As usual, this story is influenced by my bias for small, ethnic restaurants as well as the fact that with a new baby and no budget (i.e. I pay for my own meals!), I don't get out to eat as much as I'd like and I can't spend what I'd like. This is not whingeing, just a statement of fact! I am very lucky that Vancouver has lots of restaurants (especially at lunch) that are affordable and make everybody feel like a king!
- Vij's Rangoli - For my money, this was the best lunch in the city in 2004. Period. Fantastic, multi-dimensional spicing (and often with a wonderful latent backbeat of hot chili or pepper) and everything is good including excellent vegetarian choices. And you can buy takeout to make at home on a rainy day when you can't make it to South Granville. A bargain at $12-15.
- La Petite France - OK, it's not really lunch (that's why it's not #1) and it's not every weekend but their brunch is outstanding and is easily worth twice the price. Luckily it's still an affordable splurge ($50 for Christmas and $27 for a normal brunch) and it's is delicious, healthy and oh so Alsatian (which means you have the best of France and Germany!).
- Brioche - Oh the soup, oh the pasta. Mmmmm! Yes, better food than Caesar had! And fantastic chocolate desserts. The only thing wrong is the slight smoke from the ovens which I am sure will be fixed some day. $6-$15
- Au Petit Cafe - Everything is good and under $10. Start with the pho and the best Vietnamese subs in the city and awesome Vietnamese iced coffee. Go crazy after that and try the other stuff on the menu; you won't regret it! It's a crowded small room, so I suggest an early lunch say at 10a.m. :-) when they open! $4-$10.
- The Boss in Chinatown - My idea of a perfect work day is to work hard in the morning and take a nice leisurely lunch starting about 1:30 p.m. (since it's always crowded and I hate lineups) of crispy noodles with peppery beef, perhaps some congee, topped off with a Hong Kong Style iced tea (extra strong with condensed milk, yummm) and take out some sweet delights (all priced for about a dollar each). And then powered by the tea and the sweeties, do two more hours of really intense work and call it a day. $6-$15