Cafe Brio is a stylish spot on Antique Row in Victoria. Using inspriration from Italian and French cuisine, Cafe Brio combines local, fresh ingredients to make its memorable dishes.
Saved Cafe Brio for our last night in Victoria and got more than we expected. I had selected Cafe Brio based on the reviews and they were right on the money. As far as I am concerned, there is not enough stars to rate this restaurant. Our reservations were for 7pm and we satyed at our table for the next two and a half hours enjoying the food, wine and company. Upon arrival we were meet by the owner who took the ladies and show'd them the available tables and allowed them to make the selection. We started with a bottle of Brunello Di Moitfalicino, 2001. The owner brought the bottle to our table and joked about us getting into his personal wine. We started with a charcuterie which had a lamb and veal pate, a parfait and sliced meats made at the retaurant. From there were ordered the Chefs dinner, which changes daily, and served family style. It was incredible and I highly recommend it. They first ask if there is anything you like or do not like and go from there. That night we were served fresh oysters on the half shell, duck, halibut and pasta carbonara. The service was excellent and the owner was a delight. This is a must for anyone visiting Victoria.
Upon entry at Cafe Brio, although we did have a reservation, we had to wait about 15 minutes to get our table, even at 9pm. We were then given our choice of free tables, which was a nice touch. The speed of service allowed us to enjoy conversation while tasting the dishes; it was just right. Servers were knowledgeable about the menus. Each dish we tried wowed us with unexpected and excellent combinations, from the pheasant with pear sauce, to the fresh salad of squash with flavour of bacon, to the mini creme brulee and decadent chocolate truffles! The decor was a blend of tasteful, oversized floral arrangements and various French-inspired paintings..the whole place was a treat! Highly recommended, but don't forget your wallet ;)
We heard about Cafe Brio from the reception at our hotel desk (The Empress) and read that it was one of the top 100 restaurants in Canada. Not sure if we agree on that rating, but the food was good. We had martini's to start which had a fruity yet sharp flavour. Our appy's were pretty good, my other half had the octopus w/greens (the octopus is catched locally) and it was one of the most tender pieces of octopus i've ever had, not rubbery at all. I had the walnut enrusted goat cheese salad, which had a clean crisp dressing.
For the entrees, he had the free range chicken while I had the sablefish w/mix veg. The sablefish wasn't what i was normally used to; it had a breading of some sort, but it was cooked perfectly. His free range chicken was marvellous, it came with shredded cabbage and mashed potatoes and the gravy was the most flavourful i've ever had, yet it was light. The shredded cabbage wasn't too strong, it took on the flavour of the wonderful gravy.
To go with our entrees, we also had half a dozen of the stuffed olives. They are SO DELISH, handmade, totally recommend it!! We thought it would be marinated olives but it was actually breaded and deep fried and tasted so good. Not sure what was stuff with, the waitress said it differs from chicken to duck to pork.. .
For dessert we had creme brulee and lemon tart. The lemon tart had the perfect amount of zest comparable to some of the best i've ever had, but it also came with a spoonful of marscapone and homemade cranberry compote. It also had the burned sugar on top which I love so much.
The caramel brulee was also one of the best i've ever had.
All in all it was good, I probably ordered the wrong entree, but it was pretty accurate to its reviews!!
We eat around town frequently, and like to change things up, but this was the first time to Cafe Brio, and what a wonderful discovery. The service was marvelous. Pork Loin and Rib Eye were done to perfection, presentation was outstanding, the food looked as good as it tasted. Hearts of romaine salad should be on everyone's appetizer list.
We will definitely return.
From our inital greeting by the owner, Greg Hays to the aperizers, wine selection, main course and finally the cheese plate our experience was a culinary treat that stands as our best dinning experience in Victoria.
Off the beaten path, a 15 minute walk from the town center, Cafe Brio is a rustic Italian oasis sandwiched tightly between non nondescript buildings. The front patio encased in creeping vines beckons you in. In our conversation with Greg we learned the restaurant was built to his a co-owner Silvia Marcolini's design some 20 years ago during the biggest snow Victoria has ever seen.
Its high ceiling, earth tones and subtle lighting transport you immediately back to an Italian tratoria. The atmosphere is "vivacious" reflective of its name "Brio" and its owners. Chef Luarie Munn has created a superb menu of fresh ingredients from local farms sure to please knowledgeable foodies.
Many of the servers have worked at Cafe Brio for over a decade and are very knowledgable of the food and wine parings. Our server suggested a Querciabella Chianti which proved to be an excellent choice. Both Greg and Silvia visit Italy yearly to bring back new ideas and interesting wines.
We started with 2 stuffed olives followed by an antipasta selection that include a fantastic Boudin Noir blood sausage and a chicken liver parfait pate both homemade. We then both had the pasta Bolognese which was perfectly cooked al dante. We finshed with a cheese tray of Farm House Cheddar and La Baquette de Kerneval (french cow).
All in all a fantastic expereince and a "must visit" if you're in Victoria.
What a wonderful place to eat in Victoria with tasty food and a long and well chosen list of British Columbian wines, some of the most underated wines in North America. The food courses are not too complex and full of flavour and generous. The staff are very welcoming, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable about the ingredients used in food preparation. The moderate hum of conversation and the obvious enjoyment of the patrons is exciting.
what we ordered and what we thought:
1) summer squash soup- absolutely delicious. I'm a big soup fan. this is one of those soups I dream of blending the right amount of cream, water, spices, and squash. oya. dip your complimentary rustic bread into the streak of buttery oil swimming on the surface. yumm...
2) goat cheese crusted with roasted almond salad- a refreshing toss of garden greens and weeds. The marinated cherry was a surprise. the dressing was a bit light...which was good because I dislike salads drenched with heavy dressing creams.
