I recently went to Bao Down Gastropub + Raw bar for my birthday (twice in one weekend actually!) and enjoyed it so much that I have to share my experience. They opened in February 2015. I had been hearing about this place a lot but never gave it a try until a friend recommended we go there for our joint birthday celebration. Well, I’m so glad we did! My parents had even suggested we go there for my birthday celebration with the fam, but I suggested elsewhere since I was already going the same weekend. During my meal though, I messaged my family to say we could go there the next day after all, since there were SO many other items I wanted to try! haha Their menu was filled with Asian Fusion dishes and their restaurant had a cool Hip Hop feel to it.
Over the two days, I got to try the following dishes:
- Fly Hawaiian Poke – Albacore Tuna w/ Sesame-Shoyu
- Throw Backs – Bao Chicka Bao Bao (mini baos, taco style)
- Lettuce Wraps – Sizzling Pork
- Green Papaya Salad
- Alberta Beef Short Rib Kare Kare
- Same Same but Different (pad thai noodles)
- Garlic Fried Rice
- Halo Halo (dessert)
I would consider all of these dishes comfort food, with the exceptions of the tuna poke and papaya salad. All were delicious and I’d recommend trying all of them! My top 3 favourites would have to be the Throw Backs, Green Papaya Salad, and Same Same but Different. My least favourite would probably be the Short Rib, as it was a bit too salty for me. The Halo Halo was an epic complimentary birthday dessert! Very cool presentation but not quite my style as I usually try to avoid dairy and don’t like red bean or purple yam ice cream…but I tried some anyways and it was a cool mix.
Here’s a breakdown of my overall experience!
- Cool atmosphere, loved the wall mural and the hip hop music
- Great menu selection
- Awesome service, great staff!
- Food was delicious and well-made
- The saucy dishes (lettuce wraps and short rib) were a bit too salty for me
- The plates we received for the birthday cakes on Saturday were covered in soya sauce and vinegar – honest mistake but giving you my full review🙂
- For the complimentary birthday dessert on Sunday, might have been a good idea to check if the birthday girl had a dairy-allergy first lol but I appreciated it nonetheless!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed myself! The staff was friendly, welcoming, and on top of things. Our water glasses were never empty, our table was constantly being cleared, and we were checked on regularly by not only our server but other staff. The food was delicious and I’ll definitely be going back on another cheat day. The Olympic Village & Gastown locations have slightly different menus, so check them out online and take your pick!