tdiddy23's Profile

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Dim Sum and Sushi with Excellent Service and Good value in the North Shore?

Hamaei is quite good. I've been several times, after it was recommended on here. I obviously haven't been to all the sushi places in NOrth Shore, but do prefer Hamai to Zen, and it is certainly better than the ones on Lonsdale (of which SUshi nami is my favourite)

Westview dim sum is a pleasant enough place, its not as good as some of the places downtown/Richmond, but if you just are craving basic dim sum with family without the stress of a long drive I'd say you'd be fine there.

Kirin downtown is a pretty easy drive from the NOrth Shore as well, depending on bridge traffic of course.

Omakase in Vancouver, or, The Tojo Conundrum

Zest won the award last year this year it is tied with Tojo I believe?

I have yet to try Octopus Garden, I felt Zest was better than Tojo though.

I was recommended on here Hamaei in North Vancouver and (close to home) and have been really enjoyed it, not significantly worse than Tojo for example (obviously a fair bit more casual)

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

I will have to add Octopus Garden to my list (although my SO says no more Japanese for a few months after this trip :) ) ... been to a couple other of the 'acclaimed' Japanese restaurants in Van and some casual joints... but clearly I need to look beyond VanMag for restaurant recommendations now!

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

My first impressions of their list, aside from the French that they've got all wrong (see above), is La Quercia got robbed, I find its a much better dining experience than Cippinos, and probably Ask For Luigi (nicer ambiance, better wine list, and you can actually make reservations)

Also after reading VanMags raving comments about Tojo's again.. FWIW I was sitting beside a Japanese tourist on a flight to Tokyo a couple weeks ago who kept going on about how overrated sushi places were in Vancouver... after my vacation I think I agree with her

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

I need a reference on what to order where. any suggestions? We end up having good enjoyable meals at Dim Sum but never know what to order at dinner whenever we try .. when there are only two of us, its easy to make the wrong choices from the extensive menu options

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

I included the broad category meerly to point out the lack of a significant food scene from most of the above mentioned regional cusisnes in Montreal relative to TO and YVR

Feel free to elaborate! I don't have the experience (outside of maybe Japanese) to do so myself

I also didn't include Spanish as I've get to have a meal here, same with eastern European, middle eastern (montreal had some amazing lebonese, Turkish, Syrian), latin american, mexican, Ethiopian etc

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

It is hopeless to try and get the order of the restaurants so I don't know if there is much point in trying to debate, but here is my 2 cents nevertheless :)

Hawksworth is probably the best upscale dining option in the 3rd largest city in Canada so its not surprising that its top 10, agree not likely #2.

Toque is generally thought to be a bit dated in Montreal. Mason Publique is one of those places that is easy to write accolades about but in reality is certainly not a top restaurant in Canada. A couple of others from Montreal are clearly underrated. I haven't been to the latest incarnation of Splendido and have heard good things. To be honest though there isn't a single restaurant on this list that I would fly to dine at... Which takes away any pracrpurposemfor ranking thrm against each other.

As far as cities go, based on my first impressions living in YvR:

Italian:Montreal >Vancouver
Contemporary: Montreal>Toronto >Vancouver
Asian: Toronto, Vancouver >> Montreal
Expense account meal: Toronto>Vancouver, Montreal
Seafood: Vancouver > Montreal, Toronto

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

I'm pretty sure FA has had its share of PR successes has it not?

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

I'm sure now next time I go to Hawksworth I'll have a bad experience haha

I tried La Regalade a couple months ago. Was pretty 'meh' as well. My expectations were somewhat lower than Crocodile so I wasn't quite as disappointed but I wouldn't be heading back anytime soon. Deserts were stale, main was too salty, just seemed like they were dialing it in a bit and past their prime. If your going to do classic traditional dishes that's fine, but they should near perfect if you want return visitors...

LFB is significantly better than both with similar casualness of Regalade, you should give it a try!

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

Quick follow up to this:

Went to Bishops as planned. Nice restaurant, nice people. Seemed a bit dated (ie what a nice restaurant was like in 80s 90s) but in a good way. Still the complexity of the cooking was clearly a step behind Hawksworth imho.

Had someone visiting from out of town and wanted to try La Crocodile as it is supposedly the best french restaurant in town, and having moved from Montreal I was in a bit of withdrawal. It was a big let down. I left feeling sad that is is considered the best French in my new home town city (although I would say that even casual place like Faux Bourgeois was significantly nicer).

Anyway, my point was that I reinforced my feeling that Hawksworth is a top restaurant in Vancouver/Canada, not that it is amazing, but just by the dearth of good upscale dining options out there

Hawksworth #2 in Canada?

