Greek Restaurants

Hydra Estiatorio – A Mediterranean Oasis in the Heart of Downtown Vancouver

Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean & Bar is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant located inside the new EXchange Tower atrium. Hydra focuses on high quality Mediterranean dishes made with the freshest ingredients using traditional cooking styles.

I visited a couple months ago for their Grand Opening party, and I couldn’t wait to be back to try their dinner service.

To start the night off, we had a variety of cocktails from their extensive cocktail list. In addition to their cocktails, they have an impressive wine list with an emphasis on Greek wines.

All the cocktails were balanced and refreshing. My favourite of the night was the Tart. It was a beautiful drink with its light pink colour and egg white foam. It’s also a light and refreshing drink and paired well with all the dishes that I tried.

For our appetizers we had a sampling of their delicious spreads. Normally they are $10.00 each for a full serving. The spreads are served with a deliciously soft and garlicky pita bread.

  • Melitzana – grilled eggplant, garlic, olive oil, and lemon
  • Xtipiti – spicy feta cheese, green chilli, chilli flakes, extra virgin oil, and lemon
  • Tarama – salted fish roe, olive oil, lemon, and a smooth potato base
  • Fava – yellow split peas base, olive oil and charred onions. Topped with capers and sun-dried tomatoes
  • Tzatziki – Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, salt, and olive oil
  • Menta – feta cheese, mint and lemon

All the spreads were excellent, but the stand outs for me was the Tarama and Xtipiti. The Tarama was delightfully salty with a briny aftertaste from the salted egg roe. The Xtipiti was smooth with a well rounded spiciness that delivered a sharp kick.

Tomato Salad – vine-ripened tomatoes, feta ($19.00)

This was a very large mountain of tomatoes with two chunks of feta perched precariously on top.  The tomatoes were fresh and juicy and went well with the salty feta. A very simple dish that let the tomatoes shine.

Whole Forno Roasted Chicken – marinated with herbs and lemon served with Greek fried potatoes and sautéed greens ($48.00

The chicken was roasted perfectly with a delicious crispy skin. It wasn’t dry, and the sauce was savoury and and went well with the chicken. The grilled lemon and roasted garlic on the side were delicious. The grilled lemon added a nice tang to the chicken, and the garlic had been roasted for so long that it exhibits a mellow sweetness when you bite into it.

Grilled Whole Fish – olive oil and lemon sauce served with Greek fried potatoes and sautéed greens (MP)

The fish of the day was Sea Bream. It was grilled and then served tableside. The fish was flaky and moist – but a touch on the dry side. The skin was grilled to a delicious crisp with a lovely char from the grill. A squeeze of the grilled lemon really elevated the dish.

Both the chicken and the fish are served with Greek fried potatoes and sautéed greens, and both sides were executed perfectly. The potatoes had a crisp interior and a lovely fluffy interior. The sprinkling of cheese was a nice addition.

The vegetables were prepared simply – which allowed the natural flavours to shine through. The vegetables retained their crispness and helped to break up the heaviness from the other dishes.

Lobster Pasta – whole lobster, fresh pasta, tomato, ouzo and lobster sauce ($59.00)

The lobster pasta was the definite star of the night. It is a showstopping dish in its presentation of a full lobster on top of a large platter of fresh pasta. The pasta was made fresh and was cooked to a perfect al dente. The tomato sauce was tangy with just a hint of spice.

Bougasta – Semonlina custard, caramel chocolate ganache, cinnamon-icing sugar ($15.00)

We ended the night with one of their classic Greek desserts. It’s served tableside and drizzled with a melted hot chocolate. Surprisingly it wasn’t too sweet – and the orange flavour was really evident. The pastry retained some flakiness even after being doused with the hot chocolate sauce.

Tiramisu  espresso soaked lady fingers, whipped mascarpone, cocoa powder, chocolate ($14.00)

The tiramisu isn’t officially on their dessert menu (it was their new dessert special of the night), but it definitely needs to be added to the permanent dessert menu lineup. The smooth mascarpone cream was a light and creamy and helped to counter the bitterness from the espresso. It was a winning dessert.

Overall I had an amazing dinner at Hydra. The service was top-notch (albeit on the slower side), but the servers are knowledgeable about the dishes on offer and won’t hesitate to offer suggestions for their favourite dishes.

Every dish I had was prepared beautifully and executed with finesse. The Lobster Pasta is a dream, and I cannot wait to be back to eat it again!

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