It serves its purpose as a casual Mexican eatery with great tacos (what really matters) and great cocktails.
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro: a stylish bistro focusing on sustainable Canadian fare.
This restaurant was by far my favourite. The décor is beautiful with dark wood cabin style walls and unique lighting.
The three course meal was fabulous from start to finish. I had the mushroom broth soup with shitake, shemeji, leeks, and rosemary oil for a starter. The rosemary oil added depth to the soup and the variety of mushrooms added great texture.
For a main course I ordered the ling cod. It was garnished with turnip, carrot, potato, bacon, and corn chowder. The dish itself sounds simple but it was phenomenal. The chowder was a unique choice for a sauce, but it worked on every level.
Dessert course was my favourite – I had the blueberry sponge cake. Served in a mason jar, it was moist and perfectly balanced with the fresh blueberry compote and whipped cream.
The only minor hiccup was during our arrival – the restaurant was naturally very busy with other eager Dine Out patrons, so we were unable to get a table on a Tuesday night. Luckily they served their full menu at the bar top so we didn’t miss out!
Despite an impressive craft cocktail list, the El Maestro (jalapeño bitters, mezcal,Cointreau, lime) cocktail I ordered was essentially a classic margarita with a hefty price tag.
I would return to Oakwood in a heartbeat. Service was good, food was better. I’ve added it to my permanent restaurant roster.
Romer’s Burger Bar: my Dad’s dinner request
The burgers are ground fresh daily with unique toppings and house made sauces. I had a veggie burger, which can often be a bust but in this case was tender and full of flavour. My dad had the mushroom onion burger and raved about it for approximately two full days afterwards. It was that good.
For an appetizer I tried the classic arugula, beet, goat cheese salad. Unfortunately, it missed it missed the mark.
Dessert here was mini donuts! This was lucky for my Dad and I, who are self proclaimed mini-donut-connoisseurs. House made caramel whisky dipping sauce made the dish good, however the donuts themselves were too thick in texture.
I wouldn’t return to Romer’s on my own, but it has more to do with it not being my personal cup of tea than the restaurant itself.
Theresa-Anne is restaurant manager by day, a creative by night, and a part-time student in between. She’s only a couple Mondays away from attaching a coffee IV to her person.