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Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House: Fresh seafood and great people watching.
So I guess we had to go all the way to Vancouver to eat at a self-described "San Francisco style" seafood restaurant.
We got in near the end of the evening, so things had calmed down a bit and our server had time to chat and guide us through the extensive selection the menu had to offer. We wanted the freshest seafood available so we started off with some fresh oysters. We had wild salmon and halibut for our dinners. Simply grilled, it was good.
The place had a lively vibe to it and was quite fun.
Favorite Dish: The corner of Robson and Thurlow is one of the busiest in town. We were able to watch the parade of humanity go by. It was like a human zoo.
Oh...I'd come here if you want fresh seafood.
The prices weren't bad either.
- Food and Dining
Joe Fortes: A favourite for tourists and locals alike
Joe Fortes is a classy seafood restaurant located off of bustling Robson Street. It's a long-time favourite among locals, but it also caters a lot to tourists (and nearby office workers in fancy suits). The service is impeccable and the food is always top notch. If you look like a tourist, they'll ask you where you're visiting from.
When you walk into the restaurant, they have a map of British Columbia that lists all the rivers on it. They then point out which fish (typically salmon) comes from which river or which ocean inlet. They take local seafood very seriously here.
At the entrance when you walk inside, there's a grand piano and a pianist playing jazz tunes. You might be led up the stairs and past the oyster bar up to the roof-top patio. The patio doesn't have a view, but it's a hidden garden oasis complete with flower baskets and grapevines growing overhead. On a sunny day if you're in no rush, the patio's the place to be.
As far as seafood goes, this is where you go if you want a large variety of no-nonsense seafood. There's crab, lobster, oysters and dozens of types of fish, especially local specialties, like salmon. They have a "fresh sheet" listing over 20 different types of seafood and will check off what is available fresh on that particular day. The choice can often be overwhelming!
Of course, they also have a few non-seafood options like paninis and burgers, but it's not necessarily their... forte. Har Har.
Actually, "Joe Forte" is the name of one of Vancouver's pioneer's. He was the famed lifeguard and children's swimming teacher at English Bay in the late 19th century. He was a Carribbean immigrant to Canada and was a visible minority at a time when racism was very much a part of Vancouver society, and yet, he was greatly loved and respected by everyone.
Favorite Dish: The tempura prawns appetizer are a fun item to share. Fairly sizable prawns on individual popsicle stick skewers, then covered in a light batter and deep fried. Served with an Asian-influenced sauce to drizzle. I think there's 5 prawns per order.
The Cedar Planked Wild Salmon with bourbon glaze and tomato chutney ($17.50) was absolutely delicious. The piece of salmon was actually quite small, but it was delicious. The tomato chutney/bourbon glaze was very tangy like a BBQ sauce. It was served on a plate with fresh vegetables (green beans, carrots, potatoes). They cook the salmon on the cedar plank and they bring it to your table that way, but then they transfer the piece of salmon from the plank to a plate once at your table.
I've also had their Queen Charlotte Halibut which was on their fresh sheet for that day. It was also served with fresh vegetables and was very tasty. Halibut is an amazing fish if it's in season and cooked simply with lemon. A very buttery fish.
Joe Fortes: Great Seafood
This is a busy place in Downtown Vancouver. Make sure you get a reservation.
Favorite Dish: I ordered the Dungeness Crab and it was wonderful. Look at my photo for the presentation!
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