Location & Hours
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About the Business
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Stepping into Hydra Estiatorio is like stepping into a much needed vacation in the heart of Vancouver. Greek specialties such as fresh grilled whole fish and traditional spreads with handmade pitas are paired with fabulous Mediterranean wines and fun cocktails.
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WOW I love this restaurant. While visiting Vancouver I dined here for breakfast twice and once for Happy Hour. All times were a hit. The restaurant is located on the second floor of the Exchange Hotel, which is clean, elevated, and classy. The restaurant itself has a beautiful, modern elegance to it with possibly the Top 10 ambiances of any restaurant I've ever been to.
In terms of the food, the value is insane and the presentation did not miss a single time. The waitstaff is extremely attentive and you feel so comfortable here, they're polite and know exactly how to make you feel like a guest. The breakfast is insane and offered the best french toast I've ever eaten, and the roasted potatoes are some I'll never forget. The happy hour wine deals are also great and I definitely recommend ordering the hydra platter.
Overall, I will be back again whenever I'm in Vancouver. Well done, Hydra!
- 2/11/2023Updated review
After my last visit at Hydra, I received an email from them saying if you make another reservation within the month you get a free round of sparkling wine for the table. In addition, they also sent a gift card bonus where if you buy a $50 gift card you get a $10 (20%) value free. I needed a catch up with one of my girl friends so we decided to go to Hydra for Happy Hour after work on Friday.
When I arrived at 5:10pm, the lounge was loud and busy. It looked like they had a semi private party booked down there. I went to the Hostess to give my reservation info and while she was checking, another lady with her party barged in and gave her reso info so they were looking her up before first addressing my reservation. Another male worker walked up to the hostess and demanded her computer screen and left without it so she couldn't complete looking up both our reservation information. I was annoyed with what happened but the hostess offered to walk me and the other party upstairs so we can get checked in. I was mistakenly lumped into the group so had to tell somewhere there that I had a separate reservation and wait for my table (not long though) while the barging rude party got seated immediately. At least I got a table by the window again.
When seating me, they reminded me of their seating time of 1.5 hours for 2 people. This was fine. They gave me menus soon after and asked if I wanted still or sparkling water. While waiting for my friend, I decided to order the Pomegranate Paloma mocktail again.
Once my friend arrived we decided on what to order but it took awhile to find someone to flag down. We eventually flagged down a male server, who told us he would grab our server, but ended up coming back himself to take our order. I noticed the Happy Hour small bites prices went up since I last came last month - from $10 to $12 a plate. The spanakopita is regular priced at $12 on the dinner menu so really isn't discounted on the Happy Hour menu at $12. However, the other appies are still discounted at the new $12 price point. We ordered the Hydra dip spread, the lamb keftedes, spanakopita, Calamari, and 7 oysters.
Appearing out of nowhere, two glasses of sparkling wine came. Unfortunately, my friend was trying to do a dry February so this was wasted on us so I wished that checked in before bringing it. My friend did have a sip and said she didn't mind it.
We loved the Hydra dip spread and both agreed that the smokey eggplant dip was the best, compared to the hummus and tzaziki dips. Lamb keftedes was the star and still recommend it. Calamari was okay - decent size and flavour but the breaded coating was falling off it and it wasn't Crunchy in texture but more soggy like. I can see now why the reviews of the Calamari are not great. Lastly, the oysters! I enjoyed this last time as it's hard to find a buck and shuck in town. However, the oysters are quite a bit smaller than the ones I had here 3 weeks ago and even though only at a $1 per oyster it has made me rethink about ordering it again.
I loved it here first and last time coming to Hydra in January but the experience has changed in February. Not sure when my next visit to Hydra might be after the entrance fiasco and at the end of the meal, we couldn't tell who our main server actually was as it was just random people. We weren't neglected but the experience this time around just left me wondering what a big difference my experience was 3 weeks ago, also for Friday Happy Hour. I completely understand bumping up the Happy Hour prices though but will think again when my next visit to Hydra may be.1/14/2023Previous review
I've passed by Hydra on a number of occasions as it's only 2 blocks down from my new office. As a big fan of Mediterranean food, a girl friend and I were planning to get together for a Friday night Happy Hour and I suggested Hydra. It was easy to make an online reservation through their website for 2 people at 5:30pm.
First off, I appreciate the fact that Hydra has Happy Hour from 3pm to 6pm. Most places only have it until 5pm, which is when most office people get off. The ambiance and decor at Hydra is really cool - cozy on the ground floor lounge and bright, airy, and light on the second floor. The restaurant is attached to the Exchange hotel next door, which is hard to tell from the exterior of the building. My friend and I got seated by the window overlooking Wesr Pender, which was really nice.
