Canoe Brewpub and Restaurant

450 Swift Street, tel: (250) 361-1940

Review Update - April 14, 2007

Seasons change, chefs change and Canoe's kept up reasonably well. Still a lot better under Truffles management than it ever was before, there is still a bit of slip and slide.  The new menu is a bit of a snoozer, but has a few good core dishes - don't worry, the Cobb salad remains (the best in town I think).

Patty and I were in the mood for burgers, so off we went. I had a veggie burger with a Caesar salad and he had a beef burger and fries. I was happy the server didn't lie, when asked if the 'house' veggie burger was really 'house' made. She answered, no it wasn't, but also that it wasn't factory made - the answer I was looking for. The burger itself was decent, if a little heavily curry flavoured and in need of a condiment for moisture. The Caesar salad was made with good quality lettuce and decent parm, but wasn't tossed - looked good, but was less satisfying to eat. Patty's beef burger was cooked medium. If it was intentional, it was a nice change, but considering how many people balk at undercooked burgers, it's hard to imagine it was by design.

Having declared the food to have passed muster, we must note the decay of the physical surroundings. Things are starting to need a clean-up, finishes are starting to scuff and the paint needs touch ups. As for the crowning glory of upkeep - they still haven't managed to get the toilets in the bar area in working order. I don't think I've ever visited Canoe to find those toilets and the cool two-sided sink working properly. Often times they're out of service completely. Is there a gremlin at work here? Are the managers of Canoe battling the underworld in their mission to provide running water for patrons?

All in all Canoe stands up to the litmus test for pubs. There is a slide, but for now it seems fairly limited.

Reviewed: December 18, 2005
What a turnaround!

I used to really dislike the Canoe Club, the former incarnation of Canoe - the food was processed and the service consistently some of the worst I've ever experienced. I had been very reluctant to return. However, under the management of the Truffles Group, Canoe has transformed itself into one of the better downtown pubs for food and beer. While not the most charming pub downtown, the architecture is cool and sophisticated and the atmosphere relaxed in a yuppie kinda way. While we all know how much I might hate the use of the term gastro pub, Canoe is closer than anywhere else in town with regard to defining itself that way. That said, I really appreciate them not trying to use this term to describe themselves.

After a day of Christmas shopping, we like many, needed alcohol to recuperate. Since we were in Chinatown, Canoe was the obvious choice. We were attended to quickly and given the option to sit in the bar or restaurant. While we would always choose the bar, the restaurant is nice option for people with kids.

For a Sunday afternoon, we were astounded by the number of service staff on the floor. Probably more than they needed, but the service was strong. A brewpub, their beer list includes four signature beers and one or two seasonal specialities. Patty, our Little Piggy beer aficionado, is a fan of the Beaver Brown Ale, but also enjoyed a pint of the seasonal winter ale. He noted, winter ales are all the rage at the moment and to be careful how much you drink of them, because they tend to pack a alcoholic whollop. I had a glass of the Mt Bourcherie Gewürztraminer and the Rosemount Shiraz. Both nice glasses of wine and part of an above average wine list for a pub. However,  I'm always disappointed that so little of the wine list is available by the glass.

Patty had the Chili Prawn Pizza ($15). A nice thin crust pizza, albeit fortified with a lot fat. The fat, of course, makes it delicious, but could be little deceiving if you were calorie conscious. The flavour of the pizza was good, though not especially spicy. The prawns were healthy and plump and the bacon was a nice touch.

I had the Mezze Platter ($13.5). Likely one of the best values on the menu and ideal for sharing. The presentation was awesome and I was delighted with the hearty serving of marinated olives (my fave.) The hummus was lovely and creamy, although we were slightly less impressed with the sun dried tomato dip. The beet terrine, was interesting and brightened up the presentation of the dish. The risotto balls, were similarly an unusual choice, but worked because this dish benefited from a warm selection. A little much for one person, we thought they might be better offering a smaller portion at a lower a price for one, and slightly larger portion at higher price for two.

We're delighted with the turnaround this location has made, since you can never have too many good pubs in our opinion.