4 Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants I Like

Well, the other day our guest poster, New West Gal mentioned that she was thoroughly dissatisfied with the restaurant choices here in the Endub, so I thought I would take a few minutes to relate four of my favourite restaurants. I’m not an expert, by any means, but I have lived here for a while,Read More

Well, the other day our guest poster, New West Gal mentioned that she was thoroughly dissatisfied with the restaurant choices here in the Endub, so I thought I would take a few minutes to relate four of my favourite restaurants. I’m not an expert, by any means, but I have lived here for a while, am a sucker for a to-go menu, and will make a point of eating local if the food is good. Everyone hears about La Spaghetteria and The Keg, but what about the hole-in-the-walls? So in no order in particular:

Pho Maxima on Urbanspoon Pho Maxima: 822 20th Street. This place gets my vote as # 1 Pho restaurant in town. Granted, he might be the ONLY Pho restaurant in town, but beggars can’t be choosers. Pho Maxima is actually a relocation – he used to be on Edmonds, near Canada Way in neighbouring Burnaby, but shut down in the winter of 07 to relocate to 20th Street in New West. It’s a small joint, run by a family, but the food is piping hot, incredibly fresh-tasting, and the menu, while somewhat predictable, covers all the favorites you’d want to see at a Vietnamese place.he gets two thumbs up for remembering my husband and I when we come in when we’ve only actually been there a half dozen times or so. He also delivers (woot!), although how far I am not positive. 604-759-3669.

Hi Dojo Sushi on UrbanspoonHi Dozo Sushi: 702 6th Avenue (on the corner of 7th Street and 6th Avenue). I have yet to figure out what Hi Dozo actually means, and if this place is called Hi Dozo or Hi Dojo. In any event, the food is consistently good, the rolls are a bit more imaginative than your standard Dynamite/California combo, and the staff are incredibly nice. They do have a take out menu. This isn’t the cheapest sushi in town but sushi is one of those things I will pay more for if its quality. I have never been disappointed by Hi Dozo. 604-519-0099

Golphis Steak & Lobster on UrbanspoonGolphi’s Steak and Lobster: 1122 5th Avenue (entrance is actually on 12th Street). I have to confess that I haven’t been here in a while so if you go, and it sucks, let me know. This is one of those places that you walk in and you have to ask if they are open. Horrid decor, and semi-awkward ambience. I’m probably not selling it here, am I? But the food redeems itself. Excellent pizza (they do deliver) and a good selection of typical quasi-Greek items. Service was fabulous and price was good. I ordered a steak once and was delighted and surprised by the quality. 604-524-3677

Ole Ole Mexican Deli on UrbanspoonOle Ole Mexican Deli: at 831 12th Street is also a long time favourite. The man who runs this place is, hands down, one of the most charismatic restauranteurs I have met. I like going in and saying “I’m in the mood for chicken, surprise me” and I get a plate of fresh, authentic food for cheap. I like the tiny little operation that it is, and the warm homey food. I also feel like I can hang out in there for as long as I want. 604-540-7435

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Jen Arbo

Jen Arbo is the editor and co-publisher of Tenth to the Fraser. She's been writing for the site since 2007 and lives in Sapperton with her family. A project manager at heart, she also operates Hyack Interactive, a digital communications company. Find her on Twitter or Instagram.

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  1. My fave local eatery (we mostly order takeout) is Go Thai at the corner of E. Columbia and Braid in Sapperton. Good authentic Thai made by someone who knows what they’re doing. The restaurant is owned and run by a couple. He seems to run the front end and does some deliveries and she does the cooking. I also like that when I order food spicy that I actually get it spicy.

  2. Will and Briana and I had some really good Indian takeaway the other day, and were pleasantly surprised. Will gets heartburn and wasn’t in the Indian food mood, but Briana and I overruled and ordered from Royal Tandoori (mentioned by NewWestGal in her post), and we’re glad we did. We ordered the “dinner for 2” on the back of the takeaway menu plus an extra naan bread, which was the perfect size for us with just a bit of Biryani left for Wesley’s lunch.
    It was well flavoured, and what Briana and I liked was that even the “mild” spiced food had flavour. It was not greasy, the biryani veggies tasted pretty fresh, and the curry was really nice. Overall, not greasy, flavourful and just the right amount. I think it was around $10 for each of us.

  3. Thanks for these reviews – I’ve wondered about both Golphi’s and Ole Ole Mexican Deli.

    But no one’s mentioned the incredible Reuben you can get in the back room (the little library) of Moonrakers on 7th just down from the Royal City Centre. Or my favourite restaurant in all of New West, what I refer to as the one ‘funky’ place to take people from downtown Vancouver in New West, namely The Heritage Grill – http://www.theheritagegrill.com/. Lovely mescalin mix salad – exquisite dressing with just enough mint in it to be exciting – great service, and great breakfasts too.

