Last month, when I was visiting Vancouver with my foodie friends, we decided to go to Granville Island for lunch. My friends wanted to eat at the food court in the Public Market but I didn’t find anything that interested me so I decided to hit up Tony’s Fish & Oyster Cafe, which is located in the section known as “Maritime Market” near the entrance of Granville Island. I’d heard about Tony’s a couple of years back but did not have the opportunity to try it out until this visit.
My plan was to get take out from Tony’s so that I could meet up with my friends at the Public Market and have our lunches together. Initially, the service at Tony’s was a little odd to say the least. On this Monday during the lunch hour, they were moderately busy but by no means packed nor lined up out the door. When I first walked in, the server did not acknowledge me. I waited for at least 5 minutes but she wouldn’t come to take my order. Instead, she just kept on going from table to table clearing dishes, etc. It was as if take out orders were not her responsibility. Finally after a bit, she called for the owner to come out and take my order. I’m not sure what was up with that as the restaurant was half empty but at this point, if I didn’t have my heart set on fish & chips, I would have just walked out. The owner turned out to be really friendly and nice. He told me my order would take about 20 minutes but in the end, managed to get my order ready in less than 15 minutes.
I decided to try a cup of their Granville Island White Clam Chowder ($4.29 for a cup; $6.79 for a bowl). The chowder tasted ok but was far from memorable. It was no where nearly as tasty as the clam chowder that I had at Pike Place Chowder in Seattle.
I also tried the Halibut & Chips ($11.99 for one piece – 4 oz; $17.59 for two pieces – 8 oz; $8.29 for extra piece – 4 oz). The halibut was perfectly fried. The batter was crisp and not overly greasy. The fish was flaky and moist. Being from landlocked Calgary where decent fish & chips is hard to come by, I appreciated a piece of well executed fried fish. The fries were tasty and well executed. I wouldn’t say this was the best fish & chips that I ever had but it was certainly tasty and satisfied my craving.
This certainly wasn’t an inexpensive lunch as the total came out to over $18 including taxes. Was it worth it? I’m not so sure… especially at that price point. I would get the Halibut & Chips again but probably not the chowder. But the one thing that actually makes me think twice about going back again in the future is the service. The owner was really nice but that hardly makes up for the initial experience with server. The food would have to be pretty spectacular in order for me to overlook the service issues. I may end up back at Tony’s some day but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go back there. At least I’ve tried it now so I know what it’s all about.
Tony’s Fish & Oyster Cafe
1511 Anderson St