This weekend on the way back from Lund, Mom and I decided to stop in at the Laughing Oyster for appies, lured by the memory of a rather special non-alcoholic drink we’d enjoyed there.
Turned out we were hungry enough to order lunch, and a good thing we did! Our waitress was prompt and friendly, and we were given a table with a lovely view. Mom ordered the Charlotte’s Chicken and Mushroom, which had a lobster flavored spicy sauce (even I who abhor spicy food liked it), bits of chicken the perfect level of tender, nicely cooked mushrooms, and fresh shallots on top. Presentation was glorious. Mom ate the whole thing in spite of a small appetite.I went with a safe choice, the Chicken Club Ciabatta. It was the best damn chicken club I’ve ever had. The ciabatta was chewy and warm, not hard and cold like so many ciabattas. The chicken was real chicken, not that processed pap, and it was cooked to tender perfection, with no hard tips or bits. Lettuce was fresh, and the bacon was not too soft, but not too crispy. The sandwich came with a salad and kennebec fries, both delicious. I don’t know what kind of dressing was on the salad, but it was just the right amount and tasted like heaven. The fries were real, hand-sliced potatoes fried in pure vegetable oil and covered with the same coating put on the calamari–a real treat! Owner Dave Bowes is fussy about getting the freshest local greens and vegetables wherever possible, and it shows. It was a shame neither of us is much of a seafood fan, since the Laughing Oyster is justly famous for its local seafood. Several friends claim the oysters there were the finest of their lives.
3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)
For a quarter-century, Gus, Joyce, and Orion Lenis have put Greek food, real-cheese pizza, and affordable steak dinners on their cloth-draped tables, well apportioned with cloth napkins, comfortable chairs, a paper map of Greece for every place, and the sounds of singers like Nana Mouskouri rounding out the ambience of hanging plants and Greek vistas painted on the walls.
The Granada is a pleasant, approachable, affordable restaurant which really works at pleasing its clientele. On my night, the Lenis, both on duty at 9:30 p.m. on a Sunday, seemed to be literally the only restaurateurs in town still on the job. For a hungry traveler off the ferry, their spring $9.99 sirloin special, with lots of mushrooms, plenty of just-cooked-enough veggies, and tasty grains of rice-not to mention the irresistible garlic toast-was a godsend. The steak actually was cooked medium rare, as requested. With a decent glass of Argentine wine and Joyce’s reminiscences about how the freezing winter of ’91 cracked their Greek statue in the water feature on the front patio, I had a fine time.
The cream-of-broccoli soup, pleasantly peppered, brimmed with vegetables and certainly needed no crackers-I ate it all and looked for more. The mango dessert, although admittedly from out of town, was superb. A Greek coffee would have been a first-class accompaniment, but a fresh pot of the regular stuff was brewed up just for me.
Dinner, a glass of wine, dessert, and coffee came to $27 before tip. Read more »
Little Hut Curry
4623 Marine Avenue
11:45 to 2:30, Tuesday to Saturday
(Occasionally Sun/Mon also)
by Eva van Loon
Recently a visiting performer had only an hour to get from one gig to the next in Powell River—during dinner hour! By the time his entourage arrived by reservation at Little Hut Curry, only 27 minutes could safely be allotted to dinner. And the Kaurs did it! We were all beautifully fed in the same sunny, art-full local ambience some many of came to love when this location housed only Bemused Bistro. Delicious north Indian foods materialised at our table as if by magic in no time at all, and 27 minutes proved the perfect break to enjoy one another’s company, satisfy our appetites without the heaviness that sometimes accompanies dining out, and make last-minute plans for the evening’s show.
Mohinder and Janmeet have added three entrees to their menu that answer perfectly to the public’s need for healthy, light, not-too-spicy fare: salmon, prawns, or paneer, served with greens and potatoes. I’ve tried all three and they’re perfect. Even paneer, a fried cheese which I didn’t often choose in the past, has become my good friend at Little Hut Curry.
Paneer also comes as an appetiser, along with pakoras (renamed nests), pappadums that spark your taste buds, and the ever wildly popular naan bread. Read more »
by Eva van Loon
And you thought reasonable dining out was a lost art in Powell River? Try the warm hospitality of tiny La Casita, served by Richard Lefebvre and Leonor Sanchez, while seated on homemade cushions and surrounded by beautiful stained glass by Dolores de la Torre. You’ll be back every paycheque!
