The Boathouse serves west coast fare in a relaxed atmosphere.
Every time I go to the Boathouse I think there might be a new chef and the food might have improved. Lovely setting but not many people eating lunch on a sunny weekday. Should be packed. How do they screw up yam fries? The chef adds loads of sea salt on them, I guess to make you drink more. These days kitchens should not add salt to anything...let the customer do it or ask first. The server was very understanding and quickly brought us another salt-free serving, she agreed it was excessive! At $6.99 kind of pricey. We shared a lobster shrimp pita with shaved fennel, lettuce and tarragon mayo ($15.99). Large portion so good idea to share. Not bad but the mayo needed a bit more bite to it. This place has the potential to be full every day in the summer.
Food: Had the seafood platter for two which was really good but if it were really for 2, why do they only give you 3 prawns instead of 4? Crab and salmon that came with dish was also very good. The dish was good for the two of us since I had already eaten just a few hours prior but if I hadn't, I'm quite sure it wouldn't have been enough for two people even though it was supposed to be portioned that way. Wanted to try the calamari but knew we wouldn't be able to finish it and an entree but will def. go back to try it out cuz it looked really yummy.
Service: Have never been to this location so I didn't know that the patio had a different entrance so I just went in through the front. No one helped us for a good 5-10 min which would have been ok for if the server hadn't been just a few feet away chatting with his friends so that just really irritated the hell out of me. When he finally noticed us, we decided we wanted to sit on the patio since it was such a nice day out and we were directed to another line (rising level of irritation since we had already waited...). Thankfully there was table avail. for 2 ready at the moment or else I would have left. Server was amazing which rescued the service rating.
Ambiance: Great patio but really needs to add more bathrooms/bathroom stalls for patio dwellers. Bathroom was atrocious - get it cleaned for god's sakes!!!
Overall: Will def. return if I can stand to take another hit on my wallet.
Staring at the ocean during lunch amazing, staring between the slates of the tables on the heated patio disgusting! So much left over food, crayons and other dirty bits! The staff says its cleaned nightl, I doubt it. That much dirt in one day? Maybe new tables then, booths are filthly as well. Food/ Service good, cleanliness of the restaurant very bad. Please Please clean your restaurant!
After a recommendation from my coworker, I decided to come out here for lunch on a sunny day. My friend and I were seated out on their covered patio by the window. The view was nice, but that was the only pleasant thing during our meal. To start off with, the servers there are not happy to help you out at all and stand around talking to each other while playing music on the stereo. When they took our orders, they weren't much of a help either. We ended up ordering a calamari to share, fish and chips with cod, and their special seafood grill.
The service was just.. bad. Our server left after finishing her shift (not that she was very good at her job anyways) and then someone else came by to tell us they would be helping us out for the rest of the meal. The entire time he talked to us, he had these ridiculous shades on (rainbow semi-rimless shades that looked like they were from a snowboarder back in the 80's). I found it extremely rude to have shades on while talking to a customer. I know it's sunny, but that's just disrespectful. I don't know what the policy is there, maybe they're allowed to wear them while working on the patio area. He did not come by to ask about our food until 3/4 into our main.
The calamari was terrible. It was tasteless, just warm, and not crunchy. The batter did not stick to the calamari at all. What looked like a lot of herbs on it did not help. They dumped in diced onions too.. don't know why cause it did nothing to add for taste. Definitely not worth the 13 dollars I paid. My friend's fish and chips were decent, but definitely nothing special, they have better fish and chips served in Lonsdale Quay in a little shop over this known restaurant. Not worth 20 dollars for two pieces of fish and fries and salad. Worst of all was my seafood grill which is their "specialty plate". The dish is like 16 or 17 dollars, and I expected my portions since it says grill. Nowhere in the menu does it say skewer, but what I got was a skewer of two bite sized over cooked salmon, one piece of scallop, and one prawn on top of a handful of undercooked veggies. I was appalled and I let the server know when he finally wandered over from talking to his coworkers.
At least the server did the decent thing and took my "grill" off the bill. I will DEFINITELY not be back will not recommend it to anyone else.
This review is a little late, but I can still remember the meal as if it were yesterday.
I went to the Boathouse for my birthday dinner for two reasons - they give you a $25 gift certificate on your birthday for signing up for their email newsletter, and it was Lobsterfest time! I had actually gone to the Boathouse for Crabfest in December and it was amazing, so I couldn't wait to go back for the lobster.
My friend and I ordered the chilled seafood tower - which, at $49.99 is a little steep for an appetizer - but the quality of seafood is top notch. There were oysters, mussels, smoked salmon, jumbo prawns and a selection of sauces, spreads and breads. Wonderful!
