A Vancouver landmark named after the city's first lifeguard in the 1890's. Joe Fortes is a multi-level, San Francisco-styled place with an oyster bar, rooftop garden patio and ample restaurant seating.
I am a banana.
I had dinner with my wife in the month of September on a weekend.
The service of the staff was very attentive. We were seated near a large party on the upper level and seeing our discomfort with the seating arrangements the staff moved us further away from the party.
I had the vine ripened tomatoe and cheese salad and rib eye steak.
My wife had the oysters rockefeller and the trio of fish.
We both agreed the dinner only had one dissapointment which was the fish.
All three types of fish was over cooked. Halibut, salmon and ling cod.
We both also agreed the lobster infused olive oil for bread dipping was excellent.
We would have loved to stay and have dessert as well but the volume of the restaurant was a big turn off for further dining.
My wife and I just finished eating at Joe Forte's and the food was excellent. I really enjoy fresh Halibut, and my dish with the lemon butter was outrageously good. My wife had the Ribeye steak, which was good for me as well because she couldn't finish it. Cooked to perfection, the ribeye and its sauce complimented the Napa Cabernet wonderfully. The service was excellent as well, The servers worked well as a team. The water and wine glasses were never empty, and the staffs knowledge of the menu and recommendations were right on. Our server Graham was knowledgeable, friendly, and had excellent recommendations for dinner, appetizers, and desert. I have lived in Napa, Boston, and New York and this was the best meal I have had in years. I would highly recommend Joe Forte's for a fine dining experience in Vancouver. If I had any negative it would be the close proximity of the tables. If possible request a table on the upper deck in the summertime.
Joe Fortes seems to have made a name for itself sitting on the corner of Robson so we decided to try it out. We went during the Olympics and ordered a couple of appetizers, the chef's special for the entree and a dozen of oysters. Besides the oysters, the food was delicious. When we dug into one of the oysters and found that it didn't seem very fresh because it tasted fishy.
The service was very disappointing. After ordering I don't know what our server was thinking but after delivering our first place of the appetizer he hands me the bill, he apparently had forgotten the rest of our order. When I mentioned to him that the oysters were not very fresh he ignored my comment and told me to just try something else. The fact the the server tried to stick me with the bill before our meal actually began really dampened the entire meal.
Went here for a special occassion (first visit). My overall impression was that the food was excellent, the service was very good but I just felt that I had stepped back in time about 20 years. There was a piano player (not very good) and the whole ethic seemed to be to make people feel "special" but without making them feel comfortable. I want to feel relaxed when I eat and this never seem possibe at Joe Fortes. A revamp is called for to make it into a modern easygoing place that people will return to.
Took my mother out for Mother's Day dinner to Joe Fortes.
Food and Service: We were given complimentary canapes with tuna to start with, thought that was a nice touch. I ordered Dotty's Chopped Salad that normally comes with chicken and asked to have the chicken substituted for baby shrimp, if possible. Server came back to say that they can accommodate the request and I made sure to specify again that I do not eat meat. My mother ordered a dozen oysters.
At the end of my salad, I discovered a piece of chicken at the bottom of the bowl. It was small so it made me wonder if I had ingested any prior to that without noticing. Alas, I found another piece. By that time I was done with the salad; wish I had found it at the beginning so I could return it right away. Seems that perhaps the salad sits in the kitchen pre-mixed and chef simply tried to pick all the chicken out but failed. I told the waiter about this and he said, "no worries, it will be on the house". Great but I would actually rather pay for my meal and have it be what I asked for.
One of the dozen oysters my mother got was rotten so the waiter brought her an extra one.
I had sable fish with miso/soy sauce for dinner which was fairly good. My mother had beef carpaccio which came with a bit too much mayo on it but otherwise was decent.
As an "oops, sorry" gesture, we were offered complimentary desserts by the manager, which included a good Tiramisu cake and a good creme brulee.
Value: fairly decent.