3) the scallion, kale, and potato agnolotti- =( why? the pasta was slightly undercooked, I felt the knotty edges hardened from the freezer. The filling itself resembled chinese won-ton...the scallion was choppy and the texture and taste overwhelmed other veggies. scallion was a bad call on this invention.
4) butternut squash gnocchi- this was one of my favorite dish ever! instead of traditionally boiling the gnocchi, the chef pan-fried/stir-fried the gnocchi...lending it a bronze crispy shell to the meltingly soft innards of the gnocchi. the texture was absolutely surprising and the taste was perfect. I've decided to prepare all my gnocchi dishes this way. =)
5) toffee pudding- this was highly recommended by the server. I found it a bit disappointing. first of all...it aint' no pudding. It was basically a chocolate cake/brownie thing sitting atop a pool of overly sweet caramel/toffee/chocolate sauce (it was sooo sweet that my taste buds confused one sensation for another)...despite that, the scoop of toffee flavored gelato on the side was worth mentioning. I'd shell out 3 bucks for that scoop anytime.
6) Creme Brule- the taste of heaven! I had a pretty sheltered creme brule experience until now. Usually, I found creme brule either too watery, too sweet, or pudding-like. It had always been my last choice on the dessert menu. well well...the patisserie chef at Cafe Brio has it going with her innovations. The creme was indeed La Creme. It was rich, thick, and yielding at the same time. Her use of madagasgar vanilla bean authenticated the fragrance of pure deliciousness. The candied maple-colored top was flamed just right. With a well-measured tap, the top cracks. ahh...the look, the smell, and the taste were all there. can't ask for anything more.
The servers were nice as well. They've tried the dishes and know which ones are good. The wine pairing recommendations for different dishes were helpful was well.
The price was a bit on the heavier side. the totally deal came out to be $80. But it's worth it if you are sharing it with someone special.
Anyhoo, if you desire a defining dinning experience at Cafe Brio, order the soup, the gnocchi, and the cream brule. It's worth the mula.
I've been to Brio about 30 times over the years from when it first opened. I'm still amazed that every time I've always had excellent food and good service. This is one of those restaurants where everything on your plate will taste amazing. If you want extra value I suggest getting there early enough for their "early dinner menu", which provides a three course meal that's very hard to beat for $29 (as of typing this).
Cafe Brio remains the darling of Victoria food critics, but we were underwhelmed by our experience. The service is excellent, and the food is decent but overpriced by $5-10 per plate. I found the duck confit pasta overly fatty, with nothing to cut the oily taste, and the fish special was nothing special at all. I don't expect huge portions at a high-end establishment, but all four of us left hungry. I won't be going back.
We went to Cafe Brio with high expectations fueled by the restaurant's general reputation, and we left quite disappointed. The romaine salad was a pathetic two leaves on a plate, and the steaks were below average, while the fries were too crisp. I also suspect that the oyster starter may have been largely the cause of my upset stomach that night. Overall, overpriced and over-hyped. We won't be going back.
We arrived and were so looking forward to a lovely evening of good food and wine with some friends. We spent hundreds of dollars on appetizers and entrees and bottles of wine. Service was okay not stellar. The males ordered scallops as they saw another diner having the entrée with six scallops and it sold them that this is what they too wanted. When we got to the entrees the scallop orders were served with two scallops on each plate. For the money they charge for an entree of scallops and you get served two the men were not pleased. They brought this to the servers attention and the response was they are served by weight. If this was so I would expect those scallops to be very large scallops and not two small 1" round scallops. Our group felt that the kitchen perhaps fell short of scallops and rather than saying we have run out they pushed two substandard orders at paying customers. So not to belabor the point as half the party did not feel they got fair value or treated properly and on top of that left hungry- so we will not be returning. We will spend our money at other great new dining locations in Victoria.
I don't often go to such high-end restaurants, because of the price, but every nhow and then I treat myself to something considered the creme de la creme. The way restaurant reviewers gush over this place, I thought I'd be in for something special.
Well, the restaurant must know when the reviewers are coming, because this place is a big disappointment. Tiny portions of mediocre food - and I'm being generous. I would never return.
I was expecting great things from this restaurant. I had family over from Australia and wanted to take them out for a nice dinner. What a disappointment. The server was borderline rude, and the food was unpalatable. The salad was good, on an upside, but stay away from the meat. I wish I could say nicer things, but I really can't think of any.
Cafe Brio seems to have a reputation as one of the better restaurants in Victoria, so we were looking forward to a meal there. What a disappointment! After being given menus and water by a disinterested underling, we waited 13 minutes (I know because I was set to walk out at 15) for any service. Being one of the more expensive restaurants in Victoria, we expected better . . . and better food. My Steak Frites turned out to be a $32 tough piece of beef, (albeit cooked well) with more gristle than I'd ever seen in a decent restaurant. And the "frites" were overcooked, greasy seemingly frozen french fries, with an overdone dollop of some kind of vegetable matter dumped beside them. I will not be going there again.
Supposedly this restaurant has great food, albeit a bit pricey, and I thought it was worth a shot on a special day. How dissapointing!
The menu was reduced to one option on this special day, with no prior notice until we were seated after a 15 minute wait for the reservation we made 2 weeks in advance. The option was singular: $50 per person for a five course meal, regardless of whether you simply wanted a main entree, or just desert. To be fair the options for main course were somewhat numerous and tasty, however the options for appetizers were very few and made my stomach turn. Salad was not even an option. Additionally, the portions were small, and the server knew nothing about the food. This is the last time I eat off of a conveyor belt for $50.
Cafe Brio made off like a bandit on Valentines day!