Greenleaf Bistro is a cheerful little eatery located across from the old Bay department store on Douglas Street. It is one of three terrific restaurants lined neatly in a row in a part of town that is otherwise a wasteland of fast food joints and crummy chain stores.
Here you can sit down in front of a sun drenched window and sip tea while you peruse the extensive menu. Appetizers such as salad rolls with pork and shrimp and deep fried crispy tofu tempted me. Alas, as I was on my own, I could only try one dish at a time! I ordered vermicelli with lemongrass chicken and onions. What arrived shortly after was a pile of tender crisp vegetables and juicy chicken on a mound of gossamer thin rice noodles. At only $10.25 for a huge plate this is a remarkable bargain. If you like, jazz up your noodles with the condiments at hand. Add a dollop of licorice sweet hoisin sauce. If you like it spicy, try a drizzle of chili oil. This is part of the fun of eating Vietnamese; you can doctor your plate to your particular liking.
On a separate visit to Greenleaf I tried tofu with crispy noodles. Once again my lunch arrived promptly. Greenleaf really respects vegetables. They always serve them at the peak of freshness. The tofu was puffed and golden. My only quibble about this dish is that the crispy noodles are hard to eat. No matter, it was still very tasty once managed to fork the crunchy shards in to my gaping maw.
FYI: the Vietnamese consider plunking a bill down on your table to be rude. They don't want you to feel rushed. So, when you are ready to pay, go directly to the till and they will ring in your purchase. Greenleaf is a great place to bring your vegetarian friends, as the meatless menu is extensive. Omnivores don't fret; there is lots for you too including meatball pho, ginger chicken, lemongrass shrimp or crispy skinned barbeque quail.
I think this little row of unassuming restaurants is an exciting addition to the otherwise ho hum Douglas Street. Why go to Burger King when you can get delicious food quickly and inexpensively? Give Greenleaf Bistro a try and you'll see why this restaurant has a bevy of loyal customers.