Updated: Jun 27, 2020
It's Saturday and Vancouver is offering its typical moody winter weather, luckily the city offers some amazing food to shelter from the rain. With a city so diverse, the food options are so broad, so broad in fact that it can be a nightmare deciding what and where to eat. After a few hours in thought, we head out to find some Mexican and head for the popular spot of Tacofino.
Tacofino has several locations scattered across the city but today we will be reviewing the location within Yaletown; 1025 Mainland St to be exact. Tacofino focuses its menu on food experiences while visiting popular surf destinations around the world while adding a touch of the west coast to their food. Tacofino started in Tofino in the back of a surf shop parking lot with a food truck, and has since expanded to several restaurants whilst still keeping to their roots with two food trucks.
Arriving at the Yaletown location it’s a small space looking in from the outside, giving the impression of an intimate experience for the customer. We head inside and wait at the main counter unsure if we just help ourselves to a table or wait to be seated. A few minutes pass in awkward confusion and we grab some paper menus and just head to a table. The waitress heads over with water and asks if this is our first time eating here and explains we order and pay at the till, no life in that conversation.
The style of the interior is pretty cool, edgy and unique. Clearly inspired by 80’s skateboarding with hints of LA and palm trees. While the design is simple, there is a steel mesh design that just simply looks out of the place and drags the overall look down. The kitchen is open which is a favorite when it comes to eating out, there’s comfort in knowing your food is not being tampered with. A major fault with the restaurant was by far the lighting; too dark for a lunchtime experience.
The menu is kept simple and simplicity works, especially at Tacofino. There are your basic starters of chips and dip, soup and nachos followed by tacos and burritos, including vegetarian options. Today's order was chip and dip and two cauliflower burritos which cost roughly $30 including tip (more on that later). The food came out very fast, which for a place with roughly twelve tables is not so surprising. The chip and dip is your basic tortillas and salsa, clearly homemade and the salsa delivered on taste. The burrito portion size was generous for certain, the cauliflower burrito contains white beans, slaw, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, salsa verde, crispy rice, spicy not-so-fish sauce. Although I can’t fault the burrito, I would have liked more crispy rice as there was little to none but still it delivered on taste. A highlight was the burrito packaging this gave that extra element of authenticity that Tacofino delivers.
Let’s talk about service, in a nut shell it was terrible. I am not expecting to be waited on hand and foot, but a “hello” when I enter simply helps in being made to feel welcome. With no clear instruction if we should wait to be seated or help ourselves to a table while the staff just looked at us left a bad impression on me. I’m still pretty new to tipping but I’m pretty certain you tip if you have had great service not just after you have ordered? To add more insult to injury it's not even table service, you order and pay for your food at the counter. To put it simply your tipping for service you have not yet experienced, that’s probably why it felt like the staff didn’t give a shit because they already have your money.
With no check up on our table, just the clearing of empty plates and no interaction, I felt like we had over-stayed our lack of welcome at Tacofino. Overall, the experience wasn’t the best, I’m sure its not like that at every location but for the Yaletown location it was poor. The food was the only highlight and a reason to visit again but certainly not anytime soon. So overall if you want piss poor pretentious service and tipping for food you get up and order yourself then by all means sit in at Tacofino, if not then don’t worry, they have a takeaway service.
Overall rating 4/10
Piss poor pretentious service
Tipping before you have even eaten