Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Western Canada Archives >
Aug 6, 2008 02:46 PM

Victoria 50th birthday dinner

Any suggestions for a 50th birthday dinner celebration for a group of 6 girls? We'll be in Victoria for 3 nights. The first night will be something casual (Tapa Bar, Baan Thai or the Superior), 2nd night (Brasserie L'Ecole) and the 3rd night is the birthday dinner. On this night we'd like great food, a fun atmosphere and in the downtown area. I was thinking of Il Terrazzo or Cafe Matisse but have just read some pretty great things about Niche. The food sounds great but what is the atmosphere like? It's located in a heritage home so does this mean it's more subdued? Someone suggested Pagliacci's as a fun place. Their menu sounds really corny - any thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We had appalling service on our last trip to Il Terrazzo. It was so bad that I would never, ever, consider going there ever again. Il Terrazzo doesn't exist to me anymore! :) We were a group of six (four 50-somethings, two 20-somethings) that made reservations, was very polite, didn't ask for any modifications, and we all had three courses. Our waitress barely acknowledged our existence, responded to our request for a wine recommendation with, "The wine list is right in front of you", slammed our food down on the table and then told us the dessert specials as she was walking past to help another table. Sorry, but if I'm going to spend $100+ per person for dinner, I'm not going to risk being treated like that.

    I wouldn't want to have a birthday dinner at Pagliaccis. While the food is okay (but very casual) it's SO packed and SO noisy that you'd have a hard time hearing one another. It's also a very family-friendly restaurant so you could easily find yourself sandwiched right up against a table of toddlers.

    And... I have no suggestions for you! Sorry! :)

    1. Cafe Brio has always been a fave of mine in Vic. Great food, fantastic wine list, good atmosphere. Can be casual or more fancy depending on how you want to play it.

      I wouldn't go to Pag's for a birthday dinner, I don't enjoy being packed in like sardines and having to yell to be heard across the table.

      I miss the Tapa Bar, say hi for me (just to the resto in general LOL)

      1. I would consider Lure. It's in the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort, and the walk form downtown across the bridge is quite nice. The view is amazing (across teh inner harbour) and the chef is excellent. It also has an excellent sommelier. I haven't been there in awhile, but I can heartily recommend the chef and sommelier.

        I would also vote "nay" for Pag's and Il Terrazzo. I'm not sure how fun Lure is, but it's probably as fun as Cafe Matisse and Il Terrazzo.

        1. sundogcat:

          I agree with everyone else who has replied and would not recommend either Pagliacci's nor Il Terrazzo for a 50th Birthday.

          My two favourite spots are Brasserie L'Ecole which you are already going to go to and like Starlady, Cafe Brio. Both in my view are spots where you will feel comfortable whether you are dressed up for an evening or casual...I am usually in the latter category.

          Despite having visited Victoria for a number of years I have never been to Matisse but I have heard and read good things about it. By the time we visit our regular 'haunts" we do not have much time or money [smile] to try something new although it has been around for quite some time.

          We were going to try Niche last Fall but ended up at Stage [owned by the same folks as Paprika in the Estevan Village] instead. Have since heard good things about Niche and it might fit the bill. We discussed Niche with one of the servers and bartender at the Delta Ocean Pointe where LURE is located and both said they had excellent meals.

          It has been over a year and perhaps closer to two, but we really enjoyed our evening at The Rosemeade over in Esquimalt. Not sure how it is doing at present as part of the Olde English Inn or something to that effect there. Just a short cab or hotel shuttle ride away from downtown. Good food, nice furnishings, look, etc.

          1. Gosh last time I was at ll Terrazzo it was wonderful - now I was only there with my husband, so perhaps that made a difference to the service. I will say that it wasn't very attentive, but rather satisfactory, however the food was incredible.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Wasabilover

              Concur that Il Terrazzo and Pagliacci's should be OFF THE LIST.

              Shortlist should include:

              Paprika Bistro (my top recommendation, actually)

              Zambri's (cannot go wrong)

              Brasserie L'Ecole (get your reservation soon!)

              I would not recommend Lure.

              I DO hear very good things about Niche.

              1. re: anewton

                Thanks all! Sounds like: Tapa Bar, Brasserie L'Ecole (reservation is booked) and then Niche for the birthday dinner. I did call Il Terrazzo and based on my telephone conversation with them, definitely nixed that option. Something odd like "no reservations of more than 2 between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM"!! Anyhow, Niche looks great and I got a very warm reception from the fellow who took our reservation.
                As a side note, not sure if we've had bad luck with Cafe Brio but after two separate visits there, we've decided to give it a rest. We first visited with a large group of about 12 and they had either been slammed or short of staff. Very scattered service and mediocre food. The next year we decided to give it a go with a group of 4 gals and while the service was much better, the food was only so-so.

                Anyhow we are excited about trying Niche and going back to our old favorites. Thanks again for all your input!

                1. re: sundogcat

                  sundogcat, Niche is my favourite restaurant in Vic and I think you'll be impressed. Happy birthday to you (or your friend)!