Sunday, April 3, 2011
BRANAS MEDITERRANEAN GRILL
Cioppino: Seafood Soup ($22.00). Chock full of mussels, clams, fish and prawns in a perfectly spicy tomato broth. This was so good. The seafood was all cooked perfectly (not overdone or chewy) and fresh. The broth was seasoned nicely and had a bit of a kick. I was happy and would order this again! Cakebrain’s rating: 6/6
Branas is located on the waterfront next to Heather Civic Marina. My father used to have his new 24-foot Bayliner moored at Heather Marina. It was a coveted parking spot for his boat and he had kept the space for over 20 years before he passed. Though I took the Power Squadron course and I'm licensed, I must admit a boat is a money pit. We sold it about a year after he was gone. It was a place I loved to go to but at the time it didn't fit in with our lifestyle anymore. I recall it was truly a wonderful thing to just sit on the boat while it was moored there at Heather Marina and soak up the sun. We didn't even have to leave the dock. Besides, docking procedures were always our nemesis! There were too many eyes watching from the restaurant bars and patios nearby, tight moorage spaces, sharp turns, huge spiky kickers sticking out of massive boats and too much pressure to not screw up. I hate it when people watch when I park. Generally I'm adept in the car, but it's different in a boat; especially on a windy day. You certainly don't want to ram into someone's kicker and watch it sink to the bottom of the marina.
Chicken souvlaki in pita. Ordinarily this is a lunch item, but we were allowed to order it for dinner. Stomach thought the chicken was marinated very well and it was cooked perfectly…not dry. Stomach’s rating: 6/6
Spaghetti Classico. Bebe says this is the best spaghetti in tomato sauce she’s ever had. However, I must admit she does say this everytime we go to a high end restaurant (think DB Bistro Moderne—may it R.I.P—and West etc.) and ask if the chef could make her a pasta dish with red sauce (usually this is not on the regular menu). The chefs always happily oblige and Bebe always exclaims that it’s the best she’s had. Mind you these are high-end restaurants so making a simple dish taste spectacular should be easy. This dish is a regular mainstay of Branas’ menu. I asked to ensure the sauce wasn’t spicy for her. It came with garlic bread which she said, in between mouthfuls, was really good too. The sauce was made with fresh tomatoes and the pasta was cooked just right. Al dente. Bebe insisted that this was better than the last time she had it at a fancy restaurant. Bebe’s rating: 6/6
Halibut and chips. Very tasty batter. Good chips. Tender fish! Yay. This came with coleslaw too. You can order one or two pieces of fish. I would definitely order this again for lunch. Cakebrain’s rating: 5/6
Parking is a pain in the neck, but there is some free parking near the bridge and there is a pay parking lot at the entrance to the neighbourhood. We were lucky and were able to park for free (2 hour limit) along the road to Heather Civic Marina. However, parking in the area is very scarce with all the condos. The seawall walk after dinner is fantastic and there is patio seating so that you can watch the sun set. The sea air is just amazing, there is a view of downtown and the seawall meanders right by the restaurant. If you can bike there, you ought to...either from Granville Island or from the Expo lands. It would be a great ride and you wouldn't have to worry about parking.
On a sunny day, the little patio seems to be the coveted place to have your dinner. I recommend you make reservations because it's a tiny restaurant with a tiny patio. We were there at 5:30pm on a Saturday and the place was almost full by 6pm. There is apparently live Spanish music starting at 8pm on certain nights, as indicated on their website.