Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pho 99 Vietnamese Noodle House : Schoolhouse location

Pho 99 and Pho Hoa (I guess Pho Boi now…) are two of the largest Vietnamese franchises in Vancouver. Of course these restaurants may not serve the best Vietnamese food and cannot compare to some of the small family owned establishments, but they get the job done… sort of, for those who have a craving. Or in general, for the non picky.

The newest Pho 99 restaurant is in Coquitlam on Schoolhouse, very close to the SilverCity theatre. The back of the restaurant also has a door which leads to a bowling ally! Since this is the newest Pho 99, the restaurant is very clean and looks nice. I believe this is the largest restaurant in the franchise as well. There are plenty of seats along with booth seating arrangements and the restaurant overall was very comfortable to dine in.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top Gun Hot Pot 尖東火鍋 : Dim sum


Top Gun Hot Pot is one of the five restaurants that belong to the Top Gun group. The restaurant is located in Crystal Mall and serves as a dim sum restaurant during the day, but turns into a hot pot buffet in the evening. I have never been here for dim sum before but my parents have many years ago and according to them, the only edible item was the salty rice pudding, which is no longer available. This probably explains why ever since I was a child, the only dim sum restaurant in Burnaby we would go to is Fortune House at Metrotown. Although I do not know why they even like Fortune House because the food is overpriced for the quality and the line up is always ridiculous.

Anyhow, fast forward to years later, I finally get control of where we go for dim sum! After begging my parents to come here with me for two weeks… My sudden interest in having dim sum here is because ever since I had dinner at Top Gun J&C in Richmond, I thought Top Gun may be a fine dining restaurant and serve good dim sum. I actually looked through some of the dim sum photos from Top Gun J&C and the food looked good, so I assumed Top Gun in Burnaby would serve the same dishes… But I was wrong. Oh well, I had nothing to lose because I received an e-mail that dim sum would be 40% off for members.

The restaurant has plenty of booth seating arrangements along with well spaced out tables. The seating arrangements are not cramped either and are fairly comfortable. But when considering that dim sum starts at $4.95, the atmosphere does not match the higher prices. With regards to the service, there were no plate changes as well so the service does not match the higher prices either. However, the staff were fairly polite. There is only a Chinese check list menu and when I asked if there was an English version, the manager mentioned I could tell him what I wanted to order in English and he could check the items off for me! Also despite that the order sheet is in Chinese, the actual menu has English.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cazba : Downtown Vancouver location

Majority of the Iranian restaurants are located in Coquitlam and North Vancouver, but there are a few in Downtown as well. Cazba and Zeitoon are two of the most popular Persian restaurants and both establishments started out in North Vancouver before opening a second location in Downtown. If comparing the two, Cazba is more like a "fast food" restaurant compared to Zeitoon in my opinion. Cazba is located on Davie and Thurow street, and the restaurant is fairly large. The restaurant has plenty of well spaced out tables, four different dining areas, and a patio for when the weather permits.

As for the atmosphere, it is very casual and perhaps too laid back because we were seated at a table which was not properly wiped down. The table was dusty which I find odd, especially when considering there must have been people seated at the same spot not too long ago. Why would there be dust? The crumbs I understand, but dust? Strange. On top of that, there were grains of rice on the chairs  along with the floor. Of course we could have asked for a different table or chairs and the staff would have been fine with that, but I did not want to come off as troubling because Cazbo is a casual restaurant.

We should have asked for a different seat though because I did not know how uncomfortable I would be, which resulted in only ordering a couple of dishes and wanting to leave quickly. This is a shame because the interior has a lot of potential. There is a high ceiling, plenty of natural lighting, and I believe every table has a candle that is most likely lit during dinner services. Asides from the atmosphere, Cazba is a good lunch choice for those who work near by because there were only three seated tables when we arrived at 1:00pm. There is no need to worry about rushing back to work because of a delay in the kitchen or front of the house.


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