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3.5
  • Food3.5
  • Service3.5
  • Value3
  • Ambiance4
  • Reviews81

Sandbar Seafood Restaurant

1535 Johnston Street
Vancouver, BC V6H3R9
Tel: (604) 669-9030
Fax: (604) 669-9033
Neighbourhood: West Side
  • Cuisine: Pacific northwest, Seafood, Steaks, Sushi, Tapas
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Weekend brunch
  • Features: Gluten free, Ocean Wise, Patio, View, Television, Live entertainment, Wheelchair accessible
  • Hours: Mon - Thu: 11:30AM - 12AM, Fri - Sun: 11:30AM - 1AM
  • The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant is a 300-seat restaurant in the heart of Granville Island with its very own sushi bar, earning bragging rights as a fresh seafood restaurant. Their unique, second-floor patio is under the Granville Street Bridge, overlooking False Creek. Hoshi’s Sushi Bar is one of Vancouver’s best kept secrets, open 7 days a week from 5:30pm onwards, Master Sushi Chef Hoshi makes the freshest sushi to order. Enjoy live music all week long, as the Teredo Lounge transforms into a trendy piano bar in the evening. Featuring a variety of local brew, the lounge at Sandbar is an exciting place to listen to live music, enjoy fresh tapas and meet great people.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 81 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Very good standby
By thecritic of Vancouver (376 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 11:20am [Dine in]

Sandbar is a great standby restaurant that I visit when I want consistent seafood or just appies and a beer. I like to sit upstairs on the covered patio which is open year round and has a fantastic view of under the Granville Street Bridge.

They have a daily fresh sheet that includes items cooked on their wood burning grill or in the pan. My favourites include king crab (when in season), arctic char, sablefish, and the mahi mahi. They use to have monk fish on the menu which was absolutely amazing but unfortunately that is not to be anymore. Perhaps its not sustainable and being an ocean wise partner prevented them from serving it, fair enough.

They also have a mussels, frites and pint of beer special from 3-6pm Monday to Friday in the lounge for $10 which is a pretty good deal. If you're not in the mood for seafood, they grill up a pretty good steak as well.

If you're with a group of people and just want to nibble, the dragon boat platter is a good place to start. For around $30, its a pretty good deal with a bunch of different tapas served on, you guessed it, a wooden boat that you sometimes see at sushi restaurants.

The restaurant is absolutely massive with two levels and lots of space to accommodate parties large and small. Even on busy nights, you can sit in the lounge, have a cocktail and your table will be up pretty quick. For the quality of food, service and value, this is a great place to go for a consistently good meal. Definitely recommended and I will return regularly.

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Lovely location
By VJB of abbotsford (171 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, April 1, 2013 - 10:24am [Dine in]

We had a great evening at the Sandbar. We made reservations because we thought it would be busy on Easter Sunday. We were given a great seat at the window overlooking False Creek. We enjoyed watching all the activities from our ringside seat. Service from our waiter Ian was very good. He was attentive and always present when you required anything and yet he did not hover. We shared the BBQ ribs for an appetizer. The ribs were baked and had a lovely honey ginger glaze. They were very tender and oh so good. It was $13.00 for 8 very good size ribs – very good value. Ian our server brought napkins that he had moistened with hot water and slices of lemon with the ribs. The best choices for entrees seem to be on the fresh sheet. They had a very good selection of fresh fish available. I had the black cod (sablefish) with a miso soy glaze and it was fabulous. It was nice and moist and very flavourful. It was very pricey at $35.00 but sablefish seems to be one of the more expensive dishes at any restaurant. My husband had the swordfish blackened. He enjoyed it but I found it just slightly overcooked. I would have sent it back but he said it wasn’t too bad. His fish was $26.00. The entrees come with vegetables and citrus rice but you can substitute salad or mashed potatoes if you prefer. The vegetables – gai lan , and tomatoes were nicely prepared but the rice and potatoes were definitely uninspired. I believe others have also made a comment about the potatoes and I have to agree. They were very heavy, bland and just plain boring and I love a good mashed potato. Portion size for the entrees was decent. I finished everything but the potato. We each had a 9 oz. glass of wine with dinner. Our total bill with tax was $114.00. It’s not outrageously priced considering the location and view.

