Restaurant Review – Provence Marinaside

Posted in Around Vancouver, Restaurants

Provence Marinaside
arieanna & ianiv both give it **** (4/4 stars)

Dine Out event #2 was with friends to Provence Marinaside. Wow did I ever get more than I expected! Again we all dined for $25. The view was amazing – right on the seawall in Yaletown. A great decor – really warm feeling and just the right lighting. I relaxed the instant we sat down. Our server was fabulous – he never intruded but we were never lacking in good service and he had a quietness about him that didn’t make him seem pushy like some servers can.

Since Provence was nice enough to have a website that works, here is the menu we dined on:

Tapenade and Crostini
~
Antipasti
one choice from our showcase
or
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tartlette
oven roasted mushroom and goat cheese puff pastry tartlette, mixed greens and organic extra virgin olive oil
~
Daube de BÅ“uf
red wine beef ragout
baby carrots, chickpea flour cakes
or
Citrus Infused Red Snapper
potato crusted, citrus infused snapper
snap peas, roasted cherry tomatoes
~
DESSERT
Choice from our menu


The Tapenade came just after we had started looking into our menus and ordering our drinks. Was quite good. Bread was served later with butter as well.

I believe we all tried various Antipasti. The antipasti is actually available if you walk into the restaurant for lunch or whatever. Anyway, here is what we dined on:

Appetizer

-Me- PISSALADIÈRE caramelized onions on pizza crust with black olives and anchovies
–>amazing! The anchovies and olives were not too overpowering and it had a great crunchy thin crust. Lovely. Great portion sizes too! As an aside, I like larger appetizers because you can take your time with dinner because you feel more full from your appetizer.
-Ianiv- GRILLED SQUID lemon chili vinaigrette
–>Really yummy. Very generous squid sizes but not in the least chewy. The chili was nice and spicy but not overpowering.
-Our friends- GRILLED LAMB lamb tenderloin, garlic, herbes de provence & – Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tartlette
–>I believe both quite enjoyed their selections. The lamb was a very generous portion on skewers. The Tartlette was a larger portion than the antipasti and looked really good.

Main Dish
- Us girls both had the Snapper. I thought it was absolutely amazing. The recipe does not note it, but it comes with this amazing creamy sauce dabbled over the snapper and the plate. It tastes citrusy but has a rich warm flavour as well (you can taste mildly the butter but the flavour contains another warm note complementing it very well). The snapper was so soft with that outer potato crunch. It just melted in my mouth. The peas were very crisp still, the tomatoes warm and saucy, and you can tell the care that was put into presenting and preparing this dish freshly. It lived up to what a true seafood restaurant should be serving.
- The boys had the beef. A ragout is a stew with a really nice red wine flavour. The meat was very soft. The chickpea cakes were interesting – they were not your normal cake patty format but more blocky like tofu looks – but they tasted very good. Ianiv ate the carrots which says something for the seasoning.

Dessert
Omigod! I would go back again just for the dessert even if the rest sucked (which it really did not!!). I am having a hard time writing this without jumping in to the car and going over for seconds.

Two of us, myself included, dined on this:
CRÈME BRÛLÉE raspberry version of the classic
–> The creme was amazing. Such a perfect carmelization on the crust. And so soft and fluffy. And who knew raspberry would taste so good in a creme brulee?!? Some fanatics out there may be freaking out over its use, I have no idea, but mmmmmmmm. It was so gentle and soft an infusion of raspberry. Absolutely to die for. I spent a good deal of time scraping the creme out of the corners of the dish. Faux pas, yes, but I just had to. And the portion was larger than your standard dessert portion. Very nice.

The other two had this:
HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE CAKE chewy hazelnut base with a velvety smooth chocolate pâté
–>The cake was very rich. You could taste the hazelnut in the crust. The crust was dense and very good. The chocolate was dark and very rich, you could tell that care was taken in choosing it. The plate was adorned in two lovely fruit dressings, and Ianiv even ate the berry sauce. Very amazing, so that tells you how good it was. I did eat his whipped cream though. :)

So, do we recommend this restaurant. YES!! We will be going back any time we are in Yaletown, even if its just for a quick antipasti or dessert. I am dying to try the Bouillabaisse.

Address: 1177 Marinaside Crescent
Location: Marinaside & Davie
Phone: 604.681.4144

Restaurant Review – Aqua Riva

Posted in Restaurants

Aqua Riva
arieanna & ianiv both give it *** (3/4 stars)

We had dinner at Aqua Riva (supposed to be at www.aquariva.com) as a part of Vancouver’s annual Dine Out event. This is one of Vancouver’s more pricey restaruants, and most difinitively catering to tourists it would seem. Being right on the Vancouver harbour by Canada Place and the main hotels downtown, it has a great waterfront view. Its decor was impressive but rather overdone. Our server was attentive to the point of being nosy – my plate was gone almost before I had put down my fork. But that was perhaps to be expected during the crazy Dine Out event.

Anyway, we all ate for $25 a head. Three course meal with a choice of 3 or 4 options for each course. Bread was served with butter and a salsa.

Appetizers
- I had a seared prawn dish featuring 4 prawns on a bed of salad with a spicy dressing. It was on the small side but the prawns were done excellently – a lovely crunch.
- Ianiv ordered a “hot pot” soup. The menu suggested it had a variety of about 5 different fish/shellfish bits in it. The dish arrived with negligible seafood (note: on the way out, Arieanna noted the very large pot teeming with this dish. The server had to dig around and mix as he served. Likely the whole night was served with this one pot). The broth was quite good though.
- Ianiv’s mother had a calamari salad with about 5 little tiny calamari on a bed of salad.

Overall, not amazing but not bad. It tasted good but was in no way extraordinary or unique.

Main Course
- Ianiv’s mother and I both ordered the lamb. It was served on a pad of fried potato hash with lentils, asian veggies, and had a tiny bit of a salsa on top. The recipe was listed to include eggplant, but I did not find any. The lamb was cooked very well and was a very nice cut. I was impressed. The flavour was good, again, but did not knock me over. The presentation was somewhat lacking.
- Ianiv had the pork dish. Pit roasted pork served with carrots, garlic mash, and grilled pear. It was a good cut of pork but was not really worth the money.

Dessert
- I had an apple blackberry crumble with vanilla bean ice cream. The ice cream was very good, I do have to say. You can taste the real bean. I was craving berries since they are out of season so I enjoyed the dish for that reason. Not a very elegant dish, but satisfying.
- Ianiv and his mother both had the lemon tart of some sort. It was overly sweet.

So, our overall impression coming from all 3 of us: a good meal, just worth the $25, but never a restaurant to visit again. The prices they charge on the main menu were very high and we did not witness an extraordinary value from the meal aside from quality ingredients being used in order for us to ever justify returning. A good restaurant with good food but not special.

Address: 200 Granville Street
Location: Granville & Cordova
Phone: 604.683.7551

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