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AndromedaVictoria, BC, CanadaSince June 7, 20103 Reviews
Average Rating
3.5 (3.5)
  • Food4 (4)
  • Service3.5 (3.7)
  • Value3.5 (3.3)
  • Ambiance3 (3)


Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 Reviews Found
Chez Michel Restaurant1871 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria
Splendid From Start to Finish
Submitted Friday, October 15, 2010 - 12:37am [Dine in]

You might easily overlook Chez Michel if you were on a whirlwind visit to Victoria. It's not in the bustling restaurant scene downtown, but tucked into a cozy space in the largely retirement-age neighborhood of Oak Bay, on a section of Oak Bay Avenue which isn't teeming with pedestrians unless they're headed to or from a bus stop. A glance in the window at the unabashedly old-school decor or a caught strain of the French muzak might suggest to you a pedestrian menu and stodginess.

You would be wrong.

This is not a place to go for trendy "beet tasting" appetizers or mystery compotes, granted. The menu here is traditional French food, and its preparation reminds you why it became traditional to begin with. My lobster bisque starter arrived in a bowl too hot to touch, a flavourful garlic crouton floating in the creamy broth flecked with tender lobster bits and perfumed with cognac. My husband's pate, served rustic-style with generous portions of toast and cornichons, disappeared quickly.

The mains were even better: my duck confit was perfectly prepared, skin crispy and meat fall-off-the-bone delicious, tender but still moist. Husband's rare steak, generously sized, also did not disappoint. We opted for the pommes frites - always available on request - instead of the potato of the day and were glad we did. With perhaps only one exception I can think of, they were the best frites we've had in town. (Our server told us Chef had offered additional frites if we liked, and it only took a few bites for us to respond, "Yes, please!") Sides were nothing exotic - a half tomato provencale and green beans - but arrived piping hot, full of flavour, and beautifully seasoned.

Dessert led us to the crepe "french connection," filled with vanilla ice cream and drenched in chocolate sauce, whipped cream and almonds, and the profiteroles. Save the space: it's worth waiting for.

Is a meal here cheap? No, but you get everything you pay for: portions are extremely generous (at least 2/3 of my duck came home with us). For the same investment at many another Victoria establishment, your results will be much less in both quality and quantity.

Our server was attentive without being overpowering. And, since we were the only party in the restaurant this evening, we frankly wouldn't have expected anything less. We've been here before during Dine Around (a period of local discounts at participating restaurants) and had a less successful server experience, which we attribute to the extra temporary staff needed to cope with the additional volume. The moral of the story is not to wait for the Dine Around frenzy with its tightly-booked tables and limited menu. Pick an off-season weeknight instead to sample Michel's food - you'll have a larger selection and a much more leisurely experience.

Has the ambiance changed much over the years? Not really. But our meals out are more about the food than about granite-and-chrome glitz or the latest lighting fads. Real table linens and a little candlelight are all that Michel's food needs as a frame.

Chez Michel is a hidden local treasure. Come with an appetite on a quiet evening and you will leave impressed and satisfied.

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Matisse512 Yates St, Victoria
Our favourite restaurant in Victoria
Submitted Monday, June 7, 2010 - 12:38am [Dine in]

For several trips as visitors, and now as residents of Victoria these past five years, we have yet to find another gem quite as special as Matisse. Both the exceptional food and the outstanding service set it apart as a dining experience. John, your host, is knowledgeable and engaging, inviting you into rather than simply explaining the menu and the nightly specials. If you can't decide on a wine with dinner...trust him. You won't be disappointed.

The food is excellent, prepared in sane and beautifully-presented proportions. The menu rotates seasonally, but if in doubt you can't go wrong with the seasonal fish offering, with a starter of lobster bisque or the house pate. (If one of your favourites has rotated off the menu...ask. John maintains that whatever your question might be, the answer is "yes" - and the kitchen agrees and delivers! You might be the one to set that evening' trend for steak au poivre.) Save room, though, for dessert. Whether you opt for a cheese plate, or the house-made ice creams, sorbet or truffles, it makes for a fitting end to a terrific meal.

Matisse isn't about f-a-s-t food by any means, so don't make this your first choice for a quick pre-theatre bite. And it is true that the seating area is small and you'll find yourself catching other tables' conversations just as much as your own, on a busy night. But the decor is tasteful and soothing, and if you happen to be there on one of this landmark's rare, quiet evenings, you'll find the ambiance a romantic, relaxing backdrop to a fantastic meal worthy of a painting by its namesake.

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Brannigans Restaurant3271 Maple St, Victoria
Dreadful, even given middle-of-the-road expectations
Submitted Monday, June 7, 2010 - 12:25am [Dine in]

Out on a Saturday night ferrying our daughter to and from an event, we thought a simple, unremarkable, coffee-shop type meal would fill the intervening time well. To our regret, we chose Brannigan's. We'd been there for a breakfast before and it seemed....well, fine. Not so with that evening's meal.

My spouse's shrimp sandwich was...well, fine. But the fries that accompanied it were so overcooked that attempts to use his fork on them instead sent them flying across the tabletop.

I ordered what you would think was a safe choice - a plain cheeseburger. It tasted more like sawdust than ground beef, so plainly laden with fillers as to be inedible. And the onion rings I substituted at additional cost arrived looking more like malformed donuts both in size and in texture. I can only assume that they received the same battering as the fish-ā€™nā€™-chips, as the result was 90% batter and perhaps 10% vegetable.

There were, at most, two other occupied tables while we were there, yet it was still a battle to get the server's attention through what we were able to get through of the meal. I visited their web site that evening to voice my concerns, but found most of the links inoperable or, if they worked, populated with temporary "greeking" text than with actual information.

Breakfast at this place? It's probably....well, fine. But even for a quick meal at other times, you might do better at the nearby Mayfair Mall food court.

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