Although I'm relatively new to BC, I've been to Hawksworth a few times and always left happy with my meal. Based on my time in Montreal, and several meals in good TO restos I would say imho it is one of the better 'high end' restaurants in this country (certainly well below what one would find in SF/NYC/Europe however), not sure about #2 but not nearly as bad as others have described on this post...

"mediocre and over-priced" my bills here are no different than most meals out in Montreal at mid-range restaurants

La Quercia was also really nice, as was Maenam, Farmer's apprentice was nice first time a bit of a let down on return visit; agree with above sentiments re: Pear Tree; Vij's and Cioppino's were let downs for me

In any case, you have inspired me to chose Bishop's over returning to Hawksworth for my wife's birthday this week, hope it is nice

Potholes in the Vancouver Dining Scene and a Thumbs Up to the Folks of La Buca/Pied de Terre

I've been here 4 months from montreal. My initial impressions are somewhat similar to the OP but I haven't been around enough to give it a fair shot.

Judging from NoMore's post perhaps there just isn't enough good sources of info on the new openings that is readily accessible? Eater 38 for Vancouver stopped updating. Vancouver Magazine restaurant awards has a "best chain" category, an oxymoron which limits its credibility to me. Imagine how many extra good medium range restos the city could support if every earls/cc shut down... I think this is the real downfall to the vancouver resto scene.

new to north shore

Friendly people at Artisan, and conveniently right next to a tailor/dry cleaner I was recommended.

Nice wholesome bread, not really the artisanal French I was hoping for but I think its time to give up on that I suppose

Thomas Haas was pretty good, really good Viennoiserie. sadly he doesn't make eclairs, so I may have to give up on that temporarily as well, oh well

On a second visit to Everything Wine I realized that they are sorely lacking in Burgundy reds (not bad for Rhone or Bordeaux though?) ; but I found out Marquis has a good selection of French and delivers so I'll have to give them a try.

new to north shore

Checked out Everything Wine yesterday. Seemed like a nice spot. Certainly good enough selection of French. I don't need to get jeroneum bottles of Sauterens (really you get ripped off on any $$ wine purchase in Canada anywhere, will try and save those for vacations) a al SAQ Signature. I was just a bit worried when we went to the first few liquor stores and a couple of restaurants that had wines from 6+ countries but 0 from France.

Thanks again for all the tips, now i've got a list to try out next time I don't feel like cooking.

Anyone have any favorite bakeries (of any sort) on the North Shore, the Ace bakery bread from Loblaws just isn't cutting it!

new to north shore

Thanks for the tips guys, keep them coming!

I'll check out those wine shops, and I'll be sure to also start trying some BC wine as well :)

new to north shore

Just moved from Montreal to North Vancouver. I was hoping for some local restaurant recomendations on the North Shore. There are so many small restos its hard to sort them all out.

Also some general tips, which sites are the most reliable (aside from chowhound of course) for YVR? (ie yelp seems much more popular out west)

Finally, I'm having a bit of withdrawal from french cuisine, is there anywhere to get good french bread, pastries? (tried Faubourg 'Paris' and was not impressed) . And what is with the lack of French wine? Seriously the local wine store carries more from Chile than it does from France!? Another west coast thing?

Lunch at Le Bristol and other suggestions

More will follow re our trip. But just to say we had a great time at epicure at lunch few weeks ago. Menu offers choices at each course, we tried most of the items, 2/4 were very good but any standards, and the other 2 were exceptional. The desert course was also exceptional. Decor and service were flawless as one would expect., lots of little extras that probably explains the higher ranking on TripAdvisor Cheese course is also included, so I felt it was a good value lunch as well and should be on short list for those looking for a taste of the good life in paris

Jun 18, 2014
tdiddy23 in France

last 5 meals in Montreal

So didn't quite make all the places I wanted, but did manage to return to:

Boullion Bilk
Hotel Hermain
Laloux (brunch)
Le express

And of course Fairmont bagel, le banquise and a few other snacks

All were great. Has been a memorable 5 years in this city that introduced me to good food and wine. Thanks to all the regular contributors, I'll be sure to check back in when I come for a visit

last 5 meals in Montreal

haven't left yet and i'm already out of the loop haha

i also forgot to add Tapeo to my little list there

last 5 meals in Montreal

Along that note, here’s a few of my favourite (and a few not so favourite) restaurants in the city, been meaning to post something like this, hopefully of use to someone

High end:
Maison Boulud- the food isn’t as original or local as Toque and they don’t try and wow you with little extras like Europea, but I’ve never been disappointed with anything here either, and the atmosphere + service is probably the best in Montreal if you were looking for a high-end meal.

