Alfred Drinking Coffee smiling

This article originally appeared on West End BIA in October 2018. View the full article here.

Alfred Zagloul, better known online as Alfred Drinking Coffee, has become a recognizable, credible and super charismatic (don’t let his serious IG face fool you) guide to coffee in Vancouver. He even has his own limited edition roast with JJ Bean! An accountant by day, Alfred has an impressive pallet and an even more impressive passion for sharing his love for the bean and educating the masses.

We followed Alfred on a stimulating tour of three unique West End coffee shops.

Photos by Alison Boulier.


Alfred Drinking Coffee walking in D'oro

D’oro Gelato & Caffe

The second leg of our tour took us to D’oro Gelato & Caffe, where old meets new to produce an elegant yet classic Italian café experience! This award-winning spot is known for producing fresh gelato in small batches but their coffee deserves equal recognition. The lattes, americanos, macchiatos, cappuccinos, espressos and affogatos here are made using artisan Seattle-based coffee roaster, Caffe Umbria!

Address | 1094 Denman Street
Website | www.dorogc.com

d'oro in bite me vancouver

This article originally appeared on Bite Me Vancouver in August 2018.

With Robson Street being one of Vancouver’s top tourism spots for tourists to explore and shop, I felt it would be necessary to share with you my top three favourites on Robson Street! On a day off, sometimes you just want to have fun downtown exploring the busy streets, specially when there’s food and shopping involved! Whether you are craving sushi with a fabulous patio, gelato with so many flavours to choose from, or a wicked poke bowl to give you a feel for Vancouver’s latest trend, Robson Street has it all! Here are my favourites I HAVE to rave about.

Ebisu on Robson

Ebisu on Robson is a great restaurant for some casual Japanese favorites, and a drink or two on the outside patio. With a few different locations, this one is one of the best because of the ease and convenience of being able to go shopping afterwards, which you know I’m always up for after a good meal!

I have a few favourites, but if you are going for the first time I definitely recommend the Spicy Chashu Stone Bowl! You can let the rice stay in the bowl longer to make it extra crispy, and the spicy pork and different veggies make this dish so enjoyable.

Ebisu on Robson
Website: http://www.ebisu.ca/robson/
Address: 827 Bute St, Vancouver, BC V6E 3Y4

Poke Time

My next favourite on Robston Street is definitely some poke (pronounced poh-keh) from Poke Time; when I need a taste of the true West Coast vibe, I look no further than Poke Time on Robson Street. This restaurant was actually one of the first Poke restaurants to open in Vancouver, and we were so happy we found this spot when we did!

We love their signature bowls like the BC Bowl or Zen bowl (pictured above). They also carry wicked poke burritos too if you’re craving a burrito; make sure you give it a try next time you’re in the area!

Poke Time
Website: http://www.poketime.ca/
Address: 1258 Robson St Vancouver, BC, V6E 1C2
Telephone: 778.379.7187
Hours: 11:30am – 10:00pm everyday

D’oro Gelato & Caffe

Finally, off to dessert! A lot of the times we’ll go for bubble tea anywhere we can find, but with this cafe on Robson Street it’s hard to resist. D’oro Gelato is amazing for all the different flavours they carry of gelato; not only that, but they also carry food options for lunch, and different ice cream cake options ready for your next special occasion.

If you’re not craving gelato, don’t worry because they have beautiful sculpted popsicles like these. With caramel and white chocolate on the inside, how can you say no?! So next time you’re craving something sweet on Robson, come visit this award winning cafe for some lovely gelato.

D’oro Gelato e Caffè
Website: https://dorogc.com/
Address: 1222 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, V6E 1C1
Phone: 604-694-0108
Hours: Open Sunday – Saturday, 7:00AM to 11:00PM

That’s my top three for Robson Street, but I’d love to hear yours! Leave your top three in the comments below and let me know your next request on the top three or five favourites I should do! Thanks for reading.

– c

d'oro gelato featured in tourism vancouver

This article originally appeared on page 11 of Tourism Vancouver’s Vancouver Official Visitor’s Guide in July 2018.

