Posted March 15, 2016 by Natasha Lees in blog

The Blue Water Cafe Restaurant: A Gem within the Yaletown Dining District


An Overview of the Blue Water Cafe Restaurant

Located within the historic and trendy neighbourhood of Yaletown, Blue Water Cafe Restaurant brings the seafood dining experience to an entirely new level. It is housed in a charming beam and brick warehouse conversion and has a sweeping bar, heated patio, large dining area, and private dining rooms that cater to larger groups and events.

As Vancouver’s ultimate destination for fresh seafood, the Blue Water Cafe Restaurant continues to win the hearts of locals and visitors with every seating. This chic restaurant is consistently the winner of “Best Seafood Restaurant” in Vancouver and is recognized for its incomparable service. The restaurant has also been recommended by the Vancouver Aquarium for offering ocean-friendly seafood choices.


The restaurant is committed to sourcing sustainable seafood and creating innovative West Coast dishes. The Blue Water Cafe Restaurant is also home to a Japanese-style Raw Bar, which creates unique presentations and pure flavours.


When it comes to food, the restaurant has an international reputation for serving only the freshest, most sustainable wild coast species. Executive Chef, Frank Pabst is a master in the kitchen with his critically acclaimed “Unsung Heroes” menu. This menu features mouth-watering fish that are often overlooked and unappreciated. Many of these items can be sampled at the Blue Water Cafe’s stylish Raw Bar. The restaurant is committed to procuring and serving responsibly resourced seafood without compromising our magical ocean habitat.

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Highlights of the Blue Water Cafe Restaurant:

  • A highly esteemed Executive Chef, Frank Pabst, who creates phenomenal fresh seafood dishes and amazes guests with each tantalizing bite
  • Consistently awarded “Best Seafood Restaurant” in Vancouver and recognized for its unparalleled service
  • Live tanks, raw bar and ‘seafood on ice’ options
  • Executive Chef Frank Pabst’s tasting menus and his popular cookbook
  • Offering over 1,000 labels and a cellar of 14,000 bottles, the restaurant presents a wide array of different styles and varieties
  • Unique settings that can host a dinner for 12 or up to 450 for a reception
  • An active wine cellar that contains two multi-faceted private rooms, which are easily combined to accommodate up to 80 seated guests or 120 standing
  • Gift cards for friends and family

Executive Chef Frank Pabst’s Delicious Tasting Menu

This tasting menu was perfectly paired with a fantastic selection of fine wines, which offered a variety of flavours and taste bud-awakening experiences. Our meal began with Wind Water Men Sake, Junmai and the Suzuki Sashimi with grated chili daikon radish and ponzu sauce. Normally, I am not a sashimi lover, but this dish was very tasty and extremely fresh, and we both really loved the ponzu sauce for dipping. It was a great start to the meal and got us excited about the next dish. (My cell phone photo below does not do the dish justice, but believe me it was excellent!)


We then had the Dungeness Crab Salad, which included baby shrimps, pumpkin seeds, mango coulis and parsley pesto. I couldn’t get enough of this one as I adore crab and this salad was the perfect combination of sweet and savoury. This was paired with a glass of the Sea Star Stella Maris, Pender Island 2014, which was absolutely refreshing, crisp, dry and light – perfect for seafood dishes. My husband Shaun mentioned that this is the wine that could turn him into a wine lover forever.


Up next was our favourite, (and apparently many of the locals and staff’s favourite too!) the smooth and flaky Sablefish. The Blue Water Cafe Restaurant’s Sablefish is delicious – a definite ‘must-try’ when you are visiting the restaurant. This dish was complemented with a miso sake glaze, baby bok choy, edamame, quinoa shiitake mushrooms, dashi with soy and yuzu. It was paired with a glass of the Cambria Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley 2013 – a wine that I have now fallen in love with. Its buttery flavour has won me over. I just loved it!

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We were then given a taste of the restaurant’s famous Sturgeon dish. It was actually my first time trying sturgeon, and while it was a bit tougher than the Sablefish, it had its very own unique flavour that I enjoyed. The dish came with pumpernickel crust, golden beets, baby kale, cauliflower puree, and garnet beet agro dolce. This dish was enhanced by a glass of MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir, Russian River 2013. It was nice to have a red thrown into the mix of wine tastings and since the sturgeon is firmer and offers a bit of a smoked flavour – it could handle a robust red!

Then our wonderful tasting experience ended with a Raspberry Yoghurt Crème Brulee with guanaja chocolate mousse and yuzu gelato. It was paired with a small glass of the Gehringer Bros. Signature Series Riesling 2013, a refreshingly super sweet dessert wine.


I have heard about the legendary seafood tower, (see above!) so we will definitely return to try it sometime with friends and family.

The Tasty Conclusion

Our dining experience at The Blue Water Cafe Restaurant was by far one of the best. Perfect for functions and events, anniversaries, business lunches, a romantic date and more, this restaurant is now one of my top five favourite restaurant experiences in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The staff is extremely friendly and has extensive knowledge with regards to the wines, menu items, ingredients and the restaurant in general. I couldn’t believe how detailed our server, Nastassia Ljungh was when she introduced each dish. The way she presented each sample to us was very professional. Benjamin Wristen, the Restaurant Manager, was very kind and welcoming. He told us about the restaurant, the private event spaces and some “cool” facts about the big chunk of ice holding up sake behind the raw bar.

The Assistant Wine Director Calen Macdonald, was extremely knowledgeable about the wines that were paired with Executive Chef, Frank Pabst’s tasting menu. Coming from a hospitality background myself, and with performing numerous hotel and restaurant reviews – I have only experienced this high level of hospitality a few times in my life. I was extremely impressed.

We will definitely put The Blue Water Cafe on our list of places to visit again and we thank the entire team for providing such a pleasant experience.

*A special thank you to Lynn Gervais, Communication Director at Top Table Group for arranging our visit.*


The Blue Water Cafe Restaurant

1095 Hamilton Street (@ Helmcken)

Yaletown, Vancouver BC


Tel: 604 688 8078

Fax: 604 688 8978

Email: info@BlueWaterCafe.net

Website: www.BlueWaterCafe.net


Author, Natasha Lees, Freelance Hospitality and Tourism Writer (BC Association of Travel Writers) 



Natasha Lees

Natasha Lees
Natasha Lees is a dedicated and professional travel copywriter with over 16 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. Some of her past and current roles include the New York Times travel channel on About.com, Trivago, Sunwing Vacation Group, WeddingVacations.com, Mastercard Caribbean, Princess Cruises, CanadaTravels.com, Escapes.ca and a variety of other worldwide travel media resources.