Posted November 17, 2008 by Adam Toren in Blogs

No Art at the Art Gallery Cafe

I don’t know what it is about art galleries having a tradition of serving up reasonably good food cafeteria-style, but it seems to be a trend and the Vancouver Art Gallery is no different. We’ve got a decent museum with a fantastic patio (in a downtown core that is literally bereft of good outdoor eating) and a menu that looks decent at first glance, but fails on the follow through and I don’t know why that is. Is there an unspoken rule that if you’re within a certain proximity to art your food has to be micro-waved? If so, that’s a stupid rule and someone should change it.

I’ve been to the Gallery Café a couple of times, mostly when I’m meeting people downtown who have no real culinary bent or who have a burning desire to eat outdoors and it’s not that I’ve  necessarily been disappointed, it just seems like an institution devoted to the arts could do so much better. On my last visit I ordered the Asparagus Risotto that came with a side Caesar salad. I didn’t order a glass of wine, but that option was there if I had wanted it, a nice touch considering the self-service. There are always a couple of daily hot specials as well as a selection of large salad bowls, sandwiches and quiches. The line for food circles around and as you get close to the display there is a bit of a panic to get your order in before you pass the point where they can heat it up by the time you get to the cash register. Otherwise, there’s a bottleneck.

The risotto itself was decent, but clearly made earlier in the day and heated up on high for a couple of minutes. It was too hot in the middle and warm in other places – including the pistachios on top. And risotto is meant to be a creamy, delicate dish in which the rice is in a bit of a soup sauce, but the grain is still al dente. This particular risotto was more or less stuck together in a lump and the subtle flavour of the asparagus was lost to over-cooking. The side salad was crisp and fresh, however, so that may be the way to go.

VAG Gallery Cafe
Upstairs at the Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver

Adam Toren

Adam Toren
Adam Toren is born and raised in Vancouver BC and loves everything Vancouver BC has to offer. He loves traveling and exploring new and unique restaurants and places around the world.