Taquitos, macarons, miso chowder and more at Tasting Plates Vancouver

Photos by Kelly Jean Marion -- follow her at @kellyjean247

Downtown Vancouver is home to a plethora of ethnic food restaurants. But, with so many side streets, how does a person discover them all? 

That's where Vancouver Foodster came in hand with Tasting Plates Vancouver, an evening that highlighted yummy (and not so yummy) restaurants.

Foodies congregated at Vancouver FanClub as early as 5:30 p.m. to beat the rush, register, grab a bite to eat and enjoy live music, performed by Gio Levy.

With eight participating restaurants and food trucks, it was crucial not to dilly-dally like I did in order to get a taste of them all.

Some of the regulars printed out maps for the event while others planned out routes in their head. The "newbies" just went with the flow.

I strolled from place to place, wherever my feet led me.

Each restaurant served up multiple items of food, with vegetarian options available at most of them. At some of the restaurants, including Lolita's and Vancouver FanClub, the chef was available to say hello. 

Check out my diverse evening of eating... 

Pink Elephant Thai

Cuisine: Thai

  1. Alberni mango wrap (Vegetarian)
  2. Shrimp ball
  3. Green curry chicken with noodles
  4. Larb pork with crispy wontons

The service at Pink Elephant Thai was great, with quick food and smiling staff. I enjoyed everything that was served, except for the shrimp ball which didn't do it for me texturally and had me actually questioning what it was. The larb pork was both visually and gastronomically delightful and the mango wrap was a refreshing palate cleanser after the slightly spicy green curry chicken. 

Lolita`s Cantina

Cuisine: Mexican


  1. Slow roasted beer braised Beef Taquitos.
  2. Pulled achiote Chicken and Spinach Flautists wrapped in blue corn tortillas.
  3. Crispy Quinoa and Corn Fritters with charred cherry tomato and zucchini mojo (Vegetarian)

Lolita's was another restaurant that offered fantastic service. The chefs happily served up food despite standing outside, cold, under a tent. My favorite of the three was the pulled achiote chicken and spinach flautist that was accompanied by some delicious salsa.

Zachary's on Robson

Cuisine: West Coast

  1. 1) Potato Bite - cajun dusted potato ball infused with maple smoked bacon, red onion, cheddar cheese & fresh dill. Ranch sauce to dip.
  2. Mighty Meatball - citrus tinged meatball dipped in an unforgettable Moroccan BBQ sauce
  3. Scallops Poutine - chips topped with scallop simmered in a tomato sauce and garnished with herbs and gravy. 

This stop may have been unforgettable, like they claim their Moroccan BBQ sauce to be, but probably not the way it was intended to be. The service was slow and the food was okay. I liked the attempt at a creative poutine, but it wasn't easy to eat and the scallop was over-cooked. My favorite was the potato bite. 

Betty on Burrard

Cuisine: Café and Dessert

  1. Erin Ireland's To Die For Banana Bread (Vegetarian)  OR
  2. Delish Gluten Free Oreo Cookie (Vegetarian, Gluten Free & Dairy Free)

Guests chose their liquor (whiskey, Kahlua, Bailey's) to spike their coffees or could have a glass of Black Sage Port or red wine.

I loved the gluten free Oreo cookie, especially when paired with coffee and Bailey's. It's rare that restaurants offer a boozy beverage as part of the tasting plate, so this was a nice treat. I also coerced them into giving me some port, which was equally delightful.  

Red Card Sports Bar + Eatery

Cuisine: Italian

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