Just returned from a *fantastic* trip to Victoria. It proved to be a great escape to the traditional US thanksgiving...and great weather (save one day) to boot! I found the city to be very accessible to my Portland-mindset; Coffee shops, quality wine, local and/or organic ingrediants and Asian food galore!
Here's a summary of our eats:
Zambri's: Wednesday night. Most gracious service. The highlight was the tuna and bean soup. Large chunks of moist tuna steak, large white beans, spinach and subtle seasoning. Hearty enough to take the bite off of the cold weather. The Mussles app was good - not great - as were our entrees (Crab Ragu and Clam/ Mint Penne.) The wine selection had many an affordable option, and the dessert menu was limited but broad. 2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, coffee, 1/2 liter wine, tax and tip = $90 Canadian. We will certainly return.
Moka House. Nice enough place, decent coffee. Nothing to rave about.
Don Mee Seafood Restaurant: My favorite. We went here for Thanksgiving (we were thinking of the Chinese meal had by the family in "A Christmas Story.") Shrimp Wonton Soup, Szechwan Prawns, Szechwan Pork Spare Ribs and Shrimp Chow Mein. The latter was a bit dry, but the bay shrimp were fresher than I've ever had. Same goes for the Szechwan Prawns - I can't recall ever having any with as much crunch. The spare ribs reminded me of General Tso's Chicken done right: fried but not greasy, sweet but not overwhelmingly so. This with a 1/2 liter of wine (tax and tip) came to C $60.
Otovio's (Octovios?): Beautiful Italian deli/coffee shop in Oak Bay. Quite a site! Reminded me of something I'd find in Boston's North End, only pricier. Great ham and cheese panini, wonderful mocha's done the right way (unsweetened chocolate powder. You add the sugar to taste.) The gelato selection was diverse, the cheese selection extensive. Lots of nice looking pastry's and such. They were advertising a chestnut roasting celebration that evening. Wish I could have joined!
Tapa Bar: We had four mojitos (mmmm...) and two Cubanette Sandwiches (one pork, one chicken.) The sandwich bread was too thick and tasted old, but the meat, avocados, pico de gallo, beans and cheese were all tasty. We split a nice Cocca Creme Brule. Good for bar food. We weren't famished having eaten at Otovio's not long before else we'd have tried more of the tapas. Total cost: C $40.
Coffee house near "Opus Framing" on store street. Orange lighting, modern feel...help me out here.... We liked this place. Upbeat staff, warm atmosphere, good lighting. Very hip, right down to the indie-rock quietly sifting through the speakers.
J and J noodle House: Sorry, but we were not too impressed. The apps were great - scallion pancake and shrimp wonton. The entrees - JJ Wor Wonton Soup (shrimp) and Sizzling Shrimp Satay Plate - were not impressive. The flavors seemed muddled, confused and even bland. The soup was tasteless, complete with semi-frozen veggies. The sizzling shrimp seemed confused: too much curry, a splash of processed peanut butter and some sesame oil to top it off. It was a Saturday night, but we went early....I felt rushed (they was a line out the door by the time we were ushered out) and didn't feel as if it lived up to the C $50 price (we had no wine or dessert.) Maybe it was an off night?
A fantastic trip, despite the last meal. We can't wait to return and try Cafe L'ecole, Cafe Brio, Bistro Paprika....So much to eat, so little time!
Thanks for any/all help!