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Mismatched experience
By Bonka of Vancouver (464 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 1:00am [Dine in]

Splurged by the recent sunny weather the 3 of us decided to catch some outdoor rays upstairs at Sandbar. It's another great looking space at Granville Island but the views from the covered outdoor patio aren't exactly earth shattering depending on where you sit - we mostly had views of underneath the bridge and the practically filled space felt a little clausterphobic but I digress.

The food was hit and miss. We started off with the salmon carpaccio which appeared to be filleted halfway and then thinly sliced through the boneless fish. I've never seen it prepared like this before and was difficult to fork without breaking it up into little pieces. The grainy mustard did little to entice. Our two, tiny medallion crab cakes were, on the other hand quite good but rather appauling given the size and price. Our friend's black cod entree was slightly underdone, but retained much of the buttery texture while my arctic char was completely overdone to the point where nearly every piece needed coaxing to stay on my fork as it hit my mouth. The blanched spinach from my gf's spinach salad was unusual, while the ahi tuna on top lacked the high heat sear and was a little offputting in taste. Desserts luckily faired well all the way through with the cheesecake and belgain pudding. We enjoyed their signature cocktail "under the bridge" but felt it was watered down. Prices are certainly steep for what you get.

We had a fantastic server as he was on top of everything including reporting back on the backlog in the kitchen. He was pleasant without being forceful and the transitions from clearing plates to serving drinks and topping up waters were seamless. One thing to note would be the disorganized front hostesses and their strange notice system using a flag-on-a-line rig to let you know your table is ready.

The food rates closer to a 2.5, but I should've gotten the steak instead.

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Good place to start the unofficial day of summer.
By louielobster of Glendale (53 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 3:54am [Dine in]

Chalk this one up as a Friday night on the town. Went with old friends and made new ones. Sat near the Bar and dance floor and watch the scene go by. Everything was delicious and so was the food. Dine here on many occasions and found the items on the menu tasty and well prepared. The service was done with a smile and the appropriate attention was paid to our table. The loud music was expected: to complement the jokes and laughter! Yes, it’s pricy but remember to deduct the price of the entertainment.

We had ordered the combo Appetizers for four, coconut mussels, bread basket, 2 orders salt Prawns, Margarita pizza, French fries, a bottle of Pinot Noir, a bottle of Shiraz, glasses of House Wine and plenty of beer. Could have been more food but can’t recall. All went down smooth and easy.

Highly recommended for the food and the social interaction.

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There's so much seafood it lingers in the air!
By azn_msfyt of Delta (194 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 9, 2011 - 11:27am [Dine in]

Food: Wok fried squid was greasy and salty, crab cake was average, arctic char was good, lamb was excellent and trio of sorbet was a nice light note to the end of the meal. The sides that came with the main entrees were sad excuses for sides - when you're paying as much as you are for an entree, give something that accompanies the main protein rather than slapping down the same broccolini and tomato with generic seasoning and calling it a day. Overall, it was a hit and miss with the food so it balanced out to a solid rating.

Service: We were seated at the bar while we waited for window seat but it was so busy we waited a while before being able to order a drink. Food service was very slow and the server had to apologize several times - apparently they can't cope with large groups (then don't take them in! argh!) Service was absent for most of the night until the end of our meal when we were being checked on several times - where were you when I needed a water refill???

Value: The portion size was average but the food quality was not as good as I thought it would be.

Ambiance: Seafood smell wafts through the air and in a weird way, it's actually quite nice - good thing my dining compadre and I didn't go anywhere afterwards since I'm pretty sure we smelled like fish! Nice dark lighting - great for couples and intimate gatherings and also suitable for large groups and there were many around us. Not a place to catch a sporting event - the tvs were terrible.

