Fine Dining in Victoria

Old Oct 7th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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Fine Dining in Victoria

My husband and I are going to Victoria on a business trip next September where everything is included but I was sort of hoping my DH and I could sneak away for a lovely meal on our own. We do not have the restaurant list where our groups are going yet.

Price irrelevant. Looking for a great atmosphere, something unique/quirky and different. We will be staying at the Empress, I believe it is called. As a gourmand I am into wild and crazy as well as traditional. We are not afraid to try anything. Can you recommend such a place?

I realize this is far in advance but we have two European trips to plan in 2008 as well so are trying to get ourselves organized.
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 11:54 AM
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A few places come to mind, although I think Victoria fails in the quirky department, and isn't that great for food for the most part.

Someone I knew in the restaurant business used to really like Camilles in Bastion Square for romantic dinners. I have never been there.
http://www.camillesrestaurant.com/

Here's a few more I can't vouch for:
Sooke Harbour House or the Aerie, both out of town.
http://www.sookeharbourhouse.com/seafood_restaurant.htm
http://www.aerie.bc.ca/food.cfm

Il Terrazzo, downtown. Too noisy for me last time I went.
http://www.ilterrazzo.com/

Cafe Brio.
http://www.cafe-brio.com/

None of those are particularly unique. The Superior in James Bay (near the harbour) is certainly quirky, but I've personally never heard anyone rave about the food.
http://www.thesuperior.ca/

Over to someone else who is more in-the-know about dining out.
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 12:57 PM
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We ate at Sooke Harbour House in June (we stayed next door in a holiday home)
It is simply one of the most stylish country house hotels I have every experienced - the art of the hotel is individual and compliments to hotel's location seemlessly.

However, the food at most just OK - it was a great shame the kitchen did not live up to its surroundings. The a la carte prices are far too high in view of the lack of complexity offered on the menu.

Having said that your dining environment does considerably compensate - it is a good half hour drive from Victoria.
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 02:23 PM
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We live around the corner from Sooke Harbour House and it is quite pricy, but we thought the food was wonderful.

If you have time and a vehicle, you might like to try Point No Point, which is further west along the road that leads through Sooke. If you're going early enough in September that it won't get dark really quickly, the views from the dining room are wonderful. They also do a very pleasant afternoon tea, or lunch, and on a pretty day, that can be spectacular. People will try to talk you into afternoon tea at the Empress, and since you're staying there and everything is included, that may be part of the package. But there are many nicer places for tea. I've heard (can't say from personal experience) that the Indian buffet at the Bengal Lounge is really good. That's also at the Empress.

We love Rebar Modern Food, in Bastion Square - that's in the cheap'n'cheerful category and I'm not sure that's what you're looking for, but the food is amazingly good.
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Old Oct 7th, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Sooke Harbour House probably serves the
"wild and crazy"iest food in the Victoria area - I vividly recall a dinner of white white sole and red red
beets.....garishly vivid! lol!

We took friends from Europe to Point-no-Point for a night and dinner. We
have always had good food there. However, the drive back to Victoria would certainly mean no wine w/dinner or a designated driver.

We ate at Rebar 3 times in 24 hours b/c
we had both bought their cookbook and
wanted to check out some of the recipes
at their source....great fun! But most
certainly non-gourmand!

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Old Oct 8th, 2007, 03:41 AM
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Hi meesthare

How life in paradise?

Have they started the development at the end of East Sooke Road ? - although I would rigorously object to the development - the restaurant on the headland will have the most amazing setting I have ever come across.
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Old Oct 8th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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Hi, Mark - we haven't been through East Sooke for a month or so, so I'm not sure what's going on there. There is some development happening closer to us, however. We can see what looks like the beginning of some streets just east of Whiffin Spit Road.

They are planning a major project for the land where the Manuel Quimper Motel stands now - do you remember where that spot is? They did some work on the marina this summer and apparently they're proposing to put in shops, restaurants, boutiques, etc. - totally inappropriate in our opinion and that of most of our neighbours, who will not welcome the traffic nor the change in ambiance.

But of course it's still beautiful out here; at this very moment our cats are communing through the kitchen window at a young stag who has come to call, and the quail were just here munching on the birdseed we put out for them every morning.
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 12:03 AM
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We highly recommend Brasserie "L'école". It is small and very popular, so reservations are a MUST. http://www.lecole.ca/home.htm
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 12:27 AM
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Meesthare

Sooke had a profoundly damaging effect on my speech development (he's two).

When we talk about Canada he finds its impossible to piece together a sentence that includes everything we experienced in one half hour in Sooke.

He remembers this well and tries to say :
Bear (brown bear from the car on the road from Port Renfrew)
Fire engine (on the road to Whiffin Spit as there was a house fire)
Rabbit (on the lawn of the house)
Racoon (sitting in the entrance of Sooke Harbour House)
Deer (finding the keys to the house came up the steps from the back yard and wandered off)
Eagle (got into the house was sitting on the tree next door)
Sea Otter (playing in the sea from the kitchen window)
Seal (went straight out for a walk - they were in the sea)
Finally purple star fish (on the sea shore as it was low tide)

You try saying :
bear,fire engine,rabbit, racoon, deer, eagle, sea otter, seal and purple start fish in one sentence without getting tongue tied - that was some half hour in the development of a two year old!
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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You have given me great recommendations and I thank you. I always do a lot of online research but it certainly makes a huge difference hearing from people who have experienced these places.

There are several here I would love to try. The last time my husband and I left the 350 or so group we snuck off to "Fifteen" in London.
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Well, Mark, there's only one cure for that speech problem. You're going to have to bring him back next summer!
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Old Oct 9th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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May well do! we will skip Vancouver this time - most over-rated city I have visited. A good experience but just very over-rated.
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 02:21 PM
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I was up in Victoria a couple weekends ago and really enjoyed the curry buffet at the Bengal Lounge at the Empress for lunch, then a lovely dinner (steak frites and creme brulee) at Brasserie L'Ecole. I'd still say Cafe Brio is my favorite restaurant in Victoria though.
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