The Observatory is a fine dining restaurant on top of Grouse with great views of the city. You need to take a gondola to the top but the price is included in your dinner reservation. You even can go earlier and spent a few hours on the mountain before dinner. They are also part of the Ocean Wise program to promote sustainable seafood.
Food: Excellent lobster. I had no qualms with the entrees but what's with all the poshy small amuse-bouche-type dishes? I got some fruit type slushy thing in a chinese soup spoon and the server was touting its amazing texture, taste, etc but all I could think was "slushy". Don't get me wrong, all these little appy things were tasty but I don't need you to tell me all the ingredients as I'm eating it. I guess that's more of a service thing.
Service: Which brings us here... So pretentious I could hardly breathe!! A waiter was standing over us the entire time, so close that we were uncomfortable with having a conversation and were relegated to throwing looks at each other and laughing because it was so unbelievably poshy and uncomfortable! And he kept re-filling our waters everytime we took a sip!! I know that we were one of only two tables seated but no need for suffocation people! My boyfriend accidently moved one of his forks and the waiter kept re-arranging them back into the same order!! What the heck was that all about?? Jesus... I guess he was trying to make it pretty clear that we didn't "belong" there. Lastly, don't explain what every dish is made out of and how its prepared and blah blah blah. Some people just want to eat their food... I understand that some people would want to know but it just made the experience so much more unenjoyable when we couldn't hold our own conversation.
Ambiance: Great view... just wished it wasn't foggy so we could have seen it... :( Lovely decor.
Overall: If it hadn't been for the food itself, I would have given this place maybe 1 or 2 stars. Never coming back. Why? Cuz I can still feel the steely gaze of our waiter on my back.
Food was laughable... little dollops and smears of this and that scattered around your entree. Your waiter will explain what all the miniscule items are so pay attention as they are not readily identifiable. My main item was pork and it was a decent size but had no flavour whatsoever. It was hard for me to believe this was prepared by qualified chefs. Service was unprofessional and a little haughty.
Saving grace is that the view was outstanding and your ticket up is free with a dinner reservation. This meant we could go up early and spend the day hiking which was wonderful. This of course elevates the "value" as it may translate to your dinner being near free if you look at it that way. Just go without high expectations for taste (and take a picture of your food when it comes so you can show your friends... it's a conversation piece!)
I came here for an extra special anniversary dinner (Thx P, heart you <3). I arrived 15 minutes before my reservation time. Another party was just ahead of us so the hostess brought them to their table first. I was a little annoyed because it took her almost 15 minutes for her to return to help us. And after she returned to help us, we had to wait another 10 minutes for her to set up our table. But this annoyance was washed away when she brought us to our table by the window.
Menu selection was limited as there were only about 6 choices of appies and 6 choices of entrees. We skipped on the appies because they didn't look too appealing and we ordered the black cod and organic beef tenderloin for our mains. Overall the food was decent and cooked nicely. The short rib that was paired with the tenderloin was the highlight. However, a small part of the black cod was extremely salty. For dessert, we ordered the dessert platter for two which came with chocolate sorbet, white chocolate mousse, and two ice-cream cookie sandwiches. We enjoyed the desserts.
Service was decent and very professional. Value wise, well, you pay for the view. The portions were quite small (as expected) and frankly, I've had better food for cheaper prices elsewhere.
I would recommend this restaurant only if you can get a table by the window, otherwise, don't bother.
This has to be the most romantic restaurant in all of BC. I felt so fluttery eating here and grateful to my man. It is a memory that will remain.
But what about the entrees? The food is indeed above average nut the options are limited. I believe there were 6 choices for main entrees. I ordered the venison and my man picked the lamb. Both were really good but the portions were small yet satisfying. We had local BC wine and it was quite good.
Their wine list is a hefty book featuring all sorts of wine.
The service was considered and quick.