For dinner, I chose the steak (tenderloin) & lobster - both were fantastic. My steak was so flavourful and tender that it practically melted in my mouth. My friend chose the stuffed salmon, which he really enjoyed. I tried a bite of it, and found the salmon to be a little overcooked for my liking, but for him it was perfect.
The service was top notch - very attentive and unobtrusive, and friendly without being 'fake'. Water and wine glasses were topped up when appropriate and our server really made the entire evening flow seamlessly. The view really added to the experience and for all these reasons, the Boathouse has always been one of my favourite "special occasion" restaurant choices. I can't wait to head over soon to enjoy 'appy hour' on the patio.
came here during the week with friends to try the 3 course lobsterfest offer that they are currently promoting... $25 per person and that is one of the best deals you can possibly get anywhere in this city.
i started with the lobster bisque which was fabulous... broth was packed with flavor, not too salty with just the right balance. for my main, i ordered the lobster stuffed salmon which was just as delicious. salmon was not dry and cooked with just the right flavor! lastly, the mud pie was yummy.. i thought it was going to be a chocolate cake but it turned out to be a coffee one which did not negatively affect the dessert portion.
our waitress was friendly and polite to us.. she did come around to ask how our meal was but other than, she didnt return to fill our glasses with water which stayed empty for the rest of the evening til we asked for the bill.
in terms of value for this particular offer, all i can say is that it cant be beaten. there is one note that i would like to make: its hardly a lobsterfest at all, your dishes are not loaded with lobster as the term lobsterfest might imply so the advertising on their part is misleading. but again, most advertisements are.
very relaxed atmosphere on the second floor which overlooks english bay.. i could see how it would be beautiful environment to dine in during the summer inside the restaurant and outside on the patio.
i would certainly come back here if given the opportunity. my overall experience was great here so that leaves me no reason to not want to return.
This place has a beautiful location. Even we didn't have a table near window, we were able to watch ocean and the ships.
The menu could have been better seafood selection. The food was nice. It is a good place to host your visitors with a good price.
having the valet service is also a great idea because it is difficult to find a parking spot there.
This restaurant can be excellent if they improve the look of the plates and renovate the furniture a bit.
Part of the reason for the poor service rating has nothing to do with our actual server NYE so let me explain. I called to make reservations here at least four weeks in advance. A few days prior to NYE made a call to reconfirm the reservations and they had no record of me making my prior reservation. Very frustrating. Reminds me of the old Seinfeld episode. "You can take the reservation you just can't hold the reservation".
Needless to say there was more than enough room here NYE, a reservation really wasn't even required but that is besides the point.
My dining partner and I had the 8:30pm seating. It was a three course meal at $65.00 per person. My appetizer included asparagus with goat cheese and a few bits of sundried tomatoe. There is a very fine line between el dente and raw veggies. My asparagus was almost raw, like they just dipped it in hot water. Too el dente for me thanks. My partner had the chili chicken appy and he was quite happy with it. A very basic dish of chicken cubes in a thai type sauce.
For the main course I ordered the steak with lobster and crab meat. My partner the 1.5lb Lobster. My steak was very good and done perfectly although the crab/lobster meat was very sparse and not that tasty actually. The steak came with terrible mashed/garlic potatoes that I hardly touched.
My dining partner on the other hand really enjoyed what looked like a very nice sized lobster.
The finishing touch was a berry cheesecake and a key lime pie. I had the Key Lime Pie, quite tasty but a little on the smallish size.
In conclusion the meal was just okay for me. Not worth the $65.00 charge. The final bill btw included a glass of beer and a glass of very over priced wine was $180.00 including tip. Not a very good value in my mind.
Our server as well was just okay. A nice enough fellow with a tinge of "I don't really want to be here tonight" sort of a feeling. He was there when we needed him although was a little scarce one or two times, needed more water but couldn't track him down.
What really sort of shocked me was the lack of people in the restaurant. We sat in the top floor of the restaurant for the 8:30pm seating and it was half full the entire time we were there. Not really sure what that says.
Restaurants are afraid of losing business with the HST coming into place as well as an economy that is still in recovery mode. It would really be beneficial for restaurants to try to get everything right. The reservation thing was really a turn off. The cost of the meal I believe was also about 20/30 dollars more than I think it should of been.
I was here for lunch Sept. 25/09, we opted to sit on the patio, the day was warm and sunny so the view was fantastic. The food was the same as the other Boathouse locations, I always enjoy the coconut shrimp...Mmmmm
The service thought was atrocious, it took forever for our orders to be taken, and our server only came by once, she didn't refill our beverages - even when asked twice she finally brought them after we finished eating!
