The Neighbourhood Cafe: A Not Quite Lost Art Form

TomatoLast Saturday, once she had finished work and I was done with my Satuday errand-running, the topic of dinner arose.

Having to choose where to eat in Vancouver is an activity sometimes akin to finding something to watch on a cable lineup with 97 channels — there’s some good stuff in there, but sometimes it’s just easier to give up and stop choosing.

Remembering a previous quest for Italian, I volunteered, “How about that place on Cambie with the giant red tomato on it?”

“Sure. What’s it called?”

“TOMATO, I think, ironically enough.” [official website]

The decision was made, and upon entering, we discovered a cozy cafe-like atmosphere (it seems to double as an espresso bar in the mornings), and a couple dozen people casually chatting over food that smelled heavenly.

The cuisine is sort of a Pacific Northwest Italian, with a focus on organically grown ingredients. Some pasta dishes and salads, along with several seafood offerings, a succulent looking beef tenderloin, and a dessert menu almost too good to pass up.

She enjoyed a baked canneloni stuffed with a blend of ruby chard and three cheeses. My mouth watered over the “Westcoaster” — a wild greens salad tossed with fresh goat cheese, candied salmon, red and yellow peppers, and a sweet maple dressing.

The service was prompt and friendly and the food was fantastic.

While we were there, we neglected to ask the story behind the one barstool bearing a brass nameplate, reserving it for a specific guest, “65 Years Young.” A regular customer? A special honour for someone long gone? Any relation to the antique barber shop the restaurant entirely encircles? Perhaps there are some mysteries worth saving until future visits.


1 Comment so far

  1. col (unregistered) on July 11th, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

    i’ve been to tomato for brunch and it’s very tasty as well. but be prepared to go early or you’ll be forced to wait in line!

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