Victoria Restaurants and Dining Guide : chomp!
Reviews
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Masterful drinks
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 26, 2009
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Ahhh Solomon's. Such a welcome addition to the Victoria lounge scene. Solomon is an award-winning mixmaster who takes pride and care in making his delicious creations.
I've also tried dining at Solomon's three times - take my advice and don't bother. The drinks are such higher calibre that it makes the food seem sad and disappointing.
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Patio with a view
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 26, 2009
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On a westcoast style red cedar patio, overlooking one of the most magical views on Vancouver Island, I found myself enjoying a warm summer afternoon cocktail in paradise. The bellinis were perfectly balanced, but the beer was served in a room-temperature mug. Not impressed! The friendly and attentive service made up for this minor oversight. The menu is focused on amazing local seafood, which makes sense considering this patio is right on Brentwood Bay overlooking the ocean and Mill Bay Ferry. Definitely on the higher-end of pub price ranges, but you’re paying for location location location, and I’ve never had a meal there that didn’t impress. Try the crabcakes or the steak sandwich… tried and true! The fries are pretty deadly as well, Kennebec’s cooked to perfection. You can’t go to the Brentwood and have a bad time.
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Delicious Veg
Reviewed by:Ethan James on Jul. 19, 2009
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I recently decided that I really do need to add more veggies to my diet...a problem in the past since given the choice between eating leafy greens and chicken or steak, I'll go for the chicken or steak thanks. Re-Bar had me feeling like a fool after I tried their Almond burger with side salad and a starter of coconut curry eggplant soup. I didn't realize vegetarian food could taste this good. The atmosphere was funky and fun with plenty to look around at and our server was friendly and knowledgeable. Overall a great dining (and learning) experience.
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Not your average pub
Reviewed by:Ethan James on Jul. 19, 2009
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Stopped in for a drink with friends on a sunny day, and was seated on their wonderful second storey patio. The Seagrille & Pub is located at Brentwood Bay Lodge and the patio overlooks the pool, gardens and Brentwood Bay itself with a collection of kayakers and sailboats - in my opinion, a spectacular view. Service was prompt, friendly and inviting. The wine list was extensive, as was the cocktail list, but I opted for a local brew on a friend's recommendation. It seems to me that this is an ideal location for a quick trip out of town or to bring visiting family and friends. Although a brief visit, it won't be my last.
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Oyster Bard
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 13, 2009
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Although I've never sat down to a full meal at the Bard & Banker, I do come back time and time again for excellent drinks and 69 cent oysters during happy hour. That's right - 69 cents! And they are good ones! I've also tried the yam fries - very yummy with curry dip, and the crab 'croquettes' - for anyone who's ever been to Japan (or France for that matter) and knows what a real 'croquette' is, don't hold your breath. What's on the menu at the Bard is a dry, sad little crab cake, nothing more. That said, the beer selection is great, there are tons of nooks and crannies for a quiet dinner for two, and lots of bigger tables if you feel like inviting a big group. The service is hit or miss but the attitude is always friendly.
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Great Thai
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 13, 2009
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Sunday, 7pm and we're starving. What to do - most places other than pubs are closed on Sundays in Victoria. Driving downtown we spot the familiar Baan Thai, and it looks full! Relief! I couldn't believe it, but we had to wait a few minutes! The spring rolls were hot and delicious, nothing out of the ordinary. The pad thai was good with an excellent portion. The snapper in sweet and sour sauce was thickly battered in an even thicker sweet sauce - definitely not for the faint of heart. It's stick to your ribs, heavy food but just what the doctor ordered on a cold and blustery Sunday night.
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Minty Fresh
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 13, 2009
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The Mint is a downtown favourite of the young hip crowd. The underground location has exposed brick walls and local wrought iron artwork. The music is loud and the excellent drinks are strong. On the weekends there is a live DJ on the decks and a wait to get in the door. The food is Tibetan, and the curries are excellent. I've eaten at the Mint probably 20 times and never been disappointed. One of the best deals in the city is the Thunder Spaghetti and a pint for $10!
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I left my heart in Veneto
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 13, 2009
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So I have to admit, I've been to Veneto three times and hadn't written a review. I wanted to wait until I ordered a full meal - which is difficult to do, since the martinis and desserts are decidedly distracting. My favourite drink so far is the Florida's Key - I'm not a sweet cocktail kinda girl, but this has the most deliciously fruity zing - I wish I had one in hand while typing this! My first entree foray was Chef's Choice - striploin remoulade with lobster, chile rubbed prawns, and duck jambalaya. Everything was absolutely delicious. Not one negative. Great drinks, great food, awesome atmosphere and really cool washrooms! Check it out, but be warned that on the weekends this is a jacket required establishment.
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Quiet neighbourhood pub
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 13, 2009
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Smugglers is a little diamond in the rough neighborhood pub. The waitstaff are pleasantly consistent and the regulars are always hanging around. There is a small patio that gets sun until around 4pm, and seating inside with a few TVs. I always order the mussels in chipotle - I think I've had it at least 10 times. Its a thick and spicy chipotle cream and you always have to order more bread, but I love it. Beer selection is good enough for me, and when you're looking for a simple, quiet, straightforward pub with nary a tourist in site, this is the place for you.
