[Japan Series] Day 15: Miyajima 宮島, Hiroshima 広島

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On the last two days of our Japan trip, we would be spending it in Hiroshima (広島). From Osaka station to Hiroshima station, it takes around 2.5 hours with the JR bullet train. A long train ride, but the JR shinkansens are so comfortable, so time really passes by quickly.

 

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Once we arrived at Hiroshima station, we needed to take a tram to our Airbnb. Hiroshima uses trams instead of trains to get around the city. There are a mix of new and older trams. This one is one of the newer trams and is quite nice!

 

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The trams are quite spacious and work similar to the buses. You can use the Paspy and Icoca IC cards to pay for your fare on the trams and buses in Hiroshima.

 

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The city streets in Hiroshima are definitely much more modest and quiet. You won’t really find the neon lights and electronic billboards like you would find in Tokyo. I do appreciate that the city is much more spacious and the likelihood of being in crowds like in Tokyo and Osaka is unlikely.

 

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Our Airbnb was a short walk from the tram and also walking distance from the A-Bomb Dome. The room was definitely very cozy and one of the smaller Airbnbs we stayed in. However, it had everything we needed and was extremely clean. There was even a huge bottle of sake for us to enjoy!

 

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After settling in, it was already mid afternoon, so we decided to head to Miyajima Island. Our initial plan was to visit the island the following day after visiting the Peace Memorial Museum as we thought it would be more uplifting, but due to the time we arrived, it didn’t make sense to visit the museum near closing.

 

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To get to Miyajima Island, we first had to take a tram to Yokogawa station. From there, we took the JR Sanyo line to Miyajimaguchi Station. You can also get to Miyajimaguchi Station from Hiroshima Station and that would take roughly 25 minutes.

 

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When you get to Miyajimaguchi Station, follow the signs and you will find the ferry pier.

 

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The ferries depart quite frequently to Miyajima Island and only takes 10 minutes. This is covered under the JR rail pass if you have it.

 

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The ferry is quite large and you can even stand outside to take pictures. I think you can also bring your car on the ferry. As we were departing quite late in the day, there were not that many people on the ferry, making it easy for us to get a good spot for sightseeing.

 

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The ferry ride seriously goes by in no time. As we reached Miyajima Island (宮島), we saw the famous red torii gate which floats on water.

 

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Once we got off the ferry, we realized that there are lots of deer on this island! Very similar to Nara, but of course not as many. I really wonder how they got to this island! If you don’t get a chance to visit Nara, then this will do!

 

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Along the way, there are some shops that sell souvenirs and snacks.

 

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After a short walk, we reached the floating red torii gate. This is the view you get if you choose not to pay to enter the shrine. It’s pretty good but more on an angle. Unfortunately, there was a bit of construction going on, so the gate was slightly blocked. As we reached the island in the late afternoon, this was high tide and therefore the gate appears to be floating. If you arrive earlier in the day, the tide will be low and therefore you can actually walk all the way out to the gate! You should check out this website to time when you visit the island so you can hopefully visit at both low and high tide!

 

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This is the Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社) which is also built over the water. Entry fee into the shrine is 300 yen and consists of multiple buildings, including a prayer hall, a main hall and theater stage. You will also get a view of the torii gate straight on instead of at an angle. We didn’t end up going inside the shrine, but would imagine this is a great attraction especially during low tide so you can wakl straight up to the gate.

 

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Not far from the shrine, a small hike will get you to the Senjokaku (千畳閣), which translates to the pavilion of 1,000 mats because the size of the pavilion can literally fit 1,000 tatami mats. This old building dates back to the 1587 and this costs 100 yen to enter. It is the largest structure on Miyajima Island.

 

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The Five-storied Pagoda is adjacent to the Senjokaku and was originally built in the 1400s but restored in 1533. It enshrines the Buddha of Medicine and is quite beautiful to see up close. I don’t think you can enter inside, so the attraction is free to view.

 

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As the sun set, we decided to head back to the souvenir streets. Many of them had already closed as it was rather late. I imagine there isn’t much to do around the island at night if you stay overnight here.

 

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There was one shop that was bustling with crowds. This was the grilled oyster stall! There are actually many grilled oyster stalls along the Miyajima Omotesando shopping street. However, as we went pretty late, most of them were closed. This stall itself closed shortly after we placed our order as well.