Frankly, this is not a place I would suggest regularly eating because of the price but if you can guarantee that the visibility will be great or if you want to get away without flying away then The Observatory is truly a class above.
8 yrs ago, this restaurant was a wide open concept, very relaxing and prices were cheaper. the buns were hot and tasty and full in the basket.
now, the restaurant is turned fine dining, spaces between tables are tight and restauarant was enclosed into several rooms. entree $39 and dessert $13, wine $20 per glass. had good memories 8 yrs ago and decided to come back to celebrate 1st wedding annivesary..
food took a long time to come, so our nice server brought us 2 servings of sour dough bread, but it was not warm and the crust was hard. my halibut entree was nice and tasty, but serving is quite small. my husband had pork belly, very tasty and a larger serving. ordered berries and chocolate trio for dessert.
1 hr later, i had diarrhea from what i eaten. hubby was fine. ??
I dined at the Observatory for dine out 2007, I'd have to say it's really worth $35 for a 3-course dinner since an entree costs $39 in regular menu. The skyride is complimentary, which is awesome since its admission fee is $29.
The restaurant resembles nice mountain lodge with fantastic view of vancouver. Interior decor is very nice and upscale, with tablecloth and good silverware. Service was good as well.
I had the steak and it was juicy, portion was bigger than expected.
My friend had the artic char and it was very tasty.
Dessert wasn't that impressive but the chefs make the plates look very nice.
Make sure you check the weather before heading up there, if it's foggy, it's not really worth the money.
Hubby and I went here for DOV. The best part of the experience was going up the skyride and being able to see the beautiful view of the city during the first half of our dinner. Sadly, clouds rolled in and covered that view during the second half of dinner.
Service was solid - they explained the dishes and checked on things, but they did not ask if we wanted fresh ground pepper or do anything above and beyond the call of duty.
The food was not bad, but was not as good as we expected for a $38 DOV. Our appies were not bad, but hubby's "soup" was two spoonfuls of broth and a small piece of sablefish. For the mains, hubby's pork had a small piece of pork belly, a small piece of pork loin, a couple spoonfuls of cabbage, and one nugget potato sliced thinly. My main had 3 scallops that were tasty (and not overcooked, thank goodness), but they were accompanied by a small portion of over-salty risotto. Dessert was tiny too. My dessert had a small sliver of apple pound cake, a spoonful of grated apple (supposedly soaked in ice wine - but couldn't tell), and a tiny panna cotta. Hubby's dessert was a small piece of chocolate mousse cake that was underwhelming too.
I'd give the value a 1 star as the food and portion sizes are totally not worth it, but since the skyride was included I'll give the value a 2. (Normally the skyride alone costs more than the $38 DOV price - what a tourist trap!)
The verdict: We won't be coming back.
From previous years of attending Dine Out Vancouver and eating here, I remember it being better. I definitely remember the first year I attended they had an amuse bouche before the appetizer and before the entree.
Anyway, salad to start - that was wonderful, although some people may say that the salad was a bit drowned in a light dressing. I thought it was awesome. My dad had the pumpkin soup and it was a small bowl but he said it tasted great.
The entree was slow roasted pork - two or three thin slices but very juicy and full of flavour, paired with a tower of potatoes (gratin dauphinois) which was yummmmy - creamy potatoes.
And last, my creme brulee was very espresso-y which is what I wanted, but my dad thought it was too espresso-y. The biscotti was fresh and crumbly.
Ambiance was wonderful, although the fog covered up most of the view. Service was pretty good, considering our server was also serving a party of about 25-30 people beside us.
Went for dinner on a Monday evening with wife and 2 kids to celebrate our 7th anniversary.
There's an option of the prix fixe menu with choice of wine flights at decent price $110 per person but we didn't feel like having the same dishes so we went a la carte.
We shared oysters (half dozen: royal miyagi, malpaque, and kumomotos) which were presented very nicely. I had a quail and blueberry starter and my wife had the oxtail madiran consomme.
