We dined here with a group of friend on Friday night a week before that dine out Vancouver event. We were the second group to arrive and it wasn't that busy at all but it took the kitchen almost 1 hour in between the appetizer and entree. In the meantime, the server didn't even approach us or tell us what the hold up is. To make the long story short, the food arrived but it's nothing to be excited about. The rack of lamb was pretty standard and it's only few racks for the money. My wife's ling cod was chewy, slightly overcooked and the taste was rather bland. Overall, the only saving grace was their oyster appetizer but they don't come cheap. This place is way over hyped and just because they have a fancy cookbook doesn't justify the price. The restaurant has no view and located on the corner of 4th ave, unlike Seasons in the Park. You won't find entree for less than $36 and don't expect big portion either. Their bloody ling cod is $36 and ling cod is probably one of the cheapest cod you can ever find. If it's sea bass or halibut I can understand the steep price. I'd rather spend my money at Il Giardino or La Terrazza for the same money. When we left there were few empty tables in the back. For a Friday night this is not a good sign.
Bishop's may not have special healing powers, but I just felt so good there, and glowed for the rest of the evening. The staff are nice - really, not artificially, nice - attentive, and thoughtful. The food is healthy and delicious, which is a simple thought anyone can have about a meal, but hey, I'm coming at you with several decades of eating enjoyment under my belt, and I've had enough money for one of those decades to really go to town on occasion...I like to think I can back up my food cliches, in other words.
The food is not complicated, but it is food that should not be messed with very much, so thank goodness. A fresh and perfectly-cooked piece of fish, a lovely sauce, good olive oil, good bread and butter. But this is not to suggest that the food is uninspired and unoriginal. They add a bit of cranberry or pumpkin seed or wild rice or many other things good for flavour, presentation, and maybe even health, but they don't go overboard. And they don't skimp on everyone's favourite - the protein. But it's not a flopping over the plate American-style meal either. It's just right. And that's what impressed me about Bishop's - how balanced everything was. Superlative service, but not cloying. A lovely ambiance, but not pretentious. Stellar food, but not high brow food.
OK, Bishop's is expensive, but it's therapy that really made me feel good at a deep level. So, worth it. I suppose I could nitpick and find something more to complain about, but when you love something you love something, and scrutiny is just silly.
This was a lovely place to have a small birthday dinner with my parents. The service is top notch and the food very delicious. Even my Dad enjoyed his salad and fish dish. I went with the beef and I think my husband and Mom tried their lamb that night. Great portions, flavour, and presentation. Don't be surprised by the prices - very high, but the food is worth it. I was most impressed with their attention to detail - my husband kept sneezing in the beginning of the meal, then next thing you know, a pack of tissue appeared at his side! It's a very romantic setting for couples, but I agree that it may be in need of a facelift. Overall a good fine dining experience. =)
Went on a weeknight and the restaurant was about 2/3'rds full. The interior seems a bit dated as it looks like someone's house but with the location on busy W4th, doesn't seem to match. An update may be needed to modernize the interior. Service right away was outstanding with coat cheque, seating etc. Started with the lamb and mushroom tortellini which was very good. Then had the lamb special which was amazing. The loin was cooked just right and did not have an overly gamey taste. The chops were a bit on the tough side and it was tough to get around the bone but still good. Tried their lemon tart which was a great ending. Service throughout was very good. You should expect to pay around $150 for just food per person which is decent for a fine dining place. Overall, good for a special occassion.
Food: My dining compadre and I both had 3 courses each - tuna carpaccio was wonderful but the real star was the dungeness crab dumplings that came in an exquisite broth that I couldn't stop eating! I then had the roasted salmon while my partner had the beef strip loin. It was the best roasted salmon I've ever had but I question the rest of the plate which consisted of plain-tasting garbanzo peas, indian pakoras (I was confused by this but they call it fritters), barely edible endive salad and this oddly spiced creme fraiche that I was not at all impressed with. The striploin was delicious as well but again, the sides were a bit bland and the plate lacked color. To end the night, I had the bittersweet chocolate bar which was divine and my partner had the vanilla bean creme brulee which he thought was quite good. Extensive wine list.
Service: Everyone was very friendly and attentive but not too much so. I would say this was the best service I've had in a very long time, especially from a fine dining establishment as there tends to be some snobby attitude but thankfully, this place was devoid of the attitude. Nothing but warmth and attention here!
Value: Definitely on the more pricey side but it is also organic and locally sourced food so it makes sense it is a little more expensive.
