Monday, January 13, 2014

Searching For Fish & Chips in BC: The Fish Shack in Vancouver Makes My List

I have a thing about fish & chips. It started back when I was a kid and realized there was more to life than burgers and fries, especially on Fridays. If you were Catholic like me, that was the day you had to abstain from eating meat, so when dining out on a Friday, fish & chips were my treat.

The first fish & chips I recall were from Ivar's. The Seattle-based seafood restaurant founded by Ivar Haglund celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2013, and they continue to do fish right. I'm able to enjoy them close to home on Whidbey Island, as there's an Ivar's in Mukilteo adjacent to the ferry dock. That's me in my car pictured above, enjoying lunch on the go.

Several years ago, I put together a list of my fave fish & chips spots in BC for this blog. It was part of a post about the 2009 Restaurant Awards given by Vancouver magazine, and I was whining that no fish & chips spots were included in the mix. Isn't it time for a fish & chips category?

In 2012, The GLOWBAL COLLECTION opened its ninth restaurant in Vancouver BC, and it's all about fresh fish. The Fish Shack on Granville Street is located in the former home of GLOWBAL's Sanafir. The laid-back eatery is a casual and fun addition to their more upscale collection. The 100-seat space, created by BOX Interior Design, has a nautical theme with marine-blue walls offset by cool green tiles. Red upholstered banquettes that resemble old-fashioned life jackets provide comfy seating. There's even a ship's bell that a young diner rang while I was having lunch, and the restaurant's tag line Hook It And Cook It is emblazoned on the walls.

The Fish Shack's seafood menu is extensive, including a fresh sheet with 20 varieties of oysters (they offer daily Buck-a-Shuck Oysters until 5 PM). There are also steamers (mussels & clams), sandwiches & burgers, salads, chowder (red and white), tacos and The Fisherman's Catch -- which includes a fresh medley of seafood along with potatoes, corn and chorizo. There are also surf & turf offerings, along with appetizers and desserts.

But I was longing for their fish & chips, which are served with fries, tartar sauce and a choice of three types of coleslaw. The 1 or 2-piece servings include your choice of halibut, lingcod, salmon, haddock, snapper, oyster or prawns. I went traditional, with the duo of lingcod and halibut. It was plentiful and tasty (a 1-piece would have sufficed) and I ordered one of their four house Caesar cocktails that included clamato juice and tequila served in a jar with spices, a seared scallop and house baked bacon strip. The Caesar was invented in Calgary, Alberta 45 years ago and today remains one of Canada's most popular alcoholic drinks. The perfect beverage to accompany fresh fish. 

1026 Granville Street
Vancouver | 604.678.1049
Monday-Thursday | 11:30 AM - 1 AM
Friday | 11:30 AM - 2 AM
Saturday | 10:30 AM - 2 AM
Sunday | 10:30 AM - 1 AM
Weekend Brunch | 10:30 AM - 3 PM

Photos by Sue Frause