Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baja Surf Grill

http://bajasurfgrill.com/ - 535 Yates St

Another Groupon, and another restaurant to check out! I went with a friend that mentioned they were interested in checking it out as well on a Saturday night. We entered just as they were opening and had our choice of seating. The inside was really neat looking with all dark wood and plants, it almost had a Balinese look to it, the day was nice and sunny so we opted for the back patio. Wasn't quite what we expected, just a few metal tables in an alleyway that also had some homeless people hanging out.

Out waitress was ok but wasn't that impressed when I just had water. We decided to share a few plates trying the Taquitos, Traditional Baja Tacos and the Tropical Crunch Roll. I had checked out the menu online before hand and it's a confusing mix of Mexican and Sushi-fusion. It's like the people that opened the restaurant couldn't decide what they wanted to cook so just did both. That's ok though as I do enjoy both types of food and it's fun to try something different. I thought we'd get our dishes separately but they ended up all coming at the same time. I started with the Taquitos which were tequila soaked raisins with a chipotle cream cheese wrapper in tortilla fingers. Never had taquitos like this before, they were ok but I barely could taste the cream cheese and overall didn't have much flavour. They seemed like something someone would through together as an appie to take to someones house.

I love fish tacos so I was excited to try the Traditional Baja Taco which was tempura battered fish, salsa, shredded cabbage and baja aioli. I was pretty disappointed. The battered fish wasn't anything special and I felt like the tempura batter didn't go well with everything else. I couldn't even taste the salsa or aioli and the cabbage had a harsh bitter taste. It seems like such a simple dish and it's something I have made at home with no experience and have had better.

The Tropical Crunch Roll wasn't much better. Panko crusted and fried California roll toped with diced mango and tobiko with chipotle mayo and sweet sauce. The roll was very bland considering everything it had on it and the sauce didn't add much flavour and punch as it should have. I enjoyed trying something new but they just couldn't pull it together. I saw the mango on top but couldn't taste it in any of the bites.

This may be a nice place to go for a drink and hang out and grab a few bites if you're drinking, but I wouldn't go here as a destination for the food.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


http://www.zambris.ca/ - 820 Yates St

I've been wanting to eat at Zambris long before they moved to their new location in the Atrium building and last weekend I finally had a chance when my lovely fiance took me out for lunch.
Luckily it wasn't too busy and we were seated right away beside the window. The main dining room wasn't very big, mostly taken over by the big bar. There was an outdoor patio that wasn't open yet as well as seating inside the Atrium and a room that was closed off. They were having a private event which seemed to be people they knew watching a soccer game as cheers from the room kept erupting.

We were given a bottle of water on the table which I appreciated, though considering their glasses were the size of shot glasses it was pretty much neccesary. We also got a basket with fresh crusty bread and some tasty olives which was really nice.

There were a lot of things on the menu that tempted me so it was hard to decide but I knew I was craving pasta so I ordered the Penne with Peas and Gorgonzola which I had been eying on the menu for awhile.

To start we shared the Arrabbiata pizza which had spicy pickled peppers, smoked cheese and tomato sauce. This is not something I would normally order but I really enjoyed it and think it strongly competes with the Pizzeria Prima Strada pizzas, I may have even liked it a little more. The crust was wood fire oven cooked and was perfect, very light and tasty! The sauce was delicious and I really enjoyed the combination of the spicy peppers and smoky cheese.

I also really enjoyed the pasta, the penne was cooked to perfection, though if it wasn't I would be very disapointed. The sauce was nice and had the perfect amount of gorgonzola so that it wasn't too over powering. The peas tasted fresh and went really well with the sauce.

We also saw Peter Zambri in the kitchen so it was good to know this is a family run business that is always there making sure their standards are maintained.

It was a perfect lunch, the only negative being it was so good I ate too much! I can't wait to go back and try many other dishes on the menu! Plus I didn't have a chance to try the Tiramisu and I know I won't be let down!