Overall, I'm glad I tried this place but I don't think I feel inclined to return for their regular menu but there was a mussels and beer for $10 offered M-F from 3-6 pm I might try someday if I'm in the area at that time. We live in the Lower Mainland where seafood is abundant so restaurants offering stellar seafood are everywhere! For a seafood based restaurant, I don't think the food was the calibre I expected. Then again, I went in with high expectations so I would recommend that you try it for yourself since there must be a reason this place is packed every night. With caution, bon appetite!

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mmmm...Sablefish...
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 4:58pm [Dine in]

I've often heard that Sandbar has the perfect patio with a view. It wasn't until I went for dinner recently that I understood what that meant.
Unfortunately, it was way too cold (even with the supplied blankets, fireplace and heat lamps) to sit outside. We settled for a corner table in the upstairs dining room. It was a special night for us 4 ladies, and the atmosphere did not let us down. I can only describe the ambiance as 'beautiful'.

The food was very good. I had ordered from the "fresh sheet" special menu.
I cannot stress this enough, if sablefish is on this fresh sheet menu, you'd be a fool not to order it. Probably the best sablefish I've ever had.

The four of us shared the dragonboat appie platter, had an entree and an alcoholic beverage each, and shared a dessert. In the end, the bill was just under $200 plus tax and tip.

Very much recommended for that special occasion!

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After second visit
By teddyandturtle of Vancouver - Kingsway (84 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 12:19am [Dine in]

Came here for my friend's 19th birthday dinner. Good times.

For some odd reason.. about half the people ordered a pasta dish, 3 of them were the same. I heard no complaints or compliments. I heard the halibut is absolutely to die for and paired with a glass of white wine. The dragon boat dish (for two) had good squid and ribs, dumplings and spring rolls were mediocre. Two friends ordered the lettuce wrap.. did not look good. I ordered a tuscan flat bread, super delicious, and the margherita pizza. The pizza was super thin crust and loaded with really good cheese, but you could only taste the cheese mainly. Not bad at all though, was yummy anyways. Except both my pizza and flat bread was a little burnt on the edges.

Unfortunately, being a brand new adult, the birthday girl had to take the blowjob drink in between someone's legs.. and the waiter was a pretty good sport about it. He was very nice, very accommodating, and knew his wines. We ordered a couple of drinks, lay it on, tequila shots, blowjob, gin and tonic, light red wine, white wine, etc.

It is a bit more pricey than your regular dinner, but it's expected in these environments. Oddly they didn't give us a window seat looking over the water since we reserved the table a week beforehand.

Recommended. Just don't order the weird Chinese foods on the menu.. go to a Chinese restaurant for those.

Second visit: Great night, lots of food. Tried the dragonboat plate (for 2) again, same problems I think. Had the mussel mania with honey lager and.. some other beer. Something with the word ice in it.. recommended by server, excellent choice. The thai curry flavour is better than the tomato provencia. And the manila clams were delicious too. Will definitely come back for mussels.

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Big table full of just legal adults.
By teddyandturtle of Vancouver - Kingsway (84 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 8:32pm [Dine in]

Came here for my friend's 19th birthday dinner. Good times.

For some odd reason.. about half the people ordered a pasta dish, 3 of them were the same. I heard no complaints or compliments. I heard the halibut is absolutely to die for and paired with a glass of white wine. The dragon boat dish (for two) had good squid and ribs, dumplings and spring rolls were mediocre. Two friends ordered the lettuce wrap.. did not look good. I ordered a tuscan flat bread, super delicious, and the margherita pizza. The pizza was super thin crust and loaded with really good cheese, but you could only taste the cheese mainly. Not bad at all though, was yummy anyways. Except both my pizza and flat bread was a little burnt on the edges.

Unfortunately, being a brand new adult, the birthday girl had to take the blowjob drink in between someone's legs.. and the waiter was a pretty good sport about it. He was very nice, very accommodating, and knew his wines. We ordered a couple of drinks, lay it on, tequila shots, blowjob, gin and tonic, light red wine, white wine, etc.

It is a bit more pricey than your regular dinner, but it's expected in these environments. Oddly they didn't give us a window seat looking over the water since we reserved the table a week beforehand.

