Restaurants & Bars

Victoria & So. Vancouver Island Report

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Restaurants & Bars 5

Victoria & So. Vancouver Island Report

PolarBear | Jul 16, 2006 03:02 AM

Dining Summary:

Martin's Place - Cadboro Bay
Blue's Bayou Cafe - Brentwood Bay
Italian Bakery - Sidney
MedGrill Royal Oak - Victoria
Cafe Brio - Victoria
Barb's - Victoria Fisherman's Wharf
Ferris' Oyster Bar 'n Grill - Victoria
Paprika - Oak Bay
Katerina's - Nanaimo

Spent the last five days of June in Cadboro Bay just east of downtown Victoria. Gorgeous setting and weather, lot of snickering on our part listening to locals complain about the heat wave,30-31C (@87F), since reports from home in central California gave the high one day as around 43C (110F).

Stopped at Martin's Place in the little village area for lunch on the way in. Pleasant seating on the patio, Lady PB had the Club Sand and I went for the Mussels in Green Curry sauce. Both very good. Ended up getting take out from them that evening as we'd been traveling since 4 am that day. We shared a nice cut of prime rib and and order of the baby back ribs. Nothing special, just good solid food.

Martin's Place, 3838 Cadboro Bay Rd, 477-7740

Monday, after getting a late morning start, we headed for Butchart Gardens, but recalling that it was a former quarry and there wouldn't be much air movement, decided to postpone for an earlier morning visit and continued on toward Brentwood Bay. We'd commented earlier how we appeared to be on a good karmic streak where glitches in our plans kept turning out for the best, so it seemded only natural that when we saw a small blue & white sign pointing the way to Blue's Bayou Cafe down a small road that we should follow it. After parking in a dirt lot (for boat launching?) and a short stroll we were seated on the deck overlooking the small marina. We shared the LA Crawfish & Crab Cakes (9.95) three served over citrus dressed baby greens, topped with sweet chili, roasted garlic aioli & fresh lemon, the French Quarter Fried Green Tomatoes (10.95), over citrus dressed baby greens, topped w/ Cajun jumbo shrimp & chipotle remoulade, the Bayou Salad (7.95) baby greens, spincahc, avocado, Bermuda onion & oranges, finished w/ Asiago cheese, roasted almonds and citrus vinaigrette, and the Po' Boy of the Day which was halibut. Excellent lunch, not a weak dish in the batch plus we couldn't get over how fresh and great tasting the local salad greens were. I had a glass of the Cherry Point Pinot Gris (8.50) and got a bottle of their Blue's Habanero Hot Sauce (10). Total was @ $50 CD.

Blue's Bayou Cafe, 899 Marchant Rd, Brentwood Bay, 544-1194

Continued around the north end of the Saanich peninsula and ended up in Sidney where we ran across the Italian Bakery on the main street. Apparently a new venture being run by an older woman and a young girl space cadet, both very nice but the service was bordering on comical. Tried a Samosa which was tasty, got an iced latte that was very refreshing, and a couple of sweet treats, wine cakes (which we'd never heard of) and a pear tarte, that were to be a perfect finish for our evening meal.

For dinner Monday, we picked up some great looking Digby scallops and Lady PB prepared them with carmelized onions and garlic in a cilantro and orange zest sauce, with a salad of local field greens and a bottle of Tyee Pinot Blanc (I'd picked up in Oregon) and the killer view of the water, marina, and snow-capped Olympics in the background, we were happy campers.

