Cinara, Vancouver. May 2014.

Cinara, Vancouver.

May 2014

There are about a dozen little relatively recently-opened restaurants in town, and you have to keep at it to try them all. I was brought here by friends who raved about it and I think they were right. Many of the new places tend to be in non-traditional locations, which makes economic sense when you’re entering a fiercely competitive market and putting your chops on the line. This one is at Pender and Homer Streets, a couple of blocks from what used to be referred to as skid row.

The room is bright and inviting with traditional furniture and big windows right on the corner so you can see out (and in), and it’s a genuine welcome, about 60% of the tables occupied on a weeknight. I joined my friend in a beautifully-concocted bourbon drink while eyeballing the menu. Amuses-geules amused.

It’s been a few weeks since we were there and when I go to the website today the menu has certainly changed, confirming an overall impression of creativity. Fortunately the octopus salad with potatoes starter I had is still there, and it was beautifully presented and delicious, the octopus tender, tiny potatoes ideally set up, and a sharp but not overwhelming dressing. My main has been superseded but it was pickled tongue with I think clams (?) and also very nice. I had a glass of a non-chardonnay-based white which worked just fine.

The service was interesting, the girl maybe a bit diffident and overenthusiastic but forgivably so, picking up at one point on our conversation about an American fiction author which she also apparently appreciated. It wasn’t overly-friendly or intrusive. I forget the price but it was about at expectation.

Food 8.4, service 7.9, ambience 8.0, overall value probably 7.6. I’d definitely go back, but alas so many great restaurants, so little time…



About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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