Edwards Seafood: Where San Francisco Seafood Diner Meets Vancouver
Taking over the original Bao Down spot in Gastown is Edwards Seafood, a cozy San Francisco seafood inspired eatery which showcases the best of sustainable and lesser-known BC seafood. After spending ample time in San Francisco eating seafood by the piers, Greg Edwards and Matt Adolfo (same owners as Bao Down) returned to Vancouver only to notice the lack of similar food in town. Thanks to that, we now have our own classic seafood diner which utilizes Ocean-Wise seafood (though Greg jokes that they haven't applied for the certification yet). The dishes are French-Italian inspired with an Asian influence - a style Greg says describes Pacific style food in Vancouver well.
As part of a media event, I was able to have a taste of some of the popular items from Edwards which you'll see below. Aside from these, there are also vegetarian offerings and desserts such as strawberry shortcake (seasonal) and dark chocolate pudding. They exclusively serve 49th Parallel beer by the can which is also used in their fish batter in many dishes. Excuse me as I type the rest of this post while drooling.
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FISH & CHIPS
Nothing gets a seafood party started like a good 'ol fish and chips, am I right? Super crispy (and served beautifully as well), the fish is fried with Ruby Tears Red Ale (courtesy of 49th Parallel) Batter. Greg tells us that the fish is treated Japanese-style; with a lot of care to ensure freshness. Unlike the common fish 'n chip fish offerings of salmon, cod, and halibut, Edwards' also offers turbot (also known as arrowtooth flounder) which is super meaty when cooked and also the most abundant flatfish in the region. It's fried similar to tempura but with a few extra tricks. I can definitely attest to the crispiness as a food Instagrammer - trust me, we take FOREVER to take pictures and yet everything was still crispy by the time we started eating!
Paired with the fish is a house-made tartar sauce and coleslaw which is done (almost) Southern style. The classic English chips are cut from big rustic potatoes and triple fried: first time long and slow, second time shorter and on lower heat, and lastly flash fried to get maximum crispiness on the outside while keeping the chip airy and puffy in the middle.
Loved the fish, loved the sauce!
Visually stunning, this dish is named after a special person in Greg's life (cue the "awws") and is a popular item on Edwards' menu. Farmed King salmon from northern BC is accompanied with sauteed spinach, yellow pepper, tomato, and black truffle. The yellow gazpacho sauce with saffron is super vibrant and gives the dish a lovely pop of colour and flavour as well.
Loved this dish and I think it would do well with a lot of diners.
SEAFOOD MAC 'N CHEESE
Another one of my favourite dishes of the night. There is really nothing as heartwarming as a really good mac and cheese - and guess what, this one has all sorts of seafood in it too. Made with cream, mascarpone cheese, anise, and more cheese, it was surprisingly light and went very nicely with the mix of halibut, cod, shrimp, and Dungeness crab meat. I was one of the late ones to taste this dish so I ended up eating the last few bites but it was all still SO good.
You'll find yourself licking the bowl to get every last bit of the sauce. (winky face)
This creation is once again named after a special person in Greg's life - this time, his father who took a strong liking to fish sandwiches. This dish is also made from BC turbot and fried with batter exclusive to 49th Parallel, sandwiched in a bun, and topped with pickles and pico de gallo. On the side, is a classic aioli based seafood sauce (Louis sauce).
It's a bit of a handful, but I love me a good fish sandwich too - call me Clifford Jr. I guess?
PAN FRIED BC SARDINES
Ooh, I love local sardines and this dish really hits the spot. Edwards' gets their sardines whole, fillets and pan fries them until crispy. They're tossed into a lovely concoction of tomatoes, onions, garlic, lemon, and topped off with a lotttt of parsley.
This dish is a crowd-pleaser for anyone who loves seafood!
KING SALMON POKE CONE
This salmon poke cone is light, simple, easy, and fresh. It's done very classically with sweet soy, sesame oil and paired with pico de gallo with lots of guacamole on a peppercorn cone. Unfortunately, I didn't the chance to try this one before it got devoured by fellow foodies but I heard it's pretty good.
BASQUE STYLE BC OCTOPUS
Echoing the French-Italian style of food here, this dish of octopus is braised Basque-style with tomatoes, cayenne peppers, paprika, and lots of spices. Served on top of zucchini and spaghettini, this makes for a wholesome meal. Unfortunately, another dish I was too late to try but it smelled great.
BLACKENED ALBACORE TUNA
This is a more simple dish which features a pasta Puttanesca topped with blackened albacore tuna and broccolini. For those who don't know what Puttanesca is, I did a quick Google search for ya'll: it's a pasta dish invented in Naples which features rich flavours from tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers, and garlic. Oh and when literally translated from Italian, spaghetti alla Puttanesca means "spaghetti in the style of a whore". Not sure if that's a safe food to eat around kids.
A nice light spicy tinge here and there makes this a great seafood pasta dish to order.
TUSCAN STEAMED MUSSELS
Every seafood restaurant is only complete with a steamed mussel bowl. These bad boys are from Salt Spring Island and cooked with white wine, lemon, herbs, olives, capers, and finished with anchovies. I wasn't lucky enough to get a piece of mussel but I tasted the broth and oooh it's goooood. A very classic dish with light flavours.
Though seats are limited, this is a great spot for a seafood experience which showcases great local offerings and allows you to take in historical Gastown views. I love the relaxed, casual yet classy vibe of the interior and variety of the menu options. I can see myself bringing my out-of-town friends here - albeit not too big of a group. Prices are quite reasonable and the location is accessible via a 5-10 minute walk from the Waterfront skytrain station (main entrance). Crack a cold one and take a spot on the picnic table outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather we've been having lately - hurry before Raincouver starts again.
R E V I E W.
+ food quality: 9.5/10
+ price/affordability: 8.5/10
+ atmosphere: 7/10
+ overall: 8.75/10