As someone who can't drink, it's hard to find a place that has a non-alcoholic selection of mocktails. Hydra had about 4 listed and the Pomegranate Paloma drink sounded interesting. I asked our server about it and she said it was amazing and it actually was! Honestly, most places charge $6 to $9 for mocktails these days and a vast majority of them are crap or severely watered down. I was pleasantly happy to actually get a $7 mocktail that I genuinely enjoy.
Best deal of raw oysters in town for $1 each during Happy Hour with no minimum or maximum number of order noted. These days, most Happy Hour oysters are $2.50 to $4 each so I made sure that I ordered half a dozen for myself. They were fresh and you really can't beat the price! Just this alone will have me returning.
My friend and I decided to share a bunch of the Happy Hour appies and got the Greek fries, lamb sliders, lamb keftedes, and the Mezze spread - all for $10 each.
The food came quite quickly and the lamb keftedes arrived first sizzling hot. With 3 large meatballs in a red sauce and goat cheese, this was easily our favourite dish. Great texture, delicious, generous portion, and beautiful presentation - definitely recommend!
The lamb sliders came with two mini sliders and fries. Had we known it came with fries, we wouldn't have ordered the Greek fries. It was great that it was served with taziki sauce but I could barely taste anything else but the bun.
Greek fries were a nice portion. It was fries drizzled with a sirracha type sauce along with a feta or goat cheese like sauce. It was decent but I have to say I prefer Cactus's truffle fries more.
The Mezze spread was gorgeous - we got 8 pieces of hot fresh pita bread with 3 dips (taziki, hummus, and melitzana). The melitzana (eggplant dip) had a little bit of a smokey flavour that I love! Hummus was solid as well as the taziki.
With 4 Happy Hour plates split in half, a mocktail, and half a dozen oysters, my bill only came out to $34.95 including tax. It was a delicious meal in a beautiful restaurant and the Happy Hour deals definitely don't break the bank. I have to say, Hydra is probably now one of my favourite Happy Hour places in Downtown!
The only weird/interesting thing about Hydra is when you go to the washroom, there is an audio book playing (at least I assume that's what it was) that talks about Poseidon, Zeus, and etc. It was weird as this was ONLY played in the individual washrooms and NOT the music that was playing in the rest of the establishment.
- 1/19/20231 check-in
Finaly tried this much hyped restaurant.
And boy was it a complete let down.
Service was robotic at best. Several times Caught our server frowning immediately upon leaving our table. It felt like she loathed us dining there and we were wasting her time asking questions. Fake smile and attention. Doesnt seem like she is enjoying our job.
Appys were great but food not that fresh. Calamari was good. But meatballs, were obviously frozen and not fresh.
Main entrees like lamb chops and chicken souvlaki were mediocre at best. Food quality doesn't match the ambiance of the place. Lamb chops werent succulent. No umaminess or hint of greek or Mediterrean flare. No touches of olive oil or rosemary or anything. Just grll with salt and pepper. Very abysmal. Chicken souvlaki also a let down. Just average. Sure they were chunky cuts, but inside dry and bland.
Food quality control also questionable. When our oysters came out, there were worms swimming around some of them. Clearly they didnt check before serving. No QC. Just dump and serveS killed most our appetite for the night.
Only calamari was good. All the hype for nothing!
Theres a huge guy walking around wearing suspenders and a dirty shirt...unkept and unshaven. Looks like he just woke up. Touches his nose, touches chairs, tables, cutlery, counter, his hair etc...he helps the kitchen serve food to customers with his barehands. Truly disgusting. Everyone else were dressed well & professionals.
Mgmt never came to apologize for poor quality control. Never offered to trade the worm infested oysters with another dish. No offer of dessert or an appropriate amount of discount for the bad experience.
Simply took it off the bill and said, "oh they are freshly shucked so sometimes that could happen!" So does she mean we have to eat the worms too bec they are fresh?
Only discount given was $6 for reasons only they know.
Ruined my appetite and my dining experience. Nothing to rave about. Over hyped and over priced. And oh yes, each and every server is trained to push the fish dishes at mp. They will explain that in detail but not the other entrees. I asked about other entrees, the reply i got was "oh, those are just that! "Like what you'd order else where!" Wtf!?? Did i hear my server right?? Even white spot servers wont talk like this.
You can get better food at other greek places but not pay crazy prices. Food court quality for fine dining priced.
Up until the end, manager never came to apologize or anything. No effort was made to rectify the nad experience we had.
Ambiance was excellent, but thats about it!
Would never go back! greek by anatoli is waayyyy better!
Cheers! Happy eating!
Hydra has a good happy hour deal for $1 raw oysters which was the main reason I visited. It's a fairly upscale restaurant as part of a hotel and the prices definitely reflected that. For happy hour, they also offered a few small dishes for $10 each and only the pita bread spread felt worth it. The calamari was not crispy at all and the fries didn't feel fresh. They were also spicy which wasn't noted on the menu. The service was super slow and it honestly didn't feel like a good experience.