One server doesn't dampen my opinion of the Boathouse, I still enjoyed the food and ambiance.
We were looking for a place to grab some oysters on a sunny afternoon, other oyster bars were either closed for the afternoon or full. My girl friend figured the boathouse would have some - I was a bit hesitant since the boathouse wasn't my first choice but was I ever surprised!
As soon as you walk in there is a big sign telling you of their 3-6pm Happy Hour in the bar. At the very top was "Buck a Shuck" and literally each oyster variety was $1! They also had a few skewers and other seafood type pub food; it was awesome! Their oysters of the day were Kusshi, Royal Miyagi and Malpec - so it was great that we had variety and not just some generic oyster from bc.
Between the two of us girls we had 24 oysters and 2 beef satay plates and a few cesars. When we walked through the door we asked the hostess about the appy hour deal, since we were all about the oyster deal she asked us if we wanted to sit on the patio; the annoying part was the the deal only applied in the bar so she obviously didn't put two and two together offering us the patio. She sat us upstairs, we were greeted by a server and were told that we had to go back downstairs, that was a little annoying but no big deal.
The service was good, we had the bartender who was tending tables and doing the bar thing; so it was a bit slow; we had to grab his attention when we wanted to order but he didn't seem to mind, neither did we.
I will be back for sure and was really happy and surprised that the boathouse was offering something like this. Who knew!
This is one of these places that frustrates the crap out of me! The potential of this place is outstanding but the owners/managers(?) don't seem to want to do anything with it. Maybe they just hope the wave of summer tourists will get them through? It's this beautiful location and great idea (downstairs bar, 2nd floor patio and dining room upstairs) so really they should have it all right? Wrong - & it seems like its been on a steady downslide for the last year or more. To be honest, the only reason I kept going there is it's local and there are some really great staff there (well in the diningroom and the bar... the deck staff are not quite up to par. But the problem is every time I go, another great staff member has moved on? Take the hint from your staff owners!! If your awesome staff keep leaving and only mediocrity remains... what is that telling you? I think this place has so much potential but the management seems set on running it into the ground... trying to end on something positive though - the food is still pretty good and nothing beats that sunset - but isn't there a Cactus Club opening up across the street soon? Tell me Boathouse - why would i want to bring you my business when I could go see them?
Not sure why there are so many bad reviews about the Boathouse, but I personally had a pretty good experience. The service itself could have been a little bit better, but it wasn't too bad either.
I ordered the seafood pasta, and it was great. The sauce was delicious and the pasta was cooked exactly the way I liked it. There were lots of pieces of fish in my dish which surprised me since most places give you a small amount of seafood. I got two large shrimps and a jumbo scallop on a skewer. My date ordered the 3 pieces of fish and chips. I was expecting 3 small pieces of cod, but the portion size was massive. Whatever the tartar sauce was, it was really delicious.
The service, like I said, could have been better. When we walked into the front, one of the hostesses was having a conversation with someone who looked like a friend. They were talking about whether a shirt fit or not and didn't really pay much attention to us. The other hostess helped us out pretty quickly after that. Our server was friendly and she came to check up on us a couple of times so that was good. She wasn't overbearing, but she was still there.
Value is a little pricey, but I'm not complaining. I expected small pieces of seafood regardless of whether or not the restaurant was a seafood restaurant. I'm not upset about the price of the food, but when it came to drinks, I felt that it was a little bit too expensive.
Ambiance was good. We were seated on the patio so we had a great view of the water and the palm trees outside. It was dimmed with heaters, and it was overall a very romantic experience. I would definitely come back.
The covered/heated year-round patio overlooking English Bay can't be beat. Unless of course, you're talking about the halibut & chips they serve - the best I've had north of Steveston.
And they do a pretty damn fine mohito too!
my wife and I were out for a walk last Sat. Beautiful, sunny fall day, pretty rare this year. So decided to stop into the Boathouse and have lunch on their outdoor patio. I've always been leery of the place as the perception I've had is it likely overpriced due to the million dollar view.
The patio is quite small, not to be confused with the much larger rooftop patio over the main restaurant. Chairs are very close together to get as many tables in as possible.
We weren'y terribly hungry so my wife wanted a small salad and we decided to share a shrimp clubhouse. She had a glass of wine.
The server told me not to bother with the salad as the club came with a side salad and we could substitute the one my wife wanted, rather than the caeser listed. So that was $6 saved right there.
The salad was delicious, the club bursting with shrimp and the fries were wonderful. Presentation was well done & the service competent. More than enough for two people trying to watch their caloric intake.
