First look at Vancouver's new Mediterranean cafe and bar 'Hydra'

Apr 25 2019, 7:25 pm

Vancouver’s newest destination for Mediterranean food, Hydra Estiatorio, is named after a culinary Greek island in the Aegean Sea – so you can imagine the plethora of eats it will have in store for us once it opens next month.

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Located in the 60-foot-high atrium of the EXchange Hotel Vancouver lobby at 475 Howe Street, this concept has been under wraps until now, and it aims to offer patrons a top-notch Mediterranean escape in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

Hydra sneak peek

Rich Won/Daily Hive

Hydra (pronounced ‘hee-dra’) has two ways in, with the central street entrance leading you right into a main floor that houses two concepts: a bustling bright cafe by day, and a chic and chill mezze bar by evening and night.

The cafe here will offer a selection of caffeinated beverages, snacks, and grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items, which can be taken on the run or enjoyed at one of the sleek new tables in the space.

Guests can enjoy Caffe Umbria coffee, specialty caffeinated beverages, morning cocktails, breakfast sandwiches, Greek yogurts, soups, salads, and pastries from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm in the cafe. But by mid-afternoon, things get switched up.

Around 3 pm the cafe becomes the mezze bar, which will offer cocktails and a tapas menu of morsels until late.

Patrons can hang at Hydra’s mezze bar before or after dining at Hydra Estiatorio, the sprawling and stunning concept that occupies the second level of the atrium.

Hydra sneak peek

Rich Won/Daily Hive

Up the central spiral staircase, diners will find a 125-seat dining room featuring a marble bar backed with a fish scale tile design, a neon sign meant for the perfect selfie, and carefully curated paintings by Greek artists.

Hydra Estiatorio also features a dreamy private dining cabana with terrazzo stone floors, which gives us serious easy-breezy patio vibes.

A refreshing airiness can be felt throughout the space, thanks to ample room between tables, floor-to-ceiling windows, and massive 14-foot Pantheon-inspired columns.

Hydra sneak peek

Rich Won/Daily Hive

Hydra sneak peek

Custom made Scabetti chandelier of swirling schools of fish (Rich Won/Daily Hive)

Hydra sneak peek

Rich Won/Daily Hive

Hydra sneak peek

Rich Won/Daily Hive

Hydra sneak peek

Rich Won/Daily Hive

The menu at Hydra Estiatorio was created under Executive Hotels Culinary Director, Chef Mark Greenfield, and is being implemented by Executive Chef Ioannis Gerolymatos, a born-and-raised Greek.

Order eats from a raw bar (you won’t find frozen fish here) like oysters, lobster, and crab, and enjoy family-style plates such as whole grilled Branzino, Forno-roasted leg of lamb, and a whole Forno-roasted chicken to name a few.

Other highlights we can’t wait to try for ourselves? The linguini in lobster sauce, ceviche, grilled veggies, tomato salad, and of course, an order or two of the fresh housemade pita bread.

Hydra will offer virtually the same dishes for lunch and dinner, aside from a Day Trader’s $10 Lunch Break rotating daily special, which will surely be a hit for the business crowd in the area needing a mid-day bite.

Hydra sneak peek

Private Dining Cabana (Rich Won/Daily Hive)

Hydra sneak peek

Private Dining Cabana (Rich Won/Daily Hive)

The new restaurant will offer a lengthy wine list with bottles from all over Europe, not surprisingly, with many from Greece and surrounding regions, along with some specialty cocktails.

Aside from simple, authentic eats and tantalizing libations, we’re told to expect service that’s among the best of the best at Hydra Estiatorio, which even includes some table-side food preparations.

Hydra sneak peek

Rich Won/Daily Hive

Hydra will officially open to the public in late May, after which it will be operating for breakfast daily from 7 am to 10 am, lunch Monday to Friday from 11 am to 3 pm, and dinner daily from 5 to 11 pm.

The cafe will be open daily from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm and the mezze bar will operate daily from 3 pm until late.

Hydra Estiatorio

Address: EXchange Hotel Vancouver – 475 Howe Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-416-0880

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