Ambiance: There was live music which included a slightly overzealous piano player playing quite loudly. I have to say having a conversation was nearly impossible. There is no dress code in effect, this is "fine dining" where people come in wearing jeans and runners.
All in all, this used to be a favourite and I am sorry to say it no longer is.
Still a good spot for oysters if you like them, though. If you are looking for a fine dining experience, skip this restaurant in favour of something else.
Nothing went right with our Wednesday lunch. The obvious trainee sat us at a the wrong table, didn’t provide menus, and when they did finally arrive via a different server it was a further 10 minutes until anyone asked us if we wanted a drink. By the time they did we were ready to order. Our drinks were drained by the time our first course arrived 30 minutes later and I was never asked if I would like another. The salad and the chowder were good, but the pasta with prawns and scallops in marinara sauce was so salty that if it weren’t for the water, as still no one had asked me if I would like another drink, I would have some serious blood pressure issue. 1 hour and forty minutes to get a simple meal is completely unacceptable. We left no tip. And I won’t be back.
My husband and I dined at Joe Fortes during Dine out Vancouver around the end of January. We were about 15 minutes early for our 8:30 pm reservations and when we arrived they had not even seated guest for there 8:00 pm reservations. But it's understandable as it was during DOV and Joe Fortes was located in the Heart of DT Vancouver, although parking was a pain unless you go for valet parking. The hostess seated us at the bar while we waited even though there was not where to sit and had to wait around for someone to leave. The bartender was attentive and friendly, the atmosphere was sophisticated yet casual. We were then called to our table 45 mins later, my husband and I both started with some fresh oysters, they tasted fresh and went down just right. My husband ordered the albacore tuna with macaroni, the sauce was delicious but the food was mediocre, my husband jokes that he had 'tuna and macaroni'! I think I had the jumbo tiger prawn, it probably wasn't great as I can't even recall what I ate! We both finished with a Vanilla Crème Brûlée - biscotti for dessert which was a nice end to our meal! I thought the restaurant was over crowded even for on days when it was not during DOV. It's a nice restaurant to gather family and friends and share laughs but not for a nice quiet romantic dinner. For the cost of $38 for a three coarse dinner, it was worth trying out if you have never been just for the taste and atmosphere. But if your going to dine on other days, there may be other alternatives to choose from.
Hadn't been here in awhile but had always had good food and enjoyed ambiance. We met two other couples and we were seated in front near windows. When the piano was playing could barely hear the person sitting next to me. I had the Sable fish which was okay but a bit watery, not really outstanding at all. It was supposed to be grilled but appeared to be poached, which is fine, but lacked the great intense flavor this fish usually has.
Others had Surf N Turf which consisted of 5oz steak and two prawns as the "surf". Rating on this entree was Okay.I have often recommended this restaurant to visitors but won't be doing that any more. We went somewhere else for dessert so we could actually converse. We feel for the price charged the food did not represent good value.
Extremely dissapointed. The restaurant still surviving not due to the quality of food, but entirely due to its location. Had the clam chowder, seafood crepes & crab soufle for lunch. Chowder was plain starchy and heavy on peppers, not much clams flavour. Seafood crepes came with fries/onion & greens. Fries were alright, greens were not too fresh, crepes just failed. Ditto the crap soufle, taste just like CRAP! Never go back.
I'll start off by saying that I have eaten at Joe Fortes 5 times and the food has been great each and every time. The service, however, has been sub par at best.
Last night my fiancée, our wedding party and I went out to celebrate our upcoming marriage. We could think of no better way to start the evening than having great seafood with our friends at a nice restaurant. I know what you are probably thinking, but I can assure you that this was not your usual pre-wedding piss up. The 8 of us had 2 drinks each over the 2 hours that we spent in the restaurant.
A bit about us... we are all young professionals, between the ages of 24 and 26, and are used to people who work in the service industry not paying attention to us. I can only speak for my fiancée and myself, but due to our busy work schedules we probably eat out 2-3 nights a week.
