One of the newest restaurants just beyond the border of Yaletown in downtown Vancouver is Commune Cafe. Opened around a month ago, this place is on the ground floor of the furnished living complex called The Level on Seymour Street. It’s open seven days a week, from early morning breakfast, through lunch and dinner, and even into the late night hours.
I went there for lunch yesterday with a girlfriend, and found that it’s got several great wines, with a list of BC wineries that include La Stella, Joie Farm, La Frenz, and more! Commune Cafe also has a significant selection of coffee and tea (as it is a cafe and all), Canadian non-alcoholic drinks, and Canadian craft beers to go along with the free-range meats and eggs, organic produce, and 100% sustainable and locally sourced seafood they serve.
I’ve heard good things about it to date from a few different people, and was excited to try it out. We walked up to the counter to peruse the menu and decide what we wanted to eat for lunch. I remember having a bit of difficulty and being glad the line up was a bit long, so that I’d have more time making my selection. There were so many paninis, sandwiches (both cold and hot), and salads that sounded delicious, along with a few share plates, it took me a few minutes longer than usual. We paid in advance, and then grabbed our number.
Although there’s a large patio outside, we opted to seat ourselves at a window table in the corner (bypassing the long communal table in the center of the dining room), as it was still a bit too cool in the shade.
I then looked over and noticed that on the number that you’re given to take to your table, there’s some sort of ‘Conversation Starter’ question shown on top. I couldn’t come up with a very good answer to ours since I’m not usually the type to splurge on things (although the best purchase I’ve ever made was probably my laser eye surgery about five years ago).
Around five minutes later, a staff member brought over our dishes and we dug in.
I decided to start with the daily soup, which was roasted eggplant vegetable with cumin olive tapenade, rich with flavour. The friend who I was eating with has already been back a few times since Commune has opened, and said that she’s had a bland soup there before, but this one was definitely much better. It was served for a couple of crostini slices.
For my main, I went with a simple Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini, with some dijon mustard. It was grilled to perfection, and I liked the amount of filling within the sandwich itself – not too much and not too little.
My girlfriend ordered the hot Shaved Beef, Stilton Cheese and Peppercorn Aioli Sandwich and kept raving about it while she was eating. According to her, ‘it was delicious’ and she’d definitely have it again. It was slightly on the messy side though, and required an extra napkin or two after the fact for clean up. I didn’t try this one myself, and will have to do so when I go back.
She also decided to have the side Commune Harvest Salad, with sprouts, seasonal nuts, and an apple cider maple vinaigrette. Although she wasn’t a fan of the dressing as she thought it had a slightly hot mustard flavour (which I couldn’t really detect), I thought it was light and tasty, and didn’t overwhelm the salad.
Apparently the turkey and stuffing hot sandwich is also delicious, and one of my friend’s favourites there, of the three different ones she’s tried.
Commune Cafe is also a member of both Ocean Wise and Green Table. I think it’s a great new casual addition to the area, with a fantastic patio, great choice of drinks to lead you into the evening, and some good, local and organic food.