Embrace the ambiance of a true gelato cafè

ITALIANS HAVE PERFECTED the art of gelato where any time is gelato time, especially after dinner while taking a stroll. Similarly, any time is coffee time. Mix the two, and you have an “Affogato.” Step into D’oro Gelato e Caffè at Robson and Bute, or at Denman and Comox, where you will be instantly transported to Italy. Which part of Italy? That’s up to your imagination. This is where new world meets old world with an artisan flare. Italian desserts are made in-house, and the biscotti will make the coffee aroma jump out of the cup. Espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, gelato or sorbetto, the choice is yours. Hungry? Have a panino, after all you’re in Italy! Enjoy world acclaimed gelato flavours like pistachio, nocciola, cioccolato, stracciatela, or lemon sorbetto. Check out the weekly or seasonal specials made daily on the premises and with the freshest ingredients. Indulge yourself in Vancouver’s Italian gelato and caffè culture at D’oro Gelato e Caffè.

FUN ITALIAN GELATO AND COFFEE FACTS:award winning doro gelato

  • Gelato is Italian for frozen
  • Gelateria is a gelato shop.
  • Gelatiere is a gelato maker.
  • Gelataio/Gelataia is a gelato server.
  • Gelato is not ice cream and has a lower fat content.
  • Gelato is creamier, more dense and flavourful than ice cream.
  • The best gelato in Vancouver is at D’oro Gelato e Caffè.
  • In Italy espresso is regulated because it’s considered an essential part of daily life.
  • Most Italians drink their caffè standing up at a caffè bar. Sitting down at the table may cost more.
  • When you order caffè at a bar or a restaurant, it automatically means an espresso.
  • Ristretto means a shorter than normal shot, while caffè lungo means longer than normal.
  • Caffè Americano is espresso diluted with hot water.
  • Latte means milk so be careful ordering a latte in Italy. Caffè latte is what you want.
  • Cappuccino is one-third coffee, one-third hot milk and one-third milk froth (steamed milk). Make it special by adding cacao or cinnamon powder, or dip a biscotto.

When at D’oro, like in Italy, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or in between, why not order ‘un caffè’ and pretend you’re Italian? Hold the espresso cup by the handle, give it a gentle twirl and drink it to the last drop.

1222 Robson St
1094 Denman St

This article originally appeared on BC Living on Nov. 7, 2017.

Refresh and recharge during holiday shopping sprees with a snack—or a meal—at a Robson favourite

Fresh air, twinkle lights, outdoor strolls: escaping the mall to treasure hunt along Robson Street in Vancouver’s downtown core can provide plenty of rewarding shopping experiences. This season, the area’s warm, welcoming nooks offer up opportunities to take a well deserved break. Several locally-based businesses put out the doormat to usher in weary consumers and keep hunger at bay.

Here are six top spots to seek refuge this holiday season…

1. Breka Bakery – 818 Bute Street

Carb addicts and coffee lovers alike can stop in to Breka to refreshat any hour. “We’re open 24/7,” says store manager Raimonda Baksanskaite. “We never close!”

The Bute Street locationone of four in Vancouver nowcan’t really say they specialize in one specific menu item… because there is so much on offer. “You can get everything herefrom breakfast to soups and salads, light snacks to proper dinners,” says Baksanskaite.

Aside from that variety, Breka also focuses keenly on an offering that is right out of the oven. “Everything is fresh–baked each morning. We don’t sell anything one-day old.”

The eatery’s international flavour offers customers favourites from a number of different heritages. “We’re a more European-style bakery,” explains Baksanskaite. “You can find German Bienenstich cake and traditional Jewish challah every Friday. Other shops don’t offer the same options.”

For the holiday season, the traditional dried fruit and nut bread, Stollen, returns to the menu as do pumpkin pies, shortbread cookies and other festive pastries.

2. Zefferelli’s – 1136 Robson Street

Classics that prove their worth are to be treasured. Second-floor mainstay Zefferelli’s has held its prime location with aplomb for nearly three decades and owner Alberto Lemmo has his suspicions as to why.

“It is always nice to take a break,” he offers. “Zefferelli’s is cozy for a glass of wine or a nice pasta. It’s a matter of sitting down and recharging your batteries.” Never more so for consumers than during the holiday season. “Come upstairs and warm up, dry out,” he continues. “Get away from the hustle and the bustle.”

