Cork & Fin Restaurant is located in the Alhambra Hotel in historic Gastown. They offer a menu of fresh seafood share plates along with a daily fresh sheet.
A lovely chic place in gastown oozing with cute chisai-ness about it. Literal translation is "small" in Japanese. Thought this would be a fantastic place to have a lovely date night with my hubby. On a clear, cold winter's evening, we made the stroll down gastown, admiring the eclectic shops along the way. Arrived at an unassuming front entrance nestled among other popular restaurants such as Irish Heather, L'Abattoir and Boneta. The street looked surprisingly bright and inviting, a far cry from its old school run down days. When you first enter Cork & Fin, it feels warm & inviting, very cozy. Voices and music surround this little cute brick walled restaurant. It was busy with a few empty tables. It did take a bit for anyone to come greet us, but soon we were seated in the downstairs dining area, which I thought would render quicker service, but we would soon learn that it was choppy thoughout the meal. I knew I would go ahead and try their dineout Vancouver selections, while my hubby pondered the list of seafood options. It was a bit sad to know that any vegetables or anything considered a side that would normally come with a meal was not included, so what you saw was what you got. The Fresh Shucked Oysters (Red Island & Sawmill Bay) with Champagne Mignonette was fresh, tasty, but super small. I wished there was more of it. My hubby's choice of their tomato & chilies clams was lovely but also a small portion. I really enjoyed the Negitoro Fatty Tuna Belly with Japanese Mayo and Rice Wine Vinegar, it had a nice taste & texture to it, not quite what I expected but it was very good with the toasted baguette. Our final "entree" more like "tapa" dishes: I had the grilled sirloin which was cooked very nicely and tasted great, and my hubby tried their albacore tuna dish, which he enjoyed. The apple and almond tart to round up the meal was also done quite nicely, but I wished for more of the pastry and a slightly larger portion. But I wonder if it's the norm in gastown to have such small portions? I loved the ambiance of this place, but the prices & portions didn't quite match.
I heard about Cork & Fin in Vancouver Mag and decided to check it out. It's on Carall St in the rough (but improving) neighborhood off Gastown. Looks cool from the outside and even better inside with the big glass frontage and the mezzanine. The four of us started with the small Seafood Tower which has mussels, clams, shrimp and raw oysters ($33). The clams were great and they should offer a separate clam dish. The oysters were nice sized but just ok tasting. We had a number of other dishes too which were all good. Drink and wine menu is good. The room has a cool character feel to it and service was excellent. Great place to hang out before a hockey game (within walking distance to Rogers Centre) or a romantic dinner for two.
Hubby and I had dinner with friends on a busy Friday night. Very cozy, cool, relaxed place - way better vibe than Yaletown. Plates are small, tapas portion. Mussel and frites nice (but Chambar does them the best in town), steak which butter tender but small, pappardelle with lobster was rich but nicely done, sablefish poached in milk was also very rich (and could have used a bit more acidity). We skipped the martinis and went for the more assertive drinks - they tended to be on bitter side especially the Gassy Jack. Can't remember what we had for dessert but no complaints. Think there were only a couple of servers but service was fine overall. Quality ingredients may be the reason for the slightly higher prices for plates.
Took a date here last night as I've walked by several times, and it looked interesting.
Food: They explained to us that everything was tapas sized so we ordered a few oysters to start (very nice and fresh) and a couple items each. Everything was well prepared and tasty, although we found the portions just a little on the small size for the price. The Fresh Pasta with Crab and Peas was terrific, Beef Tenderloin cooked perfectly and very tender, 2 Ahi Tuna Tacos were nice especially with the Warm Homemade Corn Tortillas (the sauce on the side was ridiculously hot ... although they did warn us in advance) and the Salad with Warm Mushrooms was also very good. No complaints at all about the quality really.
Service: OK, nice enough fella, constantly re-filled water glasses which was great, we did find that he disappeared for stretches just a little more than we would have liked (almost went looking for him to get the bill) but was pleasant, and likeable. When presenting the specials (3) onlt mentioned the price of the first one (a bit of a pet peeve of mine).
Value: $160 for 4 shared plates, a few oysters, 2 glasses of inexpensive wine each and a shared dessert (including tip), not bad but didn't feel it was great value.
Ambiance: Nice place, we were seated upstairs which gave us a little more privacy which I liked since it was a date, but I'd probably all in all have preferred downstairs with a bit more action.
Glad we tried it. Would I go back? ... In spite of a wealth of other places to try, I probably would ... the quality of the dishes would be the deciding factor at The Cork and Fin.
I am sad that some of the best talent have left Parkside, L'Altro Buca, and Tapastree but am happy they have found their way to the Cork & Fin. What a sweet spot nestled in the border between Gastown and Chinatown. An inviting sidewalk cafe leads into just as nice an interior. Elegant yet unassuming with an interesting mix of reggae, Elvis, and soul in the background.
The menu is chockfull of seafood selections but I chose the special of the night - a surf 'n turf consisting of a 4 oz. beef tenderloin and two gorgeous prawns - and started that off with the evening's salad of greens, pear, walnuts, and gorgonzola cream.
The staff were busy but attentive and the owners are out in front – one folding napkins and serving and the other preparing the seafood towers that seemed popular with the lovebirds. A romantic dinner indeed!
There is a bit of a disconnect at the restaurant in terms of it being white table clothed but yet the staff there are dressed in their casual finest of jeans and a short sleeve shirt. I guess it just added to the eclecticness of the area since it was Gastown. The food however was impressive and the value of the prix fixe cannot be beat. The dishes were small but the ingredients were fresh. The service was friendly, a bit choppy but friendly.
I thought it was a great place and it definitely had charm. I look forward to going back.