A friend and I had dinner at R.TL after a movie at the Vancity Theatre. It was a Sunday evening. That short, quiet walk over was kind of nice. The restaurant is at the end of Mainland Street, just a few doors down from Goldfish Pacific Kitchen. As it was an unplanned early dinner, I only tasted three small dishes and didn’t have my camera with me (sorry, no photos to share this time). Consequently, I decided to make this a short review, just to give you a taste.
R.TL is a somewhat strange name for a restaurant. Three letters and one punctuation… who would have thought? It actually stands for Regional Tasting Lounge. As the name seems to imply, this eatery serves up three different cuisines on their small menu. The permanent feature is BC while the other two are changed regularly. The menu is filled with small plates. So, if you are looking for a full-blown dinner, this may not be your best pick.
FOOD in general was good without being exceptional. The most memorable dish that we had was the oak barrel house smoked magret duck (with three grapes salad and caramelized walnuts). The smokiness of duck breast paired with the grapes was delicious. The fruitiness and the acid in the grapes cut through the fat and smoke nicely. Another highlight was the mussels, the broth for which changes daily. The one that we had was curry with sweet corns. The mussels were nicely cooked, and the broth was flavourful. Fortunately, both of these two dishes are both on the “BC menu”, so they should be there for some time.
The restaurant is a little bigger than it looks from the outside. Still, it’s smallish. The AMBIANCE is decent. There wasn’t any loud background music, nor was the room inadequately lit. The decoration wasn’t overly showy while giving the room the needed energy.
The SERVICE on the other hand was a little sub-par. Sunday evening isn’t usually the busiest, but the restaurant had only one waitress and one hostess in the front to serve 5 tables and one large party. At the end of our meal, the empty plates sat on the table for almost 20 minutes without anyone acknowledging their existence. They were only taken away when I asked for the dessert menu. And, yes I had to ask for the dessert menu. The service wasn’t quite warm and prompt as I would like.
Overall, it is a decent place for a small bite. Its location may be a little off the beat (by Yaletown standard), but it still warrants a steady flow of patrons. Given how many similar restaurants there are in Vancouver, it remains to be seen if and how long it survives. I give it 7.5 out of 10 for small-plate eateries.Cuisine: Small-plate Westcoast, Eclectic Price: $10 – $20 Location: 1130 Mainland St. Vancouver, BC Website: http://www.r.tl/about.html
Phone: (604) 638-1550