It’s the smallest patio to make the list.
In the time it takes you to drive out of downtown Vancouver you can hop on the Skytrain and head to the Westminster Quay. I know, you are probably thinking why would I go to New Westminster, the answer is very simple, Longtail Kitchen. Serving up Thai Street food that reminds me of Pok Pok in Portland, Longtail has the absolute smallest patio in the entire 30 Best Patios series. With only 4 tables on the patio you don’t go all the way to New Westminster to hang out on their patio, you go for the food and if you are smart you’ll do what I did and go hungry!
You’ll find Longtail Kitchen on the first floor of the River Market, formerly known as the Westminster Quay, at 810 Quayside Drive. Facing the Fraser River you can’t deny that the view from the Longtail Kitchen patio is unique and not one you’d find in Vancouver. You’ve got the odd tug boat, floating logs, people walking along the quayside wall and even some boats touring people up to Pitt Lake.
What makes the Longtail Kitchen patio stand out from all the others, aside from the view, is the food. We’ve got some great Thai restaurants in Vancouver including Maenam, same owners by the way, but we don’t have a Thai restaurant that replicates the Thai street food experience like Longtail does. At Longtail there are no servers, you go up to the kitchen, order from the Chefs and they bring it out to you. Your food is cooked and served by the same person, very street if you ask me.
I came out to New Westminster by myself for lunch today and lucky for me I just missed the lunch crowd so Chef Justin Cheung was able to take his break, join me on the patio and share some food with me. First up is some sweet Thai Iced Tea. Who doesn’t love Thai iced tea?
As for what to eat I leave myself completely in Chef Justin’s hands. There may only be 4 tables at Longtail Kitchens’ patio but because of the way the River Market is set up you can sit at any of the other tables near by and Longtail will still serve you. Think of it like an outdoor patio food court where every guest can choose what food they want to eat. I want Thai all the way and our first course is up, Som dtam (Green Papaya Salad) and their famous Crispy Chicken Wings are our starters. The wings are super crispy and with the Tamarind dipping sauce they are way better than buffalo wings
Up next comes a Green Curry with chicken and an assortment of Thai veggies and a Watercress Greens with Pork Belly on rice. Nom nom nom. Seriously the flavours are outstanding. I’m thinking of asking that they open up a second location near my condo in Yaletown because the food is that spectacular. Both dishes are great and I love Pork Belly but the Green Curry cold replace beef stew as one of my favourite comfort dishes. You’ve got to try them.
Believe it our not there is more. You can’t have Thai food without having some Pad Thai. Just like everything else on the menu this is made from scratch and ranks as one of the top Pad Thai dishes I’ve ever enjoyed. If you want to try making this yourself they sell all the ingredients they use, this shelf inside the restaurant doubles as retail and storage for them
Patio Check list:
- View – great view of the Fraser River and all the people walking by the River Market
- Reservations – no
- All weather patio – no this is a good weather patio
- parking – the River Market does have a parking lot or you can take the Skytrain, it’s a short walk
- Social Media – follow them on Twitter and Facebook
- Coolness – great great Thai street style
Some patios are for the view, some are an oasis to escape the world and some patios like at Longtail Kitchen are for eating. They only have 4 tables but you know what they say, it’s not about the size it’s how you use it.
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