Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar in Yaletown

by Victoria on March 1, 2010

I haven’t been to the Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar for quite awhile now – I’ve only been about four or five times to date, but have really enjoyed it every time I’ve gone.  When I found out that it was open for lunch during the Olympics after walking by it over the last couple of weeks, I was ecstatic!  I figured it would be easier to get into earlier in the day, as it’s a very large restaurant and most people aren’t used to it being open except for dinnertime (and reservations are pretty much required at night, from my experience).

My girlfriend and I were trying to figure out a higher-end place to meet up during last week, and this seemed to be the perfect fit for both of us.

So we wandered in and I spent a good amount of time staring at the menu and being completely indecisive because, well, I wanted everything.  And I was starving after not having eaten yet that day. It was great when the bread came, with a seaweed butter and red pepper spread – that tided me over so I could form some thought processes in my head and manage to take some action and order finally.  The glass of pinot gris also probably helped.

Bread with Seaweed Butter and Red Pepper Spread Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4

Finally, we decided on starting with the BC Tasting Menu Appetizer for two. I didn’t manage to get a good picture of the tower that these four dishes were actually served on, due to it’s massive size, and me not wanting to walk a few tables over to be far enough away.  So instead, I will go over each item served with this, piece by piece.

The Qualicum Bay scallop ceviche was really refreshing, and I probably enjoyed this dish the most of them all (in terms of the tower).  It had really small slices of red pepper, red onion, cilantro, and grapefruit, giving it a tart finish.

Qualicum Bay Scallop Ceviche Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5

The Albacore Tuna tartare was also very fresh and tasty.  It didn’t make a whole lot of sense that it was served all in one crisp shell, as this tower is specifically supposed to be made for two.  We ended up kind of demolishing it and trying to cut it into two pieces in order to split it up for us.  This had black sesame seeds, green onion, and tuna served on top of a lettuce leaf within the cracker of some type (it reminded me of a deep-fried wonton wrapper).  The fish was definitely high quality, and melted in my mouth.

Albacore Tuna Tartare Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4

As for the Smoked Sockeye Salmon Terrine, this was also quite good and had a bit of a twist in terms of my expectations.  There were layers of the salmon within the layers of pâté, giving it a different look, along with some golden caviar marinated in sake within a green onion creme fraiche.  It was served with two very small slices of some sort of dense bread (toasted filberts) – it would’ve made sense to have more of this to eat the rest of the terrine.  We ended up eating it with a little of the extra bread we had left from the beginning of our meal, and still had some left over that I wasn’t that into just eating on its own.

Smoked Sockeye Salmon Terrine Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5

The last of the tower were the dungeness crab and shrimp cakes – of which there were two, served over an avocado with harissa aioli and a little winter salad (well, a few leaves of it).  These were served warm with a great lightly crisp outside.   They tasted very rich and creamy and just delicious.

Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Cakes Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5

At this point we moved on to our mains.  My girlfriend had the West Coast Sablefish, as it’s what she ordered the last time she was there and she couldn’t get over how delicious it was – and I agreed.  The fish had a miso sako glaze, and came over some baby bok choy, with edamame, quinoa, shiitake mushrooms, bonito dashi with soy and yuzu. It felt like a light meal (although the fish is quite rich), and I want to order a whole one to myself next time I go.

West Coast Sablefish Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5

My choice for a main was a bit unusual for me – I had the Ahi Tuna.  This is an item that could only be found on their lunch menu, so it’s not found online or in their regular dinner listings.  I ended up picking this since my first choice, the lamb loin, was on my menu but not served for lunch (they had accidentally given me the wrong menu).  Although I haven’t been into tuna all that much after becoming so tired of it after years of constantly eating it, I’ve been craving it more often here and there again.  This was served with fennel, roasted tomatoes, and onions, in a soy sauce of some sort, over top of a few fingerling potatoes.  This was a lot larger than I expected it to be, and after having it, I couldn’t even manage any dessert! Now that’s definitely a first for me!

Ahi Tuna Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3

I love dining at Blue Water Cafe and will likely be back again and again in future.  It’s fine dining, and thus higher priced than many other places, but I think the atmosphere is great and I’ve consistently had great seafood there each time I’ve gone, including their sushi bar options.  Plus, they have an extensive wine menu, and an amazing patio.  What more could you ask for?

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton St
Vancouver, BC, V6B
View Map

Overall: Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5
Food: Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5
Service: Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5
Atmosphere: Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5
Price: $$$$

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar on Urbanspoon

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue, Vancouver, BC, Canada March 7, 2010 at 12:14 am

I LOVE this restaurant, it’s our usual choice before a concert etc.
One thing that really stood out for me was the amazing service. EVERY waiter/tress that passed our table checked to see if anything was needed and if it was they dealt with it …it seemed like we had multiple waiters…but always the main one was close by too.

Lovely spot for a great meal out 🙂 I think I need a fix….and we are going to the John Meyer concert soon…

Victoria March 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Welcome Sue! Sounds like a perfect pre-concert pick to me! 😉

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