Ambiance: Great aborginal artwork on the walls but it is also very bare - bleak white walls. The seats were terribly uncomfortable, especially when we wanted to have a complete meal. Very lovely floral arrangements all around the entire restaurant, with each table having a different bouquet. I would recommend this place for a romantic outing. Bathrooms are clean.
Overall, I would recommend this restaurant to all who wish to have a lovely dining experience with organic food and great service. Make sure to bring an extra thick wallet as it is definitely going to take a heavy hit!
I have been dining out on average 2/day for the past 22 and there been to almost every restaurant in Vancouver and this is the very first time writing a review as what I experience yesterday caused me to sign up to post.
The food was definitely good...but no where near outstanding. Crab salad was kinda bland, scallops and beef tenderloin were very well cooked and definitely solid...but by no means outstanding.
Perhaps it was the very poor service we had received that caused the food experience to be somewhat diminished:
We were seated at 805pm and after waiting for over 80 minutes for our main course that had still not arrived...I kindly suggested to the waiter perhaps we should order dessert. He frowned and said 'no don't worry there is lots of time' ... huh??? I kindly stated that we needed to leave by 940pm and at that point it got worse. The waiter rolled his eyes and slightly shook his head... as if I am been unreasonable or absurb. 1.5 hours is MORE than enough time to serve a 3 course meal...I have done it less than an hour hundreds of times. Reluctantly he rudely handed over the dessert menu. Finally the main courses came and he again said 'hey just enjoy your meal there is no rush'...perplexed by his comment b/c it is now 925pm I said don't worry we can finish the main in 10 mins and we proceeded to order dessert letting him know we are celebrating a birthday. He basically rollled his eyes again with a very ridiculous look. When I over heard this waiter telling few other staff ( I confirmed what I heard by the mere fact the other staff looked back at our table and they were shaking their heads concurring with this waiters thoughts about how ridiculous our request to order dessert as the main courses came out). When I overheard the waiter again complain about us that is when we decided it is time to get the bill and cancel the dessert asap. NEVER again will I dine at Bishops.
Tiny intimate restaurant with beautiful food and flawless service.
Expensive but it is worth it for a special evening. The food is fresh, organic and inspired with lovely presentation.
The food is West coast and on the evening we went our table ordered the lamb, sablefish, and organic chicken and all meals were perfect.
Took a client to Bishops on Saturday.
I like to get there before my guests so arrived about 20 minutes early. The hostess made a big deal about not finding and then finding our reservation. Then seated us in a pokey corner beside the busing station in an empty restaurant. I asked to be moved.
The rest of the staff were great but I still had a sour taste from the poor welcome. John should send her for training to Vikram Vij or David Hawksworth.
On the food side I had a duck breast with rhubarb which was fabulous. The other 3 entrees and the 4 starters were OK. Overall the food was not up to the cost
For the $750 spent we should have gone to Hawksworth or Cioppinos , been made welcome and had more interesting grub.
For my money, and I vote with my wallet, the restaurants I mentioned are a better bang for the buck.
My first time to Bishop's was in university. They treat you like gold when you walk in the door no matter if it is your first or hundredth time. The exceptional food and service has been consistent all these years and their death by chocolate dessert, for me is its trademark. John Bishop is kind and grounded despite his fame and fortune - like the Wayne Gretzky of the Vancouver restaurant scene. I love this restaurant and have never been disappointed here. They have only ever surpassed my expectation when I least expect it. I once requested in advance a custom cake to celebrate a special birthday and they indulged me without hesitation. No wonder Bishop's has survived so long in one of the most competitive markets in the nation. I could go on but I think you should just go - at least once.
Friends told us we must visit Bishops before we leave Vancouver and we were very pleased that we came.
The food is fresh and delicious and the chefs have a very light hand with the seasonings so that flavors shine through. The owner came by to say hello to us and he is such a charming host. The service is professional yet friendly. This is a unique restaurant and very worth the visit. We will come back next time we are in town.
We went on a weeknight and celebrated our wedding anniversary. On previous occasions, we were seated upstairs and enjoyed ourselves in that cozy little "alcove".
This time, we were seated downstairs. It was a damp, chilly evening to begin with. Seated where we were, in the furthest table in the corner of the room, probably the best location in that room, we realized just how small, cramped, and tired the room was. We were probably about 14 feet from the front door and 6 inches from the next table (as were all tables). It didn't help that there was an obnoxiously noisy table of 6 across the room (about 6 feet away from us). Being so close to the front door and seated in such a cramped space did not a romantic evening make...