    In fact – we need to do a post about best breakfast places in New West, and let the Jim’s vs Amelia’s fans duke it out. 🙂

  4. I LOVE the Heritage Grill. It sounds so funny to rave about salad, of all things, but it’s true. We ordered crab cakes once, and although they were yummy, it was the garnish (that darn salad) that we couldn’t stop raving about. I don’t know what’s in their dressing but I haven’t tasted anything like it before.

    I used to like going to the Orange Room, but it’s closed now.

  5. My only issue with Moonrakers is the horrid smoke smell that they’ll never get rid of – carpeted bar – who thought of that? I used to go there with my soccer team after games and would come home and be asked why I started smoking again.

  6. Jen – where is it? Is it the place on the east side of 6th near 8th that takes cash only and advertises that it’s cooking like Grandma’s? With the really cool furniture? If so, it’s also the ONLY place to get both a great breakfast AND a great cup of coffee in New West. Although it ain’t cheap and the portions are small.

  7. No, this place is on 12th Street, around 7th I think. Its totally gritty and stuck in the 70s with vinyl etc. Not at all cool. But seriously good bacon. And to me, that trumps everything.

  8. Lots of real good breakfast places on 12th Street. For fried food try New owners at Mom’s near corner of Edinburgh.(note new name Mon Moms Home Cooking. apparently “Mon” is french for “My” Unique catchy name but haven’t figured out the reason, Fanny will explain) Of coures 12th Street has Amelias and Youngs both serving economical fried breakfasts with endless coffee. Both of these are between 6th and 7th. Then we have the Village Coffee Lounge(7th and 12th) opens faithfully at 6AM and serves healthy Breakfasts. Panini(ham,egg and cheese grilled on focacia bread) bagels,Muffins and the best specialty coffees. Eat in or on the run. After breakfast digests please come back and enjoy the famous pulled pork on focacia at the Village or the many ethnic lunch and dinner spots on 12th.

  9. I am a big fan of Yinnis Greek on 8th Street. I find the service very good, decor simple, and food cheap but plentiful.

    I must mention also K Sushi across from New West SkyTrain station. They are the best sushi in town! Sorry, but I find the Hi Doio a bit greasy at times.

    Agree with the poster about the Heritage Grill, there is something about their salads! They are amazing.

    Orange Room has re-opened but under different management. I have not tried it since it has come back, but used to be a big fan of their coffee.

  10. I go to the Heritage Grill once a month for Green Drinks, and they've been consistently good. The lamb burger is great.

    I've not been to Ole Ole for a few years, but it was great when we last went.

    Go Thai has great Thai food, but it's definitely "restaurant" – lots of cream and oil. I like the chicken curry.

    Hi Dozo is great for sushi.

    The Orange Room used to be bland, but has great breakfasts under the new owners.

    Tamarind Hill is probably my favorite dinner restaurant in New West.

    There is a small place on Belmont, between the cold-beer-and-wine, and the post office, and I think it's called Coozies, and it's been good the few times we've tried it.

  11. Great recommendations, David. my only beef with Couzies is the wall of smokers you have to pass through to get inside. So much for no smoking within 3 metres.

  12. I didn't know about Pho Maxima will be trying that out. Good to see recommendations. I have a Japanese friend who told me HiDozo means "here you go". It's my fav sushi in town. Ole Ole Mexicana is everything you said and never mind the decor at Golphi's through the years I've never been disappointed with the service or the food. In fact it's been too long since I've eaten there. Some of my friends from book club are starting a supper club that is going to meet and try out different restaurants in town. It should be fun.

  13. Bonnie is correct about the meaning of "Hi Dozo." Its official spelling, though, should be "hai" (which is pronounced like the English "hi"). I don't know whether they changed the spelling so that people wouldn't mispronounce it or if they were trying to be cute. But if you speak Japanese, their spelling is confusing because "hi" in romaji rhymes with "she" and means flame or fire. So in my opinion, they created more problems than they solved!

    Clear as mud, eh?

  14. I have tried Pho Maxima and I have been back often. I highly recommend it. It's clean, friendly service and consistently good food. So nice to have a good Vietnamese in New West.I love Pho soup. Thanks Jen for making me aware of it. I also have to say our book/dinner club went to Thea's in Queensboro recently and we were delighted with service, food and friendliness. I had the roast lamb. It was to die for and the salad was delicious (nice ripe tomatoes, not hard and green).

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