This Shuttered Gastown Restaurant May Have Been Tiny, But It Sure Left a Big Hole

The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!

The Sardine Can was a tiny but beloved Spanish-themed restaurant and bar that quietly shuttered at the start of the 2020/2021 coronavirus pandemic after an eight year run in Gastown at 26 Powell Street. Launched by long-time collaborators Chris Stewart and chef Andrey Durbach in the spring of 2012, the high-ceilinged room was subtly stylish with a simply design — a cozy, bullshit-free respite in an increasingly scene-struck neighbourhood. A change of ownership in 2016 didn’t diminish its allure, and it kept turning out classic shareables like saucy meatballs, spicy garlic prawns and addictive patatas bravas – alongside Spanish beers, wines and plenty of sherry – through to a quiet end no one could have predicted. The following images were taken on the afternoon of its first service.

  • The Sardine Can
  • The Sardine Can (doorstep)
  • The Sardine Can | Octopus, potato and chorizo stew
  • The Sardine Can
  • The Sardine Can
  • The Sardine Can
  • The Sardine Can | A mash of smoked sardines on toast
  • The Sardine Can | Alhambra
  • The Sardine Can | Manchego and tomato toasts
  • The Sardine Can | Drinks
  • The Sardine Can | Patatas Bravas
  • The Sardine Can | Menu
  • The Sardine Can | Serrano and Pata Negra
  • The Sardine Can
  • The Sardine Can | Prawns with garlic
  • The Sardine Can
  • The Sardine Can
  • The Sardine Can | Beef and pork albondigas
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  • IMG_6417
  • The Sardine Can | Proprietors Chris Stewart and Andrey Durbach

There are 4 comments

  1. Is there a reason why the name of the restaurant is never mentioned in the headline or in the story? I only knew what you were talking about from the photo of the tiled floor.

  2. That was my bad. I edited the copy to fix as per Dan’s observation of my error. Thanks for the catch!

  3. I used to work for these guys at La Buca & Sorella, I’ll miss popping in and having a beer and a snack when I was in Gastown. Definitely sad to hear it was going. Probably inevitable, but covid definitely moved up the timetable.

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