Continuing its beloved tradition, the restaurant excels at fresh pastas (with portions they note would “make Mama proud”) and a wine list that’s extraordinarily unpretentious and adored. “We want it to be accessible,” Lemmo explains. “We want you to find your favourite.”

3. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory – 1017 Robson Street

Sometimes you don’t need a full meal to get you back in the mood to bargain hunt. A bite of something sweet can do the trick.

“We love that people can come in and smell what is cooking,” says Kate Mustard, sales and marketing manager for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. “It’s a wonderful place to come in and get away from the weather and lose yourself in the chocolate world.”

The newly redesigned space offers customers a more open, welcoming way to shop for sweets and treats of all kinds. “Our goal was to remove barriers for the customers–to provide a better experience overall,” says Mustard. “Lighter, brighter and more open.”

This holiday season provides even more incentive to stop in. Besides grabbing a chocolatey snack for yourself, you may just spot something that crosses off a name on your list. “We want the holiday to be reflected in our product. We have lots of different items that are coming in,” promises Mustard. The Pinnacle box is new for holiday, complete with signature chocolates, foil bells, their beloved popcorn treat known as “Rocky Pop” and more.

4. Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House – 777 Thurlow Street

When Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House opened its doors in 1985, Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister, “We Are the World” was number one and Out of Africa was playing in theatres just down the street. While culture and politics have changed, the restaurant has bowed to few pressures and grown into its lofty position as one of the city’s most treasured culinary landmarks. “It’s an institution,” surmises general manager Chris Meyer. “There is no other restaurant in the city that looks like this: the architecture, the room, the patio… it’s a warm, inviting place.”

Named, of course, for the city’s first official lifeguarda storied West End residentthe space welcomes shoppers for a lively meal or an impressively diverse happy hour at the bar daily. (Fresh $1 oysters and $5 cocktails are well-priced favourites.) And regulars know the holiday decor abounds as Christmas approaches. “We’re in the entertainment business,” says Meyer. “It’s vibrant and fun.”

Shoppers can come in from the cold to appreciate the inviting, jovial room. “Enjoy the ambience. Forget about your shopping woes for a bit,” encourages Meyer. Especially true on Boxing Day when Joe Fortes reopens (after a brief holiday closure) to offer sale weary souls delicious comfort.

5. Cafe il Nido – 780 Thurlow Street

Housed in the historic Robson-Thurlow mainstay known as The Manhattan, il Nido has maintained both charm and grace in its nearly 30 years serving a dedicated, loyal fan base, with both highly praised plates and a little education.

“Italian cuisine, as we know it, doesn’t exist in Italy,” explains owner Franc Felice. “It’s all regional in Italy. You go to the north, you go to the south. You have specialties all over.” And the incorporation of that treasured variety has helped the eatery stay well populated and highly rated. “Our clientele isn’t looking for just garlic and tomato sauce. We create an ambience with what’s available,” explains Felice. “We try to blend everything like an art.”

And this season that artful promise may just provide a rather continental air to a local respite from harried shopping. “Get away from the cars and the noise on the street,” Felice urges. “In Europe, folks want to come in off the street. It’s an escape.”

6. D’oro Gelato e Caffe – 1222 Robson Street

Four years ago, Robson’s resident gelato purveyor went in for a little refreshand emerged a whole new, authentic self. Co-owner Kristina Sonney of D’oro explains it best.

“We wanted to offer an old-world experience in a new-world setting,” she says. And dedication certainly trumps disposable here. In Italy, diners vote immersion over brevity, so D’oro decided to provide plenty to appreciate: grilled paninis from Commercial Drive’s beloved La Grotta del Formaggio, coffee from Seattle’s acclaimed Caffé Umbria (fourth generation roasters with proud Italian heritage and an eye on the finest blends) and even a “lab” backstage that whips up handmade gelato and sorbetto on-site. “Producing our product in an in-store lab allows us to offer fresh gelato and take into consideration demographics and flavors by location,” explains Sonney.

This December, expect a panna cotta flavour to be whipped up and added as a seasonal offering in addition to a continuing effort to provide a dessert that delights and perhaps even surprises. “Gelatoon averagehas half the fat of ice cream,” says Sonney. In addition, gelato is churned with less cream and less air. The result is more dense, more flavourful and, at D’oro, more rewarding.

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