Toque, very skilled cooking highlighting local products, atmosphere seemed a bit dated last time I was here

Europea, I think the food here actually improved a bit from the first time I went here to more recently, still I find the whole experience a bit over the top for the level of cooking they produce

La Porte, haven’t been in a few years, but was a nice intimate restaurant with very good Breton cooking, very romantic
XO, did not enjoy our meal there
La Chronique, an Outremont staple, food doesn’t really wow
Overall I think this is probably Montreal’s weakest category as a world class food city

Le Filet, great upscale spot, small portions to share, have yet to be disappointed
Hotel Herman, elegantly casual, with very competent cooking (much prefer it to their other reso)
Lawrence, homey atmosphere, very honest cooking
Bouillon Bilk, kitchen here produces stuff well above its pay-grade
Mezcla, Latin-French fusion, very unique, great tasting menu, very cute room
Pastaga, fun wine list, very solid cooking
Tuck Shop, neighbourhood gem type place, tough to get a reservation though
H4C - imaginative dishes, nice room, one of the best new restaurants in the city
400 cent coups, haven’t been since they changed chefs but this place used to be great (the old pastry chef’s new place is also great!)
Au Pied du cochon, loved it when I went 5 years ago, last time had a not so great experience, a few friends said the same, perhaps its fallen off a bit
Joe Beef, I think I’m in the “not sure what all the hype is about” camp for this place, over the few times I’ve been there, had 1 or 2 very good dishes, one terrible, and mostly above average stuff. Certainly is a bit different, and very rich so probably worth visiting to see for yourself. The wine markup is borderline insulting
Liverpool House, a somewhat more subdued version of Joe Beef, but similar atmosphere and style
Le Club chasse et peche, really enjoyed first meal there several years ago, last 2 times were both disappointments
Garde Manger, over-hyped
Le chien fumant, fun overindulgence, not exactly a destination restaurant by any means though
Maison Publique, only been once, nice vibe, food didn’t really blow me away

L’express - went for an impromptu late dinner here on first date with my wife, so will always have a bit of nostalgia, as I’m sure it does for many others, reasonable wine list also

Laloux, great spot, chefs constantly chaning so not sure
Bistro Cocagne, always was dead, but solid food

Lemeac, still enjoy going here for brunch once and a while, I don’t think dinner is anything special these days
Au cinqueme peche, hasn’t really been the same to me since they moved from the original location
Chez Leveque – another old classic, not really anything special from my limited experience
Chez chose – friendly owner, good food
Brassiere T – I’d probably go for one of the classics over this place, nothing really wrong here either though

Impasto - new favourite Italian in Montreal
Graziella – upscale Italian, was a bit disapointed last time but otherwise a very nice resto
Da emma – wasn’t too impressed
BICE, Il cortile – food is ok, both terraces are great
Primo et Secondo – good humble Italian cooking, not quite at the level of Impasto imho
Le Serpent- bustling place, great modern décor, food was good but not great

Greek/Other Regional
Damas- love this place, watch out for the huge portions though
Su- nice meal, not quite as good as Damas, and a bit out of the way for me
Tasso- nice Greek restaurant on St Denis, my favourite patio in the city, great for a hot summer night
Milos - excellent seafood, atmosphere is a bit over the top Greek but it’s a nice spot nevertheless
Phillinos – had a great meal/time the one time I went there, many friends recommend it
Park - my favourite Asian restaurant in Montreal

l'quartier general – by far my favourite bring your own wine in Montreal, to the point that I’ve really stopped going to any of the others (ie La columbe, Petit platuean, Monsieur B)

last 5 meals in Montreal

After 5 years in Montreal, I'm moving west (Vancouver). I have dined quite well in this city during that time. Started here with the Caswell recommendations and then never stopped :)

So if you were in similar shoes, what would be your last 5 restaurant diners in Montreal?(not counting smoked meat, sugar shacks, bagels, Portuguese chicken,etc which I will also hit up of course)

Lunch at Le Bristol and other suggestions

Well I made the reservation for Le Bristol... hopeuflly their ingredients have improved!

Sunday suits our schedule better anyway, and I always like trying new places. Really enjoyed Gagnaire though, hopefully we can return some day. I'd say of the places we've been I'd rank them in order Arpege, Gagnaire, Cinq, Plaza Athena, Meurice (whatever 1 visit is worth)

We are also going to try Saturne, Frenchie, and Chateaubriand this time. PIcked the latter over L'ami jean as its much closer to our hotel and wanted more contemporary dinning as we will have rich, classic cooking in the south west. So we will cover a lot of the heavy hitters on this forum that I've read so much about. I'll be sure to report back

Apr 09, 2014
tdiddy23 in France

Lunch at Le Bristol and other suggestions

My partner and I are going to be in Paris for 3 days (Saturday-Tuesday AM) before heading on a trip to the South West. We have tried a number of higher end restaurants in Paris (Le Meurice, Pierre Gagnaire, Plaza Athena, Arpege, Le Cinq) and a few more chic/casual places (Septime, Agape Substance, Akreme). We have gained alot of info from purusing this forum yet again, so thanks to all the regulars!

