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I had always wanted to go to Balthazar because it called itself a "restaurant hideaway" and it mystified me. What was it? I knew it was a trendy lounge where local scenesters would go on hot dates or to shmooze with their friends over martinis. At the time I figured Balthazar's focus was on drinks, not food. I really had no idea what the place was like, other than I knew it was located in an old house in downtown Vancouver's West End. The place looks like a Spanish villa from the outside. I wanted to know what the fuss was about inside.
Everyone I knew had spent time at Balthazar at one point or another, and everytime I could have gone there, I always ended up somewhere else. So, finally, on a cold November evening, me and my boyfriend walked over to Balthazar for dinner.
What was it like?
Well... Balthazar's located in a house, so I thought the interior would have several rooms. Instead, it seems like the walls have all been removed and you're seated among plush couches and furniture in a large loft. It does at times feel like you're in somebody's New York studio enjoying a party among the city's hipsters. Candlelight flickers on the tables. Locally produced post modern art adorns the walls. DJ decks and speakers are set up in the corner where they spin their set loudly over the hustle and bustle of flirting diners. Plush velvet curtains hang from the ceiling and there's this subtle yet definite atmosphere of neo-goth. Think Montreal. This is Montreal, in Vancouver, without the French.
Favorite Dish: The ice queen martini, despite its name, was delicious. It was served in a glass tumbler with mint vodka and fresh cranberrries on ice.
For dinner I had their sesame-encrusted ahi-tuna, grilled on the outside, rare on the inside, served with rice (w/ a delicious melted cheese), roasted tomatoes and spaghetti squash. It was fantastic!
For dessert I decided to go with their weekly special of chocolate and cranberry bread pudding. The chocolate wasn't too sweet... it was like pure cocoa, and the cranberries added the perfect amount of tartness to the entire dish.
Balthazar Lounge: Hidden gem in the heart of the City
Red plush lounge seating, black and white movies on the old exposed brick wall, friendly staff, good beat, great martinis and most importantly amazing food...simply love this place and its classic charm...a lot of great memories...first dates, birtday celebrations, job promotion celebrations or simply weekend getaways...
Favorite Dish: Thai Chicken Pizza (Olive oil, roast chicken, grilled zucchini, caramelized onions & bocconcini cheese finished with spicy Thai peanut sauce & sesame seeds)...this is not your everyday pizza...thin crust, wood fired pizza...the true pizza...yummyyyy
Balthazar: Cool atmosphere, great drinks!
This restaurant is self described as a "restaurant and hideaway" which is quite correct. Tucked away in a tree-filled corner, the atmosphere is dark and warm with a tile floor and trendy decor. Martinis are their specialty -- they have quite a variety. The food is good too. The menu consists of much seafood and another specialty - gourmet pizza. Other foods are on the menu also. PS - Have a reservation!
Favorite Dish: Dish.... ha! The Ab Fab Martini is my favorite -- Citron, Chambord, Champagne!
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