For those who follow me on Twitter, you would’ve already heard my high praises for the wonderful dining service at The Cannery. To celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary, I took them back to the restaurant (we went there for dinner a few years ago and truly enjoyed it) for another visit before it’s closed after the Olympics.
Note: This is a rather long post as I have a lot to say about the restaurant. If you want to read the highlights, please scroll to the Service section.
Quality of food was superb. Before we even dug in our appetizer, we were greeted with some warm bread. It’s not uncommon for restaurant to serve their bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but The Cannery serves its Bread with the famous Lobster Oil. The lobster-infused oil (and it’s for sale by the bottle) is an inspiration of the former executive chef and it’s made locally. It adds an extra layer of flavour and it instantly makes regular olive oil a dull choice for bread dipping.
Then we had a Seafood Platter for Two as appetizer. And for the three of us, the amount of food was just right; you wouldn’t want to order for the exact number of people because then it’d be too much. There was a generous amount of candied salmon, mussels and crab claws. Candied salmon tasted very good, and I like that the tiger prawns and scallops were grilled then chilled. There were only two oysters and two scallops, which made sense since it’s meant for two people, so we kind of had to share them among the three of us.
According to our server, every item on the fresh sheet is served the same way, i.e. grilled and served with mashed potato and vegetables; exceptions are Ahi Tuna, which is pan seared, and Black Cod, which is steamed. My mom picked the Daily Special, Mahi Mahi, and in addition to mashed potato and vegetables, it’s served with a mushroom and shrimp sauce. My dad ordered the 10 oz NY steak with 1.5lb lobster, which was a decent deal since you only pay $14 more for the steak. I opted for the BC Sablefish from the regular menu. I really liked it since the meat is soft and flaky, and the miso glaze added a good flavour and made it crispy on the outside. But I’m not a huge fan of the cous-cous bedding. It’s too crunchy and didn’t taste very good.
For dessert we got Chocolate & Sour Cherry Bread Pudding and the Special Occasion Cake, compliments of The Cannery Restaurant. Bread pudding is not something we would usually order for dessert so that was a golden opportunity to try it. It’s soft, creamy and moist, not dry and dense as how I imagine it would be. As for the special occasion cake, it’s not something listed on its menu, but it’s basically a chocolate mousse cake – very chocolaty.
While the food was among one of the best I’ve ever had, the highlight of this dinner was the service. As you may or may not know, I value customer service a lot, so in my mind what set restaurants apart is their quality of service. And let me tell you, The Cannery’s service was top notch. How? It all started before we were seated in the restaurant.
On OpenTable (which, by the way, is an excellent online reservation service. You collect points after each dinner and you can redeem dining certificates after collecting certain amount of points) I requested for a table by the window and stated that “it’s an anniversary dinner for my parents”. Not only did they grant my request, they also printed a Special Congratulatory Note on our fresh sheet: The Cannery wishes you a happy anniversary! This was specifically included in our three menus and nobody else’s, and it’s a memento that we can take home with. That’s attention to detail! And they continued with this level of service through the night: The hostess brought over a balloon and tied to my mom’s chair to indicate that our table was celebrating a special occasion. We looked around and saw a few more tables with balloons. Our server first greeted us with a note “would you like to start your celebration with any beverage?” – he also volunteered to take a photo for us, and gave us suggestion as to how to pose for the picture (clinging glass, etc.). Again, attention to detail!
What caught us off guard was the desserts. After they collected our plates from the entrees, our server provided us with the dessert menu. Just when we were ready to order, two servers (neither one was our designated server) brought over our free desserts. The funny thing was, they were wishing my mom “happy birthday”. We were like, did they make a mistake? We didn’t want to take something that’s not meant for us. So our server came to our table and explained that those two improvised and wished my mom something thinking it’s more likely to be a birthday than anniversary. hahaha…OK we’d give them that. We noticed that on our bill the desserts were added to the bill (with the item “Special Occasion” as the chocolate mousse cake) but the same total was deducted from the bill as “Anniversary”.
And so we walked out of the restaurant happy and satisfied, by its food and its service.
Honestly, there’s no other location like where The Cannery currently is. It offers the wide view of the North Shore, the Port of Vancouver, and bits of Burnaby. The restaurant itself was built in 1971 and the old boat house atmosphere is just irreplaceable.
We’re counting down to the final days of the restaurant. Even if the restaurant gets a new owner, they will have to relocate as the Port would not renew its lease. It’s going to leave a legacy but I strongly recommend you to pay them a visit in the next two months, and be a part of the Cannery history.
The Cannery Seafood Restaurant
2205 Commissioner Street, Vancouver