An anchor in Vancouver’s culinary landscape, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar is lauded as the City’s definitive destination for seafood. Executive Chef Frank Pabst brilliantly executes innovative West Coast plates, insisting on using seafood from wild and sustainable harvest. At the Raw Bar, Yoshiya Maruyama is true to the Japanese culinary aesthetic of pure, clean flavours and ample portions that Blue Water Cafe’s Raw Bar has long been famous for.
4 of us dined here on a thursday night. The place is in a great location and is a beautiful restaurant. We had a warm welcome at the front door. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and ingredients, top marks for him. Basically everything was excellent here.. Now for the most important part, the food.
Appetizer: I had the $33 BC Tasting for Two
dungeness crab salad, scallop ceviche, albacore tuna tartare, smoked sockeye salmon terrine - 16.50 per person (minimum for 2)
All 4 of the items were 'good' but not more then that, it seems like they held back in flavors.
Entree: I had the $33.50 Qualicum Bay Scallops
caramelized belgian endives, wild rice griddle cake, candied ginger and citrus sauce
Once again a 'good' dish, nothing more.
Dessert: I had the $12.50 Warm Dark Cuban Chocolate Cake
brandy truffle center, vanilla bean ice cream
Another 'good' dessert but not great. I am a chocolate lover and would never leave any leftovers but I didn't really care to finish this dessert.
Add a couple of drinks and for the 4 of us the meal comes to $373 before tip.
Overall everything was excellent here except for the food. The food was all 'good' but nothing more then that. Nothing popped in my mouth, nothing stood out. There were no amazing or memorable bites. All of the items were 'good' but at a high end restaurant with high prices I was expecting great/excellent. With the small portions and high prices I was expecting more.
Blue water is definitely one of the best restaurants in Vancouver, and the quality of food here surpasses Coast’s by a long shot. The interior aesthetics may not be as pleasing or trendy as of Coast’s, but the food and service here is sublime!
Seafood Tower - $78 (6.25/7)
In the menu: two tiers with oysters, prawns, seared red tuna, smoked salmon jellyfish, scallops ceviche, clams and mussels
This impressive tower served as a delicious appetizer for the five of us! We personally love mussels and they were definitely big and juicy. The seared red tuna was excellent and reminded us of ahi tuna, the scallops were nice and plump, the salmon jellyfish was interesting but not a favorite, and the prawns were huge and delicious! The aesthetics of this dish was stunning and had many people turn their heads when it was placed on our table.
Toro Sashimi - $17.50 (6.75/7)
For those who don’t know, this basically translates to “Raw Tuna belly”. The tuna belly sashimi is more expensive than regular sashimi because of the high fat content of the fish, which makes it extremely tasty and soft. You only get approximately 7 full pieces of sashimi with this appetizer but it is definitely worth it as it is comparable to the sashimi in Japan! The fish is of extremely high quality and practically dissolves in your mouth!
Gianduja Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake - $11 (6.25/7)
This was excellent as it wasn’t too sweet and the cheese portion of the cake wasn’t too overpowering. The ratio of hazelnuts, chocolate, and cheese was absolutely perfect and was no doubt a first-class dessert. Even though blue water cafe is under the same group as Thierry, we could tell that the desserts here were of a higher level. The dessert was served with a scoop of what we believed to be hand made gelato, which was also delicious and refreshing!
Sablefish - $36.50 (6/7)
This dish was quite good but nothing too extraordinary. To be honest, we’re not really fish lovers so we can’t tell the difference between most fish unless it’s something common like tuna or salmon. This dish was prepared very intricately and the Japanese yuzu flavour really made the dish stand out!
Qualicum Bay Scallops - $33.50 (6.5/7)
These huge and plump scallops were served with a few caramelized greens, two wild rice griddle cakes, and a tangy citrus sauce that made the dish quite refreshing! The scallops themselves were pan seared to perfection and they were probably one of the best that we’ve ever had! However, we didn’t enjoy the wild rice griddle cakes as much as we thought we would. There was nothing wrong with them but they were simply not our taste!
