Seafood lovers hooked on new Granville Street restaurant

Photo credit: | Flickr

Fish ‘n’ chips and oyster lovers have a new mecca in downtown Vancouver.

The Fish Shack opened its doors last week on Granville Street, in the space formerly occupied by Middle-Eastern eatery Sanafir (It’s another Glowbal creation, like Coast, Italian Kitchen, et al, for those keeping track).  And judging by the crowds over the weekend chowing down on oysters, prawns, clams and – of course – fish ‘n’ chips, it’s an early hit.

The interior is made up to look like a rustic seafood shack (which is quite a shocking transformation, considering how elegant Sanafir aspired to be).  Wooden pallets line the walls of the 100-seat space, a nod to the hardscrabble fishing life.  Chalkboards are scrawled with fish facts and trivia (like “swordfish use their sword as a lance, not a spear”), while seats are upholstered to look like vintage lifejackets.

The atmosphere, too, is downhome and unpretentious.  Rock and blues from Creedence, ZZ Top and Eric Clapton blast from the sound system.  The bar area is full and rowdy – a noisy bell clangs each time someone leaves a tip.  And the dress code is nonexistent, with diners in everything from tailored suit jackets to grungy flannels.

But what about the food?  Early signs are very positive.  The fish is fresh and – a real rarity for Vancouver – relatively cheap.  Appetizers, from calamari to prawns and fried oysters, all come in around $10.  A pound of steamers will set you back $15, while a rotating selection of oysters from B.C. and beyond are just $1 a piece before 5 p.m.

Photo credit: | Flickr

Fish ‘n’ chips range from $10 for one piece of haddock to $16.50 for one piece of halibut (You can even get oyster and prawn variations).  A daily fresh sheet offers a selection of grilled or blackened fish for around $15-$20.

The highlight, however, has to be “the fisherman’s catch.”  Wait staff come over to the table with an actual net stuffed with dungeness crab, mussels, snow crab, prawns, calamari, crayfish, potatoes, corn and chorizo ($20 for a small catch; $30 for a big catch, which includes lobster).  After the enormous catch is shown off, all the food is taken back to the kitchen to be prepared.

Important to the rowdy seafaring ambiance, Fish Shack also offers a good selection of beer at prices you rarely see in Vancouver.  Currently, enormous 22-ounce glasses of local brews like Rickard’s Red are $5.95.

Here’s predicting that The Fish Shack will be packed and lively for the near future.  Low prices, fresh fish and a refreshingly unfussy atmosphere make it a unique catch in Vancouver.  I just hope it fares better over the long run than its predecessor, Sanafir – which initially had a lot going for it, as well, but went downhill fast before closing abruptly.

Anyone been to Fish Shack?  What did you think?  Let us know below.  

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond?  Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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