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Nov 17, 2010 02:00 PM

Boathouse - Far from the best.

We are back from our 9th annual eat‘em-up weekend in Vancouver. Of course, we were there to re-visit some of our favorite restaurants, but also to try out some new dining spots. On this trip, Nov 11th to the 14th, we decided on trying our luck with a chain eatery called “The Boathouse” specifically the beach avenue location.
The atmosphere was promising; it definitely had a top shelf, expensive feel to it. Even though we were told that it was a casual dining affair, and there were a few blue-jean wearing patrons there, it had all the markings of a classy place to eat.
Unfortunately, that is where all the positives of this place ended. We had originally picked out this particular restaurant to be where we could get the best of West coast seafood. But it was far from that. The menu only had one type of crab, Alaskan King. No Snow, No Dungeness, just the same Alaskan King that EVERY restaurant has. We travelled a 1000km to eat a variety of west coast crustaceans, and the menu had the same steak/lobster, steak/crab that we could get in Edmonton at the Keg… and for the same price! We ordered the Mussels, clam, lobster and crab (All with steak and trimmings) and not one dish stood out. Even the butter-dipping dishes were disappointing, one would not stay lit and one was so low that there was not enough heat to keep the butter melted, we all ended up using my candle/butter device.
However, they did have oysters, (one of the other main reasons we go to Vancouver). Again, disappointment! The Oysters were stale and muddy. And some of them were off, by “off,” I mean on the verge of being rotten. Again, WE KNOW OYSTERS, this is far from our first time with them, by this point in our trip we had already gone through 3 or 4 DOZEN. And we have gone through 100+ samples per trip, for the last 9 years.
We ate everything on our plate, paid the $200+ bill and caught a cab straight to another restaurant called, “Oysi Oysi”… to have some of their oysters, which we knew to be superior and to get the rotten oyster taste out of our mouths.


Boathouse Restaurants
1795 Beach Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6G 1Y9, CA

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  1. Can't argue with you on that Boathouse location, I've never had anything approaching a great meal there. Vancouver has a lot of places that look very upscale but are simply formulaic, expensively decorated, middle of the road chophouses with a West Coast accent.

    If you had asked for advice on this board you would have received many recs on places that would have left you happier. Next time....

    2 Replies
    1. re: eatrustic


      As an Edmontonian myself I am trying to place the location of this Boathouse.

      Is it where the venerable English Bay Cafe used to be?

    2. Haven't been back since a meal in 2004 when two of the four diners got violently ill afterwards, probably from bad escolar.

      6 Replies
      1. re: islandgirl

        Ha! Probably wasn't bad Escolar but more likely the fact that Escolar is a natural -and for some people a very powerful laxative. Tasty as it is it really shouldn't be sold in restaurants due to this little side effect.

        1. re: eatrustic

          Escolar is fine in restaurants as long as the chef knows how to prepare it (i.e. don't make the portions so massive to induce rotten tummy). I've had escolar before in restos and it was delicious and it didn't make me run for the loo. Just boils down to chef experience.

          And yes, totally agree on Boathouse. Pedestrian schlock and can't understand how it is still standing aside from the location (oh wait...right, location).

          1. re: bdachow

            I'm usually leery of any restaurant that boasts "view" as its primary asset. That to me usually means food quality is *not* its primary focus.

          2. re: eatrustic

            Well, I learn something new everyday. Escolar ... interesting.

            1. re: bill_n_opus

              Me too bill_n_opos:

              Googled the name as I had thought but was uncertain whether I had seen it on a nmenu never mind eaten, escolar . Still unsure about whether I have tried it but the reference to "butter fish" makes me think that I have.

            2. re: eatrustic

              Funny this should come up as I just found my local sushi joint just got in some fresh escolar, can't wait to try it and see what it tastes like as I've had it grilled before and it was really delicious.

          3. Boathouse is a few reviews before venturing into a restaurant blind.

            2 Replies
            1. re: waylman

              Joining the dogpile here - yep, the Boathouse is a glorified chain serving mediocre (at best), overpriced food.

              1. re: fmed

                had 3 meals at Boathouse in the last 3 months, 1 lunch and 2 dinners. one memorable, the other two were - god awful.
                it is, what it is - a casual dining business built for profit. definitely agree that it is overpriced.

            2. I agree. We went to the Boathouse for brunch once a couple months ago... the place was deserted and yet we waited almost TWO hours for our simple meals to arrive. Same with the family next to us who waited over an hour for a simple fruit plate. No apologizing, no credit, no nothing. And we were waiting with two young hungry kids too. I'd expect at least some complimentary bread or fruit or something after waiting that long... but no. Worst restaurant experience we ever had. When the food finally came it was horrible and overpriced. Their heat was also not working and our order also got messed up and the waitress did not seem to know what she was doing.

              Boathouse White Rock
              14935 Marine Drive, White Rock, BC V4B 1C3, CA