I first heard about Purple Olive Grill opening through Vancity Buzz (I love reading Vancity Buzz!). When they mentioned the cheap prices I just knew I had to check it out and upon looking up their menu, it seemed like the place for students to eat! I don’t usually try places before reading reviews but since there were none yet and prices were fairly cheap, so I decided to give it a go (I’m so brave!). The restaurant is located on the corner of Thurlow and Haro and apparently restaurants have not lasted long in this location…
Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed that it was quite dark which was typical since it had a sports bar/lounge type of feel to it. By the way, they also said they don’t take reservations.
There weren’t very many people inside despite the fact that the place was small. However it did just open so that was to be expected.
I decided on the Purple Olive Burger with bacon, cheddar cheese and mushrooms. I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms but they’re ok if they’re mixed up with other stuff and it was $7.95! There didn’t seem to be any major differences between the burgers anyway. Burgers come with sides of roasted potato and salad. I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t offer fries though but potatoes are healthier.
We also ordered a side of honey garlic wings to share. Other flavours available were red hot and salt and pepper. This was $6.95 and came with 9 wings. Perfect for sharing between three people! The first thing I noticed was that the sauce was very sweet or sweeter than I expected but it was addictively good. It reminded us of a sweet Asian sauce. Or maybe even a dipping sauce at a Taiwanese restaurant. The wings were also crispy on the outside and served piping hot. I’m sure some people will say the sauce is too sweet though.
My friend ordered the shrimp and avocado sandwich. The sandwich looked really big and a lot of baby shrimp kept falling out but she said it was good. In terms of sides, we all got the same 1.5 roasted red potatoes and side salad. They brought us balsamic vinegar for the salad but I wish we got to choose the dressing too. Maybe that will make the food more expensive.
Everyday they have different specials provided that you order a drink. On Friday, the special was steak with shrimp. This was $12.99 and when my friend tried to order an alcoholic drink they said that their liquor license wasn’t approved yet so she just got a coke. The waitress said they didn’t expect the license to take so long. Anyway, I suppose this was an okay portion for $12.99 but it didn’t really seem like it was worth it to me at least. My friend asked for medium rare but it was too overcooked for her. I think it would be better to save up and go to the Keg for steak instead.
Here’s what I got! The Purple Olive Burger. It was actually a pretty good burger! It was well seasoned and the meat was tender. The bacon was the best part of course. I know if you’re a mushroom fan you’d expect more mushrooms but it was fine for me. The potatoes were nicely seasoned too. They gave us ketchup and mustard but I didn’t end up using any. The bun they used was just a regular sesame seed bun. It was labelled as a gourmet burger but I’m pretty sure it’s not gourmet. It was better than expected though!
The Verdict: At these prices, this was decent food! Well the burger was anyway since I did not try the other two dishes. The menu had a nice selection of dishes from pasta to burgers, sandwiches and steak. The seating was comfy and there were quite a few TV screens showing sports games. And with those potatoes, I’m sure you’ll be full! The servers were also friendly and I’m pretty sure I’ll come back if I’m in downtown. It seems more like a fast comfort food kind of place but with the club/lounge kind of vibe. Nothing stellar but good enough for me.