The Black Olive Restaurant offers Mediterranean and Italian influenced West Coast dining and features an extensive wine list with interesting, unusual and hard to find wines.
My husband and I chose to The Black Olive for our anniversary dinner, and we were thrilled with our experience. The restaurant is cozy and eclectically decorated. The service was professional and mindful to our needs -- as it was our anniversary, we wanted an intimate dinner, and the servers were present but not intrusive. The only quibble I had was at the end of the evening, when I asked about the cheese platter -- I would have appreciated a bit more detail about the cheeses. The bread basket comes with a lovely light hummus and warm, golden bread. We ordered the calamari as an appetizer and the server informed us that it was pan-fried without breading, which was fine with us, and in fact preferable. The calamari arrived promptly and was divine -- served in a light, slightly spicy tomato sauce and accompanied by a good size salad of mixed greens in a delicate vinaigrette. For dinner, my husband had the rack of lamb. We'd heard it was the best in the city, and it certainly was the best we'd ever had. The lamb was rich but delicately seasoned, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. I ordered the Black Olive linguine -- fresh linguine noodles in a black olive pesto cream sauce, dotted throughout with generous portions of scallops, prawns, mussels and clams. It was the most interesting seafood pasta I've had in a restaurant By this point we'd had two bottles of wine -- one a Gewürztraminer from the interior of BC, and one bottle of house white (a chardonnay-semillion) so we opted for desert to give us time to linger over our glasses. We had the vanilla creme brullee -- light, with enough vanilla to make it sweetly decadent. The portion size would be small for dessert lovers, but it was fine for us. All in all, a fantastic dinner with great hosts.
I was served a meal of raw chicken. After taking a couple of bites of the chicken, I cut into the meat and saw the blood. I immediately returned the meal. At the end of the dinner, the waitress told me that she would only charge me for half the meal. I told her that this was unsatisfactory. The manager Paul arrived and without apologizing for serving me raw chicken, proceeded to ask how many bites of the meal I had so he could determine a pro-rated charge. When I told him that I would not pay for any of my meal but would be happy to pay for all other charges, he told me to "get out and don't come back". Feeling humiliated and embarrassed, Paul and I exchanged words. On my way out the door he remarked, "enjoy your free meal". I returned to the restaurant and explained to Paul that I didn't come to his restaurant for a free meal, rather I came for a good meal. He proceeded to argue that even though mistakes happen, he needs to make money and that is why he wanted to know how much I had eaten before I returned the meal. In my opinion, Paul should be glad I returned the meal having only had two bites rather than returning the meal after I had eaten the raw part of the chicken. His behaviour and respect for the customer were atrocious. We both agreed that I would never return to his restaurant, I only hope that others do the same. I am not a restaurant owner, or even a business owner, but I would think that one makes money by providing a good product or a good service not by charging by the number of bites you have of a meal before you bite into the bad part.
I went to this establishment for the first time on a Sunday with a friend and her 7 year old daughter. When we walked in, there were three other tables occupied. We were seated and had to ask for menus. About 15 minutes later we asked if we could order coffee as nobody had bothered to come and ask us if we wanted any. We ordered the coffee and the waitress disappeared for another 10 minutes or so and then came back with one coffee, put it down and left again. The 7 year old wanted a smoothie (on the menu) so we asked what flavours they had. The waitress didn't know and said she didn't know how to make one either. She eventually asked the other waitress who said she could make it. What they didn't say was that it was a liquid from the fridge mixed with ice. It was so sweet that even a child didn't like it. About 30 or 40 minutes after we arrived, we flagged down the waitress and asked where our other coffes was and if we could actually order breakfast. We gave our order and the other coffee finally arrived. The restaurant gradually began to fill as we sat there and we drank our coffees and waited for our food. We waited over an hour and a half. People who hadn't even been in the restaurant when we got there had come in, ordered, eaten their breakfast and left and we still hadn't gotten any food. While we were waiting an elderly lady with her grandson told the waitress that she'd had enough and was leaving since she'd been there over an hour and still didn't have any breakfast. She walked out.
