Last week we had the pleasure of staying overnight in White Rock for two nights. It is quite surprising that with only an hour drive from the city, without crossing a border or time zone, White Rock seems like such a different place. Partly I think it is because we live downtown and White Rock is so much ‘slower’ than Vancouver but also I think it is the ocean. Yes, we see essentially the same water from parts of downtown but it is more endless from here.
Our first night we joined another couple at Cielo’s Tapas and Oyster Bar on the Marine Drive ‘strip’. It is one of the more ‘happening’ places in White Rock. It was very busy and we were lucky to get a table without a reservation because someone had pulled a no show. It is also one of a handful of restaurants that is open late…past the 9pm in summer and 8pm in winter that seems to be standard White Rock practice. As soon as we were seated, we could not pass up the award winning Sangria (rated top 5 by the Vancouver Province Newspaper in 2005), we thought it was still award winning today.
Tapas, Tapas and more Tapas
Most of the menu items are meant for sharing and so we did. Between us we tried one of the salads, two of the oven flatbreads, and two of the hotpots. We did not try any of the ‘global tapas dishes’ or anything from the oyster bar. The portions were large and the Caesar Salad served in a large bowl for $12.50 was enough for 4 appetizer sized salads. We all enjoyed the flatbreads which had crusts that were thick enough to be picked up by hand but thin enough to not have more crust than topping. The Smoked Salmon flatbread (which was a special that day and not a regular menu item) was delicious, with capers and red onions complimenting the salmon. The topper was Cielo’s own Balsamic Reduction which was also available for sale by the bottle.
For hotpots we had the King Crab Fondue and the Atlantic Lobster and Cheese Tortellini. The Crab came as two good sized Alaska King legs cut in half (good for four people) with a heated bowl of aged ‘grana padano buerre blanc and a spinach trifecta’ for dipping. We didn’t know exactly what it was but it was very rich and very good, but there was way too much (so quite a bit was wasted). The Tortellini was actually another heated bowl (candle underneath) with the tortellini on the bottom and the Lobster chunks on top all set in a bubbling cheese sauce. Again, absolutely delicious! But it is a good thing we got two orders because a spoon was needed to eat the Lobster and the sauce and so it was best shared by couples (you know, double dipping). I assume that they do offer a desert menu but after all of the rich and cheesy dishes we were way too full to try anything else.
Next time we go to White Rock (usually once a year) we will go back to Cielo’s. There was a lot of menu items that we wanted to try. But if you go, make sure to call ahead for a reservation.