The culinary scene has definitely flourished in the past few years. One of which is the rise of guided food tours. Many companies have joined the playing field and offer food tours usually by the type of cuisine (e.g. food trucks) or by geographical location (e.g. Gastown). A few weeks ago I was invited by Dishcrawl, a new player in the Vancouver market, to check out its Kits Bits & Bites tour.
Suggested by its name, it was a tour of four Kitsilano restaurants. Throughout the evening, we stopped by each restaurant and tried a trio of tasting plates. We didn’t know the list of restaurants ahead of time, only to be given a meet-up location and be surprised.
And so we met up at our first stop, Simpatico Restaurant, a Greek & Italian restaurant that has been around since 1969. Can’t believe I’ve never heard of it! It is also the first ever restaurant Vancouver to introduce whole wheat crust pizza to their menu. I was quite excited to try this restaurant.
Simpatico Restaurant (2222 W 4th Ave)
Around the table we were given a few plates of Hummus and Pita to share. The hummus was creamy and smooth, with a citrusy, lemon finish. The pita bread was grilled nicely, crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy inside. Following that were two of Simpatico’s popular dishes. The Baltimore Benny Pizza was named after Simpatico’s chef and it’s a meat lover’s pizza. The combination of capocollo, beef and salami was wonderful and the whole wheat crust did not feel dry at all. Simpatico created the Lamb Sandwich by mistake, but a welcomed one. It may seem like a simple sandwich, but the chunks of lamb were marinated nicely, tender and flavourful.
The only problem I had was portion size. The owner was so generous that he gave us more than a tasting portion of every dish. I was starting to get full but we still had 3 more restaurants to go.
Then, we had to walk a few blocks to the corner of West 4th and Burrard, stopping at the sign of Pepitas, a Mexican restaurant. For those who know me, Mexican isn’t necessarily my favourite cuisines, so I had my reservation about this stop.
Pepitas Restaurant (2015 Burrard Street)
When we sat down, we immediately spotted the Tortilla Chips & Salsa that we could snack on while waiting for our food. It was a standard affair with a mild kick in the salsa. Our plate arrived and it was a trio of Chicken Enchilada, Rice and Refried Beans. Once again, they were so generous in their portion that I felt really bad for not being able to finish the whole plate.
Its food gives you a homey feeling. There was no shortage of chicken filling in the enchilada, and went really well with the rice and refried beans.
The biggest surprise at Pepitas was the Birthday Drink (to this date I still don’t know what it was) that each of us received and the picture we took of us all wearing the big Sombrero.
By this point, I was about 80% full and we still had 2 more restaurants to go! Crazy, eh? Click here for Part 2 where I continued recapping this adventure in Kitsilano!