Recommended. Just don't order the weird Chinese foods on the menu.. go to a Chinese restaurant for those.

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Economical seafood
By CaptainNemo of Vancouver (97 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 12:11pm [Dine in]

This place is wonderful for lunch.

A couple of people went for lunch and I had the seafood club sandwich. IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!!

The little waiter we had was really nice and really professional with everything. She came several times to check up on us and made sure we were okay.

The value was a little on the expensive side, but it was well worth it.

The ambiance was very nice and definately showed a seafood atmosphere.

Will definately go back!!!!

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Good for a Special Occasion
By 8there of Vancouver (66 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 10:56am [Dine in]

Took our mother here to celebrate her birthday, because of the good reviews on this site. Definitely was not disappointed! When you first enter the doors it was a little strange, there is a small sushi restaurant on the left and tanks of live seafood on the right. Once upstairs it was nice...a lot of wood beams and pillars made it seem warm on a cold wet evening. We were seated promptly, although we didn't get a window seat which was disappointing. The service was great throughout the evening, our server was just present enough without being overbearing. He was observant enough to see that we were celebrating a birthday and offered us a free dessert, without us having to ask.

For starters we ordered the pan fried oysters and wok squid. The oysters were absolutely amazing! There were only 4 per order, and I would've ordered more if I wasn't trying to save my appetite for my entree. The wok squid however was disappointing. It came breaded and deep fried, not stir fried as I expected. It was also very bland, and the onion salsa overpowering. However, it was cooked just right, tender and not chewy. This is the only reason I didn't give this place a 5 for the food. The warm bread was a nice touch.

We ordered the sable fish off the fresh sheet for entree, and also the arctic char. The sable fish was the best fish I have ever had! The first bite was melt in my mouth, juicy and tasty. I enjoyed the entire thing - my mouth is watering just thinking about it! The rice accompanying it was not to mother's taste, but we thought it wasn't bad. The arctic char in a lemon butter sauce was also tasty, tasted like salmon.

The portions were not too large, and we were pleasantly not stuffed, therefore felt we had room for dessert. We ordered creme brulee, white chocolate cheesecake and lemon tart. The cheesecake had a funny taste, like it was made with some strong tasting cheese, but it was light and not too heavy. The creme brulee was good, nice crust on top and accompanied by a biscotti. The lemon tart was also very nice. A nice way to finish off a great meal.

My only complaint would be that a large table is placed right next to smaller tables. Anyone trying to have an intimate, quiet meal might be annoyed by a large table of guests talking loudly across the table. Or maybe it was just because that night the large table was occupied by a table of loud women. I felt sorry for the couple seated next to them trying to have a quiet meal!

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Great place, great food
By Rayzach of West End, Vancouver (57 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, August 5, 2008 - 7:09pm [Dine in]

We love this place. A super cozy with a covered roof-top patio located on Granville Island. The sevice is always superb and the seafood is very tasty. A huge menu with daily fish selection and superb sushi.

The place is huge with a Lounge, casual dining downstairs, fine dining upstairs and a sushi bar at the front entrance. We always get a spot upstairs on the roof-top patio and the ambiance is rustic and unpretentious-upscale with a couple of outdoor fireplaces and lots of heat lamps when the sun goes down.

Try their signature Glazed Salmon - it is really yummy. Lobster and Sushi is really good too.

Not pretentious but still upscale and a great place for a nice meal or first date

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Good patio on a colder day
By LordofFoods of Vancouver (55 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 3:53pm [Dine in]

As mentioned, they have a heated patio with a bar, heated lamps, blankets and big comfy chairs. Good selection of fish on the menu. Selection varies to availability. The servers were mostly accomodating. The guest mix would mostly be gentleman in suits over 35 and visiting tourist. IMHO, not a popular, regular local haunt due to prices . It is in granville Island. More popular with the locals for drinks on Friday and Saturday nite. 30 and up single's crowd.
The seafood platter is overpriced and nothing special. I love the selection of fish that they have. Food is pretty plain and ordinary. At least it is consistent. Dont expect to get wow'ed by the food. There are better value in the city. Good wine list.
Comparable to Lift, Cardero's, Joe Fortes, The Cannery

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mmm oysters!
By fella of Vancouver (72 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 10:21pm [Dine in]

The Sandbar is a great space, serving an excellent selection of fresh seafood and tapas. The service is conducive to the price, and the room is cozy and inviting. We indulged in a medley of fresh fish, oysters and appy's, all tasty and well prepared. I will most definitely return to explore this exciting menu.

