The Water St.Café, established in 1988, is a Gastown cornerstone overlooking cobbled streets and the world famous steam clock. The high ceilings and large windows make for a bright and casual atmosphere. Enjoy the sidewalk patio and menu items including fresh seafood, creative pastas and daily specials.
Went on a Sat night with a group of people to Gastown without reservations. Tried a few restaurants that were full and came upon Water St. Cafe and they could accomodate. That may of been a bad sign as the restaurant was less than 1/2 full. Service was very poor with very slow service from start to finish. Ordered a salad which was regular and then the gnocchi - nothing really great about it, just sort of just OK. Expected much more. Several friends ordered the salmon pasta and they would not finish as it was overly salty. Overal, a big failure in terms of food. Prices are on the higher side. Ambiance is nice as it's an older style of restaurant with big windows. Would not return.
Had a little over an hour to enjoy lunch and I'm glad I choose to sample the Water Street Cafe on a Saturday afternoon.
I was quickly seated and offered a nice little window seat overlooking Water Street (right across from the Steam Clock).
I perused the menu and decided on a salad for $6, the calamaria for just under $9 and a glass of white wine.
The wait staff were prompt and friendly. I was served two pieces of complimentary bread - they tasted good, but could have been a little warmer.
The salad was excellent with a very light dressing sot that the main ingredients could shine. The calamaria was light and crispy without being greasy. The accompanying dipping sauce was nice too - not too garlicky, but gave a nice flavour.
The service was efficient without making me feel rushed. I could enjoy my lunch is my limited time, but I felt that I could have lingered if I chose.
I would return if in the area.
The Water Street Cafe is currently celebrating their 21st anniversary in fine form by offering a $20 lobster special that includes your choice of spaghetti marinara or fries. Its a fantastic deal and of course I had to go with it. The pasta was cooked perfectly; just slightly al dente and the sauce was great. The full lobster was a 1 pounder and was fantastic as you'd expect. We finished off with a flour-less espresso chocolate cake with cherries and strawberries that was very good as well. Overall, I really enjoyed my meal and for the price, was a great value. They are definitely celebrating their 21st anniversary in style. I recommend you try and get down their for their lobster special which is available at both lunch and dinner.
We took some people from Ireland for lunch to the Water St. Cafe this past Friday. What a mistake.
The service was non-existent even if the server used his French accent to suggest we were 'fine dining'.
The caesar salad for two was wilted iceberg (why not romaine) lettuce with splashes of brown. The croutons so hard as to loosen your fillings. Our four meals were something that anyone could replicate with less than fresh ingredients in any kitchen. How do they charge $24 for three tiny pieces of veal scallopini with two small potatoes and a slice of bell pepper?
The server was slow in taking the hint our meal was over. At a cost of $150 (small tip included) for four people I think there are many other places in Gastown to dine where the service and food is better!
I don't come here often but every time I visit, I'm always surprised by the quality of their pastas. It's consistent, fresh, tasty and never boring. Any kind of pasta dishes is recommended. If you're not too hungry, you can half order it. It's still just as yummy. Haven't found a place that taste just as good or better.
Their service is good, not outstanding but it doesn't matter because their pasta makes up for it.
Another thing I like about this place is that they don't mind if you're in jeans or hoodies. They will treat you just like everybody else.
Went to Water Street cafe for weekday lunch. Had some out of guest so tried this place. Service was good and quick as the restaurant was packed. Food was not bad but I would not say that it was outstanding. Had the Artic char which was special of the day. Not bad. Some of my guest did not like their pasta as it was salty. I also had the beet salad which was very average.
This is a truly a great little restaurant, in the heart of old Gastown. Menu items change regularly, with something for everyone. Solid wine list, and oustanding service. I have not been for dinner, but go back soon.
