Now some places deserve special mention for the experience, the staff and the food. This is definitely a place that has not only left me with amazing memories and a warm feeling, but a place that will definitely see my return. Scoozis, a restaurant that probably needs no introduction to Vancouverites, as it has been around since 1988, is a warm inviting family of staff and patrons. The food is made with love and attention, and the staff a true delight. On this occasion (my first in several years), I was pleased to have the honour of meeting the owner, Michael, a man who went to culinary school in Montreal and has created everything on the menu. His creations are infused with the flavours of the Mediterranean to create something very special.
I can’t explain how comfortable I felt here, as a person dining alone I was provided special attention and the staff made me feel extremely welcome; like one of the family. Those that know me, know that I tend to draw some attention, this could be because of my (often referred to) infectious smile or sweet demeanour, but the experience here will leave me with a friend and a love of not only this place but also the food. [SJ: or possibly because you talk to EVERYONE and you're attractive? jeez Lol]
So in the spirit of reviewing here I go:
Calling ahead to find out if the restaurant served spirits, as the website only mentioned beer and wine, I was pleasantly surprised to find a new friend, wonderful people, and a great time. This Mediterranean restaurant close to my hotel, was not only what I needed after a hard week, but a jewel to find in an industry mainly unconcerned with personalized customer service.
Located on Howe in downtown Vancouver, Scoozis boasts an outside patio and a comfy indoor atmosphere. Seated immediately by the host (Editors note: Michael the owner as I discover later) in the middle of the restaurant close to the kitchen. Speaking in Greek (I can only assume) he proceeds to call me a princess and mentions something in passing about how beautiful I look. Now, in most cases I would assume he was hitting on me, but the way he said it was meant to be a compliment and nothing more. After being seated, Mike, a man I later discover has been working with Michael for 44 years, takes my drink order (of course my usual). Now having been sat by myself in an open area I was feeling a bit left out as the staff were busy tending to tables and passing by to smile. Michael noticing I was ready to order, dropped by and asked me if I was ready. Having looked at the menu and being interested to try something homemade, I ask him if the meatballs were. Immediately as if I had asked a silly question, Michael said he had to show me something and proceeded to grab my hand and lead me into the kitchen and on the stove was a rack of freshly made meatballs. Breaking off a piece to have me taste it he proceeded to ask me if I liked them. Now if you’ve never tasted these meatballs, they are great. Not salty nor overcooked, and just the right combination of garlic, onions and seasoning to make me order that for dinner.
Trusting Michaels knowledge of his menu he brought me half a dozen spicy meatballs, served with hot pita bread, ceasar salad, tzataiki sauce and feta cheese. The dish, a good portion, was filling and delicious. At this point I had a strange feeling that Michael thought I was someone else, as he mentioned he would come back to chat then proceeded to ask if I still worked at the same place. Immediately clearing up the mistake we both had a great chuckle over it, and although I feared the wonderful service would end, it didn’t. As customers continued to pour in he took time to sit and talk, discussing life, the journey to where he is, and taking me on a tour of the restaurant. Adorning the walls of this place are photos of friends and family. Taking the time to show me his journey in life, pictures of his children and the friends that have enjoyed 40 plus years of marriage, it was obvious that not only his food was infused with love, but the entire restaurant, as he surrounded himself with great memories and people.
For desert Michael brought me his version of an apple strudel to celebrate my recent engagement to the love of my life. Covered in honey and garnished with strawberries, pineapple, and cinnamon, this Scoozis version of an apple strudel was simply heaven. Leaving the coffee selection up to him, he brought me a Spanish coffee (which was damn good, topped with cream and a strawberry) and we continued in pleasant conversation between us and the staff. Learning about his past and the journey he has taken to get where he is, I walked away with an appreciation of what life can bring those who believe in themselves and those around them. Scoozies, a place where you can experience a meal and a snap shot into a family...the experience left me with a warm glow (not from the alcohol) about life and love in general.
Location visited: 445 Howe St
Presentation: Above Average
Service: Above Average
Value: Above Average
The Meal Truth - Undercover food critics