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“Delicious but expensive”

The Vanilla Pod Restaurant
Ranked #16 of 201 Restaurants in Penticton
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $16 - $44
Cuisines: Mediterranean
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Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: At The Vanilla Pod restaurant, our cuisine style is focussed on local and seasonal ingredients with an underlying emphasis on flavour. Key ingredients include fresh herbs which in the summer months are picked from the herb garden next to the restaurant.Tapas style dishes of international and mediterranean flavours combined with fresh Okanagan ingredients make for a delightful exploration of contemporary cuisine. Visual presentation is as important as innovation in flavour with judicious use of spices and other seasonings being central to the dishes created by Executive Chef Bruno Terroso.
Reviewed April 23, 2014

For our anniversary, my husband and I did the dinner and wine prefixed dinner. It was very delicious and the portions were a good size. The dinner itself was $45 each, with the wine pairing for the 4 courses being another $30. The wine pairings were also a full 6 oz of wine. We went prepared for it to be an expensive meal, but it was over $200 with tip for the 2 of us.

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1  Thank Jen00000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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302 - 306 of 427 reviews

Reviewed April 13, 2014

We have dined at the Vanilla Pod in the past, so it wasn't difficult to choose a nice place to celebrate our mum's 82nd birthday. I made a reservation via the restaurant's website with SeatMe, and explained my Mum's seating preferences to accommodate her hearing aid needs, and let them know it was a special occasion for her.

When we arrived, we were seated at a nice table by the fireplace. The restaurant was not busy, with only a few scattered tables of two.

The waiter arrived at our table to relay changes to the menu, etc. We ordered an appetizer to share (Antipasto and Baguette – fresh and nicely presented) and wine by the glass. The menu indicated that no Chardonnay by the glass was available. When we enquired as to why, our server (Tony) curtly informed us that they didn't have any. Puzzled (we are dining at the winery?) we asked if it was possible to retrieve a bottle from the tasting room, and were given an emphatic "no" with no further explanation. Unimpressed, we ordered other wines by the glass.

The wines we did choose were nice -- but I would have really loved that Chardonnay with my Paella -- which, by the way, I did finally enjoy (and buy) the next day from the Tasting Room.

When we were ready to order our entrees, I said to Tony "I have a question", to which he replied "of course you do". (Zoinks! Yes, Tony, of course I do! You are the server at this restaurant and I have a question about the menu?! Is this a problem?) At best, it was an inappropriate and flippant response from a server. I asked for his opinion between two dishes, and decided on the Paella. Our Mum ordered the duck breast. Within minutes of placing the order, Tony returned to tell us that the duck breast had been changed to a duck confit (not a change relayed when we were seated), so... she had to choose again. In the end, she and I shared the Paella, which was a good option as the serving is very large.

For dessert we shared a Gelato, and I was surprised that there was absolutely no smile, no acknowledgement -- nothing -- from our server that it was our Mom's 82nd birthday (it was very clear, and acknowledged, in the reservation). I wasn't expecting balloons and a song, but a little kindness goes a long way.

While we did not have a "terrible" experience, we have certainly had more pleasant ones. The food was good... no complaints (although we were left to wonder why there is a braised beef served on pasta, but the regular braised beef was not available? -- just an oddity we noticed.

However, several important questions arise as a result of the service surrounding our unusual dining experience...

Why was our server abrupt, curt, and at times, downright rude? Perhaps Tony had been having a bad day, but he was not run off his feet that evening. It is the beginning of the season, and inhospitable service is simply inexcusable. Like it or not, the customer is king.

Why don't the servers simply tell the clientele that the restaurant is not part of the winery, and when their supply of Poplar Grove wine is exhausted, they are not able to serve it by the glass to guests at all (yes, we learned this tidbit second-hand, after-the fact). Frankly, as a patron, I would have been quite happy to learn this small fact from our server, and would have felt much less.... puzzled... at the start of our meal.

Honestly, the Vanilla Pod is blessed with a spectacular location, and a built-in, eager, enthusiastic wine-and-food-loving clientele. Improve the evening service component, and you might have a winner. Otherwise, it's just another place to drive past.

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5  Thank batriggs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2014

My girlfriend and I bought a Groupon for the Spring Meal. Usually on a coupon the portions are small and the food sort of a yawn. Not this time. Everything from the appetizer to the soup to the main course and including the dessert was just amazing. Great flavours, super well presented, good sized portions. The setting was amazing - overlooking Penticton and Okanagan Lake. It was just spectacular! We live in Kelowna and Lake Country to the north of Penticton so a bit of a drive for dinner but well worth it!

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Thank countryridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2014

After several visits when located in Summerland, and very pleased, this was a major disappointment. The views are stunning but are also available in countless other locations so that does not set them apart. The décor is stark to the point you feel construction must have come to an abrupt halt prior to completion. Seriously, we felt like we were sitting in the showroom of a car dealership with tables and chairs rather than vehicles. Service? Neither great nor poor.....adequate would best describe it so that was a bit disappointing as well because a really good server can make even mediocre food a pleasant experience. And that is what the food was, mediocre. It was a classic three dressed up as a nine. If they spent half as much time on the food as they did on presentation, they might actually have something worth returning for. As for value, let me say that as an experienced diner I am accustomed to bucking up for a really good meal and experience so am not really sticker shocked when the evening ends. Having said that, and giving their new location two kicks at the can with similar end results I would recommend you save your money. For what you will get dinged for here, I can think of at least half a dozen other Penticton restaurants where the food, service and ambiance are far superior and you could eat there twice for the same amount of coin.

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4  Thank SkahaFoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2014

My wife and I attended for her office function in December, her meal was covered by her annual dues, while my meal cost $80.00 for a 4 course meal, I had the salmon which was nicely presented and tastey, but not a hot meal, service was very, very slow, and our table had meals delivered at different times over a 30 minute period, some had finished before we even started our entrees. My wife ordered the turkey and said it was the worse turkey meal she had very tasted and left most of it on her plate. I might ad the portions are sparse and more focused on presentation versus leaving dinners feeling satisfied. Each table of 6-8 had a bottle of red and white wine on the table. I ordered a glass of red house wine before we were seated for dinner, the glass contained 5oz of house wine and I paid $13.50 for this 5 oz glass of wine.
The setting of the restaurant is on the bench, with nice views.
Would I return or recommend this restaurant, obviously not. There are some excellent restaurants in Penticton, & Summerland I would recommend before the Vanilla Pod, save yourself the disappointment and keep some money in your pocket at the same time.

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4  Thank Donald D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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