Today I headed over to the Joyeaux Café & Restaurant that’s in downtown Vancouver for some lunch. Some friends had taken me there once before and I remembered thinking that the food was good and it was always so packed inside.
Once we got there, I was super happy that we managed to snag one of the last tables (albeit shared with others) to get seats for the two of us right before a huge onslaught of people started pouring through the doors. Even if you do find an empty seat for your meal, keep in mind that they’ll seat you but then you need to line up to order your food. There are menu boards to the left of the counter, and many pictures and choices (including breakfast food?!) – so really hard to choose under the pressure!
I ended up going with a couple of things:
The Spicy beef and pork with thick vermicelli noodle soup – Okay, so I have to admit I didn’t read the chalkboard menu very well since I was feeling a bit rushed to get in my order and sit down, so I didn’t notice that my soup was going to come with thick vermicelli noodles. I definitely prefer the thinner rice noodles, but it’s my own fault for not really paying close enough attention. To be honest, I had even somehow missed the fact that there was going to be beef in my soup. I mean I’m good at making somewhat quick decisions at restaurants when I need to, but not that quick! Anyway, back to the food – I squeezed in the lime wedge and added some hot chilli sauce, and the broth was flavourful and not overpowered with too many white onions (as can sometimes be the case when having a bowl of pho at other places I’ve tried).
When I saw this item out of the corner of my eye, I knew I had to have it – Vietnamese Dumplings. I’ve only tried these at one other place, but I was addicted for life at that point. The dumplings have a really chewy texture, which I absolutely love (strange I know), and they are filled with pork and shrimp, I believe. It would’ve been great if they were a bit smaller though, since it made them hard to eat and pick up with my chopsticks – I almost dropped one in my bowl of soup at one point, which could’ve caused all sorts of ugly stains. This dish was also served with some pork and veggies on the side.
The dish that I did not sample was the Grilled pork with spring rolls and vermicelli. My co-worker told me that it was really good though (and I trust her discerning taste in food). Next time I go, I’ll definitely give this one a try.
Overall, Joyeaux was nice and fast, regardless of the abundance of people coming through over lunchtime. I recommend trying to get there a little bit before noon if you’re going to try this place during the daytime (there’s also a takeout option). The service was very quick and the food was quite good – it’s difficult to find decent Vietnamese food right in downtown Vancouver, but this one does the trick!
Joyeaux Café & Restaurant
551 Howe St.