Ate here for dinner-not sure if they include the complimentary (fresh daily baked foccacia bread for lunch) Well, the bread, was delicious! I ordered anglo de marie or something (triangle stuff pasta) $16- The portion was satisfying, and it was very tasty, rich and creamy. The seafood stuffing was fresh and had just the right amount of herbs. Friend ordered a meat entree-lamb, potatoes and steamed vegetables. The lamb was cooked nicely.
We used our entertainment coupon, which when the server saw wasn't pleased (it was /too/ obvious) but that's okay! because we'll definitely recommend this restaurant and come back soon
Portions are generous, as I looked at others' plates of pasta and salads. The atmosphere is just alright, dark, candlelight, a bit cramped. Make reservations for a table near the windows for a spacier seating area. I don't know why anyone would prefer to eat at old spaghetti factory when you have this place. It's cheaper here, much better quality and the food isn't bland!
My boyfriend and I met up with our friends for a double lunch date as it was mine and my friend's birthday. I wasn't expecting too much as some of the reviews on this site gave the restaurant a low rating, but I actually really liked the food.
We all chose to eat from the dine out menu. I was a bit skeptical on the portions since we had all gone to Italian Kitchen a couple weeks ago and received small portions, but this restaurant proved me wrong. My SO and I ordered the caesar salad for starters. The dressing was very good. I'm not sure what was in it, but I suspect that there's horseradish or dijon mustard in the dressing, and it really completed the flavors. The croutons were a bit oily but the herbs added a nice touch. Our friends ordered the crispy green salad with raspberry vinaigrette. If you like the sweet and sour mix, this starter is for you. Our friend found it a bit on the tart side, but overall, it was a rather light and refreshing salad.
For our entree, my SO and I ordered the carbonara. I could see the butter pooling at the bottom of my dish, and while that was a bit off setting, the flavors itself were amazing. I wanted to save my meal for work on Sunday. Our friends ordered the chicken with sundried tomatoes pasta. We didn't taste it, but they gobbled it down. They said it was slightly spicy so if you are into spicey food, this might be for you.
Our dessert was a light and refreshing mango and strawberry sorbet. It's a palette cleanser and a very nice ending to such a heavy meal. The sorbet has the perfect balance of sweetness and fruit so it isn't overpowering for sweetness and it doesn't make you feel like you've gained several pounds.
The portion sizes of the food was very good. I was stuffed. The salad isn't a skimpy two-three bite salad. The entree is a perfect amount of pasta for one meal. The portions aren't huge like Zefferelli's or Anton's Pasta Bar, but for a finer dining establishment, you get your money's worth.
Service was good. Our waters were refilled properly. My only issue is that they ran out of the beer I wanted to drink with my meal, and had only one bottle of my second option left. Our waiter was attentive enough without being bothersome.
$18 for a three-course meal. We ate at 12 noon and it's almost 6:30pm, I am still very, very, very full. I would say that the portions and value were great.
The restaurant is across the street from the clock, and it is a cozy establishment. We were here in the day and it was nice to see people walking around doing their own thing.
Once in awhile I like to eat alone.
I thought I'd try this restaurant since it was highly recommended.
Sure it was a busy night and I didn't mind the wait.
I placed my name on their list and headed out to a jewellery shop. I didn't mind the wait.
The service was awful. The hostess was rude and condescending.
I came back after 15minutes when told to and the hostess ignored me (and a couple who waited). I finally had to raise my voice to be heard. When I was finally seated, I was not asked if I wanted a drink. I had to remind the server that I was not given a drinks menu when I asked upon seating.
Otherwise, my dinner was delicious and the chocolate mousse cake was superb. Great wine selection and good for people watching.
Unfortunately the service was very poor.
About 2 years ago, we went to the Water Street Cafe for a Sunday brunch and had an absolutely spectacular meal. Thumbs up.
Before Christmas, we went out for a friend's birthday. Wow, what the heck happened? The pasta was not even al dente, it was hard and chewy. The sauce was just revolting - 100 cloves of garlic does not an Italian sauce make!! Perhaps the chef and sous chef and everyone else in the kitchen should have consulted each other before they ALL dumped the garlic in. Beyond that, the sauce was sour and very unappealing. Yikes.
