Our Take On Takeout – April 2024

Posted by

Nanaimo keeps offering new and interesting takeout options for when we just can’t be arsed to make our own meals. We’ve tried a few more and have some thoughts for you! If you like, check out our takeout archive here too.

Donair Dude

During a recent visit to Halifax, we had a chance to try authentic Halifax donair at this joint. A couple of bites in, we realized that any donairs we’ve previously had here are at best pale imitations of the real thing. We were excited to try Donair Dude to see if they were slinging the real thing, or… something else.

Spoiler alert: it’s something else. Donair Dude operates more like a Subway, Pita Pit, or Bar Burrito. You choose your wrap (flour tortilla or pita – no other flatbreads here), your meat/protein, and then get to pick from a variety of veggies and sauces. For this visit we did our best to recreate a proper donair for him, and since we had the option, made a falafel wrap for her.

Ups

The Harewood Ma– excuse us, University Village location is brand new, and it’s sparkling clean. Staff were very friendly. The food was quite tasty, though really not quite what were looking for. Meat is actually cooked on the kebab.

Downs

It’s a good try, but wasn’t true donair. It’s really just a Subway with better meat. While the portions are ample, the prices are a bit steep. With taxes you’ll be looking at $35 for a couple of wraps.

Conclusion

If you’re really hankering for Halifax donair, this could work for you. The restaurant is actually geared toward more global foods (and could just as easily be named Shawarma Shop or Gyro Hero), but you can work within their system to make yourself one. It would be great if they could add the soft flatbreads to their options. The other options on their menu (falafels, kofta, and plenty of sides) make this an attractive place to check out when trying to please a group. Just watch out for the prices.

Pitaland

Here’s the new kid on the block, which opened around the end of the year. They offer 100% halal foods, with a big focus on shawarma. Their website says they’re renowned for the food they’ve been serving at that location since 2003, which is totally wrong, but we suppose that’s their truth, anyway.

We ordered a beef shawarma burger (neat!) with fries and a chicken shawarma wrap.

That’s the place. It’s in Terminal Park just by the Dollarama.

Ups

The food was actually pretty good. Both meats were well seasoned and flavourful. The shawarma burger was a fun way to remix this kind of food, and the chicken wrap was well constructed, and properly wrapped to allow for a quick tear off and no mess.

Downs

Despite being newly opened, the restaurant itself it a bit of a mess. It appeared disorganized, and there were supplies lying about both behind the counter and in the seating area. There were loose cables on the walls and crooked signs hanging up, and the seating was cheap. They were also loudly playing some music we found obnoxious. Service was friendly but abysmally slow.

Conclusion

We’re meh on this one. The food tasted way better than we expected from our impression of the restaurant. The price was ok – we paid $28 for our burger/fries combo and chicken wrap. Still, they need to get a bit more organized in there, clean up, and focus on getting the orders out before we’d be thrilled to go back. Eh, we might pop by again if we’re hungry and in the neighbourhood.

Bamboo Garden

Right down in the heart of Nanaimo’s most troubled streets is new Chinese-Canadian shop Bamboo Garden. This tiny restaurant is in the former Aladdin’s location on Victoria Crescent. We’ve been eyeballing it for a while as we’re picky about Chinese food (and basically #triggered when someone says they love QF hot foods, but we digress…). We finally took the plunge recently and ordered a modest combo of entrees to take home.

We ordered soy sauce chow mein, chop suey, sweet and sour pork (an indulgence), a couple of spring rolls, and a ginger fried tofu special.

It’s largely what you would expect.

Ups

We always make sure to try the chop suey at any new Chinese-Canadian place. In our view, it’s a good measuring stick for the overall food quality. If the vegetables are crispy and fresh and there isn’t too much of that gelatinous chop suey slime — you know the stuff — then we may have a winner. Bamboo Garden passed the chop suey test, and we can further confirm that the other items were at least as good as any other offerings in town. The pork was nice in that there was a good meat to fat ratio. We don’t love tofu, but always give it a try anyway and Bamboo Garden did manage to take the world’s blandest food and turn it into something tasty.

Downs

We don’t really have much to complain about. We found the price reasonable ($74 after tax and modest tip) considering we were able to get a couple meals of leftovers. The by-phone ordering experience was fine and was accurate, although the website menu and the actual menu and prices may not be in sync. I suppose you could say that the location could be a bit of an issue for those taking out, but we apparently now live in the laziest timeline where Skip/Doordash exist, so that may not be a deal breaker.

Conclusion

Bamboo Garden is a totally competent Chinese-Canadian restaurant in Nanaimo. Even though nothing particularly blew our socks off, simply being good is enough to raise the status of this place in our view, compared to the middling local competition. We’ll be back for sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *