Where to Find the Best—and Cheapest—Oysters in Vancouver

We’re smack dab in the middle of bivalve heaven.

We’re smack dab in the middle of bivalve heaven.

The scene opens not on the Pacific Ocean but at an unnamed temple of culinary excess in Las Vegas, where bread is flown in daily from France, Dover sole from England and, the chef explains in heavily accented anglais, “Ze oysters are Kusshi, from Breetish Columbia—ze best!” And he’s right.

We’re smack dab in the middle of bivalve heaven: in addition to the Kusshi, with its salty-then-sweet profile, there’s the cucumber-y Fanny Bay, the tiny, almost floral Royal Miyagi and the meaty and plump Sun Seeker. All of the above are available at the new 20-seat oyster bar at Sandbar, in a Granville Island setting that’s seriously apropos.

And if you want to dive in deeper to more obscure genera, like Hollie Wood, Pacific Kiss or Golden Mantle, head to the new Papi’s Seafood and Oyster Bar overlooking English Bay or the no-frills Oyster Express, whose Old-West-meets-Chinatown decor often hosts the nerdiest selection in town.

1. Merroir (or marine terroir) is the au courant term that describes the flavours an oyster shows as a result of the marine environment—kelpy, for example—in which it was grown.

2. Sergius Orata of Rome invented the cultivation of oysters decades before the birth of Christ.

3. A baby oyster is called a spat.

4. Unlike many farmed fish, farmed oysters actually improve the quality of the surrounding environment, thanks to their ability to filter up to 50 gallons of water per oyster, per day.

5. Many places use the term “buck-a-shuck” very loosely, but here are the ones that actually follow through on the promise:

Gold ($1) Wildtale Coast

Silver ($1.50) Chewies, Fanny Bay, Rodney’s, Joe Fortes and Oyster Express