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Excellent Seafood restaurant
By Vancouver_foodlover of Vancouver (53 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, April 12, 2009 - 12:15pm [Dine in]

We visited Sandbar several times already during the course of the past few years. We were not disappointed every time.

The atmosphere is romantic and the views are captivating.

It is located in the heart of Granville Island and the food compared to other seafood restaurants is better in terms of bigger portions for a decent price. Not to mention that the food is really good.

The crab cakes are a must try. The clam chowder is very good along with the salmon burger & Oyster sandwich.

For someone who enjoys seafood, then this place is a must try. They have been consistent over the course of time and that is what brings me back each time.

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What happened?
By ILOVE2EAT of East Vancouver (73 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 20, 2007 - 6:23pm [Dine in]

Today, went there for lunch. The restaurant was not even half full. The hostess who seated us gave us the look of disgust when we didn't have reservations. Reminder, the restaurant was half full. Didn't give us an option of sitting inside or on the patio. When we got upstairs and she took us out, it was windy and eventhough there were heat lamps, still rather cold. I'm sure the blankets would have helped, but I'm not going to sit there holding my hair so it doesn't blow in my face through lunch. Another disgusted look on the hostess face when we requested to sit inside. Her comment was that people prefer to sit out here because of the view. I'm from Vancouver, I can see the view whenever I want!!!
Our waiter came and took our drink order fairly fast but that was about it. He didn't come back to ask if we wanted more water, more pop, how our food was or anything. He had a large table to serve (at least 14 people if not more) BUT he walked by our table at least four times and each time he looked the other way. The food took almost an hour to get to us . . remember the restaurant was half full. All we ordered was the Linguine which was luke warm and tasteless and the Oyster burger which was good. My sister was not going to send it back as we did not want to wait another hour for our food.
Awhile after we finished our meals, the waiter came and said, "I guess you liked everything because it's all gone." We didn't comment, because it was no use.
No service - no tip and that's too bad because it's the holiday season.
As for the hostess, I don't think she smiled once!! She should also be more presentable - be tidier in her dress and hair. I also saw her take people upstairs and then a minute later, come back down.
Nice location, great feel to the place but service and food could be better. Will we go back - probably. But there are too many great restaurants in Vancouver to waste our money at a mediocre one.

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The SandBar - A BIG Restaurant with BIG Ambitions
By latelier of SE Vancouver (69 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, March 11, 2005 - 12:44am [Dine in]

I have visited this restaurant three times. For some very very strange reason, and I say this because the SandBar is primarly a Seafood Restaurant, I had the same dish on two of the visits. Why? Because it was DAMN tasty for the money. It was of course, the Lamb Shank braised in Red Wine with Risotto. On a third visit, I had their BBQ beef Burger (thats right, BEEF). The foccacia herb bun on that burger did not work for me, I'm sorry.
However, I did have some seafood appetizers, such as the deep fried oysters, which was decent enough to go with my cold beer.

The main appeal of the food, is that it strives to be affordable. You'll notice that most of its main courses hover around the 20 dollar median.

With its location in Granville Island, it has a lovely marina like decor (kind of Cannery like for those who have been fortunate enough to visit the Cannery Restaurant) with some really awesome views at the heated patio floor.

One of the thorny things about this restaurant, however, is the inconsistent service. Given the size of the restaurant (seats 300), there is no doubt there will be a good chance for UTTER CHAOS when its booked full. Thats fine...just be sure you're not one of the diners in the restaurant while its full.

Anyhow - good value, great ambience...service area needs some fine-tuning. Check this place out while visiting Granville Island.