Everyone else at the table left most of their dinners only partially consumed.
The staff were very attentive and great, which helped! My recommendation is that you take a pass. Go to Incendio or Campagnolo if you want Italian, or almost anywhere else if you want to keep the food down. Even average pub grub would have been better.
I made reservations here for my birthday dinner and was offered one of their private rooms. I was VERY impressed with the venue and the room. My friends all enjoyed their meals and the ambiance was absolutely perfect.
I had the Stuffed Chicken with Pancetta and Spinach. It was fantastic. The chicken was so juicy and tender. The vegetables were cooked to perfection and the presentation was very pleasing to the eye.
I will definitely be returning to this restaurant. You must try the salmon penne with dill. So creamy, but not too rich and over-powering.
We visited Water St. Cafe last night, I was very impressed with their attentive and kind waiters, and the food was good value and tasty (maybe just a tad bit too heavy), but one of the better restaurants in the area. Deserts looked amazing, wished I saved room. Will be back!
Overall a very professionally run restaurant. The open kitchen was a nice touch.
It was early evening of a saturday night when i got there and the place was about half full.
My friend a I shared vongole pasta, seafood rissotto, and green salad.
Can't go wrong with salad.. glazed pecans in them were very tasty.. yum~
our main dishes took so much longer than usual which i thought was very odd since i ordered long before the rush started.
Anyways, finally food came to us.
As soon as the vongole was placed in front of me I tossed the pasta with my fork and it released this oily garlicky steam.... awwww it smells soooo~ gooood!
I didn't get too excited about the rissotto. It was ok.
I will definitely visit again.
Both times i've had the pleasure of dining in this restaurant was during Dineout Vancouver, and both times I came away with a full stomach and a grin on my face. Let it be warned that I have not tried their regular menu but I can imagine what they have to offer.
Situated right across from the Gastown steam clock, I would say that you wouldn't notice this large restaurant if you didn't know it was there. Yes, even with the wrap around windows and prime real estate! Understated is the world. Okay, I didn't, so perhaps that says more about my observational skills but I digress. Classically decorated with very large glass windows framed by dark tone pillars, you see all of gastown's cobblestoned beauty. It is like eating inside an Edward Hopper painting, and probably more delicious.
Their dineout menu is solid. Try the crab cakes.
Had gone last year for dine out and found it quite good so decided to do it again, it was the same menu as last year. This time the impression was not as good.
We were seated near the bar and everytime the door opened it was freezing, so ask for a seat in the inner part of the restaurant.
Since it was so cold needed some tea to warm up but the water was tepid and had to ask for them to give us hot water.
Our selections did not come piping hot. My friends indicated their soup was lukewarm and my oysters was also cold. We then waited a while for the entrees. From my seat I could see dishes piling up in the kitchen.
I was also disappointed with the tirimusu, this time it was kind of soggy.
As for service, our busperson (she) was very efficient and friendly but our waiter could have used a personality fireup. It took a while for him to come to the table to take our order (about 10 minutes, after we were all seated) and during the meal he seemed kind of bored - just going through the motions of serving.
Don't know if we will go back again since my other 4 friends were not overly impressed.
I've only been to Water St. Cafe twice and both times it was great. First time was with the bf for an anniversary dinner. Only complaint is that we failed to make reservations (our bad) and ended up with a table near the door which was a little chilly. But the service was great, the appy's were delicious, main course (had a chicken dish with Brie) was very good and filling, and dessert was great as well. 2nd time I was with my fam for a grad dinner and we reserved a table so we liked our seats, the service was good again (there when you needed them but not intrusive). Food was great again, I had gnocci which is very filling so I walked out of there completely satisfied. Desserts were again wonderful (looooove the blueberry pudding cake one). The thing I love about this place is that you get very good food, good service (other reviews may beg to differ but anyone can have ONE bad experience anywhere) and the prices are completely reasonable. The price of the pasta dishes are probably only slightly more than a place like Earls or Boston Pizza and the food is wayyyyyy better.
