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Calabash Bistro

4.1
115 reviews
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CAN$30 and under
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Caribbean
Perfect For:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Good for Groups

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About

The Calabash Bistro in Vancouver, serves up Caribbean cuisine in a creative and unique, �Reggacentric� environment. The atmosphere is inspiring and artistic, and the menu at Calabash Bistro is a unique combination of West Coast and West Indian flavors.

Start your meal off at Calabash Bistro with a serving of jerk fries or plantain chips, and maybe try a Calabash salad or crab cakes. But make sure to leave room for the main course. Entr�es and staples include oxtail, ackee and saltfish, a vegetarian platter and much more. You�ll also find a number of curries and jerked dishes, like goat curry and jerk beef stew.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Caribbean
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00 pm -1:00 am;
Friday - Saturday: 5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 10am-3pm
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Phone number
(604) 568-5882
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Cullin David
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Private party facilities
Calabash provides family style set menu's, Canapés, Buffets, live music and fully themed evenings.
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Private party contact
Sam: (778) 881-8065
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Catering
Calabash can provide all types and sizes of catering, from food to bar to rentals. We can also take care of the music.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Pender & Carrall
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Parking details
Street parking, public lot at Tinseltown.
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Public transit
Number 22 bus, Number 19 bus, Stadium Sky train.
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Entertainment
Calabash is a restaurant, with a licensed live music venue.

The entertainment features live performances of reggae, hip-hop, funk, and poetry. Local artists are making Calabash an epicenter of the Vancouver music scene. There is a DJ spinning all evening. Music is essential to the Calabash experience where the island sound is bumping all day.
The downstairs lounge area of Calabash hosts Foundation Radio, an online radio station that plays roots, reggae, jazz, blues, Motown and funk music. Calabash has created an intimate live venue that Vancouver needs.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access
What 115 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.1based on all time ratings
4.2
food
4.1
service
4.0
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined on April 12, 2015

I was visiting Vancouver and took some friends to dinner. The food was excellent and we enjoyed the appetizers and main courses so much that we even ordered rotis to go.
The staff and service were friendly.

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5.0Dined on April 12, 2015

One of Vancity's best kept secret locations! Love the cool vibe, the music, the staff and most of all the food. Put it all together and you'll feel like you've arrived in one of the hippest places in town where everything is 'irie mon'!

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4.0Dined on April 7, 2015

We went to calabash bistro for my friends 27th birthday dinner. The server was SO helpful and amazing. I love when servers are decisive and actually help you through the menu. Loves the appies...everything was tasty. They also let us bring our own cake which was very nice. I would go back again for sure!

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4.0Dined on April 4, 2015

Came here for a bite to eat before a hockey game - 10 minute walk to Rogers Arena. Food was great - I would say that this is authentic Caribbean home cooking. The seasonings and flavours were definitely Caribbean but not big restaurant style. Service was great, friendly and quick. Drinks were interesting and tasty. We will be back.

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5.0Dined on March 20, 2015

We went to Calabash for a casual dinner on Friday and it was delicious. Drinks were tasty and definitely not weak. I would definitely recommend getting the coconut dumplings!

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4.0Dined on February 28, 2015

The ambiance is lively with many groups having a good. We were hoping for love music but came on the wrong night. Oops our fault. The music gets progressively louder as the night advances. We didn't mind, but good to know if you need to have a quiet romantic conversation. The good was where is was most disappointed. It smelled so nice when I entered, and the prices are high, so I had high expectations. The food was ok or maybe even good, not definitely not great or spectacular, especially for the price.

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5.0Dined on February 7, 2015

My husband and I had a date night here last weekend and really enjoyed the atmosphere, the food and the drinks. Our server Meghan was awesome and attentive, and we felt relaxed and welcome to hang out as long as we liked. As for the food, I can't tell you how happy we are to have found good Jamaican and Caribbean food in Vancouver! I had oxtail and he had curry goat and both were delicious. We'll definitely be back.

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5.0Dined on January 31, 2015

So I took a couple of people to the Bistro for brunch. The food was excellent and quite filling. Everyone enjoyed it, the place was quite empty for some reason so we had no difficulty talking or hearing each other for that matter.

After brunch, we went downstairs to check out the art work & it was extraordinary. Definitely am going to come back for dinner as well as check out the downstairs as I understand they have live music every night.

I am very excited to come back to Calabash Bistro.

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4.0Dined on January 17, 2015

This restaurant has been on my list for a very long time. I went with friends who had been there before. We ordered our drinks, I had a dark and stormy. I have not had a bartender make me a drink like that for a while....not stingy, I didn't feel like I had to nurse it, not to mention very tasty. I then ordered the goat, Calabash serves their curry's in tiffins. One layer of salad, one rice and one curry. I thought it would not be enough food but I was stuffed, not to mention the flavours. Subtle and flavourful curries and a nice rice mix.
No room for dessert but I will return.

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5.0Dined on January 17, 2015

Calabash has a fun, quirky atmosphere and absolutely delicious food. The service is impeccable. Lots of great share plates and incredible cocktails on their menu. Try the Dark & Stormy and make sure you order the coconut dumplings to start. We'll be back soon for sure.

