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3
  • Food3
  • Service3
  • Value2.5
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews40

Water Street Cafe

300 Water St
Vancouver, BC V6B1B6
Tel: (604) 689-2832
Neighbourhood: Central
  • Cuisine: Continental, European, Seafood
  • Price: $$$ ($30 - $45)
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Features: Wheelchair accessible, Fine dining
  • 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.

Reviews

Displaying 21 - 40 of 40 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Simply, Awful
By fleurdelys of Vancouver (downtown) (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 4:11pm [Dine in]

The veal scallopini didn't resemble the menu description in the least and was not "thinly sliced veal" but rather hamburger patty looking slabs. It was tough and chewy and covered in a heavy, dark, almost demi-glaçe sauce - very different from the description in the menu i.e., a lemon, sage and butter sauce. The potatoes were underdone. Everything was lukewarm. The only good thing on the plate were the green beans which were excellent. My dining companion ordered the potato gnocchi. Again, it was, at best, lukewarm and unpalatable because of this. The sauce had an odd taste. Server should have noticed that our meals went untouched and enquired as to the reason(s) for this but she seemed to prefer not to know. Very disappointing and such a shame. Great location and ambiance will only get you so far. Good food is what people come back for.

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Very Poor Food Quality
By Ludwika of Vancouver Olympic Village (1 Review)
Submitted Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 1:48pm [Dine in]

I will never come back. Service was nice and it could be such a great place to sit and watch Gastown life but the
food quality is unacceptable. Everything tasted cheap and had no flavour. Very disappointing experience. Perhaps, it's a place to have a cup of coffee and leave. It's a pity, considering the location, it should be a central, amazing Gastown place but it's definitely not.

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Worst Dine Out Vancouver experience ever
By Rosa C of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 4:48pm [Dine in]

We went there for Dine out Vancouver 2012. We came highly recommended by a friend, but it turned out to be a huge disappointment. The service started out fine when our orders were taken. But it went downhill, the food took forever to come, and it was only lukewarm though the plates were hot. I bit on hard pieces of shell on my oyster appetizer, and fished out a few bigger ones. The New York style cheesecake was nothing like the ones we've ever had. It looked and tasted like a hard baked bread, with a layer of cream cheese on top. The crab cakes were the only dish we really enjoyed. After the meal the service we sat for a good 30 mins before someone came to pick up our bill, even though we saw a few waiters come by and stare at it, but no one picked it up. Once they did, they gave the wrong change to 2 of my friends, one of them was not charged so went to the waiter to hand her the Visa...waited for another 15 mins just to hear that they had not charged it yet. Today, another friend found out they billed her Visa twice. We spent 3 hrs with the slowest, most unorganized service ever, and the most disappointing dine out experience. .5 out of 5 stars.

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Gorgeous Place
By xantidote of Burnaby (23 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, February 9, 2009 - 12:39am [Dine in]

I had an excellent dining experience at Water Street Cafe. They have a wonderful location on the corner of gastown and the nice big glass windows allowed a nice view of everything. The night we went it was raining and it just added to the whole romantic atmosphere. We went for dine out vancouver and left feeling very full. Definitely must try their crab cakes.

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Consistently depenedable and pleasant dining experience
By VcrFoodie of Coal Habour (21 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, September 20, 2008 - 5:03pm [Dine in]

I think the WSC is one of those institutions in Vancouver like
Raincity Grill, Il Giardino and others. It's not the hip, hot spot with all the buzz but a charming/cute bistro that consistently delivers quality food.

It had been over a year since my last visit but driving past the rstaurant on commutes home from work later in the evening, I would look over and almost always see diners. When I needed to arrange a dinner for 10 last week, I chose WSC because there was something on the menu for everyone - from vegetarian /
pasta, seafood, meat, and chicken. The winde list is small and reasonably priced. Appetizers and entrees are really well priced. I've been to other restaurants where past prices are more for the same quality.

I ordered the green salad which was has nicely dressed, not dripping or soggy, and linguine with prawns which was very tasty but I think there was a bit too much olive oil added. There was a thin layer of olive oil that remained in my bowl when I finished the pasta. The prawns were big and fresh. Next time I return I'm going to order the caesar salad that others ordered. It looked so fresh and had a very light, appropriately dressed dressing. A caesar salad is a simiple "dish" and I sometimes rely on it as a signal of things to come from the rest of the meal. Thick, goopy caesar dressing just ruins the salad.

The service wasn't exceptional - nothing to praise or complain about.

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excellent!
By kitsgirl of Kitsilano (9 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 5:11pm [Dine in]

Went with clients today for lunch in Gastown. We had decided on Water Street Cafe and had made reservations. We were greeted at the front door by last name although we hadn't even mentioned our name just that we had reservations. Seated promptly we were greeted immediately. Two f our group had the seared halibut which they were very impressed by. Another one of group had the brie/fritatta dish which looked amazing and I had the tortellini with peas and proschiutto. The pear/rosemary soup looked to good to pass up so that was shared and it was very delcious hopefully it will become a weekly treat on the menu. The restaurant was fairly busy but not uncomfortable and our meals came quickly. For a restaurant that appears to have the tables close together there wasn't any background noise that you tend to see in busy smaller places. I would definately recommend going again. The prices at lunch were mostly from $11-$16 so not much different then your mid range restaurants and the food is WAY better.