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I Love Sandbar
By yummm of Surrey (36 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 12:20am [Dine in]

I always recommend Sandbar to people I know because I have never had a bad experience there. I go there regularly for some fresh seafood and outstanding service. They are always busy but I have always received friendly, informative and attentive service. Their patio offers some magnificent views and the atmosphere is just right - elegant, relaxing and not pretentious. I particularly love their sable fish, it's always cooked to perfection with fresh veggies on the side. The value is not bad considering the quality of food and service, and the location is simply unbeatable. Highly recommended.

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Good Seafood, Good Location
By jpcostales of Metrotown, Burnaby (70 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 30, 2007 - 4:07pm [Dine in]

Checked out Sandbar for the first time a few weeks ago. Went for lunch as part of a work function on sunny Friday afternoon. Another one of the restaurants that you need a treasure map to find.

Food - Shared a couple of the large Dragon boat platters. The squid was pretty good, everything else was decent. For my entree I had the pacific northwest wood grilled salmon. Tasty and tender, though not the best salmon I've ever had. I found the sides to be a bit lacking.

Service & Ambiance - Of course when you come with a large group the service is expected to suffer a bit. Having said that, the servers did a decent job trying to service our requests. The restaurant itself is beautiful. Superb decor and nice location right by the water.

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Great cougar hangout...if that's your thing. Do not order Seafood Tower...total rip off.
By Chasiubao of Vancouver (24 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 11:08pm [Dine in]

We had a bad experience booking a private room for a function for 15 people. The hostess who initially took the reservation insisted on a pre-paid minimum of $1000 to go towards the final bill in order to secure the room. This was in January when restaurants are usually NOT busy. We asked if they had a lot of reservations and nearing capacity? She said no but they need to ensure a revenue stream. Ummm...ok. She was totally unprofessional. We responded by saying the request for pre-paid minimum is unreasonable. For a table of 15 it is very likely that we would spend at least $1000 but there is no way of being certain and on principle we did not want to pre-pay for the room so we asked her to think about it or talk to her manager as we are perfectly happy to go somewhere else. The Manager called us back. He was courteous and professional and agreed to reserve the private room without conditions.

Food: Definitely mediocre. A few of us ordered Seafood Towers to share and what a disappointment! It had 1/2 a small crab, 1/2 small lobster, 6 little oysters, 6 prawns, a small handful of mussels. No flavour whatsoever. No butter for the lobster or crab, which didn't even taste fresh. Only tiny tin of shrimp cocktail sauce for condiments. The menu described it as something to be shared amongst 2 - 4 people but really there was only enough for one person. We ordered 2 sides of veggies...it was a tiny side plate of boiled cauliflower, carrots and celery...seriously! It was cold, no flavour and no seasoning. Really sad. Those who ordered steak or fish fared slightly better. At least their dishes were warm and had some flavour.

Service: 2 servers were assigned to the room and they were generally attentive and accommodating (it was a private room). They tuned in the hockey game on tv for us and readily added extra seating to accommodate extra people. Food arrived on a timely basis for the entire table and glasses of water / wine were topped up regularly. Overall, service was fine.

Value: Service at the restaurant (notwithstanding the not so smooth reservation) made up of for the lacklustre food. But it's still pricey for the mediocre quality of food. I guess people don't really come here for the food!

Ambiance: For people of a certain demographic, this place is hopping and probably a really fun for drinks and meat market activity. For others, not so much.

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Special Occasions only
By msargent of New West (27 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, May 17, 2010 - 10:55am [Dine in]

I went to Sandbar for a birthday party this past weekend. There were 18 of us. The servers were very attentive, and they answered lots of questions about the menu for us. I find the menu a bit limited, but you are there for seafood so I don't expect a lot of different menu options outside of that.
Everyone seemed pleased with their food and I found my salmon was very good.

The ambiance is great, Granville Island, water, the interior is nicely decorated. The only complaint that we had was that it was quite loud in there and we had trouble hearing people talk.

This is a great place for a speical occasion but with the prices on the menu I won't be a regular here.

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