CUISINE / RESTAURANT REVIEWS Downtown Mediterranean Vancouver West Coast


Update: This restaurant is now closed.

It was Mommy’s birthday last week, so Pretty Sis and I took Mom and her sister (our aunt obviously) out to Downtown for dinner.

Lets Go For Dinner card

Traditionally we had taken her to fine-dining.  However this year, I’ve decided to make full use of my $5 Let’s Go For Dinner membership (it’s $15 now), so we took her to Sanafir.

For those of you that don’t know what Let’s Go For Dinner is, basically membership enables you to purchase certificates to a list of Vancouver restaurants for 50% off.  The denominations usually come in $30 or $50, and you only pay $15 and $25 respectively for them.  If you decide to join, please use my referral code RAF315892 so that we can both get goodies from them!

Now just to show my devotion to you all, I’m going to risk receiving legal action from the restaurant to post the rest of the pictures~  More on that later.

Sanafir exterior

It has an interesting entrance this place.  I wonder if it’s the theme of Granville St (since Granville Room was equally hard to find). There’s no sign above the restaurant, which means it’s quite difficult to find it if you’re trying to drive by without a GPS to tell you the proximity of the place.  Good thing PS has been here before so she steered us the right way.

Sanafir "window" seat

If you look closely to the previous storefront picture, you’ll see that there’s no actual glass in front of the “window” seats.  As we were part of the earliest ones there (even though it was 6:15pm), naturally we were seated by the “window” seat.  At first I thought Mom and Aunt wouldn’t like sitting there due to the obvious complains of smoke and exhaust and dust and etc, I was surprised she (they) didn’t object.

Mommy didn’t even object when I made her stick her arm out to the public!

Sanafir interior

Sanafir is indeed a very, very nicely decorated restaurant.  All the fine details were very pleasing to the eyes, especially the candles along the wall.  As you can probably tell there’s a Middle Eastern theme to the restaurant.  Indeed, their menu has the essence of Indian, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine.

PS did say that at night it gets so dark here that you can’t see the food, but we’re here early AND we were basically on the street so we saw our food fine.

Sanafir interior

Now the deal with the legal stuff was, I knew that upstairs they have leather dining beds.  Yes.  Dining beds.  Naturally, I wanted to go upstairs to take a picture.

I didn’t feel ok just wandering upstairs since it would look weird, so we asked the manager if that was ok to take some pictures for my blog.

He said “No”.  It was more the attitude in which he said it.  He did not make eye contact with us, and he didn’t elaborate further.  He only replied “No”.  At first we thought he was kidding, so we kept prodding.  So he tells us that we’re not allowed to take pictures to post on internet because they don’t know what we’ll do with them or say about them.  He told me that I’ll have to sign a release form to give them the rights to the pictures I’ve taken.

PS asked then so if we took pictures of ourselves and the restaurant was in view, we’re not allowed to post them even onto Facebook or anything at all.  He said “Yes, that wouldn’t be allowed”.  So that makes me wonder, say I made reservations for a party or something, if I took those pictures, I’m not allowed to post them on Facebook without signing their form?

This is the first time I’ve encountered a situation like this.  To be honest I was quite offended and that really killed my mood for the rest of the evening.

Also, it seems like it’s not the first time this manager has offended Sanafir’s customers.  Do a google search and you will find them.

That aside, the food and the service from the waitresses were really good.  So let’s put that downer aside and get to what this blog is really about- the food.

Sanafir: Passion fruit Soda

Our Aunt is strictly non-alcoholic.  So we got the waitress to get the bar to stir up something for her.  We basically just picked a few fruit juices and a base.  What we got was a Passionfruit Soda which is obviously passionfruit juice, club soda, plus some other fruit juices.  This was quite a steal we thought at $3.95.  It was huge.

Sanafir: flowery lavender cocktail

We ordered a cocktail for Mom.  Unfortunately I forgot what this is called and it’s not on their website.  But I do remember that we ordered it because Lavender syrup was one of the ingredients and Mom loves Lavender.  It’s the “Flowery” cocktail on their menu.

This was quite lovely actually.  Fragrant and refreshing.  Mom liked it too.

Sanafir white peach cocktail

Mine was a sparkling drink, most likely made from champagne/sparkling wine.  I forgot what this was called too but its main ingredient was white peach.