But we also stayed past happy hour and ordered regular food as well. And the experience changed entirely. Even though we had the same server, they became more attentive as the crowds shifted from happy hour visitors to actual dinner patrons. We ordered a family platter and a grilled octopus and both of those items were delicious. Still came with a hefty price tag but at least the food was good.
Honestly, I really didn't like the happy hour experience so maybe only go to happy hour if you're just looking for drinks and oysters. Dinner service was just normal so I probably won't visit again. They also don't really have parking.
Came here for dinner a little while aggo and thought it was great. Came by for happy hour more recently and thought it was even better!! Honestly, this has got to be in my top 3 favorites for happy hours, and that's what I'll be reviewing today!
$1 buck a shuck / huuge oysters. Hard to find buck a shuck, but here it is. Lamb keftedes. These lamb meatballs served with a roasted red pepper sauce whipped in with some goat cheese in the middle. I thought they were great, cooked well, tender. I liked the sauce.
My favorite now, the hydra spread. Great fluffy pita, cooked fresh. The spreads are different, on a daily selection. We had the hummus, burrata cheese (love love this) and what appeared to be some sort of tuna spread?
All in all, buck a shuck oysters that were huge, great spreads and dishes on happy hour menu and $5 for wine, red, rose, beer or $8 for a feature cock tail. Now that's a great happy hour menu.
We had a fabulous experience at the restaurant. The food was great, the drinks were great, and our server Irenee was fantastic!
This place was amazing! So happy we discovered it. We came here for happy hour, and the prices are so reasonable considering the wonderful food, but I think it would be worth it even to pay their normal prices. Service was super friendly fast and professional. We got the selection of Greek spreads with pita bread, the lamb meatballs, the spanakopita, the fried calamari, and ended with dessert: bugatsa! We have outstanding restaurants where we live in the San Francisco Bay area, and this restaurant would fit right in! Definitely worth a visit!
Happy Hour @hydrayvr
Daily from 3pm - 6pm in the heart of downtown
I went with few foodies and we tried some of the highlights here.
The bc raw oysters are a buck a shuck and probably is the best deal in town. The raw oysters are fresh.
We tried few small bites dishes:
- Hydra Spreads
Comes with pita breads and three dipping sauces: 1) Melitzana - smoked eggplant paprika scallions 2)Tzatziki - yogurt cucumber Dill and 3) Hummus - chickpeas lemon tahini. This appetizer is definitely a must try item as the dipping sauces are delicious.
- Lamb Keftedes
The lamb meatballs are juicy and tender with the roasted red pepper sauce whipped goat cheese.
A delicious savory Greek appetizer. Crispy flakey buttery pasties with spinach and feta cheese inside.
Saganaki is a Greek appetizer made with fried kasseri cheese. It was seasoned with salt. It looked amazing with the flame burning the deep fried cheese.
Can't go wrong with pulling cheese but the salt didn't spread evenly on the cheese.
Two of us ordered the daily happy hour :
rose wine, bubble wine.
One of us ordered Fig & Lavender Spritiz which is a non-alcoholic drink. Her drink is non-stop refilled while the ices kept melting.
Overall, I love the atmosphere of the restaurant and the food here.
Follow me @eatisvibikki
We came to Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean & Bar for the Happy Hour and buck-a-shuck & Oyster specials.
We were pleasantly surprised.
Explore the menu:
HYDRA SPREADS - daily selection served with pita bread
FLAMING SAGANAKI CHEESE
Perhaps one of the most affordable places in the downtown district. Lamb Keftedes (lamb meatball) and Spanakopita (spinach filo pies) were absolute highlights, but the Hydra special with pita bread was excellent. Overall, the food was terrific.
The server flambeed the Saganaki (Kefalograviera cheese) on a cast iron pan at the table. If you like the salty and nutty flavour of cheese, then you would love it. It was a fantastic experience! We left feeling full while not spending much to enjoy a quality fusion Mediterranean meal.
Hydra Estiatorio is located inside the Exchange Hotel on the second floor at 475 Howe Street in Vancouver. It is a short walk away from the luxury retailers such as Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom.
Food: 4/5 Should Try!
Kids: 3/5 A-OK for kids.
Price: $50-$100 for three (Happy Hours)
Parking: Paid street parking
* serves $5 drinks and $10 small bites during Happy Hours daily from 3-6 PM.
* has audio in the washroom of Greek mythology.
* recommends to make a reservation.
Would I Return: Yes
I genuinely enjoyed my time here! The ambiance was so beautiful. Our server was such a gentleman and a joy to talk with. Also very knowledgeable, gave great suggestions as it was our first time. I ordered the Moussaka and I was not disappoint! Will definitely be returning soon!
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