I love ceviche, the seafood appetiser drowned in cilantro, clever peppers and lime juice. Nowadays, however, in view of the emptying oceans, I dine on seafood very sparingly. Imagine my delight to find a vegetarian version in La Casita’s cactus salad (no spines, I promise)! Generously served up in a soda-fountain glass, it’s a great deal that’s almost a meal in itself.
If you’re a cheese freak, try the relleno, green peppers stuffed with cheese. Very creamy, and you won’t take any home in a doggy bag because you can’t stop eating it.
Order the Tlacoya, however, and your plate is so full you might just need that doggy bag. If you admire Immanence’ style, it might have something to do with this dish--Mr. Matsumoto’s fave.”
I tried to snitch his yummy black beans, creamy smooth with a white cheese sprinkled like chunks of snow on top, but not surprisingly, he wanted them for himself.
You can get your fix of Yucatecan food here with cochinita pibil, too. Even little ones give their tummies a good time here—the food’s not too spicy hot, although the initial chips and salsa put down free on your table will heat up your mouth a little.
Wine and beer, although not a broad selection, are drinkable and affordable. Dinner for two with a drink each will leave you pleasantly stuffed and your wallet only about $30 to $40 lighter (unless you’re a good tipper, which we expect of all our readers, of course). You’d have to fly to Ecuador to do better than that!
by Eva van Loon
“The most awesome oysters I ever had!” proclaimed my dining companion. He was enjoying himself so thoroughly, I had to sample. Sure enough, the steam-shucked mega-oysters were flavorful and tender, almost tempting me back to seafood.
I contented myself with the gravlax (okay, that was seafood, too—until it decided to swim upriver) with capers and goat cheese, a tasty, moderately sized and attractive composition of bites on a rectangular plate.
It took three visits to sample most of Manzanita’s ever growing menu. Oysters are a specialty but there’s plenty of variety and some interesting vegetarian dishes. I loved the beet salad, the green salad with soy/engevita dressing, and the warmed brie with blackberry balsamic-vinegar reduction.
One Monday night (yes! Another restaurant open Mondays!), I had to take home some of the sumptuous salmon with maple-citrus-chile glaze on a bed of broccoli, carrots, and baked radishes with curried butternut squash risotto and red cabbage with apples and onion. Very sexy veggies, those. The dog got nothing of that doggy bag.
Then there were the dressed winter pears with candied almonds…. The bacon-wrapped medjool dates were a little rich for me, but a new dish is always appreciated.
Lots of people love Manzanita’s crème brulee and Guinness chocolate cake (not to be taken together!). Not a dessert person? Choose a final glass of wine from their collection of four or five whites, four or five reds, with about two local choices on each side of the wine menu. Read more »
So you’re working the night shift and can’t take your sweetheart out to dinner for Valentine’s?
The solution to your dilemma is tucked away on Glacier street, up from Joyce and conveniently near a dentist, whose attentions you may need if you gobble too many of the amazingly well named Robalin Bakewell’s wonderful cookies, buns, pies and tarts, which she will bake up for you on order, all year ‘round.
It takes something for Wolffy, who loathes sweets and eschews bread, to admit this.
‘Twas the meringues that got me.
I’d wandered lonely as a cloud (a storm cloud) one beastly morning, exiled from my can-less, kitchen-less house, just another typical burned-out, morose Powell Riverite questioning one’s sanity after buying a badly built but undeniably cute geriatric wooden box masquerading as a house, and growling like a bear needing that first breakfast after hibernation, when I stumbled on Bakewell’s Restaurant.
Breakfast served all day, 7 to 4. A clean, well lighted place. Espresso for a buck. Omelets, crepes, latkes, quiche. Sweet-natured service. Eggs Benny—several kinds. Toad-in-the-Hole—my secret eggish sin. Fresh fruit instead of canned with breakfast. Sausages almost too good to share with the wolfdog (who gets a share of everything—he’s the second opinion in this column). A bathroom so clean it betrays the owner’s Dutch heritage. Daily specials. Small-appetite meals for a dollara-fifty discount. Gluten-free bread. A sandwich called an Ouchmater, which just has to be a version of the Dutch uitsmijter. Comfort food, every day.
And meringues. A glorious, six-inch, personal, banana-crème meringue for six bucks, hot from the oven. Not too sweet. Robalin will do coconut, lemon, and maybe even strawberry ones on order for you in an hour. Just park yourself on the sofa and relax.
I’m hooked. Going for a hearty meal at Bakewell’s beats running home to Mama in her kitchen after a fight with your sweetheart. Read more »
Does the thought of preparing holiday dinner—or worse, washing holiday dishes, de-boning the turkey and scrubbing the stove—make you cringe? Are you home alone for the holidays? Do you deserve a holiday from slaving over a hot stove on the big day?