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Business Lunch @ Canoe
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 1, 2009
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canoeclubreview_001.jpgOn a lovely, warm, sunny summer day in Victoria, when I'm looking for a business lunch location, my mind always drifts to the Canoe Club. With arguably the best patio in the downtown core, this restaurant is a summer staple for business people and holiday makers alike. The patio is nestled down next to some docks on the inner harbour has a lovely marina-style, quiet view. One of my favourite features of this location is that it has it's own Harbour Ferry stop, which means you can hop on the next ferry that comes by and quickly putter over to one of the many other lovely pubs and restaurants located on the harbour.
The Canoe Club is a true gastropub, which prides itself on using local and sustainable ingredients. Their menu is inventive and enviable. It includes items at every pricepoint, which makes it group-friendly.
On this particular day, my lunchmates and I ordered three menu items:
BLAT sandwich, with bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato on ciabatta bread . It was served with local organic greens in a dijon shallot vinaigrette. This sandwich was quite good - the bread was porous enough to soak up the runny tomato and keep the ingredients from sliding around and getting too messy. The bacon was the star, was crisp and salty, and the portion was generous. The organic greens, although large and a bit tough, had an excellent crunch and flavour. The vinaigrette was barely perceptible. For $12, this dish is something I would order again.
Pad Thai, with chicken and shrimp, was the daily special. At $11.50 it was a generous portion of noodles with a light and authentic pad thai sauce. The flavour was good although the dish lacked colour.
Calamari with sesame ponzu was delicious. Light and crisp, not oily, with just the right amount of seasoning, this is one of the best calamari plates in the city. Perfect for a light lunch for one, or a sharing plate for 3 - 4 people with beers.
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Beer with a view
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 1, 2009
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Spinnakers GastroBrewpub is another favourite of locals because of the brews, views, and innovative food menu. Although you can see the cruise ships across the inner harbour from the pub, its rare to find the throngs of tourists which are so common in the Government Street pubs.
My friends and I headed to Spinnakers for some drinks and oysters one evening and were surprised to learn that we could order both small ($2.50) and medium sized ($3.00) one by one. There is nothing fancy about the oysters at Spinnakers - they don't come with mignonette, cocktail sauce, or even lemons (which we specifically requested). The flavour and freshness surpassed expectations and the oysters themselves needed just a hit of citrus to bring out their natural flavour. One dozen turned into two, and then…. I won't get into it. The stellar oysters were starkly contrasted by the lackluster cocktails. The bourbon manhattan left much to be desired, and the lime margarita on the rocks was disgraceful. Watery, bitter, and almost un-drinkable, this is one menu item to avoid.
On the way out the door we passed Spinnaker's genius little Provisions shop, and were drawn in by the delicious looking truffles, which are made on site. Prices are steep - truffles cost almost $1 each, but when all you want is a little taste of heaven, this is definitely my choice. Although the names escape me, my two favourites were definitely the coffee flavoured and salt flavoured truffles.
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Best in show
Reviewed by:Miss E on Jul. 1, 2009
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Stage_003.jpgStage Wine Bar is a little 50 seat gem in the heart of the up and coming foodie neighborhood of Fernwood. Located outside of the downtown core, this restaurant has a bright and open atmosphere that entertains locals who are in the know and love the excellent wine menu.
I was delighted to start my evening with a bubbly cocktail of prosecco and blackberry port while perusing the menu. I have to admit I had a strong idea of what I was going to order, because I had been drooling over the online menu in preparation for the outing. I could actually hear the chefs in the kitchen sharpening their knives on the long steel, at which time I knew I was ready to commit.
The first dish I ordered was forest mushrooms with bread. It sounds boring, but it was perfection. A medley of mushrooms including oyster, button, and many others I couldn't discern, were cooked to perfection with a healthy dose of garlic and finished with sherry. The charred grilled bread nicely complemented the earthy mushrooms, and though I ordered the dish to accompany the charcuterie plate, the doomed little mushrooms didn't even last that long. For $8 this is a steal.
The charcuterie plate ($11) lists three items on the menu: duck rillette, house salami and farmers sausage; we were served a surprising diversity of cured meats, including something the wait staff described as "porkciutto." The abundance of meats necessitated that I order a side basket of bread, which was similar to a focaccia with salt and herbs, which cost a worthwhile $3.50. The duck rillette was by far my favourite - with a smear of grainy dijon and a slice of house-made sweet pickle, this was absolutely delicious. Next on the menu was a great recommendation by the server: a sweet glass of dessert wine to complement the goat cheese cake with lemon curd and pistachio biscotti ($8) was rich, creamy and dense. The sweet-tart lemon curd complemented the goat cheese cake, which was very simple in flavour. This dessert was perfect for sharing between two people, as it is quite rich.
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John's Place Restaurant
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Excellent breakfast!
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Blue Crab Bar & Grill
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