Anyway, we had a great time at Blue Water and everything was excellent. The service was extremely professional (eg. when they came to take our dishes away, five staff members came all at once to clean our table in an instant) and there was an actual staff member who went around to refold our napkins whenever we left our seats! The food here is definitely top notch and could possibly serve Vancouver’s best seafood!
I was there at a 'corporate event', at which my banker entertained a bunch of clients, and we had a private dining room next door to the main restaurant. This may account for the incredible service we got, but this is not to say that the service at the main restaurant is less good -- I simply don't know because I have not eaten there.
We had a multi-course dinner, and guests had choices for the courses. Suffice it to say that every dish was outstanding, and my fellow diners, including those who had different dishes from what I had, were similarly impressed. From the name of the restaurant, I thought they only specialized in seafood, but they had meat dishes as well, and those were equally outstanding.
I shall return for sure.
Absolutely amazed at the west coast theme. The food was amazing, the server our group had was so nice, friendly and accommodating. It was a Thursday night and busy but got great attention.
Parking is a bitch, but worth it.
The sea food dishes from the raw bar, Ahi Tuna Tataki and Tuna Goma-ae were to die for. The Sashimi I ordered was the Aka Maguro or Red Tuna and was mouth watering.
They deserve being called one of the best, I agree and will be back again!!!
First time to Blue Water and overall experience was fantastic. The Chef came by the table to intro himself and had some recommendation which was a nice touch. Started with the crab cakes which were very good, also shared the seafood tower which was a nice mix of cold dishes and raw oysters, had the butter poached salmon with risotto which was excellent, for the main had the halibut which was good but a bit over cooked and a sampling of desserts which were very good. Overallt the food was great and the service was excellent. All dishes came at the same time and napkins folded every time someone left the table. The restaurant is a great place and sitting by the open kitchen was better than I thought as you get to see all the action. A bit on the expensive side at approx. $80 per person for food only, but worth it. Would return.
I visited Blue Water Cafe on the notion that it is Vancouver's Premier Fine Dining Restaurant and I left satisfied but with a lower opinion of Vancouver Dining.
I called to make a my booking a few days before and was told the only time I could get was 9:30pm which was alright with me and I requested to sit at the Sushi bar which they said would be done. Luckily I called just before going to confirm my booking because they couldn't find it I was on the phone for 10 mins when my reservation showed and I left to the restaurant.
We arrived at the restaurant and had to wait standing at the door for a long while (not an uncommon thing for fine dining) before being shown to our table which wasn't any where near the sushi bar (I think they lost my reservation). Didn't bother me much though I was happy to be there.
When I dine out I don't drink much but like to taste as much of the menu as possible. The food was really good though not as extravagant as the the price and hype I've heard suggests. The biggest let down of the evening was the service. My waiter was really nice, very friendly and was constantly checking up on us to check everything was all good but he made a few huge mistakes. Notably, topping up our sparkling water with tap water, after knocking a drink over half way though the evening not replacing the table cloth, instead just placing a napkin over the top of the mess to cover it up and he lacked knowledge on the menu which normally doesn't bother me but instead of going to find out the answers to my questions he just bull crapped his way though them. Works fine for a normal patron but when your a cook yourself it kind of make them sound stupid when they tell you the sauce on a dish is ponzu when it has no acid and smells like sesame...
The Restaurant was gorgeous making it really pleasant to sit there for long time and food and drink service was on point. A the few minor downsides though a really good night an excellent experience none the less. Worth the experience but i don't think the excessive prices warrant a return visit, not when Vancouver has so many other great restaurant to try out.
Hosted a supper here with 10 clients a couple of days ago. The crew at Blue Water do a great job of accomodating requests. We had a couple of seafood towers - shrimp, oysters, scallops in shell, all on ice. I had the beef tenderloin which was cooked to perfection. Everyone else loved their dish - white sturgeon was the other choice...
What is great about this restaurant is the ambiance and the service. The service is professional and attentive. The decor, with the exposed brick and the wall to wall wines makes quite an impression. The evening came to 180 dollars per person but was definitely worth it.