 

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Here, you can get a variety of ways the oysters are cooked. Of course, the most famous is to get them grilled with charcoal. The grilled oysters here are a pretty good deal at 2 for 400 yen. However, the downside is this is just a stall, so there are no seating areas. There are a few stools around but more of a quick eat and go stop.

 

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The oysters take a while to grill, so we walked around the streets before heading back to grab our order. Here, we have two grilled oysters. A nice char and the oysters themselves are plump and fresh. Highly recommend if you’re an oyster lover!

 

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We also got the deep fried oysters. These are smaller oysters which they have skewered onto a stick. Really good as well! If you are looking for a sit down restaurant for oysters, then Kakiya and Yakigaki are among the most famous on Miyajima Island. Oysters are a must eat in Hiroshima and Miyajima!

 

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Another well known food item is the Momiji Manjyu, which are maple leaf shaped pastries filled with a variety of filings including red bean, custard, chocolate, etc. There are many souvenir shops selling this pastry.

 

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Luckily, we were able to find a shop that sold single Momiji Manjyus since I just wanted to give it a try. We got one filled with custard and it was very tasty! Worth giving a try! After having some snacks, we decided to head back to Hiroshima by ferry as it was getting late.

 

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We did some research and learned that the 2nd floor of Hiroshima Station is the ASSE restaurant floor and filled with okonomiyaki shops. Okonomiyaki is very famous in Hiroshima and a must try. The okomiyaki here is very different than Osaka style as the ingredients are layered rather than mixed. Honestly, I don’t remember which restaurant we visited since they all look the same. Just head into one that has a decent amount of locals! This one had yakisoba noodles.

 

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We also got another one which had yakiudon noodles. My favourite was the yakisoba as it is much lighter than the udon. These okonomiyaki’s are huge and is more than enough for one!

Overall, a nice day trip to Miyajima Island to relax and the next day we would visit the major attractions in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima Station Asse – 2nd Floor (Okonomiyaki floor)
Address: 2-37 Matsubara-cho, Minami-ku

 

Lift Bar & Grill

Looking for a spot to go happy hour, I suggested we try Lift Bar & Grill. It’s situated by the water along the seawall before you enter Stanley Park.

The restaurant has an awesome patio outside perfect for the summer.

Happy hour is from 3-6pm daily, but unfortunately, you can only sit at the bar for happy hour. The bar seats around 10-15 people, so be sure to arrive early!

The decor inside is elegant and perfect for date night. I would highly recommend sitting outside if the weather is nice, or by the glass windows inside to enjoy the views.

Their happy hour menu is pretty good with a variety of food other than their select drinks. Plus, they have buck-a-shuck oysters! As you can see, the prices for happy hour isn’t extremely cheap though. Their regular menu is quite pricey normally, so this is already discounted.

Red Truck Lager, House White Wine

We started off with some drinks which were part of the happy hour menu, all for $5.

Buck-a-Shuck Oysters

I wanted some oysters, so I got the Buck-a-Shuck Oysters. I don’t remember the names of the oysters but they were quite small, but sweet. I think they could’ve done a better job with the shucking though as I found some bits of shell in my oysters. The typical cocktail sauce, Tabasco and vinaigrette comes on the side.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

As I was quite hungry, I decided to get the Lobster Mac & Cheese which was on deal for $10. It came with atlantic lobster, grana padano white cheddar and mascarpone cheese.

This was a pretty good deal since there were chunks of lobster meat in my mac n cheese! Usually, you just find little strands of meat in this dish, but I was surprised how much lobster I found in here. It’ll definitely fill you up as the cheese is very heavy. I also loved the crispy coating of bread crumbs on top.

Fish & Chips

S got the Fish & Chips which normally comes with a single piece of local beer battered halibut and french fries. He was quite hungry, so he asked to add another piece of halibut. The normal size is $14 and I think the additional piece was around $6. So it came to around $20 which isn’t too bad for getting fish and chips (halibut) at a high end restaurant.

Overall, we were quite pleased with the happy hour selection of food and drinks at Lift Bar & Grill. However, service was pretty much non-existent. We sat at the bar without menus for the longest time and we ended up having to ask for the menus. It also took incredibly long to get our bill. I would hope that their service is much better during regular hours, since this is the perfect place to take your date to, but if service is so poor, I wouldn’t risk ruining your date night here. Ambiance is spot on though!

