It’s the Granddaddy of awesome patios.
I could not do a 30 Best Patios series and not include the Grandfather of all patios in Vancouver, the one and only Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House. For over 29 years Joe Fortes, or Fortes as it’s affectionately known as, has been the place to see and be seen. Whether it’s celebrities, local and international, or the behind the scenes powerbrokers of the city you will see them at Joe Fortes and most likely they will be on the rooftop patio. As far as I know the Joe Fortes rooftop is the original rooftop patio in Vancouver and still is only 1 of 5 that you can find in the city. for that reason alone it deserves to be in this series but aside from having a great location and setting it also has some fantastic food. Great patio, great food now all I need is a great date, but I have that too since Dawn Chubai is joining me for a late lunch today. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Joe Fortes is located at 777 Thurlow Street, right at the corner of Thurlow and Robson. You can’t miss the red bricks and the English Green awnings, the building is an icon. It doesn’t matter what time of day you come to Joe Fortes it’s always busy so I highly recommend you make a reservation. Dawn and I arrive just in time to grab a high-top for two on the roof before the next round of diners swooped in.
To start every great lunch there is nothing better than some bubbles and we start ours off with a Blue Mountain Sparkling Rosé and two dishes you must have when you come to Joe Fortes, Oysters two ways that is. You have to order some freshly shucked Oysters (it’s what they are famous for) and I think the absolute best Oysters Rockefeller in the city. Decadent, delicious and divine first course with Dawn. I always feel special when I have oysters, it’s not just the taste it’s the entire process and oysters and sparkling wine are fantastic together.
One of the things I love about the Joe Fortes patio is that I never feel rushed. The servers whisk in and out, refilling your glass, clearing plates when needed and bringing more food when it’s ready but you never feel like they are rushing you. In fact the service is almost invisible, everyone that is except for Frenchie. When the famed host of Joe Fortes comes to your table you know he’s there with his big smile and warm greeting. If you need anything Frenchie makes it happen. What we need to happen is more food and that’s exactly what we get when we order the Shrimp Cocktail. It’s only 4 prawns but these must be the biggest prawns I’ve ever seen. So tasty good.
It’s hard to believe we still have room for more but Dawn and I are enjoying ourselves catching up on the latest news and decide to order one more round of food. For Dawn it’s the Battered Baja Fish Tacos and for me it has to be the Lobster & Shrimp Roll. The tacos are build your own while the lobster rolls is on a bun made fresh daily in house. I bet you’d be hard pressed to get as good a lobster roll back East. So good, nom nom nom.
Patio Check list:
- View – the original Rooftop patio, makes you feel like you are in a garden
- Reservations – not for the patio but ask for it
- All weather patio – yes it is covered and they do have heat lamps
- parking – Valet parking or Robson St if you can find it
- Social Media – follow them on Facebook and Twitter
- Coolness – the food and service are amazing and chances of running into someone you know is high
There are some restaurants and patios that over time become the restaurant and patio when you mention a city and Joe Fortes is one of those. When I put on Instagram that I was there for lunch I had comments from friends in California saying how much they love the Joe Fortes patio. That says something for sure. So when you are out on your culinary adventures and exploring the variety of patios in the city make sure you include some of the hidden gems as well as those like Joe Fortes that never disappoint. Happy patioing!
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