The legendary Bayside Lounge, affiliated with the Best Western Plus Hotel in the heart of English Bay has been a central beachside dining destination since 1980. Our server, Sue, has worked there for the past 21 years and has seen the venue undergo many changes. Before cell phones, each table had its own phone, making it a popular place for locals to conduct business over lunch or a couple of beverages. Even after having undergone renovations, Bayside Lounge still retains its 80’s cocktail lounge vibe in the best way possible. The room is circular with large bay windows, with the sunken bar situated in the center of the room. My fellow VanCity Drinks correspondent Jenn and I were warmly welcomed and seated at a table with a spectacular view of the water.
We started our evening with a round of classic cocktails, my guest ordered the Bourbon Sour, complete with a bright maraschino cherry, while I opted for a Negroni. Our appies consisted of crispy polenta fries with a spicy marinara sauce and a beet and burrata salad, a perfect light start so as to not overshadow the substantial entrees we were about to enjoy.
Both of our entrees were prepared sous-vide style (placed in a vacuum-sealed pouch in temperature-controlled water); I chose the Moroccan lamb chops and my guest had the flank steak pinwheels. The lamb was tender and flavourful, accompanied by gnocchi and grilled fruit from the Okanagan. While getting a photo of her dish, Jenn dropped her phone in her mashed potatoes and fortunately it didn’t affect the flavour one bit! The steak was cooked to perfection and the mashed potatoes were creamy and buttery.
Our bellies were feeling pretty full after our delicious meal, but the first rule of Dine Out is to always save room for dessert! I went with the flourless chocolate torte (gluten-free!), which was rich, dense and extremely decadent. My guest went with the enormous peanut butter pie in a cup* (* read: large jar) and even though I graciously assisted in eating, neither of us could finish.
Bayside Lounge did a fantastic job of serving up classic, hearty dishes with a modern twist, paired well with traditional cocktails and a great atmosphere. It was very clear that there was a bumping local scene filled with dedicated regulars, a testament to the timeless status of Bayside Lounge as an English Bay hot spot.
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