Pros:
– Beautiful ambiance and views
– Great selection for happy hour – $1 oysters, deals on food and drinks

Cons:
– Service was poor
– Not exactly cheap even for happy hour

Price Range: $20-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 1.5 Ambiance: 5 Parking: N/A Overall: 3.5

Lift Bar and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oyster Express

Looking for a place to catch up with my girlfriends, I suggested we go to Oyster Express during their happy hour, which is from 4:30-6:00 on Sundays. There are other happy hour times listed on their website.

Located in Chinatown, the shop is really tiny and fits around 20 diners only. One thing we noticed is that it was very warm inside. We were all sweaty during our meal.

Of course we had to get some oysters here. They serve the oysters with a variety of sauces. There is the basic mignonette sauce, the cocktail sauce, and Tabasco sauce. Then they have their housemade spicy sauce. I didn’t try their housemade sauce but K said it wasn’t that spicy.

Glacier Bay and Kusshi

The oysters on sale for the day during their happy hour were Glacier Bay oysters. They were $1.50 each. Their Kusshi oysters were also on sale that day for $2.50 so we got some of those. The Glacier Bay oysters were rather tiny but still sweet. However, we enjoyed the Kusshis a lot more. Much bigger and plump and very fresh. For the most part, the shucking was pretty good, but we still had a little bit of shell in some oysters.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Their menu is quite limited, but we did order some items to share. First was the Manhattan Clam Chowder. This was actually a tomato based chowder rather than a white cream. The soup was filled with tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, corn, celery, onions and of course clams. Served with some bread and cracker on the side, we really enjoyed the flavour of this chowder.

Fried Oysters (1/2 order)

The half order of Fried Oysters came with three large oysters which were breaded and deep fried to a golden brown. The oysters were very fresh and the breading was very light.

Steamed Mussels

Lastly, we had the Steamed Mussels, which featured a pound of these sweet and plump mussels steamed in white wine, shallots, tomatoes, garlic, and butter. It came with a side of baguettes but not enough to enjoy the remaining sauce.

Overall, Oyster Express did not disappoint although the oysters can be quite expensive if they are not on sale. They do however have an extensive list of oysters compared to many other restaurants. Service was quite friendly. No reservations unless you have a party of 6 or more, so finding a seat can be difficult at times since it’s a rather small shop.

Pros:
– Oysters are very fresh and good variety
– Other menu items are tasty as well

Cons:
– Really warm inside the restaurant
– Some of our oysters had a bit of shell pieces

Price Range: $20- 30/person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 3.5

Oyster Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chewies (Coal Harbour Happy Hour)

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I’ve been on an oyster craze lately, so when SP and SK asked where to eat, I suggested Chewies at Coal Harbour. We decided to get there right after work so we could get our orders in for happy hour. There’s some construction going around here right now so it’s a bit hidden, but they do have some signs directing you.

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The restaurant wasn’t too busy on a random Thursday night. The patio outside did fill up, but the indoor seating was still quite free. I hear they are quite packed on Fridays and weekends though. The Coal Harbour location has happy hour from 3-6pm daily, and the people were quite nice about it even though we arrived at 5:45. They made sure we got our orders in right before 6pm.

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Whistler Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale

Several of their BC craft beers and boutique wines were featured on their happy hour menu for $5, which is a pretty good deal. Their pints of beer are all 20oz, so it’s actually quite a bit! I chose the Whistler Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale, which I loved! You got that hint of citrusy flavour and I liked how it wasn’t very bitter.

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Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Red Ale

SP got the Parrallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Red Ale, which is more of a bitter ale. You could definitely taste the contrast from the grapefruit ale, but it’s definitely a lighter beer compared to some of the really strong bitter ones I’ve had.

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We were obviously here for their buck a shuck oysters, so they first started us off with the sauces that go along with the oysters. They have four: a cucumber vinegar, your classic mignonette, cocktail sauce, and a spicy habanero. They also bring you some Tabasco sauce. Our favourite was probably the spicy habanero, but it really wasn’t even that spicy.

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$1 BC Beach Oysters

We got a dozen of their $1 BC Beach Oysters, which were extremely fresh. They switch up their oysters depending on what’s in season, and the server explained to us the name and all, but I didn’t catch it.

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They also offer $2 oysters during happy hour for their premium oysters. These were quite big, but they were still very sweet! The only issue I had was that one oyster or so had some shell bits in it. Always a sign of how good the shucker is.

