Elegance Never Goes Out of Style
There are a few places in every city that deserve the title, “iconic”, and The Fish House is one of those places. When I first moved to Vancouver in 1992, it already had that reputation for quality, freshness and innovation with seafood. In all the years that have passed, the same words continued to pop up when describing the place. It’s been a “go to” destination for me for business dinners and visiting relatives, and I am so very sad to say it’s closing in September. The owners of the restaurant won’t be renewing the lease, and thus another iconic Vancouver business disappears into the crisp fall night’s air.
If you want to partake in one more experience, but find the dinner menu out of your price range, then I would like to strongly recommend you enjoy brunch on a sunny weekend in Stanley Park. Treat yourself to the elegance of white linen tablecloths and napkins, and enjoy timeless Vancouver from the patio of The Fish House.
The Brunch Bestie and I arrived a little early but the staff were accommodating. The Fish House opens at eleven in the morning so if you’re an early riser, you might need to hold back on the brunch enthusiasm until later in the morning. We promptly ordered our cocktails; I chose the classic mimosa made with organic fresh squeezed orange juice, and she chose the Tropical Passion. It was made with dark rum, passion fruit, ginger syrup, pineapple juice and orange juice. Both drinks were refreshing and perfect for the sunny patio. The cocktail was so good, the Bestie decided to also try the Lemon Flower made with lemon vodka, St. Germain, Elderflower and lemon. Now, I’m a big fan of lemons and lemon vodka so I had to give it a try, and let me tell you, it’s far better than lemonade.
We decided we would have a brunch appetizer because the crab cakes at The Fish House are legendary. We split the appie, and then came regret… that I ever agreed to share in the first place. As much as I love the Bestie, I could have tackled her for the second crab cake.
Before our mains arrived, one of the staff came by with a basket and offered us a choice of a freshly made croissant or Danish to go with our meal. We both chose a warm croissant which went beautifully with the butter and strawberry jam that accompanied it.
I eat a lot of brunch (which I think you already know), and I have never had this kind of service. It was lovely to feel waited on like this. There’s a level of attentiveness in the service at The Fish House that you don’t see very often, and it perfectly matched the presentation of the food.
The Bestie had a stunning seafood hash. I don’t think hash is a fair name for this dish. It was hard to find the potato under the mounds of seafood; wild salmon, manila clams, and white fish (to replace the shrimp my Bestie is allergic to). The dish was completed with fresh herbs, peppers, two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. It was a rich and flavourful combination that she couldn’t finish.
I chose a crab omelette bursting with flavour. It was topped with chopped avocado salsa and arugula and brie. It came with home fries and fruit. Everything was tasty, but if I was going to be picky, the omelette was a little dry. Would I order it again, though? Yes, I would. The crab filling was generous, and I love Dungeness crab.
We finished the meal with a little treat, a tiny chocolate petal cup filled with dolce de leche. It went perfectly with my coffee. It was the perfect treat, after an elegant meal.
I could have sat on that patio all afternoon, taking in the fresh scents of the park, and watching the tennis players as I lifted yet another glass. It’s that kind of place where time seems to stop for a brief moment, and who doesn’t love that.
I’m sad that The Fish House is closing. I’ve always thought it was quintessentially Vancouver. If you’ve got the time, take in the experience one more time before they close. Trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Movie Recommendation: Chocolat starring the ethereal Juliette Binoche. Food is connection; it’s love, and it’s affecting… and so is The Fish House to the city of Vancouver.
8901 Stanley Park Drive, Vancouver, BC
Open for brunch at 11 am on weekends
Michelle Muldoon is a writer, filmmaker, and avid foodie. You can find her on twitter @chat2michelle.