In celebration of this nice statutory holiday, my family and I went out on Christmas Day for a buffet dinner at Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel in Downtown. The reason why we didn’t go to Cafe Pacifica or Hyatt Hotel or RiverRock Casino/Hotel or anything more popular is because there was no room left! We decided to go out for dinner a little late, and by the time we searched up opentables.com for reservations, only Renaissance Hotel and a few other random places had spots left. My dad picked the Renaissance P2B Bistro & Bar because there were relatively good reviews on opentables.com…and they were so right!
Renaissance Hotel is one of the older hotels in Downtown Vancouver, and it used have an unobstructed view of the Burrard Inlet, but new condos have been built there. As a result, the hotel lobby’s grand white marble is matched with the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows facing the inlet. Even with the condos there, a slice of the inlet can be seen, and it must be such a nice view during the day.
Going into the restaurant, I had my doubts about how good the buffet would be, since I had not heard any first-hand experience about it. But I was so pleasantly surprised, right from the appetizers.They had the regular smoked salmon, but sided by small dishes of capers, shallots, and egg! I had no idea that you were supposed to eat smoked salmon with all three of those things, but according to my mother who is an ex-air hostess, that is exactly how smoked salmon is served in first-class. The meticulous and innovative chefs of P2B Bistro & Bar showed their colours in all the other appetizers too. There was not the usual Caesar salad or imitation Japanese seaweed salad. Instead, there were unique items such as “Celeriac & Caramelized Apple with Walnut” (photo above) and “Heart of Palm, Mango & Mint Salad” (photo above). I don’t even know what palm is…but it was delicious! And usually at buffets, I get 2 helpings of appetizers maximum, but this time…I must’ve gone back at least 3 times!
I think their hot foods was the highlight, though. Other than delicious mashed potatoes, turkey, sauteed prawn and scallops, salmon, etc etc, there was something called “Petit Medallions of Beef, Stilton Crust, Mustard Cream” (photos below). The look of it defies how absolutely delectable it was. As I’m not knowledgeable in the kitchen, I have no idea how they made it, but each medallion was slightly rare inside, not bloody, but rare. So you can just imagine how tender it was! That was my fav.
Then dessert. Oh dessert. First of all, I just want to comment on how thoughtful the chefs were – they had a whole table of blank gingerbread men and women with bowls of candy and bags of icing – just for the kids! Sure, it was a cheap investment, but I thought it was such a sweet little thing. If I were still a kid, I would’ve fallen head over heels for it. Moving on to the “adult” dessert table, it was literally PILED with all sorts of cakes and pies! The “chocolate fountain” was a little underwhelming – it was just a metal pot over candle fire with dark chocolate fondue in it – but still good! I particularly thought the christmas log cake (photo on the right) was beautiful, although I hadn’t the room in my stomach to have it.
The hotel’s service is quite nice. The second we walked up to the hotel’s glass doors, a hotel man opened it for us. Restaurant service was not overly exceptional, but our server was very pleasant. Even though the attire of the servers initially led me to think that they were other guests, the amazing food made up for it.
The cost per person for the dinner buffet was very decent – $65 per person. Personally, I think this is a much better deal than other hotel-ish places in Vancouver that also offer buffets.
Overall, a superb experience! My stomach expanded in ways that I didn’t know it could. I would love to go there again.
They have a New Year’s Eve Dinner coming up! Not buffet, but instead a 5-course dinner with a menu that is extremely mouth-watering. A few titles include “Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese with Oven Dried Vine Ripe Tomato”, “Mint Infused Lemon & Mango Sorbet”, “Oven Roasted Beef Tenderloin, topped with Foie Gras & Stilton”, and “Chocolate Sampler….Ganache Macaroon Sandwich, Warm Walnut Chocolate Brownie…”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!