Whoosh! Another cyclist rounds the curve of the sea wall next to our table. We're on the patio at the Burrard Bridge Marine Bar & Grill, where little more than a railing separates the physically active—cyclists, rollerbladers, and joggers—from lazybones like us, whose sole exertion is lifting a pitcher of beer. The location is fantastic for people-watching and gazing out over the deep blue sparkle of False Creek.
Last month, the somewhat awkwardly named Burrard Bridge Marine Bar & Grill opened in the old Fiddlehead Joe's location. On the north shore of False Creek, it's tucked into a bend in the sea wall just east of the Burrard Bridge. With 70 outdoor seats looking across the water to the marina and Granville Island, the restaurant seems to be mostly patio—and that's a good thing.
The Daniel Hospitality Group, the folks behind Delilah's, boasts other primo-patio restaurants in town besides this one, including Coal Harbour's Mill Marine Bistro & Bar and eateries at Stanley Park's Prospect Point and Malkin Bowl. “We believe that location plays a huge role in your overall experience,” reads the company's Web site. In summer, I couldn't agree more. If I've been cooped up at work on a precious nice day (oh, the injustice of it all), I'll eat elsewhere if I can't snag a seat in the open air.
That said, if the patio at the Burrard Grill was full, I'd consider a seat inside. The wraparound, floor-to-ceiling windows make the view here almost as good as it is on the patio, and sliding glass doors that are kept ajar let the air flow.
Plus, the ship-to-shore atmosphere inside is kind of fun. Owner Daniel Frankel collects nautical antiques, and many have washed up here. The bar area is decorated with old buoys and hundreds of colourful wooden floats. Round Japanese glass floats hang from the ceiling in nets, and an ancient mariner's wheel marks the restaurant's entrance.
The place goes beyond the nautical, however. It aspires to be your local “pirate pub”, in a Johnny Depp—rather than a Somali pirate—kind of way. A skull-and-crossbones welcome sign lays out the rules: “Keep yer filthy hands off me wench” and “Keep yer filthy hands off me rum.” Yes, every day is Talk Like a Pirate Day here, which will entertain those who can't wait for September 19. (Brush up on pirate pickup lines at www.talklikeapirate.com/.)
If this is all starting to sound a bit tacky, it's not”¦exactly. Dark, polished wood tables lend some class, and the overall effect is modern and lighthearted.
When our server comes to take our order, we haven't even looked at the menu, we've been so taken with our surroundings. She's as perky as can be, and her skirt has a slit that goes up to her tailbone, but because she proceeds to give us good service, I don't hold it against her.
Opening our menus, we find a fairly standard mix of casual favourites: burgers, caesar salad, fish and chips, thin-crust pizzas, stir-fries, and nachos. A member of the Ocean Wise program, the restaurant is seafood-oriented, offering calamari, four kinds of moules frites, grilled salmon, and halibut. Mains run about $10 to $20. (At brunch, egg dishes are $9 to $13.) There's Whistler and Granville Island beer on tap, and a B.C.–centric wine list.
The two of us decide to split a bowl of Delilah's mussels ($13.99) to start. Though not a huge portion, the mussels are nicely presented, and arrive plump and juicy. However, the chipotle cream sauce, strewn with bits of diced tomato and red onion, is just okay.
My modestly sized blackened wild salmon entrée ($16.99) arrives next to a nicely spiced bed of barley, which is a welcome change from the usual rice. The salmon is ridiculously overcooked, however, and dry as July asphalt. I cut the kitchen some slack since the restaurant is still teething and phasing in new dishes, but they'll soon have to do better than this. My husband's halibut and chips ($17.99 for two pieces) is good but not remarkable, with a thin, blistery beer-batter coating the fish. The chips, however, are fabulous: piping hot, crisp, and deliciously seasoned—I just wish there were more of them.
The fries are the best part of the meal, which says something. But this place isn't so much about the food. Great fries, cold beer, and plenty of atmosphere—sometimes that says it all.