November 09, 2009 | | Comments 9

The Cannery Seafood House on Commissioner Street, Vancouver

Updated on 12 April 2010: This restaurant has closed according to Urbanspoon.

It’s such a shame.

It’s such a shame that such a fine restaurant like The Cannery are forced to close through no fault of theirs.

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Last week, I had a week long strategy planning session with our core project members who came from several countries. The meetings were grueling to say the least. On the last day of the meeting, it rested upon me to organize a team dinner. I love planning dinners like these and chose one of the best place one could go to for such team dinners — The Cannery.

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If you have never heard of The Cannery, you will never accidentally bump into this place. It is because it is located out of way. As a matter of fact, it is located right in the middle of the Vancouver Port.

To get to The Cannery you need to clear the port security although it is generally no fuss. They will ask where you are going and they will let you through if you just say you are going to The Cannery.

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It will feel kind of weird because located in the middle of warehouses, silos and train tracks is a restaurant very unlike what you will find elsewhere in Vancouver.

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The moment we walked, my guests were already remarking how this place exudes the old-fashioned attractiveness and charm. When I told them this place will close in just a few months, they said the same thing … “what a shame”. That is said even before we had started eating.

Gail was saying that they can never replace a place like this. They can’t just close this and hope to reopen it in another place with the same experience. Sha said that it will never be the same again. I agree.

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You really got to see this place for yourself. I felt it is just the perfect restaurant for just about any occasion. There are nice little corner with the view of the Burrard Inlet for a nice cozy romantic dinner. At another corner is a casual setting at the fire place.

We got ourselves a very nice corner for our group of 13 people. I could not be happier myself. :-)

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Our waitress was a cheerful person and knows the food and drinks they serve very well. Too well, because she rattled off such a long description of the martini that most of us just did not understand what we got. Most of us had that martini “with a dash of raspberry” you see on the right.

We had a few bottles of wines to accompany the food. One of them was Syrah which they all raved about. I had the strong red wine but really, I can’t tell the difference between this vs other red wine. Our waitress offered someone in our party to taste it before they are poured for the rest of us.

Looking at the number of bottles we ordered throughout the night, I can imagine how much this is all gonna cost. Good thing I am not the one who had to expense it!

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It was very dim in the restaurant. I had to push the ISO setting to “enhanced” in order take these pictures. Even that, it came out with motion blur for some picture. But really, am glad it turn out mostly OK even with these difficult lightings.

The bread was nothing to shout about and does not wow us at all. I had tasted better … but …

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… the lobster oil with the balsamic vinegar pretty much made up for the ho-hum bread. This is produced and bottled in Vancouver and is the invention of their Executive Chef. You can actually buy them at $25 a bottle (see here).

I had a lot of the bread with this dip.

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Their menu is laid out as “first course” and “second course” instead of the normal Appetizer and Main.

My first course is the Roasted Mussels ($16). The mussels was kind of OK — no big deal. It was served on a sizzling cast iron pan resting on an iron stand. The better part was not the mussels but the gravy and the really crispy bread.

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Here are some of the other first courses that the others in our party ordered. The Cannery’s first courses are … between $8 and $17. I must say that dining here is pricey.

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My second course was called the Trio of Shellfish. This is $46 and consists of large prawns, lobster tail and west coast scallops. Nice and absolutely no complains here. They were as fresh as one would expect and had very minimal seasoning.

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I read in reviews that The Cannery’s Salmon Wellington is to die for and is the one dish that stands out from their menu of already great seafood.

They do look very dry, don’t they? Personally, I don’t fancy Wellingtons because I find that the pastry just absorbs too much yummy juices from the meat.

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I find the second courses of the rest kind of unexciting. I think they rely on the pure freshness of their seafood and does not think it requires much seasoning and flavouring.

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The best part of the evening has to be just after our second courses. We ordered desserts and told them to hold off serving us while we walk down to the docks to enjoy the evening. It was a beautiful night and everyone remarked how spectacularly pretty Vancouver is.

We were told that Steve Balmer (the Microsoft head honco) once flew in and docked at this dock to dine here. Cool huh?

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My dessert was called Jacques Favourites ($11). I guess that had to be good because “Jacques” is the name of the pastry chef at The Cannery. It has a dark hazelnut praline cube, blood orange creme brulee and house made caramel pecan ice cream with an edible crispy spoon.

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The most beautiful looking dessert has to be the Pavlova.

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Like I earlier said, it is such a shame that The Cannery is forced to close because of security concerns at the Vancouver Port. I heard that they will be closed for good in March 2010 when their current lease ends with the Vancouver Port Authority.

Over the almost 40 years that The Cannery have been in existence, they had amassed countless awards which they proudly hangs on their walls. The above is just a part of the many awards they had.

Dining here is pricey but for that special occasion, it is just the perfect place to go to. Go and experience dining in this unique Vancouver institution before they are closed for good. Even if they move to a new location, it will never be the same again.

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The above are some pictures of their menu I took from the board at the entrance. Click on them to see a larger image.

The Cannery on Urbanspoon

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  1. Anita says:

    Ahhh…the food in your pictures looks great! I’m glad you checked this place out. It is quite unique in getting there and the view from the restaurant and the dock is gorgeous. I am looking forward to going there again before it closes down. :(

  2. Joyce says:

    I went to the Cannery a couple of times before and I’m hoping to go back before it’s closed for good. Last I heard was that they will not be relocating to another location. So this is it. Only a few more months to try it out.

  3. Sherman says:

    It is sad that the Cannery is closing. Definitely one of my favs. It’s such a part of my life since I’ve been here countless times with family, friends and Viv. Sad…

  4. Michael says:

    Hey Ben,

    I love reading your blog and all the different restaurants you and your family go to. Theres a petition to try and save the Cannery and you can sign it if you like. Its so sad to see this restaurant have to shut down..

    http://www.savethecannery.com/

  5. Marike says:

    “The Cannery” is back…on Kingsway as the Pink Peppercorn. Review seems to be mixed though.

    See article:

    http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Restaurant+review+Cannery+resurfaces+Kingsway/3736732/story.html

  6. Jonathan says:

    I went here with the family for my sister’s b-day a few years ago. I had the same complaints as you, namely the steep prices and the under-seasoned food. We also had the tiniest portions – my brother had to crack open a can of soup when we got home. I also wasn’t a fan of the lobster oil – it tasted rancid in a fishy way. Bland, over-priced that doesn’t even try to fill you up – I was glad that they closed!

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