When you enter Garden City Shopping Centre (9040-9100 Blundell Road), your gaze will first be drawn to its anchor businesses, like IGA and Shoppers Drug Mart. However, after a bit more exploring, you’ll find a world of other spots to visit! The large outdoor complex is an interesting mix of chain stores and restaurants, as well as smaller establishments that offer unique food and dining experiences. From a kid friendly café to a Middle Eastern restaurant, this complex has an exciting breadth of options.
Chain restaurants include Little Caesars Pizza, Church’s Chicken, Subway, and A&W for anyone with a craving for fast food. Qoola, a destination for frozen yogurt treats, also has a location at this complex. A seemingly endless variety of sushi rolls (e.g. a Rock ‘n’ Roll with deep fried chopped scallop, prawn tempura, avocado, and crispy flakes) can be found at the recently opened Sushi Aria, which has a second location in Vancouver. And if you’re needing a drink to slake your thirst, Blenz and Chatime beckon. A cold mango green tea from Chatime will be amazing when hot weather eventually hits!
Here are more highlights of the many eating and drinking establishments in this strip mall:
Kitz Etc. Learn & Play Café
This café is definitely not a quiet space, but more of a boisterously cheery one where parents can take their kids to eat, drink, play, and learn. Sometimes, at other establishments, a noisy child can get glares from other diners. In this case, little ones are welcome! Kitz Etc. consists of a seating section as well as a play area with tunnels, slides, and climbing apparatus ($7.99 per child).
The café also hosts a variety of interactive sessions, like Circle Time involving nursery rhymes, stories, and songs; Kindermusik classes that focus on musical learning; and Creative Kitz classes that offer hands-on activities (eg cooking, arts & crafts). There’s even a workshop where kids can make their own stuffed animals, like unicorns and teddy bears! The cafe is a great venue for kids’ parties since they can keep everyone entertained and happy.
Food-wise, there are treats for adults, as well as for little ones. Parents can enjoy coffee selections (e.g. Americanos) and various teas while kids can sip on hot chocolate, juice, or a cotton candy milkshake. Have the latter if you want to feel like a kid again.
Assorted baked goods and pastries (e.g. croissants, muffins, cookies) are available, as well as small meals, like pies (e.g. veggie, chicken, and minced beef and cheddar cheese) from the Aussie Pie Guy and chicken nuggets for kiddos.
Al Basha is basically a grab-and-go café, with a few tables and a counter for ordering at the back. They have this location in Richmond, as well as two in Vancouver. The meat served here is halal, and the menu focuses on Middle Eastern specialties that are high octane in flavour. Start with an order of hummus, dolmathes, or tabouleh, before moving onto one of their wraps, chock-full of beef donair, falafel, or chicken shawarma. If you’d prefer not to have a wrap, you can also order the proteins with rice, salad, hummus, and your choice of different condiments (e.g. pickles, pickled turnips).
After you’ve polished off your meal, don’t leave without enjoying their pistachio baklava for a wonderfully sweet finish.
Garden City Bakery
This Kosher bakery is a wee space that, nonetheless, manages to stock their shelves and display cases with tons of baked goodies. All sorts of freshly baked breads are available, including their challah, which many regulars rave about. Also popular are Garden City‘s doughnuts (e.g. chocolate dipped) as well as other sweets, like blueberry squares, brownies, apple crumble slices, and raspberry twists. Loaf cakes, such as banana, chocolate, or carrot, would be good for sharing at home (or eating slice by slice by yourself).
There are also pastry rolls filled with savoury ingredients, like ones with spinach and mushroom and others with potato and onion; buy a couple and munch on them for lunch.
Saigon City Vietnamese Restaurant
The décor is basic at this small restaurant devoted to Vietnamese cuisine, but the flavours at Saigon City are comforting and satisfying. Most diners come for the pho, which can be ordered with the usual range of ingredients: sliced rare beef, flank, tripe, tendon, and beef balls. Go for the works and leave with a very full belly. Add a spring roll on the side for some crunch. The restaurant also serves vermicelli plates, like one with grilled lemon grass pork, as well as dry egg noodle dishes.
Various meat options (e.g. lemongrass chicken and pork chops) can be ordered with steamed rice.
Fans of banh mi can choose from versions with lemon grass pork, beef teriyaki, lemon grass chicken, shredded pork, meatballs, and minced pork. The restaurant also operates as a bubble tea house, serving drinks like honeydew smoothies and coconut taro milk tea.
Wang Ji Restaurant Café
By lunchtime, Wang Ji is busy as diners chow down on all sorts of noodles, rice dishes, and dumplings. The space has a modern feel, with friendly and efficient service. A scan of the menu reveals a pan-Chinese approach, with the kitchen drawing from Cantonese, Hakka, Shanghai, Taiwanese, and Szechuan cooking influences. The food on offer is extensive, including soups (e.g. coconut chicken soup), snacks (e.g. beef wraps with cucumbers, green onion, and sweet bean sauce), seafood dishes (e.g. spicy clams with chili and garlic), beef and lamb selections (e.g. stir fried lamb with cumin), veggie and tofu creations (e.g. braised tofu), and rice and noodle options (e.g. shredded pork rice cakes).
At lunch, you can choose from dishes, like stir fried shredded pork with bean curd and chili peppers, that all come with refreshing cold honey green tea and steamed rice. There are also a variety of tea and slushy selections, such as starfruit black tea and matcha red bean slush.
With tons of drink and food options at Garden City Shopping Centre, you might find yourself falling into indecision. Recommendation: Go for whatever you’re particularly hankering for at the moment, and save the rest for the next time you’re here!