i-Cafe is what I considered as one of the important Cantonese Cafe establishments in Vancouver. Other ones include Gloucester cafe and Honolulu cafe. They serve food with lots of rice or noodles. There is a blurry line of the type of food they serve. You would think they are a Chinese restaurant, but they also serve ramen, spaghetti, french toast, fries, steak, rack of lamb, and lobster. i-Cafe is located on Broadway and Heather Street in Vancouver.
Strength: Serving cuisines from almost anywhere in the world
Weakness: Everything is mediocre and boring with lots of carbs
Other Cantonese Restaurants
Located on the upper floor
The entrance for i-Cafe is a little tricky to find. The restaurant is located on the second floor of a street corner, but the entrance stair is located on Heather Street, away from Broadway. This doesn’t seem to affect the amount of customers i-Cafe is getting.
Spacious interior with servers leading you to your seat
Upon entering the restaurant, you would see a counter where a dedicated staff used to stand here and lead you to your table. Now, you just search for whoever is available to lead you in. The dining area is quite deep and turns left at the end.
Waiting sofa for the peak hour crowd
If you come here during lunch or dinner peak hours, you may have to wait a little to get your table. iCafe thoughtfully provided some sofa at the entrance.
Dark Conventional tone interior
The primary color for i-Cafe is dark brown and dark green for the booth seating. They have some bright colored flex seating in the middle, but these seats are not as comfortable. The booth seating seems to be well maintained, no evidence of wear and tear was observed.
Additional seats at the back
I like the seats in the end because it is quieter. It reduces the chance of me bumping into friends where we need to awkwardly exchange pleasantry. A slight problem of sitting in this secluded corner is it can be a little hard to wave down a server. Some servers seem to have mastered the art of avoiding eye contact with waving customers, so be prepared to yell louder or jump in front of them to get service. To be fair, there is a male staff and a couple of young female staffs who provide excellent customer service.
Basic tableware with sugar at each table
The tableware are very simple. We have generic tea from concentrate (Let’s not to get into this) in a glass, like every other Cantonese Cafe. The metal spoon and fork are basic, and they give you additional cutlery corresponding to your order. You may find it odd to see the can of granulated sugar for your hot milk tea. This is quite common in Cantonese places.
Iced milk tea is way too sweet
If you order the iced version of milk tea, sugar is pre-mixed. This drink is extremely sweet. You can still taste the undertone dryness from the tea, but the sugar completely overtakes tea and milk. I enjoyed the large ice cubes, but I think they take up too much space for the tea.
This is the first time I asked for it to be in a to-go cup and I realized a significant reduction in the quantity of my drink.
Stir-Fried Satay Pork Flat Noodle
I have ordered the stir-fried satay pork with flat rice noodles from the lunch special menu. It took 21 minutes to arrive, ordering at 11:51 am and arrived at 12:12 pm. My preference was to order the Pan-fried Beef Rice Noodle. Unfortunately, it was removed from the lunch special menu and would’ve cost me $15.75. This is one of the strategies i-Cafe has been using to increase its food price.
It is a game of hit or miss for this dish at i-Cafe. I would order this one day and receive a dish with an explosion of wonderful wok aroma. Today, my stir-fried rice noodle was a boring plate of carb.
Don’t forget the Chili Oil
Over the years I have developed a tactic to deal with the off days when my food from i-Cafe tastes worse than my home cooking. It is to ask for the chili oil, not the chili paste. This chili oil goes well with every dish in the restaurant. Do note that the chili flakes at the bottom sometimes have unwanted poking texture.
604 Food Critic Assessment
Cantonese Cafe has gained enough traction over the years by putting Cantonese spins on major cuisines like American, French, Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Portuguese, Taiwanese, and Japanese food. I personally find it insulting because you simply cannot miso in your noodle and call it Ramen. However, there is definitely a demand for this type of food, so who am I to judge? That being said, I would stick to the Asian cuisines offered in i-Cafe. The ever-increasing food cost has reached $14 for a lunch special with a cold drink. What you have to be a little careful about Cantonese cafe such as i-Cafe is some of the semi-hidden costs. For example, $1 extra for cold drinks, or $1 extra if you want to swap out for Ramen noodle.
How to get in touch
- Phone: (604) 630-0238
- Address: 2525 Heather St, Vancouver
- Hours: 11:00 am – 10:30 pm, Friday & Saturday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm