Hidden Gems: Local Eats

A list of go-to restaurants around the Lower Mainland

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Photo of indoor interior of Kokoro Tokyo
PHOTO: Kriti Monga / The Peak

By: Charlene Aviles, Peak Associate

Looking for a new restaurant to visit on your study breaks? Step outside your comfort zone and visit the restaurants below!

Coffee Monster / 15285 101 Avenue, Surrey / $3.50+ for most menu items

Right beside ICBC Guildford, Coffee Monster is a great spot for a relaxed study session. From pastries, to ice cream, to coffee, this café has menu items for everyone. I was so happy when I realized they sold matcha tiramisu cake, a combination of my two favourite desserts. I’ve tried different matcha-flavoured drinks and desserts before, but Coffee Monster’s matcha tiramisu strikes a good balance between maintaining the matcha flavour without making it bitter or too sweet. There was matcha powder sprinkled on top of the soft and fluffy cake, making the matcha flavour stronger. Customers from Surrey can order through Uber Eats.

Fratelli Bakery / 459 E Columbia St, New Westminster, BC / $3.05 per pastry or $36.50 per dozen

While running errands, I stumbled across Fratelli Bakery. Staying true to their roots, Fratelli is decorated with colourful Italian soccer memorabilia. Their crème brûlée was almost sold out, so I made sure to get the last one. They garnished it with a fresh raspberry on top, which was a nice contrast against the rich custard. They have a wide range of macaron flavours, like salted caramel, pistachio, and more. The salted caramel was my favourite since it was a good balance of salty and sweet. Customers can also place their pick up orders via phone (604-777-2524).

Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba / 6049 Silver Drive, Burnaby / $8.95+ for main menu items

Located a short walk from Metrotown Mall, Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba offers a wide variety of savoury dishes, such as mazesoba, ramen, and donburi. When I first entered the restaurant, I was amazed by the aesthetics. The fairylights and the Japanese street signs made the atmosphere welcoming. For those who haven’t tried raw egg or fish before, there are alternatives on the menu, like the shio mazesoba. The pork and salty seaweed complemented each other nicely. They also offer some toppings for each dish, like sashimi, cheese, and bamboo. Normally, I am not a big fan of vinegar. However, Kokoro’s vinegar was mild rather than overwhelmingly sour, which helped draw out the flavours of the mazesoba. Kokoro offers delivery through the Fantuan Delivery app and Uber Eats.

La Meza Grill / 11955 88 Avenue, Delta / $9.95+ for main menu items

Growing up, La Meza Grill was my family’s go to spot for authentic Filipino cuisine. This restaurant features dishes from different regions, highlighting the unique variety of flavours. The portions are big too, which makes it perfect for dinner with a big group. My family usually orders the pork BBQ skewers. Its sweet and tangy BBQ sauce compliments the marinated meat well. Customers can also order takeout online or through DoorDash.