Dine out Vancouver festival, which is the biggest event for Vancouver culinary, is celebrated annually across Metro Vancouver(Our Story, 2020). This year is its 18th anniversary, and it was held from January 17th to February 2nd including totally 17-day dining. The event is especially convenient for visitors because it has its website that people can access to view the schedule and get more information. Visitors often have a three-course menu with four reasonable price levels for meals, which are $15, $25, $35, and $45. People can have many selections for their favorite location with over 300 restaurants across Vancouver. To promote Vancouver cuisine to tourists, the festival is organized with an expanded range including activities in the restaurant’s main stage area.
Culinary paradise at the festival 2020 attracted a large number of diners with its delight in the variety and quality of cuisines. To meet the needs of visitors every day, restaurants have arranged the diversity of food in the festival menu with eye-catching and attractive presentations. Guests can experience the paradise of the rich flavors in many regions of countries all over the world such as Canada, Korea, Japan, India, Thailand, Italia, and Vietnam .etc. with hundreds of unique dishes designed with the distinctive mark of a country. After our members discussed and got enough information about this festival, my group decided to go to Cardero’s Restaurant in downtown Vancouver for lunch on January 24.
Location and a brief history
Cardero’s restaurant is conveniently located at Coal Harbour marina, at the western end of downtown Vancouver, which is just off the Stanley Park seawall. Based on a yacht dock. The restaurant is pinpointed between D dock and F dock, so it is a fascinating place surrounded by yachts. Historically, the discovery of coal in the harbor in 1862 inspired the name.(Inside Vancouver, 2020) With the discovery of coal, clay similar to British porcelain clay was found.
When questioned regarding the restaurant’s history. The manager provided a detailed answer that Cardero’s is the street name on which the restaurant is located and it is also the name of a Spanish explorer who mapped out and explored portions of the coastline of BC during the 1800s. Which helps the customer understand the originality of it and also its history.
When I entered this restaurant, the high ceiling and the solid wood interior reminded me of old European buildings. When I researched the restaurant’s history, this is what I learned: Cardero’s Restaurant is one of four restaurants belonging to the Sequoia Group, which was founded in 1978. Cardero’s Restaurant has been running for 42 years!!(Canadianbusinessexecutive.com, 2020) Each restaurant has received numerous awards such as The Straight Golden Plate and Stars of Vancouver (Inside Vancouver, 2020). Cardero’s Restaurant is one of the nicest restaurants in Coal Harbor. The tourists, businessmen, locals, and customers are different in each restaurant. However, the quality of the food is excellent at all restaurants. The seafood is fresh as promised, stock and soups are handmade, and the bread is freshly baked with a local bakery.
One of the ways to enjoy this restaurant is live music. Performances and songs begin in the pub area every night from 8.30 pm and on weekends from 3 pm to 6 pm. Behind the musicians, the night view of Coal Harbor spreads and it is a very nice atmosphere. Every Thursday and on weekends, Geoff Gibbons is playing. His acoustic guitar is melancholy and his voice is deep and effective. You can enjoy a completely different atmosphere at night than during the day.
Nowadays, many restaurants have their own online accounts to introduce and advertise. Cardero’s restaurant has a large social network to approach its guests, especially young people who spend more and more time on the Internet. Guests who have Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts can follow the site to check-in and get the special offers immediately. In my experience, I would like to check-in any restaurant I go to and share it with my friends. Therefore, it is also a way for the restaurant to have a free advertisement for many new guests. Moreover, Cardero’s restaurant always has different offers for special events that are also posted on social pages; for example, on Valentine’s Day, it has a new menu for this occasion with some dishes made in the heart-shape.
Food and Menu
The Dine-Out menu offered a wide range of food from vegetarian options to meat-based or seafood-based options which highlight the diversity of the menu and give the customer various choices. Not to mention, the menu simply explains what the customer will get through each course. When observing the menu, customers will not be overwhelmed by the variety of the dishes compared to an ordinary menu of the restaurant(Sequoia Company of Restaurants, 2020).
Moving on to each course, the appetizer, the Prawn Ceviche is a good starter provided with various vegetables such as cucumber, mint, etc, with a slight touch of coconut milk, with prawn (shrimp) and combined with tortillas.
The food excellently imitated the most common Hispanic dish, however, the tortillas seemed to be quite crunchy, more than usual as if it was cooked longer than anticipated. Another recommendation for customers that prefer something less ocean and herb is Four Cheese Arancini. This dish is actually melting cheese with crunchy cover from the outside. However, the greasiness will stop the customer from the second one, which explained why the restaurant only offered four in the dish.