This was just ok.  It was too small for $8.  The alcohol was also more apparent in this drink.

Sanafir: Garden Fresh Fattoush Salad

Since Aunt is a mostly-vegetarian, we decided to order a salad to satisfy her.  This is the Garden Fresh Fattoush Salad $8.  It was quite big.  I didn’t have any since it turns out that most of the dishes have the same type of veggie mix underneath.

Sanafir: Naan Bread And Hummus with garlic confit and mixed olives

We also ordered the Naan Bread And Hummus with garlic confit and mixed olives ($8).  The naan was more like pita bread, but the hummus was good.  The olives were overly salty though.

Sanafir: Tapas Trio

Sanafir’s main feature is their Tapas Trios.  They are originally  $14 each.  However it turns out that on Tuesdays they are half off!  So we ordered 5 tapa trios to share.  Each tapa trio was served 3 ways in Indian, Mediterranean and Asian style.

First up was the Halibut.  It was surprisingly tender.  All 3 preparations were delicious.

Sanafir: Prawn Tapas Trio

The prawns in the Prawns selection were large and succulent.  They were “bouncy” and fresh.  Each preparation only had 2 large prawns so we shared.  I didn’t end up trying the salad roll as it seemed too normal.  The other 2 were good though.

Sanafir: Beef Tapas Trio

Beef was next.  The meat was very tender also, even the thin jerky-like preparation.  The Oxtail Ravioli (middle) was disappointing though because I had a whole one and found no trace of oxtail in it.  The sauce was good though.

Sanafir: Lamb Tapas Trio

My second favorite selection was the Lamb, especially the Seared Rare Lamb Loin (left).  It was very lamb-y and melt-in-your-mouth tender.  The meatball was very good also.

Sanafir: Calamari Tapas Trio

Lastly was the Calamari selection.  This was also disappointing.  The Spicy Salt & Pepper preparation (left) was overly salty.  Way too salty.  We didn’t finish that one.  The Grilled Calamari was different in that it wasn’t deep-fried, but it was a bit bland.  The best of the 3 was the Herb Breaded Calamari.  The herbs used was very fragrant.

 Sanafir: bill

So with the 50% off tapas special and the LGFD card, total only came to $34.28 with 4 drinks!  Good deal huh!

I did actually enjoy the food here, just not the service from the manager.  Like I said before, the waitresses were all very good and courteous.  However I know the lighting is more for mood than practicality, but it was way too dark deeper into the restaurant.  The restrooms were dark too in that they were only lit by candlelight, but they were interesting though because they were individual rooms rather than the usual multiple stalls within one restroom.  They were unisex though.

Sanafir Restaurant and Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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4 Comment

  1. That is really too bad you weren’t able to take a picture of the leather dining beds – I was really interested in seeing that so I tried looking on their site and the pictures really don’t show very much of the upper level – disappointing. The manager sounds like a jerk, such strange picture taking rules.

  2. He he he … I know that guy Michael Moore. He’s the obnoxious political film maker, isn’t he? Since when did he start working in restaurants. LOL! Seriously, they really have BEDS here? Gosh.

  3. I wrote a post some time ago called “No Pictures Allowed” and included a link ( regarding photography laws in Canada. Unfortunately, the law will be against on this one just because you asked for permission and was denied. Here is what happens:

    1) In semi-public places (in this case, the restaurant), you can take as many pictures as you wanted – until you are told not to.
    2) If you continue to do so after you have been told to stop, it is considered trespassing.
    3) They can’t; however, force you to delete the pictures you have already taken.

    Will they pursue legal actions? Unlikely, as such bad publicity will work against them as well. However, I fail to see the manager’s perspective. Anybody can say a lot of things, positive or negative, even if you do not have a picture of the place.

    But, putting all that aside, I do not like their tapas concept. Sure, it is for sharing; however, unless it is a party of 2, it is unlikely you will be able to really share much (as what happened in your case with the roll). And going by yourself does not really work for me, as I would like to sample different things rather than “force” you to try one particular theme. It has been a pass for me for that reason and your post confirmed those thoughts.

  4. That sounds just plain weird. Is this manager for real??? Well, this can’t be a company-wide policy because they were more than happy with me taking pictures at Italian Kitchen. I think the manager is just power tripping. Good deal on the food though!

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