Service was good, we were greeted immediately as we entered, as soon as we sat down our waiter appeared! The vodka cocktail was weak though, did not enjoy my drink at all, kinda bland and too much ice! I really enjoyed the selections on the 2 tiers of seafood tower! The oysters were really good, jellyfish salad was okay, smoked salmon was average, scallops and mussels were good, shrimp was okay. I loved the plating and decor on the tiers! Not sure about my entree, had the Arctic Char, the mushrooms were way too salty to my liking, but I enjoyed the mini pearl pasta around the dish. The Beef Tenderloin was cooked well but nothing special, it came with a fresh baked macaroni and cheese with spinach, it was creamy and had a crunchy top. Dessert was good, cheesecake was light and sweet perfect to end the night, but I did not like the super sour mandarin in the cheese cake though, it was way off!! Yikes! Overall dinner was okay, guess after all the great reviews we expected more.
We were a group of 8 people who went to the restaurant for the DOV menu. The ambiance was really great. Very romantic atmosphere. Since the meal was $38 for the three course, it was a great value compared to the regular menu items. I ordered the Matane Shrimp Salad, Kurobota Pork and Apple Raisin Bread Pudding. The shrimp salad was okay. I didn't find it impressive as the other two appetizers. It was basically lettuce with shrimp, grapefruit and avocado. I didn't finish my salad and gave the rest of it to my friend. He was hungry enough to take my offer. Next item was the pork. It was really tender. The cornbread was a good texture to match the meat. The sauce went well with entree. The Hazelnut + Almond Meringue was a better choice than my Bread Pudding. I found my dessert to be average. It tasted okay, but the presentation for all of the food was amazing. Their regular menu is actually better than the DOV one. However, the price made it worth the visit. Service was fast. A number of people came by and cleared all our plates shortly after we were done with each course. I got the impression they were really trying to get us out before the 1.5 hr that was set for DOV customers. We were told before we were seated that only that much time was alloted unless we were eating off the regular menu. I guess they were trying very hard to maximize the number of people eating at the restaurant. If you haven't been to this restaurant before, it a good way to try their food. However, you should just eat off of the regular menu.
Two of us dined here on a weeknight and place was 80% full while other nearby spots were nearly empty. Sat near the sushi bar and started out with raw oysters which were great; good selection of west and east coast. Next went with sushi which is as good as it gets in Vancity (but New York prices; $5+ for one red tuna nigiri) but limited selection. The entrees were salmon which looked good, and shrimp cocktail appy which was kind of bland. dessert and a beer, wine and sake and the bill is $260 + tip. Overall a good meal and setting but way over my budget if it were not a business meal.
I think the only reason I tried this place was because of the gift certificate I won. WOW, was it ever good!
We ordered the lobster in cream sauce which was absolutely to die for! I was not impressed by the lack of selection on their beer menu, but this is the kind of restaurant where somewhat 'classier' drinks are to be ordered.
Serive was great & the ambiance was good.
The seafood options are unique and esthetically pleasing but not worth what they're asking. I have been there a couple of times in small and large groups and find the service inconsistent. The seafood tower is tasty but not great value. My last experience there was in the private room with clients - many of them grumbled about the service and mediocre food. If my customers aren't impressed, I never take them back.
Went here a couple of years ago with a group of four and the waitress was quite rude to us. We sat there for a loong time waiting for someone to come and clear our plates after we were done. When we complained the restaurant was very apologetic and offered us a bottle of wine. Sat on the patio which was nice, but it's hard to achieve a good sense of the ambiance this way.
I don't remember much else except that the food was average and not memorable.
I arrived about 45 min late for my DOV reservation due to parking difficulties/Canucks home game night, and my friend was made to feel comfortable by our waiter. Good start! SInce she was told by the hostess that there would be a 1.5 hour maximum for DOV diners.
The Tuna tataki starter with a ponzu and mayo dressing was lovely - quite generous in their portions too.
Arctic char was nicely cooked. Really loved the bed of belgua lentil, pearl onion and vanilla butter that accompanied the fish.