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Pan Seared Calamari

Their happy hour menu also features a selection of their ‘first bites’. They actually offer quite a large variety – so many that we ended up ordering almost the whole menu… Since it’s 50% off their regular price…why not? Well, first off, we started off with the Pan Seared Calamari. Like its name says, the calamari is seared rather than fried. These were actually really good though and a good alternative to the oily fried calamari. The squid had a nice char to it and was super tender! It came with a cucumber, mint and jalapeno salad with creme fraiche dressing and remoulade. That salad was a killer though as it was way too spicy!

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Dungeness Crab Cakes

Next up were the Dungeness Crab Cakes with a lemon aioli and an avocado & cucumber salad in a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. They come with three pieces, so were perfect for us to share. These were pretty good although I wish they were slightly more seasoned. The lemon aioli helped bring more flavour for sure.

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Fried Fanny Bay Oysters

And then there were the Fried Fanny Bay Oysters. These were parsley and cornmeal battered Fanny Bay oysters and came along with Chewies’ tartar sauce. I felt like these had more batter on it than the actual oyster. I was expecting more fatty oysters, but they were pretty small and felt rather overcooked. Not a huge fan of these.

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Brioche Garlic Toast

The fried fanny bay oysters also come with the Brioche Garlic Toast, which were pretty delicious. Tastes just like your typical garlic bread with a nice crispy texture to it.

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Oysters Rockefeller

Since we’re at Chewies, might as well keep loading up with the oyster dishes… So we got the Oysters Rockefeller, which featured fresh hand shucked BC oysters, absinthe, spinach and herb puree, and topped with Parmesan cheese bread crumbs. An order came with 5 oysters and these were pretty good. The oysters were quite large and fatty and I loved the spinach and herb puree underneath. I still prefer the ones at Joe Fortes a bit more though.

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All Dressed Cajun Fries

We also got the All Dressed Cajun Fries. At first, I was skeptical to order this, since I’m not a huge fries person and I can only imagine how much they can do with fries. However, this was beyond my expectations! It ended up being very simliar to a poutine, with Andouille sausage, fresh garlic, diced tomatoes, cheese curds, Parmesan and garlic mayo. The fries were crispy and sizzling in the pan. The sausage and seasoning gave it a slight kick, but nothing overwhelming. Definitely a great dish to share.

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Crocs & Hush Puppies

Lastly, we got the Crocs & Hush Puppies, which we were all curious about. Yes – crocs meant fried crocodile! Well the menu acutally detailed it as “chicken fried crocodile,” so I’m not really sure if we were eating crocodile or not. The meat was definitely much more chewy, but I actually quite liked the texture. Hush puppies refer to these cornbread balls and these were nothing too special. The dish came with a house vinaigrette and some jalapeno jelly which definitely had a level of spice.

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Overall, happy hour at Chewies definitely met my expectations. They have a good selection of dishes with 50% off, and most of them were good, if not really good. My favourites had got to be the calamari and fries. Their oysters are also extremely fresh and you can even upgrade to their premium! Ambiance is also really nice with high ceilings and a modern environment. Great patio during the summer as well. Service on the other hand was a bit of a hit and miss. Our last two dishes actually didn’t come for the longest time and we had to remind them to cook it up. The server at the end was pretty nice though and apologized for our wait. Oh and by the way, if you end up like us ordering pretty much the whole menu, your happy hour deal isn’t so happy after all since the bill will add up. But hey, at least we left with a full tummy!

Pros:
– Fresh oysters for $1 or $2 during happy hour
– Good selection of dishes during happy hour for 50% off

Cons:
– They forgot two of our dishes at the end

Price Range: $25-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

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Joe Fortes (Happy Hour)

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Joe Fortes has been around for a long time and it’s known for their seafood and steak. They are your classic North American restaurant and a prime spot for both tourists and locals. Their regular menu can be a bit on the pricey side, so what better way to enjoy than to try some of their bar items by going for happy hour! They offer happy hour from 4-6pm daily and the best part is they have buck a shuck oysters! S, N and I headed over and we were slightly earlier than 4pm, but the hostess still seated us knowing that we were here for happy hour. So be sure to get there early and you’ll be guaranteed a spot!

