Burrard Bridge Marine Bar & Grill's pirate pub serves it all up with a view, matey

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      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.


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      Jun 23, 2009 at 7:42pm

      This is the worst excuse for a restaurant review that I have read in, well possibly forever.

      Usually the first section I look for, I will definitely skip the restaurant reviews in the GS.

      There must be several unemployed journalist dying for work. Time to search the help wanted.

      C Laurent

      Jun 28, 2009 at 9:51pm

      o.k. I'm a local living right in the Pirate Pub's neighbourhood. This evening was my third (and final) visit to the restaurant. It has a great location, view and the servers are warm, attractive and attentive. The menu is 'abbreviated' simplistic so can they deliver simple fare of 30or so sea inspired offerings? Not so. On my second visit the Margherita pizza was overdone. A dinner companion's cod and chips failed to make the grade - the oil soaked fish was not even passable for the $13.99 price tag. Our table of six had to request that the music be turned down (blaring hard rock). On to this evening... sample of the tartar sauce oops! "it's usually better but we've run out of capers". The white wine mussels had a watery broth with just cut raw onions and tomotoes, and no hint of garlic which would have brought out the taste of the mussels which honestly were trying their west coast best. Synopsis: the Pirate Pub will sail through the summer on it's location alone, but it will likely sink in the fall solely on the menu's failure to make the grade. Alas, summer is here and the scenery (including the servers) will keep PP afloat for a few months - before the test of the west - the locals will make it walk the plank.


      Jun 29, 2009 at 2:38pm

      Thom is out to lunch. I want a restaurant review to tell me where to find good places to soak up summer sun, cool vibes and water views - even if the food sucks. More often than not, I go out for the atmosphere and to socialize anyways. I can cook good food at home for a fraction of the price - when I go out I want entertainment value - a good view, stylish room, a fun atmosphere to hang out in. Yeah I'll go to a hole in the wall if it has great food for a good price. I'll even occasionally shell out for a pricey place with food to die for, even if the atmosphere is generic or dull. But when my wallet makes me choose between one or the other, I ussually want to know where I can find a fun, friendly or funky vibe, even if I have to settle for a bad burger and a beer to gain access. Keep telling me what's out there...(I need to find more fun places to escape from my crappy apartment!!!)


      Jan 19, 2011 at 2:13pm

      While this review is terrible written, some of the points are valid. When it days on the Daniel group site that location plays a huge part in the experience, it should read the ONLY part of the experience. Both here and at the mill, the food would appall even the most easy to please. This place is a full on tourist trap! Beware! At least the managers like it here. All three times I've been here, the same two managers are here getting smashed. Maybe they don't pay the exorbitant prices we do. Please raise the bar Daniel group.

      Screw You Jones!

      Apr 9, 2013 at 1:16am

      Jones, here's what you wrote: "... this review is terrible written." Uh-huh, so is your review of the review. Hope it "days on" you to shut up before you humiliate yourself next time!