The service was pleasant, but mediocre. It was not busy at all during our entire dinner, but no one came to check on our bread or water, or ask how our meal was. The experience was further marred by the fact that there was always one or two staff sitting behind the bar--about 6 feet away from our table.
The menu looked very much the same as when we were there last, about a year ago. We had prawns for an appetizer--with the head on! It was a messy presentation and the ginger-asian fusion sauce was uninspired. Our entrees were roast chicken breast in a wine reduction, and lamb served 3 ways--solid, but again, uninspired.
Our dessert, however, was excellent. The best chocolate mousse we have ever had. It was decadently rich, but not heavy even though we had consumed quite a bit of meat and starch during dinner.
Bishop's used to be one our favourite restaurants. But we are unsure if we would return based on our latest experience. We would need to be convinced that a major overhaul of the ambiance, menu, and service had occurred.
A tiny little restaurant with so much to offer. The dishes were awesome. I had the goat cheese salad to start and then steamed smoked sablefish as main. The salad was not very salad like due to the lack of greens, but other than that the taste, the visual appeal, and the aroma were all great. The steamed smoked sablefish made me cough a little, but the fish was tender and absolutely delicious. My friend's starter, scallop, was also excellent. The only dish I didn't fully enjoy was my friend's main, lamb in 4 ways. The chop was excellent but the other 3 ways were okay.
Very attentive service with knowledgeable and friendly staff.
After hearing about this place for a while, we went here a few nights ago. The menu doesn't have much for vegetarians but they were able to accommodate me, which was nice.
To start, I had the house martini which was PERFECTLY chilled and a good amount of alcohol.
For our appetizers, we had the chanterelle mushroom soup and the proscuitto red wine risotto. I love a good mushroom soup, but it was a little lacking in flavour. My spouse said that the risotto wasn't bad, red wine being a different take on things.
For our mains, he had the venison dish and I had some chef creation. He liked it very much, how there was such an array of flavours and everything was really well done. Mine was very good as well, I love every little detail put into making my dish, and I find with vegetarian food it's very hard to make flavours distinct from other elements on the dish. I absolutely LOVED everything on my dish except for some fruit tart, I'm not quite sure why it was a part of my main but I'm not a fan of sugary food on my main entree. NOTE TO VEGETARIANS: If you are like me, make sure they don't give you the fruit tart, ask for a side of risotto instead, or more of the other stuff!
We probably should have stopped at that, but we had dessert and it was alright, definitely could have done without it as it's pretty pricey and we didn't find it was worth the high price tag.
All in all, service was STELLAR, although there were some food issues, the food that we liked was VERY well done, we found the value a little on the high end but we would probably come back again!
Bishop's, despite being opened the year I was born (1985), remains an impressive jewel in Vancouver's growing culinary crown. Although we are more partial to casual, easygoing places (Chambar, Maenam, La Quercia, etc) I can offer nothing but praise for Bishop's in the niche of fine dining. The city's restaurant landscape has shifted significantly away from top-end restaurants - notably West's sufferings of post-Hawksworth syndrome and Market performing better as a lounge than restaurant. Bishop's, however, has avoided the inevitable slide for the simple reason that they know what they do well and they do it at the highest level possible.
Service from the moment we entered the door was nearly flawless and they managed the restaurant with only four front of house staff. Advice on wine was helpful but didn't try to over sell and dealt with an allergy in the best possible manner. The lighting and music are soft. It's hard to imagine you are parked right on a busy stretch of the bustling W 4th avenue.
What surprised most, however, was the food. It's not cheap, coming in just under $250 for two with tip, tax and four glasses of wine. The menu can read somewhat traditionally, yet everything served was a sublime blend of high quality ingredients coaxed to perform at their absolute peak. Starters both featured spot prawns, not a surprise as Bishop's was and remains a pioneer in featuring local, seasonal, and organic ingredients. The salad was a hit with candied rhubarb and leak terrine forming a unique base for the prawns while the bisque, a daily special, was velvety and featured an outstanding fish stock at its core. Continuing on, the kitchen proved equally adept with both sea and land for the main courses. Perfectly seared sablefish and scallop, let me reiterate perfectly, was paired with radishes, black beans, and a bright vinaigrette - not your run of the mill seafood plate. Bison shortloin, an exact medium rare, was sliced and served over a heaping mound of cherry risotto with pickled ramps, roast turnips, sauteed greens and cherry jus. The meatiness of the bison was a perfect foil for the tart yet slightly sweet cherry overtones with the pickled ramp offering the occasional acidic bit. Although we were extremely satisfied by this point, dessert was ordered. Carrot cake with crystallized honey and ginger was absolutely moist and smothered in icing while the espresso flan was an ideal fix for the coffee inclined. Wines by the glass are generous pours but expensive. A well-balanced list that features a number of BC wineries fits well with the culinary experience.
really enjoyed the food and everything.
the service was just fine, and the ambience really good.