Key lime cheesecake was on the tart side, but the house made maple ice cream was a good counterbalance to the tart with its sweet, creaminess, heavenly!
Altogether a worthwhile and memorable DOV experience!
This is a review just about Blue Water's Raw Bar - not the general cafe part. In case you don't want to read the rest of this review, I'll sum it up for you: it was spectacular!
We arrived and sat outside in the patio. It is a gorgeous setting. Great ambiance outside (and inside too). The music is funky and not too loud. The flowers were in bloom. The decor is stylish, as is the plating.
The oyster menu is comprehensive, although they don't stock all the oysters on it. Tonight they had 6. We tried them all and they were all beautiful. Perfectly shucked. Brine still in shell. Red wine mignonette. Lemon. Freshly-grated horseradish.
The sockeye salmon sashimi was to die for. Vancouver does salmon like no other place I've ever been and sockeye is - at least when it comes to sashimi - the king of salmon.
The service was friendly, professional, knowledgeable and prompt. The Whistler-brewed pale ale was served in a hybrid baloon-tulip which was perfect and complemented the food.
It's not cheap, but for fresh seafood, you cannot do better.
Our recent dinner here confirmed our thoughts of our dinner here a few years back...we can't understand all the hype about this restaurant.
We thought that perhaps we had gone on an off-night for our first dinner. Well, we were underwhelmed again. We did have very large selection of oysters to choose from, which we appreciated. My husband's short-rib entree was delicious, but far from show-stopping. I can't even remember what I had for my entree, just that all the diced root veg served with my meal were still raw. Uacceptable at a fine dining restaurant when the restaurant was only about half-full.
Our server was great, however another server ruined it a bit for us. He was chatting with another table, and he just wouldn't stop. He was loud and persisted on asking them so many questions it was making us feel uncomfortable!
Dessert of molten chocolate cake was delicious, but warm chocolate cake is hard to ruin...
I can't recommend this restaurant as there are quite a few restaurants out there serving better food with comparable ambiance and better value.
We were recently invited along with 5 other guests.
Oysters' lovers heaven! We had a good selection.
We had a chef's best sashimi selections. It was very well presented, very fresh.
The host made the choice based on Sommelier's recommendations, all excellent. I'm not a wine expert but even I can taste how good those choices were.
For Entree I had the ‘Kobe Style’ Beef Short Ribs, it was deluxe, hard to describe how good it is. I had a good wine to go with that too.
They presented a good selection of bite size dessert and fruit platter. I even made a special request to have a chocolate fondu dip for the fruit and they gladly accommodated.
Server is very knowledgable, about different kinds of oysters, also made great recommendations.
Place is pricy but in my opinion worth every part of it for the outstanding culinary experience.
Went for a lunch with the department from a mid sized law firm. There were 15 of us for lunch. We were able to choose from a set menu of three appys, three entrees and two desserts.
We were given four seafood towers which were quite unbelievable. Everything was on ice and very fresh. Cooked mussels (plump), scallops and prawns (could have been a little less cooked). Raw oysters, two types of sushi (good but nothing spectacular as the rice was too stuck together). Jellyfish, smoked salmon and ahi tuna were outstanding. Oysters Rockefeller appy was ordered and I had one and it was tasty.
Appy was the dungeness crab and potato cake. It came with avocado and was very good. Flavours were really nice.
Entree was sablefish aka Alaskan Black Cod. Cooked to perfection on a small bed of mashed potatoes and pea sprouts (really amazing).
Dessert was chocolate cake with a dollop of ice cream. Cake was really rich and couldn't get through all of it. Would have been better if it wasn't a lava cake. It was served with caramel and a thin fortune like cookie. It didn't need the caramel as it was overdone to me. Sorbet looked like it was a much better choice.
Everything was beautifully served and service was excellent. Servers were professional, unobtrusive and extremely attentive. They took great care to give us excellent service.
Would definitely like to come back as it was probably one of the best higher end restaurants I have been to.
