Provence – A Taste of the Pacific (Vancouver)

Trips to Vancouver are always a little overindulgent.  A little too much sitting around on the couch, a little too much wine, a little too much cheese and a little too much food.  On my last trip, my parent’s took me to one of their usual haunts that serves up some pretty good seafood, Provence.  The service is very welcoming and the dining area is dim with a classy but not overly pretentious kind of feel.  To start, the amouse bouche was a tuna tartar with a squid ink jelly.

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A very interesting and refreshing dish.  The tuna was excellent and the squid ink, which is a little thick, added an interesting texture and flavor.  Next, we shared the steamed mussels in a white wine garlic sauce.

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Compared to Toronto mussels in Vancouver or GIANT!  Meaty, fresh and complimented well by the nice light white wine sauce.  I was expecting something a little creamier and heavier but this was very nice.  I think anything heavier would have been too much.  Next, we tried the safron risotto balls with mozzarella and a sweet tomato sauce.

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Really how can you go wrong with deep fried cheese and rissota balls.  Mixed with the tomato sauce, this was an excellent dish.  Perfect balance of textures, flavors and temperatures.  It’s a pretty rich dish which was a contrast to the mussels.  Next we shared the Merguez, spicy lamb sausages with fennel in tomato sauce.

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At first you don’t taste the heat of the sausages but then it hits you.  This dish has some kick right around the third bite.  Excellent tomato sauce and very interesting and very tasty sausage.  My father had the Fish special, cod with prawns over cannelloni in a butter sauce.

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He seemed to enjoy it.  Cod is always a nice fish to eat especially when it’s really fresh like in Vancouver.  He didn’t finish the cannelloni but I tried some of the leftovers after and thought it as pretty good.  I always find colored pastas always have an interesting flavor.  My mother had the Prawns Provencal, wild pacific prawns, garlic, parsley, brandy, butter sauce, seven grain rice and zucchini spaghetti.

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Like the mussels, the prawns were big.  They are very generous with the portions.  My mother said she liked the dish.  I could smell the garlic and butter from my seat.  It smelled delicious.  I had the Seafood platter, 1/2 lobster, prawns, scallops, mussels, clams, a tuna steak, cod, sauteed vegetables and seven grain rice.

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The lobster was a little disappointing.  A little rubbery, perhaps a little overcooked.  The clams and mussels were similar to the starters and were impressive, not only in size but in taste.  The tuna steak was good, heavy but good.  I think I would have preferred it a little less cooked through but it was still good.  The cod was very nice.  Soft, buttery, delicious.  The scallops were a little overdone as well but quite flavorful and the prawns had a nice bounce to them.  For dessert, we shared the Lemon Tart with hazzelnut brittle and whipped cream.

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It was the perfect way to end the meal.  Sweetness mixed with lemon.  The dessert was nice and light.  For more added sweetness you could always just rub the tart in the sugary syrup or the powdered sugar.  The nuts are also a nice touch too.  All together, great dessert.

I don’t eat as much seafood as I would like on a regular basis.  One, I’m not that good at cooking it and two, it’s tough find places that serve up good seafood in Toronto without having to give a limb up.  Vancouver, good seafood places seem to be everywhere, even just down the street from my parents’ place (or maybe they just lucked out).  Well, I guess I’ll have to keep asking around as I eat my way through Toronto.  Traveling across the country doesn’t seem like a viable option when I need a seafood fix.

http://www.provencemarinaside.ca/

~ by jlowjlow on September 15, 2017.

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