Frankie’s Modern Diner
910 Government St #38
Hours: 7am to 10pm
Phone: (778) 265-8575
Many, many moons ago, Frankie’s Modern Diner was once known Ric’s Steakhouse and before then, it was The Cheesecake Cafe. I miss the latter brand name and the rumour I heard was that the owners did not want to pay the licensing fee and rebranded until a name stuck. I seem to recall there was a Nanaimo-based Frankie’s too, but I don’t go up island often enough to find out if they are still around. In this updated post, this operation has moved south and with this corner having new owners, the changes are pleasant. According to some people who have talked to me in person, they are regulars for a reason.
With Capital City Comic Con near, it’s only fair to come in to see what this operation offers. Thankfully, the current management has not forgotten the heydays of when I visited this corner often. I enjoy browsing the window display of the desserts. Although the variety was not the same as I recall from years ago, I’m glad there is a daily feature dessert, instead of the ordering from their four standard staples – apple pie, molten chocolate cake, new york style vanilla cheesecake and key lime. I will have to give an update as I know I’ll be returning for another bite during this show. The ambience of this place is great and service is very friendly. I knew one visit is not enough.
Traditional staples — hamburgers, fish n’ chips, sandwiches and pasta — are offered here. I did not have a huge appetite on this first visit and simply settled on the half portion of a lamb dip. The meat was a touch on the dry side, but after dunking it on the gravy, I really had nothing to nitpick about. Loved the gravy. It made me realize I should have gotten a full serving. For a dish that is supposed to include smoked mozzarella, I hardly tasted it. The crispy apple slaw was more appetizing than the main. The portion size for the fries is perfect, and not meant to stuff the diner. I’ve been to other operations where they simply give diners too much, and I loved the fact this dish did not overdo it.
I had room to try the pie, to which I saw this place touts as the city’s best.
At a price of $3.50 for a small slice, the price is just right. The shavings helped give this creamy delight an added texture. Although I was expecting to pay $8 or more for a thick slice, I was glad an option for a smaller size existed. I do have to watch my calorie intake.
As a place to unwind after a busy conference, there’s plenty of room to spread out. If it’s packed, there are other eateries to visit before returning to the geekfest known as Capital City Comic Con! Coming later tonight, my revised guide in where to eat near the Inner Harbour!
3½ Blokes out of 5
March 20, 2018 Update: Yes, this place goes up by a full point for its meatballs! I did promise to return and after being at Capital City Comic Con with no lunch, I did not want to hit another random spot to eat. I simply returned here since the impression was good, and some readers will have to wonder if my opinion will change. This mouth-watering goodness is stuffed with a very tasty piece of bocconcini cheese. Its sweet texture made for a perfect contrast. Like the desserts, they are made daily and baked to simple perfection. The combination of scents whetted my appetite. They can be ordered as an appetizer (comes with bread), as part of a meal in a pizza or pasta, or as take-out to put in dishes made at home. I could have gone for more, however, I needed room for the seafood linguine.
The mussels were the hero in this dish, very flavourful, and the prawns were delicate and firm. The portion size of the salmon was great. To taste everything over a Chardonnay cream sauce made a bold statement in keeping my appetite going. I had no further room for dessert. As much as I wanted one, not even the thought of takeout could convince me. With no dining partner, it could not be shared. Yes, I wanted a full slice than half to savour and this visit had all five dishes visible to drool at, instead of the two I saw during my initial visit. Yes, dinner is the best time to visit.