During last weekend's Gastown Motorcycle Show my son and I chose this restaurant. We were seated quickly enough but it was all mediocre from there on. I ordered a dish that I had not tried before. Apparently our server is a world traveler who corrected my pronunciation of the dish in a rather churlish manner. Geez - sorry for trying. The cheese sauce on my gnocchi was awful. It reminded of of Cheez Whiz heated and poured over my dish. the inclusion of six or seven baby sized shrimp was laughable. The owner or manager, I am don't know who he was, stood at the front door scowling for most of our stay. We were both dressed decently and are not "bikers." Besides, if it wasn't for the bike crowd, the place would have been dead. All in all I was not impressed in anyway. If it such a hassle to be open for lunch service on a Sunday, they why do they bother? I should have stopped at the hot dog cart down the street.
[-] we waited quite a while until a waitress came and serve us. The food took a bit long to wait too, especially the bread when I had to ask for it specifically! Also most of the waiters had a poker face...
[+] we got a table in the patio in the warm weather when we reserved and they gave us a table when we arrived earlier than the reserved time. When I got my veal, it was very different from what I expected. I told my server that it tasted sour to me and she asked if I would like to see the menu again. The owner was informed, and both of them came to follow up with the replacement entree which was really good service.
Service Score: 4/5
[-] My friend's halibut (the daily special) tasted like nothing, except you can taste that it's fresh. The sides are not any special at all. My Marsala Scaloppine looks good in presentation, but when I tasted it, it was sour! I'm not sure if it's just me, I was expecting something totally different. I couldn't swallow more so I decided to inform the waitress. Although, the potatoes that came with it were roasted well and I enjoyed it.
[+] So my replacement meal, by recommendation of the waitress was the Linguine with Prawns, although I was considering the gnocchi or ravioli. I liked the pasta way more than the veal. The parmesan threads was the perfect touch to the dish. The cheese and the tomatoes and the pasta tasted so good together...that I wish I had gotten more parmesan! The tomatoes were really good as they were soft and had a lot of sauce/juice. The prawns were very fresh and juicy. The pasta was done el dente but it had a bit too much of olive oil. It would have been better without the excess oil and if it had more basil and garlic taste.
We paid with entertainment card discount and two entrees came to 27 after tax. (the halibut was 23.50 I believe) I would come here again if I have another entertainment coupon, but probably not in a while. The dishes at their quality do not worth the regular price and we would have ordered desserts if they were cheaper.
I don't mind returning but other places could probably offer the same thing, at a lower price.
The Water Street Café is a solid place. I went there the first time with someone who is extremely picky, so when he chose to take us there, we knew it was going to be good. My subsequent visit was with my parents and they really enjoyed it, even my mother who is also very picky.
The ambiance is nice, quiet and you have a nice view of the steam clock. Sometimes though, I feel kind of bad to see the homeless people outside while I’m sipping on my nice wine, but that’s everywhere in downtown Vancouver, I guess, especially Gastown. If I remember correctly, the music was classical (piano) and it was not too loud.
The service is good, the server was helpful in suggesting what wine to pair with our meals and he was very polite.
The food is pretty basic but perfectly cooked, well presented, the ingredients are obviously fresh and of good quality and the portions are good as well. Both times I went, everyone was entirely satisfied. The wine selection is very good too.
Value is okay. It’s a little bit on the pricey side but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s overpriced. It’s fair for the quality of the ingredients, especially in that area. My parents, who paid for the meal the second time I went, thought the price matched the quality of the food and the portions.
I would recommend the Water Street Café. Don’t expect anything overly creative but you can count on quality, fresh ingredients, decent prices, a good wine list and polite service.