For me, this trip to Joe Fortes really took the cake. After spending 2 hours in the restaurant, thoroughly enjoying the food, and seeing our waiter roughly 5 times (one can only assume that this was due to the fact that we are young and the waiter was spending more "quality" time with patrons he thought would tip him well), we decided that it was time to settle our bill and carry on with our evening. This, like ordering drinks, was a bit of an ordeal since our waiter was nowhere to be found, but once we had all paid we did the obvious and left.
About 10 minutes later we received a snarky phone call from someone at the restaurant, who I assume was one of the hostesses, saying that we shorted our waiter by $75. Our whole group was together, so we quickly confirmed that everyone had paid and found that we had left a generous tip to boot. Each of our separate bills were $70 plus tip, so being $75 short was rather confusing. Even if 1 bill had been misplaced, the tips on the other bills alone would have more than made up the $75. We turned around and walked back to the restaurant. When we were standing across the street from Fortes we received a second phone call from the same person who said, and I quote, "Sorry, we found 2 bills under the table, ha ha ha". End of story, as far as the person on the phone was concerned. We were upset that we had been so rudely accused of walking out on our bill and politely informed the person on the phone of this. We received another bubbly apology, of which the sincerity was questionable at best, and the phone call was ended. I find it troubling that the assumption was immediately made that we had not paid the complete amount due, and instead of cleaning up the table and actually looking for the missing bills (“under the table”), we were called and accused of stealing. I can truly say that being accused of stealing is never fun, but we decided not to go talk to the manager because we wanted to enjoy the rest of our celebration.
Joe Fortes is a great place to eat if to get service you are willing to be loud, obnoxious or belligerent, and basically ruin the dinners of other patrons in your vicinity (it seemed to me that people like this were the focus of the restaurant's waiters all night). If you are under the age of thirty, skip the usual routine of leaving payment on the table and count it out with your waiter in hope of avoiding rude accusations pointed in your direction, and expect to have your waiter's attention for about 5% of your visit. And if you have a problem, expect the solution to be "Sorry, ha ha ha".
Although the seafood is great, I doubt that my fiancée, our friends or I will return to Joe Fortes, and I plan to tell all of the young professionals we work with that, due to the service and treatment of young patrons, they should pass on eating there. In a city like Vancouver there are numerous restaurants with food equal in quality and price, and it is certainly worth going somewhere where everyone receives the same great service.
Joe Fortes has long been one of my favorite places in Vancouver, the ambience is great (suggest the wine room or patio when making reservations). The seafood is out of this world and the wine list extensive. Never have I have had anything short of spectacular service. though sometimes it can be crowded and noisy that just proves its popularity. I find this a great place to entertain friends and out of town company alike. Definately a must in Vancouver
I had lunch with a VIP and decided to take him to the Joe Fortes patio. It turned out that it was quite lovely. It was a sunny day. It was perfect--being September, it wasn't too hot.
The hostess seated us at a 2-seater table as opposed to a 3-seater table--which reminds me never to book a 3-seater to ensure you are seated with comfort. As a result, we sat right next to another pair. I could tell they were on a date. The male had too many buttons unbuttoned on his silk shirt. The cologne he was wearing was having an effect. It was musky. His lady companion had severe cleavage. I tried not to look but could not help but notice the black lace under her dress.
Having suffered the visual effects, I ventured to order but had lost my appetite because of the smell of the cologne. It wasn't my taste. As a result I decided to order ceasar salad and thought that the extra shrimp would kill the cologne smell. My guest ordered the cobb salad which turned out to be quite impressive in its presentation. Both dishes were excellent.
I would definitely recommend this restaurant. It is excellent.
The concierge recommended Joe Fortes for a good steak, and she was right!