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Loved it!
By cyn of Burnaby (7 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, April 13, 2007 - 8:05am [Dine in]

We were in downtown and had left our Entertainment Book in my boyfriend's car so we decided to check out the Georgia Straight to find a place for dinner. We chose Water Street Cafe since we've heard good things about it.

Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted right away and shown to a table. I loved the ambiance of the restaurant. It was very cosy and intimate and is the perfect place for people watching. Our service was pleasant and attentive without being annoying.

For dinner, I started with their mixed green salad which was tasty and fresh. For my entree, I went with the Prawn Linguini and my boyfriend tried their Potato Gnocchi. The food was so delicious! My prawn was succulent, the pasta was perfectly cooked and the mix of basil and roma tomatoes was a great blend of flavours! My boyfriend's gnocchi was delicious as well and their squash sauce could have been served by itself as an appetizer easily.

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner and can't wait to go back and try their other menu items

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Food's not Good
By babyfoo of burnaby (9 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 1:45am [Dine in]

Went here for lunch wit my parents today. On a rainy Monday around 1pm, the restaurant was considered pretty busy. We were seated right away and got the window seat we requested. My parents were impressed with the view of gastown from where we sat and we enjoyed how bright the dining area was.

Right away we got water and bread. The bread was soft and pretty good.

That's where it ends. We ordered their panini, seafood chowder, and halibut and chips. The panini had a generous amount of deli meats but was way too salty and the focaccia was hard. My mom disliked the sauce alot- tastes like pizza as she puts it. The fish had too much batter and was not even comparable to the ones they have in Deep Cove (which is the best my parents have ever tasted - so they say, and I think I agree). The side salads had too much vinegrette on it. The fries were not bad, but very average. Seafood chowder was pretty good but not worth the $6 for its volume.

Overall, nice location, okay service, disappointing food.

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Neglectful and forgetful server
By frodowm of van (20 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 10:54pm [Dine in]

The title of this review says it all. I had lunch the other day at the Water Street Cafe and I've never had lunch served so slowly before. Not only did the waitress forget to bring the glass of wine, she had to be flagged down and reminded about it 15 minutes later (and she was hard to flag down too). Food came 40 minutes after we ordered, and technically my lunch hour was over. I had to scarf the luke-warm food down as inconspicuously as possible (so as not to seem too rude) ask for the bill before the meal was even finished, pay, then rush out.

I think the waitress forgot about our orders completely, which would explain the lukewarm food. We felt completely ignored as the tables around us who arrived after us ate, paid, and left all before we were served our entrees.

I think this is an unusual case of bad and neglectful service on the server's part. I've eaten here before for lunches and have always been served within a timely matter. A 40 minute wait for a plate of pasta to be served is extremely unreasonable given that the majority of the lunch clientele are business folks.

Unfortunately, after this event, I would not go back for fear of being reprimanded for taking too long of a lunch break.

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Bright atmosphere and good food!
By noah1234 of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 10:54pm [Dine in]

Bright, cheerful atmosphere bring me back to this place time and time again. Their portions aren't large, but the food is fresh and always good. They serve bread with their meals and their water is delicious. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants a nice light meal. You are sure to find something for everyone on their menu.

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Consistently Great
By passiontaster of Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 6:02pm [Dine in]

My family and i have been going to the Water St. Cafe for years. I recently returned and was pleased to find that things haven't changed. The food is still of a very high quality for very reasonable prices. The menu is varied with great pastas, fish, meat..and wonderful desserts. I would highly recommend the creme brulé. The location is reminisent of a European sidewalk bistro located across from the steam clock in Gastown. I would highly recommend this resetuarant for Vancouverites and tourists alike.

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Great food and service at a nice price
By sparky of Vancouver (14 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 - 12:59am [Dine in]

Decided to finally check out the Water St Cafe for dinner after walking by many times. I have to say I was not disapointed.

I ordered the lamb medallions and they were done just how I ordered them. Delicious. The portions are a decent size too.

The prices are tough to beat for the quality of food. Definately a place I will be going back to.

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Perfect for everyone
By mmfood of Richmond (13 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - 12:08am [Dine in]

Located right infront of Gastown's steam clock so parking might be a bit of a hassle. But Water Street Cafe is definately a nice place to eat. Its prices aren't expensive and you get served some really good food. There's variety in the menu so it's got something for everyone. The service is also good and the restaurant's really nice, especially if you have a party and you get to have the room upstairs all to yourselves.

