No.1 Beef Noodle

As a daughter to immigrant parents, I’ve spent all my life eating Chinese food.  We tend to eat simple Cantonese dishes at home, but when there’s a special occasion, we try to go to a restaurant.  This is how I know for a fact that service is not a key criteria in your meal.  Luckily, some restaurants in Vancouver realize it’s actually an important part of your experience besides the food.  No. 1 Beef Noodle is a casual Taiwanese restaurant that understands this as well.

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From the moment we walked in, our family of 3 were greeted with smiles.  We had to wait for a table since it was the lunch rush and were finally seated in the corner.  A table for 4 opened up and they offered to let us sit there if it would be more comfortable.  That may seem like an insignificant thing, but trust me when I tell you that Chinese restaurants don’t usually do that.  The main goal is always to maximize the space and diners, meaning you squish everyone in to serve as many people as you can in the shortest time possible.

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When we were ready to order, I wanted to order the fish hot-pot with rice and the waitress promptly told me that it’s a little spicy in case I was going to feed my baby as well.  I was actually going to, so I’m glad she told me about that because usually they don’t really care.  You ordered it, can’t you read?  She also brought over a little bowl with utensils for my daughter without me having to ask.  Sounds pretty straight forward, right?  Trust me, this is great service and I’m pleased.

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The food here consists of mainly noodles and rice dishes.  My favorite is the beef brisket and tomato in noodle soup.  I’ve also had the crispy fried pepper chicken on rice, which is also quite good.  For dessert, I love their shaved ice with condensed milk, strawberry and lychee.  One thing that is very typical of an Asian restaurant though, cash only.

 

Medium noise level – $

No. 1 Beef Noodle

4741 Willingdon Avenue

Burnaby BC

BC V5G

Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant

The name is Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, but to be honest, it’s far from authentic Mexican food.  Dishes are tailored to the way we North Americans like to eat, from the type of cheese to the heaping portions on the plate.  Having said that, I still like it here.  Las Margaritas is located on West 4th, which is a trendy upscale shopping area.  They have a relaxing outdoor dining area to enjoy your Tequila Caesar and it’s located 10 minutes from the beach.

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How’s the food though?  The complimentary salsa and chips at the beginning of your meal is spicy and fresh.  The items on the menu range from average to good with my favorite dish being the Seafood Enchilada.  Overall, if you’re looking for good Mexican food you’d probably go elsewhere, but if you want a good patio, location, people watching, convenience and a kid friendly environment, you won’t be disappointed here.

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Medium noise level – $$

Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant

1999 4th Ave W

Vancouver, BC

V6J 1M7

 

Kinder Cafe

Kinder Café is located in Port Coquitlam just off of Lougheed Highway in the same plaza as Kin’s Market.  This bright little playground have tons of toys and is clean and affordable.  There are couches for nursing moms and change tables in the washrooms.  They serve snacks and lattes for sleep deprived parents to enjoy while watching their children tire themselves out.  It’s a comfortable place to bring your kids rain or shine.

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There aren’t too many indoor play areas for kids in the lower mainland and unfortunately, the place is closing down.  As we were speaking with the owner, she mentioned that someone else may purchase the Kinder Café name and either keep it open or reopen in another location.  I’m hoping they can reopen in Burnaby as it’s closer to home, but I’ll be happy regardless if Kinder Café can just be available while my daughter is growing up.  In the meantime, they are having a closing out sale so go check them out if you want to purchase some items for a steal.  They’ll be open until Wednesday 3:00PM.

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Loud noise level – $

Kinder Café

2020 Oxford Connector

Port Coquitlam

BC V3C 0A4

Joe’s Grill

Sometimes you want a fancy brunch and sometimes you just want to go for something simple and delicious.  Joe’s Grill is a casual diner that serves brunch as well as lunch items everyday.

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The restaurant is located on trendy Main Street among all the dessert and coffee shops.  I hate fighting traffic downtown and the parking sometimes, so Main Street is close enough to the action.  It’s also a lot easier to go for brunch when you don’t have to wait for an hour, especially with a baby.

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I usually get the eggs benedict since I can’t poach a proper egg or make Hollandaise sauce if my life depended on it.  I decided on the eggs benedict with avocado and tomato.  It was perfectly cooked with runny eggs and more than enough Hollandaise sauce.  Props to the chef because it was made so well that I used it as dipping sauce for my potatoes rather than using Ketchup.  My husband ordered the tuna melt and I usually sneak a bite, but I was too busy shoveling food into my mouth from my own plate this time.  Even though our meal lasted for only an hour (Mikayla had to nap), it was good to spend time with my cousin and meet her boyfriend for the first time.

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Average noise level – $

Joe’s Grill

3048 Main Street

Vancouver, BC

V5T 3G5

Boston Pizza

My coworker and I are on maternity leave at the moment and decided to have lunch by the office.  Boston Pizza was an easy choice since it was close by, kid friendly and most importantly, stress free.  The staff here are always attentive and easy to deal with.  For all you parents, there’s high chairs and plenty of room for strollers as well.

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Boston Pizza started in Canada and has been around since the 60’s.  There’s quite a few locations in the lower mainland, but I tend to frequent the Lougheed Highway location in Burnaby.  Parking is free and although that lot tends to get full, they offer free valet parking.  Another thing I don’t have to worry about.

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They have an extensive selection of menu items including several gluten free dishes.  If I don’t order a salad, I tend to get the Boston Royal Pizza which has smoked ham, pepperoni, shrimp, olives, green pepper, onion and mushroom.  It’s even better when my husband picks off all the olives and puts them on my slice of pizza.  Double olives, yes!

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Happy 50th anniversary Boston Pizza!

 

Medium noise level – $$

Boston Pizza

4219 Lougheed Hwy

Burnaby, BC

V5C 3Y6

Sweetery Cafe

If you’re looking to eat close to Downtown and Granville Island without venturing into either places, Sweetery Café isn’t a bad choice.  It’s quick and easy with plenty of free street parking available.

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Sweetery serves sandwiches, wraps and salads with daily specials.  Today’s special was a BBQ chicken grilled cheese sandwich served with fries, salad or soup.  In addition to that I also ordered the chicken, avocado and tomato sandwich with a side of quinoa salad.  Both were satisfying without being too greasy.  The food is more on the healthier side, so don’t expect comfort food.  To be honest, the salad was a little bland for me, but it felt good for my body.

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This is a casual place to grab some coffee and dessert to chat with some friends, unfortunately my daughter was getting fussy so we couldn’t stay long enough to try any.

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Medium noise level – $

Sweetery Café

340 W 2nd Avenue

Vancouver, BC

V5Y 3W3