The Reef: "Carribbean cuisine in a funky atmosphere" Top 5 Page for this destination Reef Tip by Carmanah
Reef, Vancouver: 1 reviews and 0 photos
The Reef has to be Vancouver's most popular Caribbean restaurant at the moment, and definitely one of the coolest atmospheres for such a restaurant. However, I was somewhat skeptical about The Reef before I went there. I had heard some reviews from people who were well-versed in Carribbean cuisine that The Reef's food is merely an immitation of what authentic Carribbean food should be. I read that if you're used to Carribbean food prepared traditionally by the Carribbean community, then you'll probably be disappointed by The Reef. I also read a review claiming that The Reef lacks any real Carribbean customers and that it's mostly a hangout for Vancouver's Main Street hipsters who want to reminisce about tropical beach vacations.
However, I had never been to the Caribbean, and living in Vancouver where unlike Montreal or Toronto, Vancouver doesn't have a large Caribbean community, I never had a lot of choice for Caribbean food and therefore had no such expectations as other people might have had.
So, in April 2005, I joined a group of friends to The Reef. If you're looking for a Mom & Pop Jamaican patty kitchen, this ain't the place. But if you're looking for a trendy, cool, funky restaurant with a laid back atmosphere, a seated outdoor patio with heating lamps and a full DJ set-up for music, this may be your place. It's a really fun atmosphere!
Most importantly, if you are in Vancouver, and you're craving jerk chicken, spicy coconut curries, chicken roti, Jamaican patties, fresh plantain chips, over a dozen tropical cocktails and a selection of 26 different kinds of rum, The Reef would be my recommendation.
Favorite Dish: To drink I had their Mojita ($6) - what they call "the Mojito's sister". It's exactly like a regular Cuban mojito (white rum, fresh mint, lime juice, syrup and soda), except that it had a splash of raspberry. What was nice was that the raspberry was very subtle, so it gave a nice flavour to an already-refreshing mojito.
To start with our server gave us a complimentary basket of hot warm bread. I'm not even sure what it was called, but the bread was made of chewy white dough rolled into small spheres and then deep-fried in an almost donut-like batter that was just a tiny bit sweet. Friends of mine said it reminded them of something you'd get in Louisiana or the southern USA. All I knew was that once the butter melted on this bread, it was delicious!
Our table shared many appetizers:
Spinach salad ($7.50) - Chevre & caramelized bermuda onions with a sesame mango vinaigrette.
Plantain chips ($6) - served with jerk mayo.
Jamaican patties ($4.50) - Chicken, beef, or vegetable with tamarind sauce.
Yardie yam fries ($6) - with tamarind ketchup.
Friends of mine ordered more appetizers than this, but I had to save room! While I could have easily just had the appetizers alone, I decided to have their Jerk Chicken Roti ($9) for a main entrée. It was massive! It's pulled chicken curry cooked in Jerk sauce (made with Scotch bonnet peppers), wrapped up in a flatbread spiced with turmeric and cumin and a side order of coleslaw! Definitely the highlight of my meal!
Address: 4172 Main Street, Vancouver
Price Comparison: about average
Directions: Located on the east side of Main Street just south of King Edward Ave.
Phone: (604) 874-5375
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