Few restaurants in Vancouver dedicate their menu to desserts and even fewer to cheesecakes. Not surprisingly, Cheesecake etc. is one of them. Since 1979, countless people have become regulars at this Paris inspired cafe where Jazz is as important as what is on your plate. In fact, cheesecake is to the owners a tasty excuse to play music.
Inside, the ambiance is cozy with two fireplaces warming up the place and candles as the sole means of lighting. The perfect romantic setting for cheesecake lovers. It is typically very busy (the place expanded twice!) and people patiently wait in line to get their fix. The owners, Mike and Judith, seem to think that cheesecake is best enjoyed at night as the restaurant only opens at 7 p.m. until one in the morning.
What goes well with cheesecake? Coffee? Strawberries? How about jazz? Not only does Cheesecake etc. dedicate its whole menu to the famous dessert but one can expect a side of live music with it. A piano is centrally located in the cafe so the owner, and sometimes guest musicians, can fill the room with jazz tunes. Recorded music can otherwise be heard at all times so the ambiance is never lacking a jazzy touch.
The cheesecake selection is limited — and I mean this in a good way — to pretty much some classics and a gourmet special. Unlike the New York style cheesecake, the cheesecake itself is light… that is until you get to the generous portion of real whipped cream topping the cake and the sauce. The cheese flavour is also more subtle, perfect if that is what you are in the mood for. About 24 cheesecakes are made on-site every day.
The Almond Mocha Chocolate Cheesecake has everything to be a crowd-pleaser. The creaminess of the cheesecake, the crunchiness of the roasted almonds and the sweetness of the chocolate come together nicely to create the perfect bite in your mouth. This is a recurrent gourmet special so you know it is your lucky day when it is on the menu!
The same delicious cheesecake is served with strawberry or blueberry sauce. These classics have a home made feel as if mom had let fresh berries simmer with sugar to create a thick and sweet fruit sauce. Nothing too fancy, but comforting.
Chocolate cheesecakes are also available and for an even more decadent late night snack you can order one with peanut butter cream on it. You may want to clean your palate with a London, Shanghai or Mumbai Fog brewed from Earl Grey, Jasmine and Chai tea, respectively. Dessert lattes can also be a tasty and fun option.
Mark typically sits at the piano on Sundays to play some standards and a few of his compositions for his patrons. His joie de vivre is very communicative. Live music is always a nice addition to just about any meal but it makes desserts even sweeter. Next time, try adding some jazz to your cheesecake!
2141 Granville Street
Phone Number: 604-734-7704
Hours: nightly 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Written by Véronique St-Antoine. Connect with Véronique on Twitter @vstantoine.