Baru Latino
By Kelly Thompson

Latin Love

Step into Baru Latino’s cozy restaurant off Vancouver’s Alma Street and you’ll swear you’re in a hip, urban location downtown. Instead, Baru brings a downtown feel to the West Point Grey neighbourhood, with delectable food and even more scrumptious drinks. Once inside, the smell of fired grills and the sound of smooth jazz makes the weekly mojito specials a more decadent experience. Top off your experience with mood-lit décor and top-notch service and Baru will become your favourite restaurant in no time.

The current owners, Dave Newis and René Lafleur have operated Baru for the last six years. With 60 years of industry experience between the two of them, Dave and René bought Baru, originally a Columbian restaurant. Dave says that they looked at food trends emerging in the market and decided Latino food was the way ahead. “We were having too many dinner parties and our wives wanted us to open a restaurant,” said Dave. The rest, as they say, is history.

We can’t get rid of anything on the menu. If we do, there’s an uproar from customers. - René Lafleur, co-owner
Baru, West Side, Latin, Tapas, Cocktails, Wine, live music
An intimate interior makes for cozy dinners at Baru.

Food for Foodies

It really is the food that sets Baru apart from competitors. Steaks are marinated and seasoned to perfection while their impressive list of Latin tapas will take palates to new levels. “We can’t get rid of anything on the menu,” says René. “If we do, there’s an uproar from customers.” What is most impressive is Baru’s three choices of ceviche, each tangy, flavourful and inspired. And with just three chefs at Baru, diners can rest easy knowing that Dave and René prize consistency, ensuring that a dish ordered a year ago will taste equally delicious a year from now.

Baru routinely participates in Dine Out Vancouver, a festival that has restaurants set a fixed-price menu with three courses of delicious options. The restaurant has also won several awards for their food through Vancouver magazine and the Georgia Straight Golden Plates awards. For a memorable date night, Baru also hosts jazz nights with live bands so that you can have your cake and eat it — and be entertained by it — too. “At this point, we’re filling a niche and giving an outlet for performers,” said Dave.

Baru, West Side, Latin, Tapas, Cocktails, Wine, live music
A dimly-lit kayak serves as decor at Baru.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

What is clear about Baru is that it is a place that people go to have a great meal, connect with their neighbourhood and enjoy delicious food. Staff are part of the Baru family and customers often swing by just to share a glass of wine with the owners. “When we close our eyes, we all see the same goal,” says René.

Each day, at least one of the owners can be found at the restaurant, connecting with long-standing customers who quickly become regulars. “We’re hands on, so we’re also coworkers,” says Dave. So the next time you crave a little Latin flavour, visit Baru for the incredible smells, sights and sounds.

Baru, West Side, Latin, Tapas, Cocktails, Wine, live music
Baru Latino on Alma Street.
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