Cioppino’s – San Francisco, CA


Cioppino’s
400 Jefferson Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 773-9311

Big groups require big spaces to eat.  Case in point, our party of eight needed ample space to stretch out as well as to be grouped together for a final farewell dinner in San Fran.  With many of us wanting to do some walking around just to see more than the downtown core where we’d spent most of our week, we ended up trekking along the water front and ended up at Cioppino’s for our evening meal.  This place fit the bill as we could see other large parties inside and even got a space up on the top level tired ares that seemed more suited to diners in tables of five or more.  It had a kind of mess hall feel to it, but we were not that close to the other rambunctious gatherings taking place but not too isolated so that we felt neglected, it was a perfect balance.

Apparently, this establishment has a decent history serving up hearty Italian and seafood cuisine.  I’m sure it falls into the realm of the tourist lot, given its location.  But turns out, it didn’t feel that kitschy at all and could have been even better if on a smaller scale with more focused service and attention.  There are times when ambiance and scale really do make a difference in the whole dining experience – and this was one of them.  Perhaps they were smaller when they started, but now are a full fledged, large scale operation.  A decent choice of draft beers (including the local Anchor Steam, and Big Daddy IPA) and red wines (Sonoma, Napa Valley) gave us a good way to get our appetites going further.

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Fish Café – Vancouver, BC


Fish Café
2053 W 41st Ave
Vancouver, BC
(604) 267-3474

The impetus for a repeat visit to the Fish Café in Kerrisdale was the result of a horrible bowl of pho nearby for lunch.  I just couldn’t let my afternoon continue on that low note, so crossing the street I decided to give this place another try.  Back in May on my virgin visit, this is the comment I made on Urban Spoon.

“If you enjoy your F&C on the lighter side, with a fluffier texture to the batter (deep fried), then this place might suit you, but for me, it just didn’t work. Tearing through the crust took no effort with a fork, and the halibut inside soon found its way all over the place in my basket. Chips were good however. For about $18 for a two piece set, perhaps a touch on the pricey side as well. A steady stream of customers at the start of the dinner hour, suggested to me its a popular place for a quick meal.”

When I stepped back in and saw their chalkboard menu board, I was tempted to try their fish & chips again…

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The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar – Seattle, WA


The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar
1301 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA
(206) 623-3500

“One for the road!” my pal exclaimed as we toured the area around Pike Place Market in the evening hours before we made our trek back to Vancouver (following an afternoon at the ballpark and a light meal at Elysian Fields).

With the still blistery hot temperature of the day (an all-time high for Seattle) prevailing, we soon were desperate for some shade and relative comfort.  It was baffling how the ambient temperature seemed to drop a few degrees as we got closer and closer to the waterfront – much needed relief from the high 30C weather.  With only the desire to be in some more manageable environment and a cold one to kick back with, we stumbled upon The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar.  With its open patio, we figured it would suffice.  But a total tourist trap, I know…

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