Though the Caribbean isles are well known to outsiders, Caribbean cuisine remains a hidden gem due to tourists frequently subsisting solely off a paste made from sand, ocean water, and pureed linen pants. Uncover the edible treasure of the tropics with today’s deal: for $12, you get $25 worth of eclectic Caribbean fare and drinks at The Reef, redeemable at either its Main Street or Commercial Drive locations.
The Reef's menus sparkle with the potential of brunch, lunch, and dinner plates inspired by the styles and tastes of the Caribbean. Midday mealtime selections showcase flavourful West Indian curries ($9–$10) paired with white rice, refreshing coleslaw, sweet mango chutney, and dahi, and served vegetarian or with a choice of chicken or goat. The calypso oxtail ($16) makes stomachs anti-grumble with a savoury bone-in beef stew, brewed and stocked with a hearty helping of potatoes and carrots over rice and peas. For dinner, the Kingston quesadilla ($12) envelops either jerk chicken or tofu, peppers, melty cheddar, and refried beans, and the coco prawns ($9) roll around in toasted coconut before putting on a cool minted avocado yogurt ski-bunny costume. Brunch items include plantain chips ($6), huevos rancheros ($10), and ackee and salt fish ($15), a Jamaican national dish of ackee fruit, cod, rice, peas, and coleslaw.
Vibrant colours, tropical plants, and kitschy signs bring you back to days spent skipping geometry in Caribbean boarding school, creating a casual, fun atmosphere for patron inhalation. The friendly and personable staff keeps the vibe upbeat, even when jerk seasonings rub off on the back-talking forks and napkins.
The Reef has received tons of press, including features in the Straight and Vancouver magazine, and the restaurant is Frommer's recommended. Yelpers give the Main Street location a 3.5-star average, and DineHere users give it a three-star average:
- Everybody seemed to be celebrating—servers carried trays of drinks with umbrellas, groups of diners laughed, and a dad bopped his baby happily along to the reggae. – Carolyn Ali, Straight
- Mojitos are available by the pitcher (as are many of the inventive cocktails)—grab a few friends and settle in for the night. Deep-fried, deliciously soft, sweet Johnny cakes come with all entrées… – Vancouver