The soup was great and rich in flavor for a consomme. The quail and blueberry was a bit odd as a pair but still good nonetheless.
I had rabbit and she had duck. Everything was presented well; duck was perfectly done; the side of beans that came with the rabbit stood out. Decent portions for fine dining and everything tasted great but nothing out-of-this-world spectacular.
Slight disappointment with kids menu as I`m noticing more fine restaurants offering good kids menus these days. This restaurant only had staples of pasta & marina, chicken fingers, etc.
Was good and attentive but seemed a bit understaffed for the evening. There was a bit of a wait between each course and staff did not come around as often as I felt they should have.
Your reservation includes Grouse Mountain Skyride and admission to other mountain activities. We didn't take advantage of it this time but would be worth it for the next.
Fine dining prices with Appy's at $16 (this includes a small bowl of consomme), entrees at $39, and deserts at $13; food fell short of my expectations. As mentioned everything was done nicely just not spectacular.
Great if you get a window view on a clear night. Otherwise, a nice dining room as you would expect of a fine dining restaurant.
I would go again but only if we could take advantage of some of the Grouse Mountain activities to make it worth the value of prices they charge.
Great place to go on a date. So romantic and breathtaking it is to die for! Situated at the top of Grouse Mountain, with reservations you can get a free tram ride up (dinner with a view to the max).
I've come here 3 times over the years. I found that service is great for small parties but when i had my birthday party in the summer, the service was not so nice. The server seemed like she didn't like how my grandma couldn't speak perfect english or something because she kept re-pronouncing the words when my grandma clearly knew what she was ordering and had a feel of looking down on us when we ordered or asked her for anything! Maybe she was just having a bad day...
Ambiance is great, but don't go on a cloudy day or you won't see the beautiful lights from vancouver and the lower mainland. Small and cozy, not meant for big dinner parties. When it's snowing, it's like a snowy white wonderland outside the window.
Food is always great. I particularly like the palate cleansers in between courses. Always enjoyed their 5 course set dinners with wine pairing, great for people who like to try wide variety of wines.
Would always go back for the great romantic view and the free tram ride!
This is a great romantic, expensive restaurant for special occasions. It is much too pricey for a weekly drop-by. The Skyride is included and the view from the top is truly breath-taking. The food is nicely prepared but expect to pay for everything and anything. Would definitely go again.
Started off with the ride up the tram filled with loud ski/snowboarders hitting you in the head with their boards and skis packed in like sardines.
Do not bother with this place there are many other better restaurants for a fraction of the price.
The fact hat we found a hair in our appetizer was not a good start.
Our Mains were cold and no flavor, definitely expected much more for those prices.
No view as it was overcast and the table of eight with two babies crying did not help.
Largest markup on wine I have ever seen, so called Sommelier needs to relax, 300% markup is ridiculous.
By the way there is no dress code as it says on their website, there were ski/snowboarders in their snow gear all around us.
Do not waist your time with this place.
Trying my best not to be biased from the excessively steep price, I'd have to say this was a somewhat unpleasant experience in terms of atmosphere and food. The view is spectacular. I was fortunate enough to arrive just after the clouds cleared up to get a panoramic view of the city. Absolutely mesmerizing to be dining with a mountain top view. However the food was bland. I actually enjoyed the complimentary bread and butter more than any of the appies or entrees. Food-wise, not worth the money or even half of it in my opinion. The atmosphere inside the restaurant itself is what mainly contributed to my unpleasant experience. There are only about roughly 8 tables (give or take a couple) in the restaurant that I can call to mind in a very dim and quiet atmosphere. The tables are not spaced very far from each other and I felt that I had to whisper as every word I said can be heard from the next. The server tends to stand around as if he's on call and ready to take your order. Again, this is a very small restaurant so it almost feels like he's eavesdropping. I understand that this is not his intention but a little space please.
