Friday, May 20, 2011

Cardero's: A Restaurant Review

Last Saturday, Calvin and I had a birthday dinner to attend at Cardero's Restaurant: a restaurant serving Westcoast cuisine, located in Coal Harbour. The restaurant is actually owned by the Sequoia Company of Restaurants who also owns The Sandbar. This explains why the atmosphere and menu of Cardero's is reminiscent of that place (if you've ever been).

The restaurant is right at the marina in Coal Harbour.

Calvin tried to take a better picture of the menu, but it was kind of blurry, so you guys get this :)

To start, Calvin decided to order the creamy seafood chowder. He would have ordered clam chowder, but Cardero's only offers the Manhattan-style, which he is not a fan of. We had been to this restaurant last year and I thought he enjoyed the seafood chowder, but after Calvin got his order, I was clearly mistaken. I was probably thinking of The Sandbar. Anyway, the seafood chowder at Cardero's was only so-so. There was oddly a lot of chicken chunks (large ones at that) in the soup, where was the seafood?

The chicken chunks are there, just hiding underneath. But the seafood is not hiding underneath the chicken.

For his main dish, he ordered the Linguine Vongole: baby clams with garlic, olive oil and prosciutto. Calvin has had this dish before at this Italian restaurant near our home called Marcello's so he thought he would give Cardero's version a try. The winner: Cardero's. The reasons: Calvin says that Cardero's version has more clam flavour, and the clams tasted fresh and not overcooked. He also added that the clams were not gritty or sandy like the ones he had at Marcello's. His only gripe about Cardero's is that the portion is not very big.

Doesn't look like he got too much pasta.
For myself, I ordered the Sesame-Crusted Albacore Tuna: a thick slice of Ocean Wise albacore tuna covered with white and black sesame seeds. I was debating whether to get this or the salmon, but I do love sesame, so the tuna won. The fish also came with a wasabi sauce and broccolini. Most of my tuna experiences involve the tuna being only pan-seared on the outside and still raw on the inside. This is how Cardero's prepared their's as well. Overall, the fish was good. It tasted fresh and the sesame seeds were a nice compliment to the texture and flavour. The filet was a little stringy though, but is that how albacore tuna is supposed to be? I found the wasabi sauce to be overpowering, so I only used a little with my fish. The broccolini was mediocre but gave the dish a bit more substance. My only complaint about the dish is that it did not fill me up. Mind you, prior to ordering, I heard the waiter describing the dish to my friend and said it was one of the more "healthy" dishes on the menu. So it's my bad for still ordering it after hearing him talk about it. I think the next time I go to Cardero's I'll get the salmon.

Yummy sesame seeds with yummy tuna!

Since it was my good friend's birthday, we decided to order dessert at the restaurant rather than heading out somewhere else for dessert. Calvin and I shared the Crème Brûlée. The crème brûlée was also good, nothing really different from other restaurants who also make their own, so nothing to really complain about. I did like the fact that you could see a lot of vanilla beans in the custard which was smooth and creamy. The crème brûlée also came with a piece of biscotti, but there were dried cranberries in it, so I didn't eat it.

I am craving some now just looking at it.

The prices at Cardero's are average compared to similar restaurants. Calvin's cup of "seafood" chowder was $4.50; his clam pasta was $18. My albacore tuna was $25. The quality of the food is decent for what you pay. All in all, Cardero's is an averagely (is that a word?) good restaurant. The experience doesn't fall below what you would expect, but it doesn't necessarily have a "wow" factor either.

Overall rating: 7/10

Cardero's Restaurant
1583 Coal Harbour Quay
Vancouver, BC   V6G 3E7

For more information, please visit their website:

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