Total bill before gratuity was $22. And the view was free.
I have been dragged back to the Boathouse several times by friends who seem intent on eating at the waterfront restaurant. The service at this place is crap, I would NEVER choose to eat at this place of my own. Also, the people who always end up dragging me here, always end up complaining about the place too-still they return.
I guess that's why places like this always suck. No matter how bad it is, people keep going back. Luckily it is only in the summer I end up being forced here, it was only once this year thank god.
The food is always bad, the deep fried popcorn shrimp is soggy, greasy, burnt and chewy.
And I have to admit, most of their seafood items dont turn me on, so I break down and order a steak. I always order my steak rare-and I have NEVER received it less than medium here. One time I got it WELL DONE. Who are the idiots they have cooking here. And its consistently bad, I've had it happen over several visits spread out over about a decade.
It pisses me off each time I return to this dive, and I will do everything to avoid returning here next summer when my friends suggest it.
I say enjoy the waterfront view for free. And when you're hungry go a couple blocks in to a restaurant that doesnt have the benefit of a great view-I guess they have better food and service because they need it to battle against the places with a view.
I have tried all the Boathouse Restaurants and found the food, service, and value to be extremely poor. They all receive a one rating for overall dining experience. Ambiance wise they are situated in some of the most beautiful locations BC has to offer. It is a huge disappointment that their customer service is severely lacking and quality of food subpar, in lieu of today's standards. Mediocre is not what individuals want to experience while dining out! Nor do they want to spend their hard earned money on an over-flated priced meal that simply is not up to snuff! As a restaurant, you should let the food speak for itself, it will speak volumes! If you are receiving criticism on the menu, service, or atmosphere, graciously accept this critiquing and do everything within your power to fix the problem. You'll win points for superior customer service, by being receptive to customer complaints, not becoming defensive when someone critiques your restaurant. Yes, it is about taste, service, value, ambiance/decor, and cleanliness. Restaurants also get critiqued on meeting of expectations, which in my books is a big one! Unfortunately, the Boathouse Restaurants do not meet the criteria of longevity in a competitive food industry!
My boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary at the Boathouse this weekend and we were both so pleasantly surprised! I've heard mixed reviews on the place so I was a little nervous about trying it out, but we ended up having a great experience. We made reservations for 2 on a busy Friday night and were sat at a lovely table with a perfect view of the bay, even though we were a little late! Our server was Robert and he was a true master of his craft. Very professional, entertaining and friendly. He even arranged our very large order so that it was the most affordable, as we wanted both seafood AND steak in full portions. To start we enjoyed bread and some great appetizers - delicious bacon-wrapped scallops that were perfectly cooked and not greasy at all, actually quite delicate (surprising!) Garden salad was dressed just enough for flavour but again, someone in the back there has a really light touch and it was just right. The asparagus could've used a tad more seasoning but otherwise it was also delicious. Our main course was a full crab, full lobster and one steak mignon. Everything was absolutely delicious. We asked for the steak rare and it was indeed VERY rare, but still yummy! After our meal, we stepped outside briefly and returned to a fully cleaned table with just our drinks remaining (nice touch.) All of the staff was so warm and attentive. But perhaps the highlight of our evening was a complimentary dessert for our anniversary and Robert breaking into full song with "That's Amore" and a unanimous clap from the whole restaurant. Hilarious.
We will definitely be back.
Had lunch there recently and tried the Wild Salmon Burger. Blah. Had a Ceasar to drink. Yuck.
The prices do not warrant the quality of food. It's like churned out junk. My companion had a Ceasar Salad with chicken and it looked dismal.
We both had Ceasars to drink and they tasted like they had no vodka and used some cheap, generic Clamato juice.
The service was minimal even though the restaurant was not busy.
The decor is reminiscent of a tacky bar.
I miss the good old days when it was the English Bay Cafe...
I absolutely have no idea what happened to their food! Last time I had their "popular" dish: starter was pan fried oyster, main dish was prosciutto wrapped jumbo prawn on weird brown rice and desert was mocha ice cream pie. I can say except their desert, which my guess was they didn't even prepare it themselves, everything else was TERRIBLE!! Popular dish? NOT! Pan fried oyster was terrilby done, soggy and stale, Prosciutto..let's just say its flaour was too enhanced that made the shrimp was uneatable for me. Will I go back? Probably not.
If you want a nice place to have seafood, the boathouse could be a good place, everybody love it. For me... well I have to confess it is not one of my favorites, I preffer tasty food and the boathouse for me is more simple than delicate.