The view doesn't get much better than this but that's about it.
Love it! Every piece of morsel was delicious!
Seared Foie Gras / Warm Beet Salad
Espresso / Cappucino
Our experience was totally awesome - felt very welcomed! Great service, knowledgeable staff - the dishes flavours down to the dessert were very surprising. . Everything was scrumptious! Oh! we loved the circular layout.
Did I mention the view? Heavenly.
I had been to many restaurants around Vancouver and all the way to Europe and this is right in our backyard - a special place to bring friends and loved ones.
Very expensive however so be prepared.
Thanks for an excellent dinner to my man!
We decided to make a reservation at The Observatory one night when we went to Grouse Mountain. We were disappointed with the food, service, and value for our money. Having experienced other fine dining restaurants before, we expected something better, with more value for what we were ordering. One of these restaurants was called The Cannery Seafood House in Vancouver, which was sadly closed down after the Olympics.
Now, back to our experience at the Obervatory.
There were four of us for dinner. We all ordered an appetizer which was $16, and an Entrée which cost $39. I ordered Steelhead Salmon Gravlox and Dungeness crab cake. The crab cake was extremely small and the red wine sauce almost looked like a smear on my plate. I could barely taste the food because the portion size was so small. The Salmon Gravlox also had a small portion. So much for getting value for your money. The taste of the food was also not memorable.
The others at our table ordered their choices, but with the same issue. Again, extremely small portion of food for the very expensive price. This restaurant obviously likes to smear their sauce so their guests can barely taste it. By the way, there are some educated foodies out there.
Apart from the food, the view was very disappointing. We had to sit in the middle of the restaurant and could barely see the amazing view they went on about. The waiters were very pretentious and trying too hard. Also, the hostess did not know how to do her job or even looked like she cared. She came out, saw people waiting, and ignored them. She was dressed quite casual for working at a fine dining restaurant.
After this experience, we will not be going back to The Observatory. We also do not recommend this restaurant for anyone, locals or tourists. The price was outrageous for the small portions of food and we came home feeling very hungry.
My new boyfriend took me to The Observatory for my birthday, upon a recommendation from friends. When we first went into the restaurant, and were seated next to the window, we were amazed at the view of the city before us.
The staff were just as amazing, anticipating our every need, before we could even ask for anything. The service was effortless.
The food was better than we could have imagined, with an amazing sorbet for dessert.
Definitely worth checking out, if you haven't already. I think I have found my man. Looking at the menu the prices aren't cheap and I only wonder how much the bill came to. But as I said definitely worth it if you can afford it.
My husband and I went to the Observatory to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. We were lucky enough to get a seat by the window. If you don't get a seat by the window, you don't get the full experience of the view. The food was pretty good, slightly expensive for what you get. I recommend the Pink Passion cocktail - it was excellent! The only negative would have to be some of the other patrons - some of them definitely took the Grouse Grind to the restaurant - sneakers, shorts, t-shirts, backpacks and that took away from the ambience. I would say 40% of the people were not dressed "business casual" as the restaurant recommends.
We went to the Observatory for our anniversary. The view is fantastic and the ambiance was nice, but that is where the good marks stopped. They tried too hard to make the food "different" than good. We tried a variety of different wines, but they were all poor. This was a disappointing place to go if you want something outstanding. I think that this place is catering to tourists who don't know any better.
Celebrated New Years Eve at the Observatory, and it was a memorable experience. The ambiance was great, the service beyond reproach, the view breathtaking, and the food excellent. A true fine dining experience on top of the world. Highly recommended!
I went to The Observatory for Dine Out Vancouver in February. The ambiance is amazing! I loved the view - it was freezing outside, but it makes the restaurant that much cosier inside, with the lodge-like feel. The main course wasn't terribly impressive (small portions, decent taste), but the desserts (creme brulee! yum) were awesome. The appetizers were nice as well. Good spot for a romantic date!