By Tim Pawsey
Header photo by Tyler Ingram
Way back, when it was still a sleepy little resort, decades before the George Massey Tunnel was opened (in 1959), the best way to reach White Rock from Vancouver was by rail. The reminders are still all there, from the vintage train station (now restored as White Rock Museum & Archives), to the freights that regularly trundle along the tracks that separate the expansive, sandy shore and promenade from the view cafés and patios of the main street.
Cod is God at East Beach (closest to Highway 99 and Peace Arch border crossing), which may well have the highest concentration of fish n’ chip shops anywhere in the land. Take your pick, from ling cod and clam strips at The Fishboat or fresh cod and chips at Coney Island (15487 Marine Dr) to fish and oyster burgers plus specialties like mushy peas at Moby Dick. Or, if you like your fish & chips with a side of nostalgia (or deep-fried pickles), head to Montgomery’s Cottage Lunch, a White Rock mainstay for over 90 years.”
Beyond the pier and over the hill, in West Beach, the fare is more varied and occasionally more upscale. Eclectic Jan’s on the Beach roams from west coast cioppino to sous-vide strip loin and seafood fettucine. Oysters rule at Pearl on the Rock, from raw on the half shell, grilled, deep fried, and rockefeller, with a variety of dressings – plus po’boys. Beyond bivalves, choose from a poutine burger, pan-roasted halibut and more. Long running Giraffe tempts with creative tastes such as fusion tuned crab wontons, pan seared scallops and chorizo, porcini-dusted sablefish and pan-seared Fraser Valley duck breast.
Crescent Beach (located in Surrey)
A short drive west of the bustle of the popular promenade, through through ritzy Ocean Park, leads to laid back Crescent Beach. Cross the tracks and meander down to this little beachside backwater, to discover spicy fish tacos and salmon burgers at Hooked. This family run seafooder has a patio almost right on the beach. Next door Pelagos yields a plethora of Greek bites, from calamari to saganaki to shrimp-topped filet of sole and seafood souvlaki.