First Sunny Day in Vancouver? Head for Go Fish

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You can get here by foot from the city’s downtown or West End if you are feeling ambitious with a walk or bike ride over the Granville Street Bridge.  Or, you can take the Aquabus or a water taxi to this tiny island locale in the middle of two hunks of Vancouver mainland. But however you cross False Creek on a sunny day simply have one goal in mind: lunch at Go Fish Ocean Emporium on a non-touristy bend of Granville Island.

A big crowd for lunch at Go Fish on a sunny Wednesday in May.

In trying to pinpoint the exact location of this corrugated metal shack serving up freshly caught takes on the day’s catch – lightly battered halibut with hand cut chips destined to be doused with malt vinegar, teriyaki salmon sandwiches and oyster po’boys (or tacos!), I took a detour to Yelp after the fact  to get an address (in ultimate hyperlocal fashion, Go Fish does not have a website). Good to know I was not alone in thinking Go Fish was a true off-the-beaten path find. Also good to discover that Go Fish is open six days a week year-round (closed Mondays).

Borrowing from Yelper “Carmina B”, she says to think of Go Fish as “a high-end, seafood food truck with a view.” I’d agree. The fishing boats are docking and selling scallops and British Columbia’s short-season spot prawns just down a nearby ramp, with the backdrop of the False Creek marina, glassy Vancouver highrises and beyond that, English Bay and the still-snow capped North Shore Mountains. You’d gladly sit on a curb with your take away balanced on your knees for this, but Go Fish does have plenty of tables, counter space and wooden benches that turnover in the 10- to 15-minute wait the friendly counter staff tell you to anticipate, as everything is cooked to order.

Apparently, a plastic tarp is pulled around Go Fish on less-than-perfect days, but the day we stumbled upon it – on our way to the Granville Island Public Market to shop for flowers – the sun was shining and the temperature was destined to hit a balmy 17 (Celsius, that is). I can’t vouch for the damp and rainy days Vancouver, a.k.a. “Rain  City”, is known for. I have a feeling the food is just as good if the sun is nowhere in sight. But our day at Go Fish was a special one – that evening we were married back on the mainland, the sun still high in the sky as we inched toward summer, reflecting off the bay as the mountains and highrises circled in to give us a warm Canadian embrace.

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