I ordered the Tenderloin, with sides of Cream Spinach and Asparagus with Hollandaise. The food was simply delicious, and the spinach was out of this world! If I had known about the size of the side dishes, I would have ordered just one, but it was so good, I continued eating long after my stomach told me to stop!
The service was impeccable. I have Celiac Disease and the waiter was very responsive and enquired with the chef about everything I wanted to order, to make sure it was gluten-free.
While this restaurant is pricey, it's definitely worth it for a special night out!
We went to Joe fortes for the first time during the dine out vancouver experience. Our soup which was chowder was excellent. Five of us ordered the fish stew. When it arrived, we one by one noticed that there was beef present in our fish stew. We asked the waiter if it was supposed to be there and they checked with the kitchen, who said it was Mahi mahi that we were tasting. Well no mahi mahi that I've had , has a piece of sinew attached to it. The tomato sauce the fish was in was overpowering and did not enhance the flavor of the seafood that was present. Our dessert, was bread pudding and while tasty was quite dry. All, in all a huge disappointment as we had heard very positive things about this restaurant.
Booked a group of 17 people for a Friday night. Personal group coordinator from Joe's was very helpful and responsive in choosing a group menu and accepting changes to the number of attendees and changes to the menu. Food was good, service was great, very responsive server; a late attendee left a message with the restaurant which was delivered immediately. Considering preparation and the event in general, I found a lot of little things were taken care of to make the experience flow. One of our attendees wasn't fond of one of the seafood dishes and the server picked up on it immediately and offered another choice. Though we kept the dish, the gesture was very appreciated.
This place is perfect for a special occasion! My boyfriend and I went together and had such a great time sitting on the top floor. We've returned since with friends to sit on the patio for a more casual meal. The service is perfect and the food is worth the price. i highly reccomend for people that love seafood especially oysters!
If you are looking for a fine dining experience with great ambiance, this is the place to go, but dont expect the food to be great. Everything with this restaurant is all hype, no wonder their clientele is mainly tourists, or business people trying to impress their clients.
this is a great example of westcoast cooking, the food is always good the room is always hopping but the service has attitude, not what I ike in a dining experience.
Went here to celebrate Caesar's b-day. Was surprisingly busy and lively on a Wednesday night with live piano playing and a full house. Unfortunately, the weather prevented us from being on the patio (which I'm told is the BEST rooftop one around), but still had a fun night.
I thought that the calamari was yummy and felt guilty eating so much (it's a really generous portion!). The pasta dish with duck and veal stock sounded amazing so even though I don't usually order pasta, I did anyway. It was a tad rich, but was tasty nonetheless. The pasta was not fresh enough for me, but I think I'm spoiled on that front since I love fresh pasta from Granville Island.
All in all, food was great, but not outstanding or memorable. And I will definitely be back for the atmosphere.
Joe Fortes, amongst a selected few, comes to mind when one craves the combination of a good steak and fresh oysters. That's about all I order at Joe Fortes, or any steakhouse for that matter. As such, my review doesn't pertain to the other items on the menu when it comes to food.
Food/Value - 4 - Great cuts of steak cooked and seasoned with command solidifies Joe Fortes as a legitimate steakhouse. Portions are as you would expect, though the sides lacked chemistry with my palate. Oysters of course are a must when you visit Joe Fortes. Many varieties, all of them fresh... what more can I say? Don't expect all the toppings you find at Rodney's, but what they provide is plenty enough to kick your oysters up a few notches and more. Value is decent considering the quality of food and service that you receive. The bill came to a little less than $100 a person but that included plenty of oysters, a main course each and 2 bottles of wine to share between the 4 of us.
Service - 4 - Solid all around. Answered a few questions with regards to the menu and wine list with patience and never rushed us once. Water and wine glassed topped for the most part, and really nothing to complain about.
Ambiance - 3 - The place wasn't embarrassing, but it wasn't spectacular either. A little outdated in my opnion, but the main focus should be on the food.
Recommended for those who love a great steak and fresh oysters.