Looking for great local seafood? Go Fish.
At first glance, Go Fish Ocean Emporium is pretty unassuming. A small kitchen shack with a wooden patio partially sheltered by a weathered cloth awning, an exterior wall adorned with fish nets and seashells, and garden boxes brimming with all-edible herbs and flowers advertise a rustic, al fresco dining experience.
Located at 1505 West 1st Avenue, near the south end of the Granville St. Bridge, Go Fish looks across the street at False Creek and the multitude of boats moored at the docks there. In partnership with the Oceanwise organization, Go Fish serves only local, line-caught seafood.
Sustainability never tasted so good. Everything on the menu is made from scratch. The only things they don’t make in-house are their bread products, which they get from Tartine Bread and Pies on Beach Avenue.
Go Fish has been recommended to me several times, so I thought it high time to check it out. Chef Matt Christie promised to indulge me in, “a feast so gluttonous it would surely reserve [me] space in hell”, and he delivered on his promise. As we took our food from the service counter to our table, my companions and I took a moment to drool over the simple, colourful presentation. The moment our photographer had finished snapping pictures. we tucked in with gusto.
Our order was a pretty thorough sampling of the menu:
Tuna Tacone and Oyster Tacone - $9
Halibut and Chips - $10
Chargrilled Wild Pacific Salmon Sandwich - $9.5
Chargrilled rare Albacore Tuna Sandwich - $9.5
Sesame Tuna Sandwich (a special Daily Feature) - $12
The oyster and tuna tacones consisted of fried oysters or seared tuna wrapped with coleslaw, snakebite salsa and a hint of cilantro, in lightly-grilled flour tortilla cones. Though the tacones were simple and unpretentious, the tuna melted in our mouths, and the oysters were fresh and explosively tasty.
A note about the coleslaw: Go Fish’s Pacific Rim coleslaw is not your usual rich, droopy, mayo-smothered fish 'n chips side. Rejecting the classic, they use a sesame vinaigrette with ground roasted pumpkin seeds for added texture. Although its inclusion in the tacones makes them slightly messy to eat, the fresh, crunchy cabbage and unusual dressing make it a welcome change from traditional 'slaw.
The halibut and chips, which we enjoyed to the sound of hair metal from the kitchen’s stereo counterpointed with the rhythmic slamming of potatoes being freshly press-cut into fries, was some of the best I’ve had; perfectly fried to a crisp golden brown, thinly battered and not too greasy. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular, and I was surprised to find it priced on par with most any other fish 'n chips place I’ve seen. The fries were thick, fluffy on the inside, and likewise lacking in excess grease. Also from the fryer came a tasty fish cake seasoned with fresh dill, and coated in the same Granville Island beer batter as the halibut.
Finally, we moved on to our sandwiches, which were artistically presented on Portuguese-style buns, lightly toasted and fresh, with sides of coleslaw. The salmon was distinctively flavoured with shrimp mayo, black sesame seeds and chili spice, while the lightly grilled tuna was nicely complimented by a subtle wasabi mayo and crisp organic greens.
The daily feature tuna sandwich was a mouth-watering symphony of textures; tender tuna in a sesame ponzu glaze, rolled in sesame seeds and stacked with crisp greens, chewy nori and crunchy cucumber slices; definitely a major highlight. Although fries aren’t included in the price of Go Fish’s sandwiches, they are a very worthwhile indulgence for those who want to explore sustainable seafood beyond classic fried dishes.
Overall, Go Fish serves up some outstandingly tasty fare that’s locally-minded, environmentally conscious, and reasonably priced for its quality. Combined with its casual, al-fresco atmosphere and friendly staff, this makes it one fish shack to which I will definitely be returning soon.
All photos courtesy of Sherry Lu Photography.