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3.0Dined on December 31, 2014

Need a place to hang out that has a pulse? This would be a great choice . Relaxed, and with really great music and a competent and familiar staff, it's kind of like being with friends even if you don't know a soul .
The food is ok, and the menu gives plenty of choices in the category. The whole experience reminded us of what it might be like to have your own " cheers " bar.

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1.0Dined on November 29, 2014

I made a reservation for myself and three friends 3 weeks in advance, and Calabash phoned me the day before to confirm. However, when we arrived they put us downstairs, at the only table that was not part of an engagement party, which had rented out the space for a private event (except for that one table, apparently). We requested another table 3 times, from 3 different people. Each time they acted as if we were crazy for not wanting to sit there (there were speeches even!). We didn't stay for dinner, because it was uncomfortable and loud. And we felt very disrespected. When we left we expressed our feelings to the staff (at this point 4 people were all around us), all of whom continued to say "It'll be fine down there, don't worry about". Never once did anyone give us the common courtesy of respecting that this is maybe not an appropriate place to put a reservation table. Might I add that half of the upstairs empty (albeit reserved).

I was really looking forward to my meal, and I am very disappointed that I will not be going back.

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3.0Dined on November 29, 2014

Heard so much but food didn't live up to hype. Maybe dinner better than brunch.
Great house hot sauce.

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4.0Dined on November 22, 2014

The food was delicious and the ambience was loud and energetic. Fun to go out on the weekend with a group of friends.

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5.0Dined on November 14, 2014

I have been frequenting Calabash for almost 2 years. I have never been dissatisfied with the service or the food.

Chef Cullin is friendly, personable and can cook Caribbean food to perfection. I lived in the Caribbean for a period of time and I can say that it is delicious and authentic with a twist. He has brought his menu around to stay true to the seasonings and roots but modernizing and adjusting to the pallette of his clientele.

I highly recommend you go there. Also, they have a DJ come in and weekends can be a blast there!

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4.0Dined on November 13, 2014

Chose the Calabash as I haven't had good Carribean food since I left the UK (never seen a restaurant in Vancouver), the menu looked good and prices were reasonable. The evening didn't disappoint, it's small, cozy and unpretentious with genuine character. The staff were super friendly. The food was tasty and came in good portions, not by the bucketload and not haute cuisine. They have an incredible specialist run menu and the rum cocktails were SOOOO good. Will definitely go back and highly recommend

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4.0Dined on November 2, 2014

We had a good experience; enjoyed the food and the service was good.

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4.0Dined on October 25, 2014

Our large party (10 people) had a great time at Calabash on Saturday night. The food was incredibly flavourful and the cocktails fresh and delicious. We received exceptional service and they accommodated adding two people to our original reservation. The music for the dancing downstairs wasn't my cup of tea (reggae) but it was a lively scene nonetheless. Recommended highly.

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4.0Dined on October 18, 2014

great food, great rum drinks, good lively ambience.

at 11pm the restaurant turns into a pretty wild dance floor.

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5.0Dined on October 18, 2014

My friends and I had a great time! Very accommodating for my group on my Birthday!

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4.0Dined on October 14, 2014

Authentic Caribbean food. My friend I was with from Jamaica said it was the best Ox Tail meal he has had while living in Canada - and he is current living in Toronto. My other friend really enjoyed her first ever curry goat...and my green papaya salad with Saltfish, prawns and the Trini doubles were delish! My Dark & stormy was perfectly made - strong and flavorful. Ambience and music as always nice. My only wish would be that this was in a bit of a bigger location... a patio would be nice...and I must say my friends from out of town were initially skeptical because of the neighbourhood it is located in...but thy got over that. Thank God Vancouver is graced with this taste of home!

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4.0Dined on September 27, 2014

The veg platter is calling to me during winter days. Can't wait to go back. Lovely staff, very low key vibe.

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5.0Dined on September 27, 2014

Love this place! Yummy food! Tried the beef roti, jerk chicken and veg curry all fabulous ! Also really fair prices. Love the drink selection. The dark and stormy is a must try with real shaved coconut !

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1.0Dined on September 20, 2014

The concept of reggae and food is awesome and unique. I think the servers need to be alittle more proffesional. I have been to carribean restaurants in Toronto with excellent sevice. I almost couldnt tell the difference between waiters and the guests when the place was packed. My date ordered a house daquiri that looked like an eighth of the glass (she was too shy to complain) but the prices for drinks were steep.
I loved the food and music, just the drink prices and waiters service needs to be improved if the place wants sustained success. Good food only lets you get away with it for a couple of years before a new competitor matches the food quality with better service.

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5.0Dined on September 20, 2014

This was our fourth visit to Calabash, and it has never disappointed in the slightest. Although for this visit, it was our 11th anniversary so a bit of a special occasion. We were promptly served at our reservation time, and while I didn't mention that it was our anniversary, a mysterious woman (likely my mother) phoned in to advise them, and our server congratulated us as we were seated and ended up comping our desserts. As vegetarians, Calabash is great.. Their jerk poutine was absolutely fantastic, and one main reason why we go there. As were our pre-dinner cocktails. Our mains were exciting and delicious. The ice creams and sorbets for dessert were wonderfully light after a hearty meal, and were complemented by one of their rum flights.