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Orchard Hill Red Roof Apple Cider

We started off with some drinks, although we ordered off their regular menu. However, they do have happy hour drinks with highballs, house wine and Molson pints on deal for $5. I chose the Orchard Hill Red Roof Apple Cider instead, and this was light and crisp without being overly sweet. Very refreshing!

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“Buck a Shuck” Oyster

Of course we had to go for the Buck a Shuck Oysters. They are literally only $1 each, which is a steal!The oysters were served on top of ice and served with a classic cocktail sauce and horse radish. They also give you Tabasco sauce for those who like it spicy. The oysters were quite large but they were still very sweet! No bits of shell at all in any of mine! That’s a sign of a good oyster shucker. I’d definitely say Joe Fortes is one of my top favourites for oysters. Probably just after Rodney’s, but Rodney’s happy hour is slightly more than a $1.

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Joe’s Shrimp Ceviche

Their happy hour is actually quite extensive and you get to choose from a large variety of snacks. We went for Joe’s Shrimp Ceviche, which featured a mix of shrimp, jalapeno, avocado and tomatoes. This was served with corn chips. The shrimps were very tiny, but they were still fresh and bouncy. Probably not my favourite ceviche, but it’s not bad. I would’ve liked a bit more tang to it.

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Mini Lobster & Shrimp Rolls

And then we got their infamous Mini Lobster & Shrimp Rolls. These are a must order at happy hour! The buns are filled with shrimp, Atlantic lobster meat and a classic French mayonnaise sauce. You actually get quite a bit of lobster here, so it’s definitely a good deal. Plus, something about the rolls are just so delicious. They are buttery and super soft but crispy on the edges.

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Oyster Rockefeller

Lastly, we got the Oyster Rockefellers, which I also highly recommend. An order comes with four large local oysters, which have a spinach base and topped with hollaindaise sauce. The oysters are huge! It’s like an eggs benedict but with an oyster instead. I loved the creamy spinach along with the sauce. A slight bit of paprika sprinkled on top gives it some extra flavour.

Overall, we were extremely pleased with Joe Fortes. They are definitely the place to go for Happy Hour. Service was also very attentive, professional and friendly. Ambiance is rustic and traditional, but no need to dress up. Perfect spot to stop by while shopping on Robson.

Pros:
– Great happy hour menu (must order oysters and shrimp and lobster rolls!)
– Professional service

Cons:
– Restaurant can be busy so may need to wait sometimes

Price Range: $20-30 (Happy hour)

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

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Cork & Fin

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To celebrate mother’s day and K’s birthday, we decided to go to Cork & Fin for some seafood. On Sundays, they have buck a shuck oysters after 6 pm, and the best part was they still offered it on Mother’s Day.

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The interior is very homey with wooden accents. Our seating area even had pillows, which was pretty cute. There is a bar here where you can see the chefs shuck the oysters.

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The menu comes in a folder which I thought was a cute touch.

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Tricycle Grapefruit Radler

We got the Tricycle Grapefruit Radler which is a grapefruit beer brewed by Parallel 49. I really enjoyed this beer as it almost tasted like grapefruit juice! The citrus gives it a little bitterness, but it definitely is on the sweeter side.

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Oysters

And of course we came to Cork & Fin for their buck a shuck oysters! The waitress didn’t explain what oysters these were, but they were on the smaller size. It came with a champagne mignonette and horseradish. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with the oysters. They weren’t super fresh and the shucking wasn’t done very well. My family and I both found little pieces of shell in our oysters, which wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

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Prawn Ceviche

Next up were the Prawn Ceviche, which was seasoned with peruvian chilles and stafruit. These were actually the whole prawn, rather than chopped up pieces. Very fresh and they were well seasoned and worked well with the crispy tostadas.

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Seafood Tower

On Sundays, Cork & Fin also has a Seafood Sunday promo, where the Seafood Tower is $49, rather than $89. This was such a good deal, we couldn’t resist. The tower offered a chilled half lobster, shucked oysters, prawn ceviche, cured salmon, marinated tuna, and mussels.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t notice that the seafood tower included the prawn ceviche already, so we ended up getting two of these.The chilled half lobster was decent. Just your typical lobster. It was pretty fresh and you got a decent amount of meat.

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Another dozen or so of oysters came along and there was the same problem with the bits of shells. The cured salmon was pretty much your typical smoked salmon and wasn’t too special. The marinated tuna was like your tuna tataki and the mussels came in a marina sauce.