Moving on to the entrees, Mushroom ravioli could be an interesting choice for the customer who loves Italian cuisine, however, Cardero’s failed at this dish since it was overcooked, not to mention, it was too salty and the amount of ravioli was too much since the dish is well-known for the greasiness. Furthermore, its presentation somehow lost the appetite for some customers. Nevertheless, Cardero’s redeemed themselves with the Grilled Arctic Char and Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Ballotine. Both of the meals were delicious and eye-catching from the first glance compared to the ravioli. Grilled Arctic was excellent in quality since the combined vegetables worked fantastically to enhance the smell of smoked salmon. The quantity of the dish is moderate and somehow fulfilling. Moreover, the Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Ballotine offered a different experience for customers with the harmony of chicken and potatoes with spinach. The meals were carefully cooked, and they were salty enough yet with a light sense of sweet came from the complimentary vegetables. Overall, the entrees of Cardero’s deserve high praise.
Last but not least, every meal deserves a final touch that would help the customer distinguish that restaurant from others. Salted Caramel and Chocolate Mousse Cake should be the end highlight for the culinary adventure. With all the sweetness to reset the tongue of customers not to mention, provide more energy with the sugar and chocolate, the Chocolate Mousse cake was indeed a delicate final touch.
In general, the quality of the food was more than acceptable, with only to pay $35, the customer will have various meals to choose from, provided them with multiple taste experiences from different based food. This is definitely a bargain for customers who are on a budget but want to have a full course meal. However, the presentation was below expectations from a restaurant that is busy and located downtown with and limited in creativity which could be improved tremendously through changing cooking styles, methods, present.
Overview of the restaurant
When I first arrived at the place, the first impression I experienced was a coziness mixed with a little vintage ambiance of the restaurant. Had been constructed for quite a long time ago, Cardero’s retro design and its western and ocean-themed decoration such as boat, World War II’s aircraft or even a steam-operated machinery system of 1940s’ boats offering guests with a unique moment of truths upon arrival as the guests, especially those without previous of ocean knowledge, will be overwhelmed by the huge amount of decoration, in which sea items are the dominants factors.
Aside from the ocean theme decoration, Cardero’s kitchen is designed to open with the main purpose of allowing the craving customers to directly observe and interact with the cooks. From the guests’ perspective, the open kitchen is appealing and intriguing as it promotes the restaurant transparency while preparing the food, not to mention a sense of involvement it brings since the open design allows the customers to directly create their own combination to make their dishes perfect.
Being located near the sea allows Cardero to possess the oceanic smell which can be described as a bit of saltiness mixed with the bitterness of sea creatures. Despite the fact the surrounding area is always maintained clean, the stubborn seafood aroma would not fade away easily. I was born in a coastal city, I’m no stranger to its oceanic smell, even naturally and inherently in love with it. Nevertheless, I believe that not every customer is a big fan of this bitter smell, which substantially comes from the aroma of live seafood. Thus, the best recommendation is to reserve window seats, which not only reduce the smell but also offer a beautiful sea view.
Sustainability: Sustainable business has become trendy recently as the market is getting more sophisticated and concerned about the environment. The majority feel pleased and moral uplift as their choice will positively affect environmental stability, thus, spend more on environmental-friendly restaurants. Cardero has successfully caught this trend allowing them to be certified as an ocean wise restaurant (Zamato, 2020). In order to meet the conditions of the Ocean Wise Seafood Program, Cardero must purchase sustainable seafood, which is raised and cultivated locally in a systematic and eco-friendly way, to help sustain the long-term health and species stability of our ocean. (Ocean Wise, 2020)
Services: Judging from the guest’s perspective, Cardero’s staff members can be defined as a service-oriented and well-trained team. First, always begin with a smile, a courteous smile is an amazingly effective way to approach any customers. The receptionist’s smile instantly put me in comfort from the moment I entered the restaurant. Second, their timing procedure was relatively precise. After seating and handing me the menu, the waitress did notice my behavior and eye-contacts as I closed the menu, she promptly approached me for the order. Not only that, the detail which amazed me the most in terms of timing as she only asked for the customers’ feedback when there was a suitable moment to do so. Customers obviously don’t want to interfere in the middle of the conversation or when they have their mouths stuffed and our waitress showed that she always keeps it in her mind and illustrated it appropriately.
Overall, after spending 2 hours in the restaurant with some dishes and we could see another diverse menu, that meets the vegetarian – salty taste and constantly introduces new dishes, and many attractive styles of different cuisine. Every customer who comes to the restaurant can find their favorite dishes. In addition, customers can also choose to enjoy menu choices, with many unique desserts, that are served on the table or taken away. In particular, not only to satisfy the taste, but the food festival is also taken care of vision and hear when designing the beautiful check-in area from ancient bars to the coal harbor, guests can pose in their pictures and collect likes on their social accounts.
The annual event celebrates the best regional specialties in the region. It is an opportunity for tourists and residents to enjoy the most typical food. In a restaurant, dishes served with enough portions so guests can enjoy a little from this restaurant to that restaurant for experiencing as many cuisines as possible as they can. The festival also promotes Vancouver culture with a large global food destination with a 17-day event. People can find every taste, from the cozy dinner with chefs at restaurants to the massive culinary event with thousands of diners. Everything is arranged in an inimitable style, offering together with the country’s top foods and the great culinary.
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