Been meaning to go here for a while and was not too disappointed. The noise level was perfect and the atmosphere was tingling. We decided to start with a spider roll and clam chowder followed by the Ling Cod w/mussels and black rice and my partner the tuna. The soup was only OK and still not sure if there were clams in there. The spider roll at $17 was good but not exceptional. The starters were soon to be forgotten as the mains arrived. Nice presentation and both perfectly cooked. Loved "em both. We shared a creamy nutty desert which polished off the evening nicely. Not a place to go unless you have a min of $250 for 2 including tip to go splurge and many seem to have, as it was a full house on a Wednesday!!
Event for 39 people at the Pacific Room at Blue Water. A dozen or so guests took the sushi and cocktail mini-course.
Cooked to perfection. I was the host for the event and everybody agreed the food was excellent, one of the best, if not the best, they have tasted for seafood and Western cuisine. We had the Group course for $109 each (look for it in their menu in the group section of the website). The "table dish" of sushi and sashimi was good and fresh. The appetizers were fresh and the avocado sauce for my own dish mixed in well with all 3 different mini-dish comprising the appetizer. The foie-gras for other guests were amazing and the oysters+caviar were the best my brother-in-law tasted ANYWHERE in Vancouver (he eats a lot of oysters). The entrees were even better. The poached lobster was very good and cooked perfectly. My char was crispy on the outside (as it is suppose to be) and tender inside. WUNDERBAR! The kobe-style ribs were the best my guests tasted. That dish was braised for 21 hours before being cooked. The dessert was plate of 3 mini-desserts: the famous Blue Water lava cake/brownie + cream cheese ice cream + creme brulee. The nice little addition of liquor inside the lava cake was a master stroke. Instead of just plain "super" sweet, the mixed in liquor gave the cake a slight bitter, yet sweet taste. It was the perfect blend. The creme brulee was good, but the sugar cover on top was perfect. The cream cheese ice cream was unique.
The wine was very good. I didn't drink but the rest of the guests were absolutely charmed by the taste of 1 red and 1 white selection. The white was from Italy and the red was a local maker. Blue water is known for their wine, and Andrea, the wine director, gave the guests a perfect wine/meal combo to choose from.
My thanks goes to Brent, Scott, Jen, and Andrea for their wonderful service. There were no hiccups and everything was perfect. They put their efforts into perfecting every minute detail of the service, from the lightining, to the food distribution, etc. They were very genuine in their service. All the dishes came out perfectly timed. We had 39 guests, yet they were able to have ALL the dishes come out at the same time (within 1 or 2 minutes).
The mini courses some of the guests took before the dinner was very fun. They enjoyed the courses and were delighted that there were options to partake in, besides eating the dinner dishes (look it up on the website).
The value of the entire meal was perfect. The selection for the group course was good. Please keep in mind the dishes included a few caviar dishes, foie gras, seafood, sushi, sashimi, etc. Added to this was the fact that we booked the entire Pacific room (enough room for 80 guests), at no charge. So, it was the perfect blend of price and product.
The best ambiance I have been in, ever, in a group setting. I showed a slide show in the room, and they had 2 projection screens synced up, to 2 projectors. It was easy to set up by plugging my laptop to the terminal. The Pacific room is essentially a large wine room, that measures approximately 16 feet by 45 feet. There were Christmas decorations everywhere and the room was very well lit (I love well lit dining experiences, not low light ones). Even if you don't like the room being well lit, you can customize the brightness yourself. If you are dinning for 2, the main room is dimly lit, and has a nice ambiance, but the pillars make the main room seem smaller than it really is. But for group events, the Pacific room is INCREDIBLE!
Perfect service. Perfect food. Perfect Ambiance, Perfect Value. Have a group event of 10 to 80 people? Book the Pacific Room. I booked it 4 months in advance and only got a Sunday booking. The Fridays and Saturdays were booked solid 4 months in advance. Got an itch to eat for 2? The food is just as good as in group events. If the group event food is good, the dinner for 2 food is always better. Oh yeah, they have been recognized to have one of the largest selection of wine in the world, and won Vancouver Magazine's Restaurant of the year Award for 2010. Bon Apetit!