On a recent road trip, my pal TMc asked me out of the blue "Have you ever eaten at C-Lovers?" Her sister-in-law had told her about a unexpected delicious recent experience at C-Lovers in North Vancouver. After going for a long time without eating or even thinking about fish and chips, we both started talking about it and then after the road trip started planning an excursion.
We visited C-Lovers in the West End on Denman and Comox and found free convenient street parking across the street from the bright yellow C-Lovers exterior. C-Lovers is a chain and there are multiple locations in the Lower Mainland. It's pretty no frills, with an old-school basic family diner set up and booths. Apparantly C-Lovers offers an All You Cat Eat option for $11.99 with bottomless pop.
Instead of AYCE, we ordered a 2 pc Cod and Chips ($13.99) and 2 pc Salmon and Chips ($15.99 I think) to Share. They told us they batter and fry your fish to order- nothing is predone. I also noticed that they offer All you Can Eat Fish and Chips and a pint of beer for $14.99.
They brought us two plates and we took a piece of fish from each. I cracked them each open to hear the satisfying crispy crunch. Inside both pieces of fish were white. I asked our server about the clear lack of salmon and discovered they had mixed up our order and they ended up bringing us a 2 pc Halibut and Chips ($17.49). They told us to enjoy and that they'd bring us some salmon.
First up for tasting was the Cod. Visually these pieces are smaller, thin and about the length of my hand. It had a light crunch on the outside and soft fluffy texture inside was light and flaky. Pretty good fish, a nice thin and crisp batter, fresh, nice and hot, and fresh from the frier. I had a couple of bites, I found the batter got a bit soggy and moved on to our accidentally additional Halibut.
The Halibut- visually it was flatter and larger on the plate. This was absolutely my favourite. I was glad they made the mistake and brought it out. It's a richer, firmer, more dense, and with a nice buttery mild flavour. This fish held up nicely to battering and the deep frier. It definitely retained it's integrity rather than just being an average piece of fried fish. Yum! We both LOVED this halibut- it needed no tartar sauce, just a squeeze of lemon.
They brought out a complete plate of 2 piece Salmon and Chips (All we really needed was the 2 pieces of Salmon). I'm torn in picking a favourite between the Halibut and Salmon. Visually the salmon pieces were about the length of the cod, but thicker and heavier. This was the crunchiest batter of the bunch and the fries that came with it were extra crispy and crunchy. Maybe a bit more time in the fryer with extra delicious results and the most satisfying crunch of the bunch. The salmon tasted fresh, meaty, earthy, and was hearty with a nice flake factor...really well cooked inside!
As for the "Chips" part- their fries tasted fresh, potatoey and crisp- not soggy or overly greasy. Pretty good, but nothing exceptional. The plates come with malt and regular vinegar, lemon wedges, and tartar sauce. Their tartar sauce was pretty good- creamy not oily with a slight tartness.
We both really enjoyed our meal. It wasn't anything fancy and classy ( it wasn't exactly cheap), and certainly wasn't healthy, adventurous, innovative eats ... I would compare a meal at C-Lovers to watching a movie like "MacGruber" (a recent L-O-L silly/stupid movie I discovered), it's not something you brag about, admit to too many people that you liked it (people judged me for liking MacGruber)...but it just feels like a simple, low-key, greasy, guilty pleasure grub.