Some Victoria reviews
I spent a couple of days in Victoria. Good food city! Lots of variety and high quality overall. Here are some reviews.
Red Fish Blue Fish. This is a must-do for food tourists. Both locals and tourists wait patiently in a long queue to order from the diverse menu of fresh fish and seafood, prepared simply but skillfully. I waited for over an hour myself. While I waited, I overheard several people raving that everything on the menu is good. When my turn finally arrived, I ordered the fish and chips and a side of grilled oysters. Both were the best I've ever had.
Ulla. This small, casual restaurant is often touted as the best in Victoria. It would be a Chowhound favorite in most major cities.
I dined at the bar. Service and bartending were excellent. While there isn't a big wine list or liquor selection, what they do have is carefully selected.
I started with an octopus appetizer. It was beautifully presented and had a wide variety of flavors, including a delicious romesco sauce and homemade yogurt. The octopus, which is braised for three and a half hours, was as tender as I've ever had. To be honest though, I prefer octopus chewier.
My main course of halibut was prepared sous vide, covered with a pesto sauce, and served on quinoa. The halibut was extremely moist (indeed, a bit over-watery) with a delicate flavor. It was too bland for my tastes, but others may enjoy the pure halibut flavor. Objectively, the excess moisture from the halibut made the quinoa soggy.
For dessert, I had a slice of ash-ripened goat cheese from Quebec, homemade sea salt crackers, and a sour cherry jam. This was perfect.
In sum, Ulla is a very good restaurant. Dishes are executed and plated very well and show lots of creativity. Subjectively, I would have preferred bolder flavors (e.g., more browning on both the halibut and the octopus).
Tibetan Kitchen. There is a large variety of ethnic restaurants in Victoria. I tried out Tibetan Kitchen for lunch based on some good reviews. The restaurant seemed popular with locals. The food was tasty and satisfying across the board. A good experience.
Fol Epi. This is a highly regarded rustic bakery with some of the best-looking breads I've ever seen. I tried a croissant and a cinnamon bun. Both were good, but I would have preferred a more pronounced butter flavor, especially in the croissant.
Murchies. I really enjoyed a biscuity currant scone here.
The Mark. This is the "fine dining" restaurant in the Hotel Grand Pacific. The hotel separates this restaurant from its more casual restaurant called The Pacific. Both restaurants are served by the same kitchen and same waiters. I got some comic relief from My waiter often walked through the "prestigious" door between The Pacific and The Mark to check on how I was doing. It's truly asinine. The food is mediocre at best. Don't waste a meal on this subpar pretender. I will note that the service was good and the dining room was nice.
i got a guffaw out of your description of the multi-waiter at The Mark at the so-called Hotel Grand Pacific. Monty Python or Fawlty Towers comes to mind. I often wonder (as we spend another hunk of money at a restaurant) if the newer crowd of F & B managers (not the server)
1. don't have the experience (possibly some maybe didn't grow up sitting at a proper dinner table)
2. don't have the budgets --- and have to make certain revenue / sq foot of venue (i don't know how they would express that in f and b terms)