Fear not: there’s a warm, cozy, tasty, local solution to your dilemma at a reasonable price at Town Centre Hotel, virtually the only restaurant open on Christmas Day. And Boxing Day. And New Year’s Eve and Day. Better grab that phone and reserve, though—General Manager Shelley Halliday says that the groaning buffet board on Christmas Day has proven very popular in the four years the hotel has been owned and operated by BC company Northwest Hotels. Adults, $20.95; seniors and children less.
Having tried the generous Sunday brunch buffet several times, I thought I’d better try steak dinner to round out the picture of Town Centre’s offerings. I was not disappointed: the New York was cooked perfectly, with a rousing sauce. The borscht was tasty, served with a fluffy foccaccia and room-temperature butter, and the mashed potatoes creamy. Best on the plate were the five delicious winter vegetables cuddled colorfully ’round the steak, not one of them overcooked.
Dessert, a chocolate marnier mousse, proved so outrageously large that the last of it had to be ferried out via doggy bag to a delighted fur person waiting in the car. Coffee was, well, coffee, courteously served with the requested cinnamon stick to lower all that cholesterol I had no doubt just loaded into my system. With a pleasant glass of chardonnay, I got away with about $36 before tip. Read more »
Where can you instantly feel part of the local scene, plugged into PR’s art world, and well fed in sophisticated fashion without spending a fortune? BeMused more than comes up to the mark, and on sunny days there’s a great view from the deck as well.
There’s intriguing art on the walls—a different show every few weeks—a variety of comfortable seating, your very own hand towel in the restroom, and a red-and-gold kitchen to stimulate your appetite and make you forget the gray bluster of the day.
Owner Jeffrey Renn and his sister, Andrea Howey, provide guests with a well discerned red or white wine by the glass. The menu is short enough for Jeff to write it on a framed mirror, a lovely touch. For those whose eyes go crazy reading mirrors, he writes it out in an elegant hand. All one needs to do is point. Point to anything—it will be good.
Appetizers, like a cucumber salad with gazpacho sauce or the recent delicate brain-mushroom soup, run $6 to $8. Light entrees like salami-and-mozzarella calzone or vegetable curry are about $10. Bring a big appetite to do justice to bigger entrees like spice-seared beef tenderloin with red pepper, goat cheese, and mini red potatoes, or crab-and-cream-cheese-stuffed sockeye pinwheels with asparagus and carrot salad, which hover around $15. Portion sizes leave room for a classic dessert like crème brulee, cheesecake varieties, or tiramisu. A light dinner for two with a glass of wine will run about $40; a full dinner, $75 or so. (Cash or cheque only at this time.) Read more »
Open long hours and a short trot from our major shopping, Vietnam Cuisine welcomes the hungry with wonderful courtesy, pleasant surroundings, and a large and various menu enhanced by a small but adequate bar selection and complimentary spring rolls.
Of the 87 dishes (plus 8 vegetarian dishes) on the menu, a favourite is #49, Stir-fried Rice Noodle with Crispy Chicken at $11.75—yummy rice.
The price point is remarkable. Where else in PR can two people enjoy a cider each with a full dinner and free appetiser for $43 including tax and 15% tip? (No room for dessert, though—we were stuffed.) On your next visit to the hospital auxiliary, trot down the block for lunch: your choice of 17 dishes for $8 plus tax. So much for the fast-food habit!
Drive out towards Wildwood and signs will guide you. Popular licensed upstairs restaurant with water view to die for. Call 604.483.3545 for reservations.
Three meals including 3 entrees, 5 drinks, 2 appies and a shared dessert came to about $100 plus tip. Cheese bread here is the best ever comfort-food treatment for white bread. The signature Burger (good fries), Pesto Penne, and Curried Fettucine were worth the wait (7.5 points out of 10). Next time I’ll try the orange-pecan spinach salad, sesame prawns, or wasabi salmon. There are three vegetarian dishes on the menu, too: a fajita, a mexi-burger, and pesto penne.
Any wine called Sawmill Creek must be a house wine here, well priced at $5 per glass—there are three whites, three reds and a “sinfandel” (for its morning-after headache) available by the glass. By the bottle, there’s a full wine list. Soft cider is a welcome alternative for diners wanting a dry, non-alcoholic drink—made in BC, too.
Fruit crisp freshened the mouth for dessert (8 points) but was outshone by the spectacular Chocolate Confusion (9)--we would have eaten a second one if we weren’t so stuffed. Doggie bags were in order—Major gave them 8 points.