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Review: Tokachi Japanese Restaurant

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Kevin ChuaIntroducing Kevin Chua
We at Surrey604 are proud to welcome our newest member, Kevin Chua. Kevin is a committed fourth year Business & Design student from SFU. He loves all things food, design and technology related. Raised in Surrey, Kevin has discovered many amazing places here and wants to share them with you.

 

Tokachi is a Japanese restaurant owned and operated by a Japanese family. Only a few minutes away from Gateway station, the restaurant has been a landmark of the Whalley neighborhood for years. From the outside, Tokachi may seem like a rundown and out-of-the-way restaurant, but what you find inside is a hidden gem.

The interior is a sharp contrast of the exterior. Upon entering, we were greeted by a waitress wearing a traditional Japanese Kimono. She asked us if we wanted a table or a tatami booth. We chose the booth. Remember to remove your shoes and put them neatly under the steps before hopping into the tatami booth.

We started off with half a dozen Fresh Oysters ($9.00).  One of the best things about the service is that they don’t skimp on the lemons and the sauces.  The Oysters were tiny but fresh and tasty. The ponzu sauce added a strong kick to the flavour.

The Beef Sashimi ($9.95) came with a similar sauce that accompanied the oysters. Needless to say, I loved the sauce. However, the beef tasted a bit dry and the flavor didn’t really pop as in my previous experiences with this dish. It was a little disappointing for the price.

Unajyu ($15.95) was the highest price dish that we ordered. Typically, dishes with eel tend to be expensive. I had my first Unajyu here and absolutely fell in love with the dish. I have had this dish almost every time I have visited this restaurant and have not been disappointed.

(From left: 2 Hamachi, 2 Tai & 2 Toro)

We ordered two Toro ($2.00 x2), Hamachi ($2.75 x2) and Tai ($2.00 x2) Nigiri sushi. Their nigiri sushi as a whole was respectable but not exceptional. The raw fish was well sliced and very fresh. It was seasoned traditionally with wasabi hidden between the raw fish and rice.  However, I wished they had other seasoning styles in addition to wasabi. I asked if  there was the option to sear the nigiri, but regrettably there was no such option.

As for rolls, we ordered their Deep Fried Roll ($8.95) and it was worth every penny. I liked that there was no rice filler – it was fully jam packed with pure meat and other tasty goodness. The cooked salmon and snapper were very moist and tasty while the tempura stayed very crispy. The sauce complimented the roll very well.

The last dish we had was the squid, Ika Maruyaki ($8.95). It wasn’t on the lunch menu but I knew they had it so I asked for the dish. The squid was burned so some parts tasted bitter. The ponzu sauce did give the squid a better taste. Regardless, I expected more from the preparation of this dish.

Overall, I rate the restaurant a solid 8 out of 10. When made correctly, their dishes were beyond exceptional. However, the varying quality between the dishes was unacceptable for the price. I would definitely come here again as the food is really good (when done right) and the servers were very nice. However, I hope they improve the consistency of the quality of each dish.

Bottom line: If you want to experience an authentic and traditional style Japanese restaurant try Tokachi. If you are searching for more creative rolls, look elsewhere.

(Thumbs up for Movember!)

I’m always looking for a new food experience. If you have a suggestion of a place you would like me to review, connect with me at @zzzzzomg on Twitter or leave a message on my post below.

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Food & Drink

This Surrey restaurant is serving up “monster burgers”

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Fab Burgers
Fab Burgers Inc. makes some of the best burgers in Surrey (@fabburgersinc / Instagram)

Located in the heart of Newton is Fab Burgers Inc., the home of Surrey’s “monster burgers.” What is a monster burger you may ask? Well, it’s about as intimidating as it sounds. 

Fab Burger Inc. has six monster burgers on their menu, and one of their most famous ones is the Fab Meaty Muncher which comes with breaded crispy chicken, a beef patty, chicken bacon, cheddar cheese, purple slaw, pickles, tomatoes, an onion ring, and their signature FAB sauce. It’s piled high and requires some maneuvering to be able to take a bite. 

 

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If that’s still a little too small for you, you can order their Sweet Temptation Burger which comes with three patties of your choice of chicken or beef (yes you heard right, three patties), topped with lettuce, sauteed onions, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and finished with barbeque sauce. It’s the biggest burger on their menu and definitely deserves the name “monster burger.”

But don’t worry, they also serve regular-sized burgers for those who don’t have a monster appetite. The Flamin’ Nacho Burger is a fan favourite and has a beef patty topped with fresh salsa, onions, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, nacho chips, and topped with cheddar cheese.