An excellent place to have a dinner.
Bishop's was one of those restaurants of my must-go-to list. Finally we were able to go over Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we were not blown away. Not to oversell this fact, it was good... it was definately better than your average restaurant... but it also wasn't spectacular, which is what I expect from a restaurant mentioned in the same breath as Lumiere, West, C, etc.
The service was okay, but we just came out feeling very unimpressed and would hesitate to recommend this to friends or family. My parents had been a huge fan of Bishop's, and made recipe's from his cookbook when I was growing up. My mother would tell me stories of going into the restaurant and telling John himself that she couldn't quite get the recipe right... he would end up taking her in the kitchen and showing her the tricks.
This type of passion was nowhere to be seen and the tables around us were subdued and not full of passion... the sign of a stuffy, rather boring, experience.
Went there with my better half to celebrate our anniversary. What can I say, the food was decent, albeit a bit overpriced. The quality was comparable to Earl's on a good day, and certainly not "heads above" as some have suggested. The staff were courteous if a bit overdone at times. Though 2/3 of the restaurant was empty on the night that we were there, I couldn't help but feel that they were following the unspoken rule of trying to get us out of there within the hour. Oh well, I guess a $160 meal is not enough to take up more than one hour of their time.
Okay, but really not likely to be enough to impress.
This place has helped to reinvent the restaurant scene in the city since its inception in 1986. I've been going since its inception and even now, remains the top choice for special occasions/celebrations. It manages to minimize artifice while maintaining a very high degree of quality, freshness, consistency and comfort in realizing John Bishop's thoughts on what W.Coast cuisine should be.
Soups are a consistent highlight. The choices are relatively small allowing for maximum flexibility in menu items with all the little excellent extras that a really fine restaurant comfortable in its own skin offers. Its clientele continues to be relatively diverse and the sheer lack of Porsches, valet parking and attitude on top of the simple, calming white colours and brilliantly turned out dishes make this an absolute must for understanding Vancouver's improving food scene.
My wife and I went to Bishop's for dinner on a Saturday in July. Its a quaint restaurant with two levels, we got a table on the lower level but found the tables pretty close. Ambiance is ok though I would not rate the setting very romantic. For starters my wife had the Dungeness Crab Salad and I had an off menu item an appetizer size Mussels. The crab salad was very well presented, and was fine, but a bit plain. My mussels were amazing, cooked to perfection and that is pretty hard to do with Mussels as you can easily over cook them. We got two kids of bread and it was fun to dip the bread in the broth. For entrees, there were only 5 choices, my wife had the Sablefish and I had the Scallops. Again, both the Sable fish and the Scallops were cooked to perfection, very nice. But both lacked from a sense of flavor, plain but nice and the portions on the smaller side. For dessert, we had the Creme brule and the Rhubarb pie (with vanilla ice cream instead of yogurt), again both quite nice.
Overall, I would say the food was very fresh, nicely prepared, cooked to perfection, but lacked flavor and portions on the smaller side. But, the service was excellent from when we got there to when we left, John Bishop was nice enough to come by for some conversation so that was nice.
I just had a great first experience at Bishop's. Went with some friends to celebrate the holidays on a Sun. night. We got there at 6pm and it was steady all night, about 3/4 full. My first impression was that it would be pretentious, but that was not the case at all. The service may have been some of the best I've ever had. When I asked where the washroom was a server took me there. They took there time with us and they were very attentive. The bread with star anise was terrific, so was the french toast starter!! I had scallops as a main and others had the lamb loin. My friends said the lamb was cooked superbly. The scallops were prepared well, though I prefer them to be less seared. The food quality does not disappoint and the service is top notch. They have an extensive wine menu and serve some pretty good scotch.
The prices for the mains are in the mid to high $30 range, but the overall experience makes it worth it. The clientele seems to be mainly 50+ or at least on this night... our party was 30something. The ambiance is more suited to an older crowd and certainly doesn't have the energy or buzz of a place like Chambar, but for a special occasion and a quieter evening, it is well worth it. I can see why Bishop's has there reputation and why it is considered a salient feature of Vancouver's gastronomic landscape.