I had thought that we were sitting at the "invisible table" but it seems as though we were not alone. When our food finally came it was okay but nothing out of the ordinary and not once did anyone appologise about the wait or even seem to be aware that we had been sitting and waiting for an hour and a half. It was really fortunate that my friend's daughter is really well behaved because she was HUNGRY and leaving a child unfed for that long can be really difficult.
I'll never go back.
I have eaten frequently at the Black Olive; both for lunch and dinner. I have yet to be disappointed with either the food or the service. There are original art works on the walls which can be purchased. The staff are always friendly and efficient, no matter how busy it is. On the occasion there might be a delay from the kitchen due to volume this is managed very well by just the appropriate recognition by the staff. The Black Olive is certainly the sort of place one could take company and not have to worry about consistency of food and service.I always have a difficult time making the choice of what to eat ,either from the specials or the regular menu. I had the stuffed free range chicken breast the last time I was there.Cooked to perfection with lots of veggies. The lamb,especially the rack, is the best ever and the demi glace is "lick the platter clean" delicious ! Try the desserts; great tiramisou and creme brule ! We shared because we couldn't decide !
We thought we'd try The Black Olive when we couldn't get in at the restaurant we wanted, and it was a fantastic evening. We were seated promptly and had the generous attention of proprietor Paul. We otok advantage of the 3 course meal. The salad was delicious with chorizo and blue cheese. My friend had the crab linguine, which was deliciously seasoned without a heavy sauce - nice surprise! I enjoyed the lamb wellington, perfectly cooked. The lava cake dessert was made with quality cocoa and not overly sweet. Wonderful service, great ambience.
My partner and I decided to try the Black Olive on a recent trip to Victoria - we thought that we'd treat ourselves to the above average prices here as it was my first break in a long time but we were so disappointed by a place that oversold itself and didn't deliver on the goods. We eat in Greek restaurants a lot, often at the lower end of the price range, and they have all been much better than this place. My partner ordered the lamb rack, and it was ok, but the potatoes tasted like the ones you buy frozen and heat up in the oven at home. Everything on his plate was extremely bland. My cioppino soup was a bowl of vinegar-flavoured tomato broth with a few prawns, scallops floating around in it and a small piece of fish laid on top - the fish was nice but the broth was really acidic and lacked flavour other than the vinegar. The serving was small and wasn't served with anything else for a grand price tag of $24. It left me hungry and with burning in my stomach from the acidity. The ambiance was ok, but towards the end of the meal one of the people at a far table started having a loud conversation with someone 3 tables away from him. It was Saturday night and the feel of the place seemed to lack effort. The ambiance appeared to be local greek hangout, but the food, the posh tablecloths and fine dining appearance just didn't match up. It was an odd place with a split personality and I couldn't wait to leave.
This is the third time I have dined at the Black Olive. Admittedly, it is the first time in 2 years, and the food has improved drastically. Upon asking our attentive server, he told us that the kitchen staff had undergone a makeover last year. It is obvious to me and everyone who dined at our table. The prix fixe entree (a three course which changes weekly, I'm told) of apple and fennel stuffed Berkshire pork chop was mouthwatering and perfectly cooked. Everyone enjoyed their meals immensely, and we will definitely return for more.
Having just arrived in the city, we asked (while shopping) for a recommendation for a nice place for dinner. The Black Olive was suggested and directions given. We had no reservation but were accommodated and seated at the back of the restaurant by the bar. We chose the evening special, an appetizer (clams), main (veal) and dessert (peanutbutter/chocolate cheesecake). The food was delicious! Great value. The portions were "just right" and with a half liter of wine, we enjoyed a special evening. We look forward to our next visit. (We will make a reservation as the restaurant was full when we left at 8).