 

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If burgers aren’t your thing, Fab Burger Inc. also sells other foods like Chicken and Waffles and BBQ Lamb Chops which are marinated with their in-house blend of seasonings and sauces and served with fries, coleslaw, and a drink.

 

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So whether you’re craving a monster burger, or just want something on the smaller side to eat, Fab Burger Inc. has it all. Be sure to visit the next time you’re craving a good burger. 

Fab Burger Inc.

Address: 7320 King George Blvd #108

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Food & Drink

These are the best places to get coffee in Surrey

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best places to get coffee in Surrey
Whether you go to cafés for the atmosphere, food, or coffee, we’re sure there's a café on this list you’ll love. (@coffeemonster_official; @west_village_cafe / Instagram)

You can only drink so much Starbucks before you get sick of it. That’s why we’ve made this list of the best coffee shops in Surrey so you can switch it up. Whether it’s because of the great atmosphere or unique drinks, these are the best places to get coffee in Surrey. 

 

Coffee Monster

If you’re a student in Surrey then you need to visit Coffee Monster. It is the best place to get some late-night studying done. Every table has access to an outlet and it’s open until 10 pm. Plus, they have some delicious drinks like their Spanish Latte which you can order hot or iced. 

 

Bandra Cafe

 

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Bandra Cafe is one of the first Indian-style cafes in the Greater Vancouver area and has some exceptional drinks and eats to show for it. Bandra Cafe tries to copy the vibe of the area in Bombay with the same name by creating a similar atmosphere by having “dark wooden chairs and white table tops” and also by selling “dishes like salli chicken, kheema pan and mawa cake.” This is definitely a very unique cafe that you need to visit. 

 

West Village Cafe

If you’re looking for one of the trendiest cafes in Surrey, then West Village Cafe is the spot for you. With a very clean and minimalistic interior and some fancy food to eat, this might be the fanciest café in Surrey. Not only does West Village Cafe serve your coffee shop classics like lattes and pastries, but they also serve alcoholic drinks and food like tacos, a chimichurri salmon and vegetable bowl, local craft beer on tap, and more! If you’re feeling extra fancy you should head in for one of their Bailey’s coffees. 

 

Espresso Cafe

 

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Espresso Cafe is located in the heart of Newton and has a very homely atmosphere to it. From the fireplace to the home-style baked goods, there is so much to love about Espresso Cafe. We’d recommend ordering one of their filo spinach feta pastries which are delicious. They have an always expanding menu and plenty of specialty drinks on rotation so be sure to visit Espresso Cafe. 

 

The GrassRoots Cafe

The GrassRoots Cafe is a student-owned and operated café located on the Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Surrey campus. They serve “alcoholic beverages and KPU brewed beer on tap, delicious food, snacks, coffee drinks and healthy alternative options such as vegan and gluten-free meals.” They also host a bunch of different activities like slam poetry, movie marathons, and more! Plus, if you’re a KPU student you can get a 5% discount. 

 

Prairie Cafe

 

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When a café has been around since 1949, then you know it has to be good. Prairie Cafe offers some classic vintage breakfast and coffee. They do classic American breakfast as well as Asian dishes like chicken Teriyaki, wonton soup, and chicken pan-fried noodles. If you’re looking for a blast from the past then you need to visit Prairie Cafe. 

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Food & Drink

You need to visit this new Surrey Mexican restaurant

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Salsa and Guacamole
Salsa and Guacamole serve delicious Mexican classics (@salsa_andguacamole / Instagram)

Located directly under the famous Old Surrey Restaurant is Salsa and Guacamole, Surrey’s new Mexican restaurant. 

If you’re looking for some authentic Mexican delights in a chic and modern atmosphere, then this is the place for you. We’d recommend trying their chilaquiles, which is a recreation of the owner Paola Hein’s grandmother’s recipe. They’re corn tortilla chips dipped in either red or green salsa with melted Tex-Mex cheese and sour cream on top. 

You also can’t go wrong with ordering one of their tortas, which is a sandwich made of a Portuguese bun with the option of chicken or beef and sour cream, cheese, guacamole, mustard and beans. It also comes with a small side of their tortilla soup. 

If you’re not feeling like eating a huge meal, you can opt to just go for drinks at their “Cantina.” Like any good Mexican restaurant, they have an assortment of tequila, but they also have some more interesting creations. We really like Jo’s Margarita which comes with just a touch of tajin. They also make delicious carajillos which are coffee-based drinks mixed with liquor 43 and a splash of milk (the milk is optional). 

But no night of Mexican food is complete without an order of churros, and Salsa and Guacamole does some of the best in Surrey. You can have your churros filled with either Nutella or dulce de leche. While it’s not the most traditional take on churros, you have to admit it’s delicious. 

