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Jun 19, 2010 10:39 AM

Eating my way through Vancouver - Day 1 (Go Fish and Octopus Garden)

After months of anticipation to come home for a visit, I finally landed Wed afternoon. After a quick bag drop, off I went with the BF. We walked down to Granville Island and hit Go Fish first. Had the salmon tacone with chipotle mayo, tuna tacone with wasabi mayo and 1/2 lb of spot prawns. The spot prawns were delicious, sauteed whole with heads on, with garlic and lemon, came with a salad and some tasty bread for soaking up all the delicious juices. Was in heaven, they were juicy, crunchy and sweet. The tacones were both really delicious as well with perfectly cooked fish and just a hint of kick from the flavoured mayos. Wasn't a big fan of the slaw that came on the side as I found it a bit bland and generic. The tortilla wraps were warm and had nice grill marks and were nice and pliable and really tasty. They held up well to the juices that were dripping out from the fish. Big thumbs up!

Wandered through GI afterwards and picked up a pistachio and chocolate macaron, a cranberry lemon pound cake and some sundried tomato and green olive sourdough flatbreads from La Baguette. The macarons were really nicely done. Very crisp shell with a nice chew to the cookie. They were a couple of bites each. I have to say that the chocolate one was very rich and would've been better if it was a bit smaller, it was so intense. The pistachio was really good with a good pistachio flavour to it. The flatbread (which is currently breakfast with some picante provolone picked up from Duso) is a little on the too dry and crispy side. I think I'll stick to the Raincoast crisps next time. The pound cake is delicious, nice and moist and dense with a great lemon flavour. Not too too many cranberries though which is good or bad depending on whether you really like cranberries (I don't love them so it's a good ratio for me).

Dinner was a wander over to Octopus Garden. We passed on the omakase this time (it was only 2 hours since Go Fish) and we needed to hurry it up with a tired 6 year old in tow. Started with the agedashi tofu (love it, the broth was nice and light), the tofu cubes were perfectly fried with a very light crunchy coating. Tofu haters, you really need to try it this way. They had takoyaki on special so had to try it. I've never had it and wasn't sure what to expect. They came out with sprinkled bonito shavings still waving from the heat and a light drizzle of sauce. I can't say I was overly impressed, they were all around squishy and only had a small nibble of octopus in each ball. Is it supposed to be this way? I thought it might be a little crispy on the very outer shell? Oh well, ordered up sockeye salmon, geoduck (mirugai), spot prawn, mackeral (aji), hamachi, braised black cod sashimi or nigiri (sadly they were out of uni). Everything was really fresh and really really good. The mackeral (which is a bellweather for me) was not fishy or oily and nasty at all which is such a relief. So different from the really fishy stuff that usually makes me gag and puts me off fish for ages. The spot prawns of course came with the deep fried heads and again...yummo! Also had a california roll (with real dungeness crab), salmon and tuna maki (for the munchkin), the yam and mango roll and the spicy tuna with tempura bits roll. The rolls I found to be only ok. I guess I grew up with the rice being a little more seasoned with a nice bit of vinegar and sugar but they were quite restrained in their seasoning of the rice. I think the tempura yam and mango and asparagus could've definitely used the extra hint of seasoning to help pick up the flavours of the roll a bit more. But otherwise, another great evening of sushi. Now I just need to get my uni craving solved.

After that, there was no more food to be put back. It was a roll home for a well deserved rest to the tummy.

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  1. Going to Octopus Garden Tuesday night for omakase, with a colleague and some friends from CooksTalkClassic. Will report next week.

    One of my friends is a pescatorian ... no feet or feathers ... I've communicated that to the restaurant ... see how it all goes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Marine Engineer

      Good luck and can't wait to hear what you think. I think the quality of the fish is spot on there but for my tastes, the rice just didn't work that night. And sooo sad there was no sea urchin. As for beverages, if you have any sake lovers, the sake flight is definitely very nice. Nice to compare the local GI sake versus some other sakes.

    2. Thanks for the great, detailed reviews. Just a note, Terra Breads makes a Pecan Fruit Crisp which is very similar to the Raincoast Crisps (Lesley Stowe) mentioned above and do not contain any dairy which is nice for anyone with an allergy.

      Raincoast Cafe
      120 Fourth, Tofino, BC V0R2Z0, CA

      1. Good review, thanks!
        I'm in Victoria and go to Red Fish Blue Fish pretty often so curious how Go Fish measures up to that.
        Just sharing my takoyaki experience... I've found that when it's made with a proper takoyaki pan, it usually isn't that crispy. The outside it browned and the inside should be soft, almost like a melted texture, especially when it's hot. There's just one piece of octopus in the center. The only time I've had a crispy one was when I ordered it and they actually deep-fried it. I asked them why they did that and it turns out that they made big batches of takoyaki ahead in the pan and then froze them. When somebody ordered it, they just deep-fried it. It does take some time to make it fresh (15 mins?) but I actually like it better not deep-fried.

        I've tried takoyaki at a couple places in Vancouver and found that it was a piece of octopus surrounded by solid cooked batter that wasn't very tasty. Who makes good takoyaki in town? Is Bakudanyaki still around/worth going to?

        1 Reply
        1. re: sumashi

          Ah...yes it was kind of melty with only one piece. Funny, I thought there would be more in order to get a great octopus flavour and texture. But I can see where you're coming from where it ws deep fried but cooked through entirely. A nice combo of lightly crispy exterior with melty interior would be a really great textural combo for me.
          Disappointing from my perspective so perhaps I will edit from my repertoire.