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Baked Oyster Hash

Cork & Fin plates are meant for sharing, so we also shared the Baked Oyster Hash. This came in a sizzling plate and the hash included chorizo, potato, and caramelized onions. The hash was flavourful and had a hint of cheese. However, I found that it lacked oysters. I was hoping for more of that since oysters should have been the star of the dish.

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Braised Veal Cheeks

Another plate we shared was the Braised Veal Cheeks, which came with a pommes puree and veal jus. This was one of my favourite dishes. The veal cheeks were so tender and just flaked off so easily. However, I did find that the potato puree was a bit thin for my liking.

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Pesto Pappardelle

Lastly, we had the Pesto Pappardelle, which was topped with walnut, mushrooms, tomatoes, and vermeer cheese. The pasta was cooked to al dente and very delicious. It seemed like they were made in house. Tons of flavour and I would definitely recommend ordering this.

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Overall, our dinner at Cork & Fin was decent. I was slightly disappointed with their oysters, but the rest of the meal was pretty on point. Prices are on the pricier side for the portions you get. Especially with the amount of seafood dishes you get, it’s hard to get full from the meal. Still, the ambiance is really cute and would make a nice place to chill with a glass of wine.

Pros:
– Buck a shuck after 6pm and promo Seafood Towers on Sundays
– Ambiance is laid back but nicely decorated

Cons:
– Oysters were not shucked very well
– Pricey for the portions

Price Range: $25-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

Cork & Fin on Urbanspoon

Merchant’s Oyster Bar – DOVF 2015

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It’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival time again, and this year, I suggested we try Merchant’s Oyster Bar. Located on Commercial, it’s where the rest of the hipster food spots have opened up. The restaurant is pretty dimly lit, so I’ve never even noticed it. The restaurant has a bar table, but also dining seating. It’s rather dim, but very casual at the same time.

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Online, we found the Dine Out menu to be $28, with three savoury dishes. Sort of the reason why I chose this, and also because they had oysters! However, upon arriving, their menu also featured a 4 course menu for $31, which included desserts. The desserts didn’t like anything too special, so we all opted out. They also have wine and non-alcoholic pairings.

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MW went for the Scandal Lager, which came in a really cute bottle. So hipster.

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Tuna Ceviche (+$2)

The first dishes are “snacks.” MH went for the Tuna Ceviche, which came on top of an endive This gave it a good crunch, but we could barely taste any tuna. The ceviche was seasoned with lime, Jalapeno, cilantro, and shallots, but we all agreed that it tasted too much like the herbs. Quite disappointed with this one.

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Baked Oysters (+$3)

IC went for the Baked Oysters, which again came in a set of three. They were seasoned with lemongrass coconut crema, kimchi, and topped with tempura crumbs. I didn’t try this, but she said it was very good.

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Oysters

MW and I went for the Oysters. Each diner gets three oysters each, and they brought us two types. One was the kusshi, and I could nto remember the second. It came with mignonette, lemon and horseradish for seasoning. There was also Tabasco sauce to give it some spice. The oysters were tiny, but extremely sweet and fresh. Definitely satisfied my oyster craving.

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Beef Tartare

For my first course, I chose the Beef Tartare. The raw beef was chopped up and seasoned with a fermented hot sauce and pickled shallots. Accompanying it were caramelized onion crackers. I was disappointed with this as the beef was rather flavourless. I could barely taste the hot sauce. Without the cracker, the beef would have been very bland. Raw beef needs lots of seasoning or else it doesn’t taste good. It also came with a side of salad with a basic vinaigrette and olive oil dressing.

397

Sunchoke Soup

IC got the Sunchoke Soup, which had a very thick consistency, which we all enjoyed. You could also taste a hint of truffle oil and the soup came with some Sunchoke chips.

398

Albacore Tuna

MH got the Albacore Tuna, which came with a daikon pear slaw, ginger ponzu and pickled red onions. I thought that the tuna would be more like a tuna tataki, where it was lightly seared but raw inside, but it was actually fully cooked. I found it to be overcooked, but the daikon pear slaw made the dish really good since it was sweet and crunchy.

399

Slow Braised Short Ribs (+$2)

IC got the Slow Braised Short Ribs, which came in an interesting presentation. I found the veggies to be plated quite oddly. The short ribs were very flavourful and the meat was extremely tender. It came with some parsnip puree, honey roasted carrots, and braising liquids.