Salsa and Guacamole got its start as a business selling salsa and guacamole (as the name suggests). But now they’ve expanded to include a wide range of foods, and promise to keep adding to their menu. 

You won’t be disappointed by this new local Surrey restaurant, (we promise) so be sure to try it soon. 

Salsa and Guacamole

Address: 13483 72 ave, Surrey

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Events

Car-Free Day makes its way to Surrey

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Car-Free Day
There will be plenty of delicious food, music, and family-friendly activities (Josh Howard / Unsplash)

Car-Free Day is coming to Surrey Saturday, June 11. This event will turn 137 street into a car-free paradise with tons of local merchants, musicians, and family-friendly activities. 

Stores that are located alongside 137 street will open up patios onto the street, while there will also be plenty of other vendors and food trucks like Gary’s Kettle Corn, Tornadopotato, Wakwak Burgers, Japadog, JJ’s Hot Cobs, Taco’N Todo, The Little Snowflake Factory, Lemon Heaven, and Roasted Revolution.

This year’s event will host performances by Ashleigh Ball, daysormay, Meltt, NADUH, The Jins, Peak, Á’a:líya, Tess Anderson, DESTINEAK, Vancouver Street Dance Festival, City Entertainment, Robin Reddy Show, Mom Bop, Matt Hen, and more!

 

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There will also be family fun activities like balloon twisting, jugglers, and face painting alongside some more grown-up activities like a beer garden.

Car-Free Day is organized by Translink and aims to educate people on the future of transportation. As the name suggests, people are encouraged to take transit, bike, walk, car-share, car-pool, or use other methods of electric transportation. There are bike racks on the sidewalk to park your bike but there will be no street parking for those who choose to car-share or car-pool. 

Car-Free Day takes place Saturday, June 11 from noon until 8 pm.

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Food & Drink

These are the best patios in Surrey for summer

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best patios in Surrey
These places are perfect to grab a drink and appies while enjoying the sun (@salylimonsurrey; @dominionsurrey / Instagram)

Summer is quickly approaching, and that means patio season is almost upon us. But don’t worry, you don’t need to head over to Vancouver to enjoy some great restaurant patios, Surrey has plenty of great places. So here’s our list of the best patios in Surrey for the summer.

 

Sal y Limón

 

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Taco Tuesday anyone? Sal y Limón serves up all of your favorite Mexican foods like tacos, tortas, chimichangas, quesadillas, and burritos. They have a large outdoor patio for you to bring your whole family or friend group out. 

 

Clove — The Art of Dining

If you’re looking for some fine dining in Surrey that also has a patio, look no further than Clove. They take “inspiration from India’s ancient cooking methods” and incorporate it with a “modern flare.” If you want to treat yourself, then this is the place for you. 

 

The Sunflower Cafe

The Sunflower Cafe is one of those places that has been there forever but is still a hidden gem. At first, there doesn’t appear to be a patio but if you head on out through the back door you’ll enter this beautiful little garden area with some seating. Grab a coffee, one of their pastries, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. 

 

Crescent Coffee House

If you’re looking to switch things up instead of visiting Sunflower Cafe you can head over to Crescent Coffee House. They serve your typical cafe eats alongside hot and cold coffee beverages. Their patio isn’t as nice as Sunflower Cafe but they do have plenty more drink options like their iced beach berry teas. 

 

The Roadhouse Grille

The Roadhouse Grille is an old-school restaurant known for its homestyle cooking. They’ve been in the neighbourhood since 1997 so you know the food has to be good. This is the type of place where you need to try their specialty King George Burger that comes with mozzarella cheese, bacon, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a pickle all served on your choice of bun. Their patio also has a glass roof so you don’t have to worry about the weather either.

 

Hooked Fish Bar

With a patio right alongside the water, Hooked Fish Bar is a very popular destination for patio-lovers. They serve delicious seafood like fish tacos and mussels. Be sure to book a reservation in advance because this spot fills up quickly on the weekend when it’s nice out. 

 

Dominion Bar + Kitchen

Dominion is known for its “New Canadian” dishes and drinks, which can be best described as elevated pub food. We’d recommend ordering a couple of appetizers like their calamari or Korean fried cauliflower with a couple of drinks to share among your friends. They’re also open for brunch so if you’re looking for a patio-breakfast date then this is the place. 

 

My Shanti

 

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If you’ve ever wanted to dine in a garden, then My Shanti should be your next patio destination. Their patio is filled with plants and is the perfect spot to hit up with your friends. So the next time you’re craving some Indian cuisine, be sure to visit My Shanti.

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