Portlanders in B.C. (Victoria Edition)
Hi folks -
My girlfriend and I are doing a little trip up to Canada next week, starting with three nights / two days in Victoria, then a ferry ride, then another three nights and two days in Vancouver. I'm in charge of the menu plan. This board has been a tremendous help, and I've pulled in some memories from the last time I was in Victoria, but I had a few questions ... these are the Victoria ones. :)
Next Tuesday in Victoria is our anniversary, so I need to find a good place. I had planned to go to a place I went to (and loved) the last time I was in Victoria, Niche, but it looks like it closed. (I weep! As an aside, I don't suppose the chef from Niche ended up somewhere else in Victoria?) Based on other posts on the board, it looks like Camille's, Matisse, Brasserie L'Ecole, and Cafe Brio usually make the list. Brasserie L'Ecole is out, because they don't take reservations. Cafe Brio has the most interesting-looking menu of the bunch ... any recent bad experiences (or tremendously good experiences elsewhere?) that suggest I should choose something other than that one?
For other nights: Do the chef(s) at Ulla live up to their menu? I've been burned a few times recently going to places with really interesting menus that the chef couldn't pull off, so I worry.
Similarly, is Aqua any good? We're staying in the hotel, so it'd be convenient, but I implicitly mistrust hotel restaurants.
Presently I'm looking at picking the three dinners from: Cafe Brio (above), Ulla, Ferris' Oyster Bar, Veneto's (sounds kind of novel)
Then the two lunches from: Pizzeria Prima Strada, Red Fish Blue Fish, or a simple bread / cheese / meat thing from Choux Choux. (Is Choux Choux still good?)
Any comments or suggestions?
Final question: Good places to buy chocolates in Victoria? I remember I found a couple good places the last time I was there, but of course I forgot to write them down.
Thank you so much!
Red Fish Blue Fish
1006 Wharf St, Victoria, BC V8W, CA
Pizzeria Prima Strada
230 Cook St, Victoria, BC V8V3X3, CA
944 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8V3K2, CA
I mourn the closing of Niche as well - check for the chef in Vancouver (at a newly reopened Boneta, I thought I read?). Camille's is great, very cosy, intimate setting with very fresh, local food on the menu. Cafe Brio is more bustling, again, excellent food and their own cured meats. I'm fence sitting on this one - maybe someone else can push you towards one over the other - I love them both.
Ulla's is fabulous and everything I've had there has been prepared perfectly (octopus, chicken).
I think you mean Aura, not Aqua. I've yet to get there, but I've heard rave reviews on their burger (go figure!) - the best in town, apparently. Both Aura and Lure have upped the anti for hotel restaurants IMO. Veneto's is good - rich, filling and a novel set-up with the trios of food (duck three ways, scallops three ways). The room gets very noisy as well. Well prepared drinks here too. Reservations are a good idea.
Your lunch choices are great (hopefully RFBF's lines are getting smaller). Choux choux is still fabulous. If you walk the Galloping Goose (or are driving on the other side of the Harbour at lunch), you may pass Fol Epi (398 Harbour Rd, bakery + sandwiches - smoked tuna, roast beef/cheese - on crusty baguette - delish. And possibly homemade soft vanilla ice cream in crisp, fresh cones). A new meat/cheese dinner place is the newly opened Vis a Vis in Oak Bay (2232 Oak Bay Ave, 5pm-)
For chocolates, try Chocolat 703 Fort St (near Douglas St) - made right there with more interesting flavours (wasabi, chili). For traditional belgian chocolates - our branch of the Bernard Callebaut is good (621 Broughton). Have a great time - I just got back from your town and am still dreaming of the food carts.
944 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8V3K2, CA
And it got mentioned on the Vanc thread by mistake - but yeah, Relish for lunch (M-F only) is fabulous Yates st. Also Foo (Asian/fusion street food) is great (some counter seating indoors) lunch & dinner. For non-sushi japanese (well, they may have a negitoro roll on the list) Dadaiko is great (again, M-F lunch only - need to arrive at 11:45 to get any selection - salmon don, teriyaki local chicken, tuna tataki, organize squash salads) - but if you're aiming for sushi - save your cravings for Vanc.