Vancouver's new Greek restaurant 'Hydra' is worth visiting more than once

Jun 4 2019, 5:11 am

There are a ton of new eateries, bars, and bistros opening in Vancouver every week.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with choices, but most of us dedicated foodies just get really excited to try the new eats and beverages up for order at fresh establishments.

That’s why we were looking forward to heading into downtown Vancouver’s new spot, Hydra, to dine.

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The first trip we took to the bi-level Mediterranean cafe and bar was all about the room and things to come, but we hadn’t gotten the chance to bite into exactly what born-and-raised Greek Executive Chef Ioannis Gerolymatos was cooking up just yet.

The 475 Howe Street space’s main floor houses two concepts, a bustling bright cafe by day, and a chic and chill mezze bar by evening and night, but the second-floor restaurant is where we spent our evening this time.


The ‘Hydra Special’ is made from paper-thin zucchini and served with eggplant tzatziki (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)

After the first round of assorted spreads served with housemade pita, it was obvious that anyone wanting to get a true taste of everything Hydra had offer would need to make a return trip.

That point was reiterated when we spotted the raw bar at the far side of the upper level of the restaurant where folks can hand pick which fish they’d like salt-baked or grilled, and prepared tableside at their seats.


Whole Fish In Sea Salt cooked with herbs (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)


Whole Fish In Sea Salt cooked with herbs (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)

Diners can opt for the fish, whole roasted chicken, or lamb as a hearty main, all three proteins come with Greek fried potatoes and sautéed greens.

As much as the protein here steals the spotlight, the salad selection seemingly snatches it right back.

Think fresh, colourful produce with feta imported from Greece. There’s no denying that even the biggest meat lover could leave here satisfied after devouring a salad or two.


Tomato Salad with vine-ripened tomatoes and feta (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)


Organic Heirloom Beets with red-wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)

Feta isn’t the only thing here that’s imported from Greece.

The eatery brings in baby octopus because of its tenderness and size, and it’s a difference you can taste if grilled octopus is one of your go-to dishes.


Grilled Octopus with lemon, oregano olive oil, and fava bean purée (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)

If you have any room for something sweet (and we’re not just talking about the selection of Greek wines up for order) get the Bougatsa.

Made with semolina custard, caramel-chocolate ganache, and cinnamon-icing sugar, this treat is served tableside and is the perfect balance of rich and light.


Bougatsa with semolina custard, caramel-chocolate ganache, and cinnamon-icing sugar (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)


Halva with yogurt mousse, cinnamon syrup, and mastixa meringue (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)

As mentioned – the highlighted selection of eats above is just scratching the surface at Hydra.

We’ve known for a while that the interior is a feast for the eyes, but it’s clear the menu is a bonafide feast for the tastebuds too.

Hydra is currently operating under a soft opening, over the next week-or-so you can find it open 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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