400

Confit Pork Belly (+$1)

MH got the Confit Pork Belly, which was rather a small piece. A good proportion of fat to meat and you really didn’t need to chew much since it was so soft. It came with a side of celery root puree, clams, celery, and a walnut vinaigrette.

401

Pan Seared Ling Cod

For myself, I got the Pan Seared Ling Cod, which was moist in the inside and was seared until there was a crispy skin. It came with some sauteed purple potatoes, apple chorizo emulsion, and kale puree. My favourite was the apple chorizo emulsion, which are pictured as those yellow drops. The sauce was so intense with the smokey chorizo flavour and paired great with the fish.

Pros:
– Reasonable prices for the type of food you get
– Ambiance is chill and great to hang out

Cons:
– Food is good, but not nothing too memorable
– Service is average

Price Range: $30-40

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3
Service: 2
Ambiance: 3
Parking: 3
Overall: 3

Merchant's Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Rodney’s Oyster House (Yaletown)

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For my birthday, N treated me for lunch and she suggested we go to Rodney’s Oyster House. I remember her raving about this place years ago, but I still hadn’t tried it! They now have another location in Gastown, but we headed to the original Yaletown location. N told me they also have other locations in Toronto!

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They have two levels, and we chose to sit upstairs. We were seated near the edge so we could look down and see the oyster shuckers doing their thing. We went on a weekday lunch hour, so the place wasn’t very full. I hear that there are much better deals during their Low Tide Happy Hour, and it’s actually difficult to get seats.

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This is the other side of the seating area for upstairs. The place is decorated with wooden furniture, and it sorta makes you feel like you are on a boat with all the decorations.

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Complementary Sourdough Bread

After placing our orders, we were given some Complementary Sourdough Bread. It also came with some butter in a ketchup container… The place is definitely very chill, so don’t expect any amazing plating. I ordered a glass of white wine, and it came in a highball glass, but he definitely filled it up to the very top. The place has more of a bar vibe to it, but you get to eat all the yummy seafood instead of burgers and fries.

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Since we ordered some oysters, we were also given a tray of sauces! Our server explained that they went from the least spicy to the most. I tried all of them, and even the spiciest one wasn’t too spicy. It had an after spice to it, but was still acceptable for my tastebuds! I think my favourite was the Seawitch Sauce, as it wasn’t too spicy and reminded me of salsa! They also had a variety of vinaigrettes, and Tabasco sauce.

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1/2 dozen Raw Oysters

We got a half dozen of Raw Oysters. I think they are normally $3 each, and during Happy Hour it’s $1.50, so definitely a way better deal since they are priced quite high. They were extremely fresh and sweet though. Some were a little smaller than others, but they were still all very plump. I honestly hadn’t had raw oysters in a long time, and I didn’t exactly remember if I liked them. However, these were so fresh and sweet, that I immediately fell in love with them! They also had some grated cheese on the side, so I decided to try what it would taste like, but I actually didn’t really like the texture of the cheese on it. Since the oysters were cold, the cheese just sat on top of the oyster and gave it a really rough texture to it. I think the cheese with oysters only works when it’s baked oysters with the cheese melted on it!

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Pan Fried Oysters

Since we’re at an oyster house, why not continue with more oysters! We got the Pan Fried Oysters, which were lightly battered and came with a tartar sauce. It was extremely good with the lemon squeezed on top. Again, the oysters were plump and fresh. Really good!

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Steamed Mussels

Lastly, we had the the Steamed Mussels. I love steamed mussels, mostly because the broth is usually really delicious and complements the mussels really well. I found the mussels at Rodney’s a little smaller, but they were still extremely sweet and tender. I think the sauce was a butter base, and it was extremely delicious. At the end of our meal, our server advised us to dip our leftover sourdough bread into the broth, and it was extremely delicious! I could eat that all day.

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And this was a snapshot of our lunch. Plenty of food for two to get us full. The food can be quite expensive during lunch or normal hours, so definitely take advantage of their Low Tide Happy Hour. Service was pretty good, and our server was pretty nice and friendly. And did I add, that most of the servers are pretty good looking ; ) Apparently, they are also the winner of the Hottest Male Servers, so I guess that says it all! Will definitely return!

Rodney's Oyster House on Urbanspoon