I first wrote about Red Fish Blue Fish in October 2010, the happy month I discovered this unorthodox takeout grill serving Victoria’s freshest, best-priced seafood from a retrofitted shipping container on the downtown waterfront. Since then, this tiny seasonal, sustainable fish shack has won the hearts and stomachs of thousands of locals and Victoria visitors.
While most know this as a lunch hotspot (with queues of hungry diners stretching the length of the dock from 11:30 a.m. onwards), it’s worth noting that, in the peak summer months, Red Fish Blue Fish serves food until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and up to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. (Note, however: if the weather is poor, the stand may close as early as 3 p.m. Call 250-298-6877 to confirm.)
Honey and I arrived after work yesterday with healthy appetites. As we waited in line, we reviewed the menu and debated the many options. (Click here to see the full Red Fish Blue Fish menu.) Three times I was certain I’d decided on my order . . . only to talk myself into another dish.
Yes, definitely the scallop tacones with a side of those incredible Kennebec fries with the Indian-inspired sweet red curry sauce ladled over them. Mmmmm. Or . . . wait. Look at that man’s heaping plate of crispy, golden fish and chips. Yeah. I should have the halibut F&C, with a side of clam-miso gravy—yum, is that new? Though, can I really bear to pass on the superb Qualicum Bay scallop tacones I love so much?
In the end, Honey and I settled on one BBQ wild salmon tacone for me ($5), a seared albacore tuna tacone ($6) for him—both with the to-die-for spicy spot prawn mayo—and a half order of seafood poutine ($6) to share.
We opted to have our tacones prepared “tostada-style,” served open-faced on a crisp corn tortilla rather than inside the standard flour-tortilla roll-up. Big thumbs-up there. The extra corn crunch is a lovely addition to the grilled fish and fresh slaw.
The real culinary revelation of this visit, though, was the seafood poutine.
As part of my research into Victoria’s best poutine (the French Canadian traditional concoction of French fries, white cheddar curds, and gravy), some time ago I sampled the spicy Pacific fish poutine at Red Fish Blue Fish. Though I couldn’t fault the portion (the enormous half-size makes a bountiful entree), I wasn’t a big fan of the mildly spicy, panko-crusted bits of white fish served over fries with a Thousand Island-like seafood sauce—though others rave over the stuff.
That said, the new seafood poutine dish is in a category all its own. Feast your tastebuds on a mountain of perfect French fries topped with savoury miso-clam gravy (a pescatarian’s gravy-dream come true), mounds of local shrimp mixed with pieces of exquisitely flavourful smoked tuna belly (a pescatarian’s dream substitute for bacon) and crispy fried shallots.
Again, the $6 half size is huge—more than enough for two to share. Honey and I left Red Fish Blue Fish groaningly full of delicious fare and with a mere dent in our wallets.
The whole dining experience is refreshingly guilt-free, too. The entire menu is certified sustainable under the Ocean Wise program. The restaurant also emphasizes recycled and recyclable meal containers and cutlery.
To locate Red Fish Blue Fish, look for the striking pink Custom House heritage building on Wharf Street, at the bottom of Broughton. Once you find that, just walk downhill from Wharf toward the ocean, following the driveway just south of Custom House, and you’ll see a queue of customers on the waterfront walkway.
- Red Fish Blue Fish (250-298-6877), 1006 Wharf, Victoria, BC.