Vancouver’s Ultimate Seafood Towers

Oysters, lobster, Dungeness crab—all beautifully presented on ice and ready for you to devour

Credit: Boulevard

Throw on a bib and dig into mouth-watering seafood towers fit for a king

Feeling blue and want to feel insta-fancy? I have two words for you: seafood tower. It’s impossible to face one of these bad boys at your table and feel anything but the giddy glee of a devil-may-care kabillionaire. Oysters, lobster, Dungeness crab—all beautifully presented on ice and ready for you to devour.

We have some of the best seafood in the world just off our coastline in Vancouver—and a world-class sustainable seafood classification, the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program to help us make sustainable choices when we order. So be a smart kabillionaire, ask questions when you order your seafood, and always ask for Ocean Wise.

Click through for our top seafood platters in Vancity…

Credit: Steve Li

Blue Water Cafe, 1095 Hamilton Street

As you would expect from sustainable seafood champ chef Frank Pabst, everything on Blue Water’s beautiful seafood tower is 100 per cent Ocean Wise, including lobster from the Northumberland Straight. I really love the design of this tower, with its curved supports like tendrils of seaweed.

There’s plenty to choose from here, including B.C. oysters, clams and mussels, along with a terrific crunchy Pacific jellyfish salad (straight from Blue Water’s Unsung Heroes menu), juicy sweet Dungeness crab and a buttery scallop ceviche. My favourites were an incredibly punchy and peppery tuna gom-ae with a gloriously umami kick and the huge meaty fists of selva prawns.

Credit: Joe Fortes

Joe Fortes, 777 Thurlow Street

Of course if it’s summer, then there’s no better place to be than on the patio at Joe Fortes soaking up the sun, great service and delicious seafood! Joe’s tower is, as you would expect, pleasingly piled high with meaty lemon-dill marinated mussels, fat chunks of scallops in a lime and garlic-y ceviche, and juicy Vietnamese tiger prawns to dunk in the punchy house cocktail sauce, along with local oysters, marinated clams, albacore tuna and a 1lb Atlantic lobster.

Credit: Boulevard

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, 845 Burrard Street

Trust ever-stylish Boulevard to have a fresh take on the seafood tower. Theirs comes in Martha Sturdy-designed resin bowls filled with ice and beautifully garnished with gleaming lobster claws, shrimp tails and bright scattered greens.

This one features a fantastically punchy wild sidestripe shrimp ceviche and a Dungeness Crab Louie salad smothered in smooth and creamy mayonnaise, along with a smoky Read Island mussel escabèche, snow crab legs, wild shrimp and local oysters. The taro root chips that it comes with are dangerously addictive. Pair with an icy Muscadet for the perfect combination. Another 100 per cent Ocean Wise winner. 

Credit: Coast

Coast, 1054 Alberni Street

If you’re looking for maximum wow factor, then look no further than Coast whose tower arrives billowing with dry ice. Always a fun and lively room, there’s no denying that Coast’s theatrical touch adds to the entertainment.

This two-tier tower (try saying that fast) features a great selection of seafood, including a spicy tuna roll, delicate cod ceviche, East and West Coast oysters, mussels from Salt Spring Island and probably the most delicious Dungeness crab I’ve ever tasted: sweet, succulent and so, so good. I loved the presentation of one of the spider crabs seemingly clawing its way up the tower too!

Credit: Allison Kuhl

Ancora, 1600 Howe St #2

The gloriously-named Ancora Glacier is, in fact, not so much a seafood tower as a seafood table—and jolly handy it is too, as you can see your companion across it and it’s exactly the right height to tuck your wine underneath. Essentially a ‘greatest hits’ from their enRoute ‘Best New Restaurant 2016‘ nominated-menu, this is the city’s most unique seafood tower offering an untraditional combo of smoky Peruvian mussel escabeche, a silky Dungeness crab causa (a delicious cold-whipped potato dish) along with a zingy ceviche, a tartare and some sashimi from their excellent raw bar.

This was my first time eating Little Wing oysters from northern B.C.’s Okeover Inlet—wow! Sweet and fresh, these are my new favourites. See if you can hunt some down, you’ll adore them. All this plus a blissful view across False Creek and a 100 per cent Ocean Wise offering. Fantastic stuff.

YEW Seafood and Bar, 791 West Georgia Street

Well, this is adorable! YEW offers up a ‘tackle box’ instead of a tower, and you get to pick what you’d like in it. You can choose either five or seven pots (and trust me, these are generous portions) from the menu which include marinated Viking Bay mussels, buttery raw Albacore tuna and plump poached side stripe shrimp, and—of course–beautiful B.C. oysters.

Best of all are the crunchy puffs that come served with the tackle box which you can use to judiciously scoop everything up. My recommendation? Skip the wine, and try this with one of Lauren Mote’s new cocktails from the Oceans menu.