I first heard about Cafeteria when I wanted to make a repeat visit to Ping’s Cafe. I was trying to review Ping’s menu offerings when I found out that it had actually closed down and the owners had sold its space to the owners of Pied a Terre and La Buca. Cafeteria’s concept sounded pretty interesting: its menu changed daily and its offerings were quite focused and sought to bring in only the freshest ingredients for its dishes. Its dishes were also at a slightly lower price point than Pied a Terre and La Buca and since I’m always up for a deal, that really appealed to me.
Mike and Victoria wanted to meet up for dinner one day and since we are always up for trying something new, we agreed to meet at Cafeteria. While we were trying to decide on what to order, I ordered a virgin cranberry lime soda.
I was in a beefy kind of mood that day so I decided to order Cafeteria’s duo of beef. I really enjoyed the slow braised short rib that was super tender and flavourful. The beef medallions were cooked perfectly rare but I felt that it lacked the flavour that the slow braised beef had. The bed of mashed potatoes picked up the flavour of the sauce, which was rich but not overly heavy.
Jenkins and Victoria both decided to have the tagliatelle with a porchetta-like pork and fresh peas. The dish looked a little small when it first arrived but it turned out to be quite filling, most likely due to the fatty, slow-cooked pork. Jenkins remarked that it was tasty but nothing spectacular.
For dessert, the four of us decided to share a couple of items. Strawberries were still in season during our dinner so we thought the strawberries and cream would be a good choice. Fresh BC strawberries were lightly macerated in sugar and layered with fluffy whipped cream and topped with some amaretto cookies. It was a simple and light dessert that we all quite enjoyed. I think I would have liked it even more if there were more cookies to provide some additional texture and crunch.
Despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of fresh BC strawberries, I actually liked the chocolate tart even more. The bittersweet chocolate ganache filling was just sweet enough and full of rich chocolate flavour. The tart shell itself was quite buttery and crumbly and provided a nice contrast to the creamy smooth ganache. A sufficient amount of tang was provided with a dollop of crème fraiche and raspberries on top.
I quite enjoyed the simple offerings at Cafeteria. Although I liked some dishes more than others, I felt that they were all quite well made and the quality overall seemed fairly consistent. I’m still quite intrigued by their daily rotating menu and although this does seem a bit difficult to predict, they did let us know that we were welcome to call in before coming in to find out what was on the menu for that day. Reservations are also not taken so it is best for you to time your arrival accordingly. The four of us arrived on a weekday for dinner at about 7:30PM and only had to wait for about 15 minutes so we were fairly lucky.
2702 Main Street, Vancouver