We are planning on a more casual focus this time, but would like to do one nice lunch. We could do Ledoyen or Arpege on Monday at lunch (I think) or Bristol at anytime. I can't seem to find anyone reporting on their lunch experience at Le Bristol? It is #1 on tripadvisor whatever that is worth. We won't be back in Paris for a few years probably (moving to the west coast shortly after) so a palace experience would be a nice memory. I've also heard good things about the food at Ledoyen, but not so good things about the service. I've already been to Arpege, and loved it, my partner wasn't with me. She really enjoys the whole vegi centric idea. However, I've read so many things about the inconsistencies there, part of me just wants to leave it with a good memory and not risk an off experience...

so to sum it up; lunch at Bristol, Ledoyen or return to Arpege?

Apr 07, 2014
tdiddy23 in France

Restaurant Closings in 2013

I'm pretty sure we don't "all pay taxes" this is Quebec after all haha

Is the economy really expected to be that bad this year?
I agree That it is not about the rent. There is such a large number of restaurants in Montreal, I think the only solution to be successful is to stand out somehow...

Restaurant Closings in 2013

when i was there a few days ago, I asked what happened. the server told me they had "kicked out their pastry chef"

the eclair i had was slightly soggy (but still better than most)... hopefully its not a sign of things to come

the other items looked exactly the same as before

joe beef wine prices discussed in globe and mail

I was reading this article the other day


Owner acknowledges Joe Beef's steeper mark-up on low priced wines:
"if the customer is drinking $35 wine I might even go to three times the retail price, or 3.2 times. I will not reward you for being thrifty at Joe Beef"

Also mentions that he will often discount higher priced wines, and this can be negotiated

Was wondering what others thoughts on this was?

Top 50 restaurants in the world.

its an over hyped PR stunt for sure. I guess I'm a sucker for looking at it every year!

seriously though, some of the 'judges' are chef's ranked on the list. Tourists boards from Scandinavia paid judges to travel their country and eat at the restaurants. they don't even make sure people are actually going to the restaurants they rank (ie attach the bill), because they are a "small operation" (who manage to publish a magazine, live stream on a elaborate website with major industry sponsors). This is of course on top of the inherent bias of the whole idea. Well at least it should be easier to get a reservation at NOMA now haha

Apr 30, 2013
tdiddy23 in Food Media & News

Help! Two Dinners in Montreal – What’s the Best?

I would reiterate the comments from cherylmtl and fintastic. Montreal does not do fine dining well, at least compared to others, and certainly not compared to Alinia, or even a more modest Michelar star in Chicago like Blackbird.

From your list, I would remove Le P'tit Plateau, Tapeo, Monsieur B, and Dominion Square, without hesitation.

My 2-3 meal picks would be:
- 1 of Joe Beef/APDC, both pretty heavy, gluttonous meals but very "Montreal" (skip if you are against gluttony, foie gras etc)
-400 Coups
-Either Bouillon Bilk or Le Filet or Hotel Herman (same people as La salle a manger but I like it better)

last minute trip to DC, thoughts

Got back yesterday, hada great time. We ended up keeping our reservations at vidalia and ethiopic. the game was earlier than i originally thought so I was able to move up the reserveration. Vidalia was an interesting meal, great corn bread, had some of their staple items (sweetbreads & waffles, shrimp and grits) that were quite tasty.
Ethiopic was a notch above the ethiopian food you can get in Montreal, really nice flavours; service could have been better (usually the service we get in US is much better than here in Canada) but they were nice. Maybe next time will have a bigger budget for some of the high end restaurants I read about, sounds like DC is emerging as a restaurant destination

last minute trip to DC, thoughts


Just took advantage of a great seat sale and decided to come down from Montreal to Washington DC for the easter weekend. My wife and I will be heading to the east regional game Saturday night (Verizon Center), and Wizards game Sunday (seems like they are practically giving the seats away on Stubhub for this one, not so much NCAA haha) and are staying downtown. I did some quick looking around and booked a dinner at Vidalia on Saturday night and Ethiopic on Sunday. We are looking for things we wouldn't typically get back home, without breaking the budget. Also considered sitting at the bar at Rasika, is this feasable at say 9:30-10 on Saturday, a better option?

Vidalia is pretty close to our hotel so that would be convenient, but if there are more interesting, lively places for a couple in their early 30s to be on a Saturday night without dealing with lines etc I'd be open to suggestions

THanks a lot!