On our Monday excursion we'd made note of a packed place heading out of town, and after getting a couple of thumbs up from the locals headed for MedGrill Royal Oak (there's another called Mosaic on Fort St.) for lunch on Tuesday. Unfortunately they didn't have the polenta fries w/cambozola mousse and chili lime aioli that were reco'd, so we made do with the Salsiccia Papardelle (10.97) chorizo sausage, red peppers, caramelized red onion, spinach, Grana Padano parmesan & tomato fennel sauce, and the MedGrill Curries - Garganelli noodles, apples, red peppers and onions, w/ Thai red curry, toasted coconut and almonds, with Tiger Prawns (beef, chicken or veg. were other options). We added a Med Lover's pizza of Capicolli ham, chorizo, and smoked chicken bacon, excellent meats on a nice thin crust dusted with cornmeal on the bottom (we did take most of this back to home base to snack on later). Great execution and service out on the shady raised deck.

Afterward we cruised around downtown checking out menus from places reco'd on CH by the local hounds, Brasserie l'Ecole (met the quirky owner..."we couldn't find you listed in he phonebook", he...."yeah, we keep a low profile, keeps away pesky customers"), Tapa Bar in Trounce Alley, Cafe Brio, and a new one we discovered through a local paper, Paprika in Oak Bay's Estevan Village.

For Tuesday dinner we chose Cafe Brio for their prix fixe $28 (CD)three courses, per our usual MO we each ordered different items of the two offerings per course and shared. Cauliflower Soup w/almonds, sage & brown butter, and Romaine Salad w/lemon-pepper vinaigrette to start, Flat-iron steak frites w/sauteed spinach & broken-red wine vinaigrette, and Fusilli Manila Clams, baby shrimp & chiles orrichiette for entrees, and the Vanilla Bean creme brulee and zabaglionni w/strawberries & Asti Spumanti for dessert. I added the pairing of the Stag's Hollow Sauvignon Blanc with the app and the Sumac Ridge Merlot/Cabernet with the entree. Wonderful meal, very flavorful steak, best frites we've had in ages, soup, salad, pasta and desserts just excellent.

Cafe Brio, 944 Fort St., 383-0009

Wednesday lunch hit Barb's on the Fisherman's Wharf per rec's from CH and our landlord. Great 2 pc Fish & Chips and the Thai Halibut sand for my lady (ea 11.00), came with an excellent salad w/bleu cheese.

For dinner ended up driving back into town to Ferris' Oyster Bar 'n Grill per another rec from our landlord (she mentioned to ask for server Su Pomeroy). Bakers dozen oysters (17) perfectly chilled and delightful, ordered the Oysters Caliente Pasta and (again) the Halibut Sandwich. All good, recall having a glass of a nice Riesling, but didn't make note.

Ferris' Oyster Bar 'n Grill, 536 Yates, 360-1824

Thursday lunch involved eating a bunch of great leftovers, pizza from MedGrill, a couple of pastas, and a few remaining desserts. That evening we headed for Paprika. I was looking forward to the Mussels in Coconut Milk but it appears a red tide off the coast had stopped the harvesting. We had an appetizer of sweet Digby Scallops (I'd hoped to try the Roast Beet and Fennel salad as well but couldn't convince my partner). For entrees, she had the Spring Lamb that was simply exquisite and I tried Crispy Pork Belly for the first time. The pork was served as a thick slice that appeared to come from a roulade, the smokey aspect gave it a flavor much like bacon, tasty but maybe a little overpowering (in light of my second experience later in Vancouver). Again, neglected to note the two glasses of nice wines. Total pre T/T was @100 CD.

Paprika, 2524 Estevan, 592-7424

Friday was moving day, arrived in Nanaimo a couple of hours early for the ferry to Horseshoe Bay and ended up at Katerina's. Not usually a fan of moussaka, we asked if we could get a smaller appetizer size portion, no problem, and I had to admit to my wife that it was damn good (not heavy handed on the nutmeg). We also ordered Prawns in Spicy Tomato Feta sauce, and Calamari Friti and Greek Salad. A glass of Mission Hills Chardonnay was a nice match.

A little later we were on the ferry from Discovery Bay heading for Vancouver. Bottom line.... if you're not happy with what you're eating around the Victoria area, you're just not trying very hard. Can't wait to return.

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