UPDATE: I went back to Hydra on December 27, 2020, and enjoyed the dinner even more than the first time. We had the whole roasted chicken which was better than the lamb from last time:
The seasoning was delicious, and the chicken was moist with lots of great flavor.
We also had the grilled whole fish which I also enjoyed more than the sea salted crusted one from last time:
We also had a couple desserts. The bougatsa:
and the baklava:
Original review: Hydra is a new Mediterranean restaurant. It is located inside the new Exchange Hotel in downtown Vancouver. The dining room is impressive. Nice and modern. It is a fairly large dining room. I am not sure if it serves the hotel as well for room service, breakfast etc.
Upon entry (there appears to be two ways to enter the restaurant, you can go from Pender street, through the bar, which looks very inviting, and upstairs, or from the hotel), through the hotel, the first thing you will notice is an ice bar filled with fresh fish. It is very reminiscent of Milos in Las Vegas, which is my benchmark for Mediterranean food outside of Greece. I have dined many times at Milos in Vegas and once at their original location in Montreal, and every time, the food is fantastic.
We selected a red snapper to be cooked in a salt crust, and the chef came out to weigh the fish. I was told that the fish is flown in from the Mediterranean. I also learned that the chef arrived three years ago from Greece, and has been working in various food service roles around the city prior to landing this position. So far so good.
We started the meal off with some oysters, fried cheese (saganaki), tomato salad, grilled octopus, and tarama (a fish roe spread). The spread came with in house made pita bread. Everything was delicious.
Next came the whole roasted leg of lamb. This was presented table side and then brought back to the kitchen for slicing. The lamp came from an artisan farm in Alberta according to our server. The skin of the lamb was very crispy and delicious. The meat was tender.
Next came the salt crusted fish which was prepared table side. The fish was very fresh and well cooked.
Overall, the food was good and the service was very good. The dining room and bar areas are very well done, and good for a night out. If I had one area where I think they could improve, it would be with the seasoning. Mediterranean food, is simply prepared using top quality ingredients, but I wish that some of the flavors of the rosemary and lemon came through more. Also, I believe the food could use more salt. I would return here. 8.5/10