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5.0Dined on September 16, 2014

This was my second visit and had great dishes. You won't be disappointed with the flavors. I can't wait to return again.

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4.0Dined on September 13, 2014

Love the atmosphere at Calabash! Food is fresh, but be prepared to wait a little longer in exchange for that level of quality. Not a big deal though because the extra time is great for catching up with people you don't always get to relax and chat with.

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2.0Dined on September 6, 2014

Great service and great vibe, but the food... The curry goat meat was chewy and fatty with very few pieces of good quality meat (my son could not break down many pieces and had to spit them out). It was seasoned ok, but as a Jamaican, I was not impressed. My oxtail dish did not have enough meat on the bone for the price. Coconut dumplings were over cooked, tough and unpleasant to eat. Fried plantain was also over cooked (almost burned). Was told that the jerk ribs came with rice n' peas but later came with fries. They tasted like any old rib from any old restaurant...not Jerk. They were tender but the sweet sauce even drowned with their hot sauce didn't bring it into the realm of Jamaican Jerk. Salad was over dressed; leaves were soggy.

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5.0Dined on September 4, 2014

Had an excellent dining experience at Calabash last week. Our server was very helpful in explaining the menu and was passionate about the specials. The atmosphere was warm and friendly, the food was super tasty, and the prices were more than fair. I will be back!

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3.0Dined on August 31, 2014

I had high expectations about Calabash after hearing so much about it, plus we love our West Indian/Caribbean food. It wasn't too busy when we got there, but it picked up by the time we left. We ordered the jerk poutine to start, which was really good and a good portion. My guy had the curry chicken and I ordered the jerk chicken...both portions were smaller than what we are used to at other restaurants. The food was good, but I was expecting more flavour and heat with my meal. We also had to ask our waitress to top up our water many times. She was great though, apologized to us because it got crazy and she was overall very friendly. We will come back to try out some of the other dishes, and hopefully find something we really like.

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4.0Dined on August 26, 2014

Food was tasty and well seasoned. Enjoyed the ambiance. The neighborhood is a little intense. While we were dining, a stranger smashed his face and hands against the glass windows outside for 15 seconds.

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4.0Dined on August 19, 2014

A very good place for vegetarians who want to try Caribbean food. Great rum list, and many cocktails options.
The food was really good and innovative. The staff is very friendly.
A place to discover

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5.0Dined on August 17, 2014

Our group of 6 diners (+ 1 well behaved baby) had dinner at Calabash on a Sunday night. The chicken stew, seafood steamer, and coconut fritters were very flavourful and scrumptious. This was our last meal in Vancouver before heading back home, and we were glad that ended up such a good note.

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5.0Dined on August 16, 2014

We enjoyed Calabash for the warm and friendly atmosphere and the absolutely delicious food. The menu has an extensive selection that warrants going back again and again. Don't let the neighborhood scare you away (being from out of town, it almost did dissuade us as we approached it), it's worth venturing in for sure. We will go back the next time we visit the city.

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3.0Dined on August 10, 2014

Food was ok, not the greatest but pretty tasty. We order chicken jerky and vegetarian curry roti; the roti was ok a bit dry and the jerky chicken was very good. The plantains we ordered as entree were not the best .
Juices were good.
Service was very good.
The area where the restaurant is not nice at all, be careful.

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4.0Dined on August 8, 2014

Best Caribbean place I've been to in Vancouver by far. The goat curry roti was just incredible and it was the perfect amount of food. My brother had the oxtail and it was also just amazing. Insane rum selection and unique cocktail menu, wish I could have tried more. Will definitely need to go back again sometime soon. Very friendly staff.

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2.0Dined on August 1, 2014

I had my birthday dinner here years ago and it was the most memorable carribean meal I've had. We went back to fill a Jamaican craving the other night and the experience was a complete 360. Our drinks were over-iced and overpriced. Jamaican patties were very small and flat. $7.50 for 2 patties was robbery. The worst part, the previously delicious coconut dumplings were unrecognizable. Dry and fried to a crisp, I couldn't cut into these without exploding pieces of dumpling flying everywhere. Such a disappointment, needless to say, will not be returning.

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4.0Dined on July 29, 2014

A wide selection, very wide, of rum based drinks and rum itself. Some great food options and lively reggae backtrack with lots of events in the evening. I've been twice, once for a live concert in their 2nd room. All was very cool and laid back with great food.

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5.0Dined on July 26, 2014

The food is amazing. Ambience also very energetic and service was good.

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4.0Dined on July 26, 2014

We've been to Calabash before and this second time also did not disappoint. I specifically went back to try the Curry Goat and it was as close to authentic as I've had in north america! Almost as good as my mother's! My dinner mates also enjoyed their meals and there were no complains all around. The service was good and I was quite pleased that they were able to meet my request for raw scotch bonnet pepper which I usually add to an already 'hot' dish. I'd certainly go back to try everything on the menu at least once!

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