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Nothing Special
By nomvula of Kitsilano (10 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 10, 2010 - 1:42pm [Dine in]

I went to the Water Street Cafe for lunch with a lawyer friend of mine. The cafe clearly attracts the business lunch crowd. It was a bit more upscale than I initially expected (white tablecloths and so forth) and I enjoyed the atmosphere with large windows and bright natural light. But I was disappointed with the food & drinks. I ordered a mojito (not a particularly unusual drink, I thought) but was told they couldn't make it - apparently they did not have any mint. To eat, I chose a salad (chicken papaya or something like that) on the server's recommendation but it was soaking with dressing and very mediocre. Definitely not worth the price.

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The only way a bad place can get better is if you don't give them your business
By gregc of Gastown, Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 11:41am [Dine in]

I give up on Vancouver and this restaurant was the final straw!! While eating a meal here last Sunday night my partner and I vowed to stop eating out at italian restaurants and cook for ourselves when we want an italian.
I had the penne salmon which was just penne, maybe 3 tablespoons of salmon and a bit of fish stock thrown together for 20 bucks. No good flavour at all. The penne rigatoni my partner had was worse.
We nibbled at the mains and got them wrapped up and gave them to the homeless nearby
The bruschetta starter was something a drunk person raiding the fridge on a saturday night would up come up with and nothing like real or classic bruschetta.
The wine is way overpriced for what it is and very poor quality for price ratio.
The service was good by the younger staff but one middle aged senior staff lady who was our main waitress was very slow and rude and added to the bad experience.
Two things any Italian restaurant should be able to do well as a basic are bruschetta and pasta e fagioli. This place doesn't even have paste e fagioli and their bruschetta is so bad.
Decor and atmosphere are not bad. I didn't want to leave a tip but did only for the younger service staff who supported the very bad waitress.
Places like this will always thrive because most of their patrons will be one time tourists who dont return so no real need to improve!!!
Toilers were smelly and in a bad way too which is always a sign of a bad restauraunt
I would really hope you would avoid this place and save yourself a $150 dollar bill for one starter, 2 mains, bottle of wine and 2 desserts like we paid.

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Dessert isn't that great!
By Dan_Frost of Vancouver (7 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 1:04am [Dine in]

The food here isn't that bad. I would go back for the food, but not for the dessert. I love the ambiance. Okay, back to the dessert. I love creme brulee, so I ordered one. Presentation was nice. The creme brulee wasn't to my satifaction. It was very runny. I'd come back for the food here, but wouldn't order dessert here at all.

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On my approved list ;-)
By honjai of Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 11:28pm [Dine in]

Situated in the heart of Gastown, this quaint restaurant really set the stage. The ambiance was great; it had the right mix of visual sensations created from the high ceilings, large street-side windows, and table settings.

The oyster appetizer was cooked to perfection and the sauce complemented the item nicely. The pasta was excellent as well.

I look forward to visiting Water Street Cafe again and bringing along some of my friends. It has definitely lived up to the hype.

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Don't be sucked in by the menu and ambiance
By youwillthankmel8tr of South Surrey (6 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, June 27, 2011 - 9:09pm [Dine in]

Waterstreet Cafe must survive on location and location only.

Food is mediocre westcoast italian, very behind the times and no where near the quality you expect nowadays in Vancouver. Service is borderline arrogant and lacks proper fine dining training. Heard swearing from the open kitchen, so much for a romantic evening.

'The verdict is... so many great places to eat in Vancouver, don't get sucked in by the ambiance, menu and windows. This place survives from steam clock/cruise ship, one time eaters.

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Definitely going back
By Lys of Burnaby (4 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, February 3, 2007 - 1:39pm [Dine in]

My boyfriend and I went for Dine Out Vancouver solely based on the reviews I read, and for once I cannot agree more with them. The view was amazing, the food was delicious, although a bit salty to my taste. But you can tell the ingredients they used were very fresh! The service was awesome, everyone was very friendly and always ready with water refills. The transitions between courses were perfectly timed. Best cheesecake I've ever tasted, I love how the cake was "sandwiched" between the crust, very unique. The place was packed when we were there, thus it was a bit noisy. But food- and price-wise, this place is hard to beat. It was a very nice place to end our Dine Out experience with.

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Best Ever
By jeffreysf of San Francisco, CA USA (2 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, September 9, 2006 - 12:46pm [Dine in]

We were out on a late Sunday evening for dinner in Gastown. As it was getting late the hostess wasnt going to be able to seat us. She let us use the washroom then told us she would seat us if we could just order without too much delay. We sat outside and ordered food and drink and listened to the clock powered by steam toot every 15 minutes. Everthing was wonderful the ambiance, the 3 course meal, the wine and the exceptional service from all the staff. I would like to thank our waitress Lisa for her outstanding service. We were a party of 4 in Vancouver. My husband and I were just married the previous day and this dining experience will last in my memories forever. Thanks Again for everthing. You're the Best. Jeff

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