Camille's is located in historic Bastion Square and offers its guests a menu of West Coast inspried dishes utilizing fresh, local ingredients.
Hands down, Camille's is the best meal I've had in a restaurant in years, and easily the best I've had in BC.
We found Camille's online and thought the menu sounded great, so we made reservations two days before we were going to be in town. The evening before we were to eat there, we happened to pass it while walking around. It's not much to look at through the street-level windows, and the tables we could see were all empty (which is almost never a good sign at 8:30pm for a restaurant). All our worries were dispelled when we showed up the next night for our reservation at 8pm.
It turns out we could only see the front room of tables from the street. We were walked through it to the rear of the space, which was almost full. The decor suited me perfectly: it's not overwrought pretension with flowing silks, and chandeliers; it's lit at the tables, and deep-coloured walls.
Camille's puts on a different five-course tasting menu every day, which is what we had. Everything was phenomenal: well-balanced tastes and just-right portions. Our menu included an heirloom tomato and basil gazpacho, roasted fig and goat cheese salad and venison leg with blueberries, squash and fingerling potatoes. Our server did a phenomenal job pairing wines to the menu. She was also perfectly timed with checking in on our progress, refilling water and clearing empty plates.
From our experience with the tasting menu and what I remember of their fixed menu, I have no hesitation recommending Camille's to anyone who wants an excellent meal that, while definitely higher priced than other options in Victoria, is both well worth it and excellent value.
Our positive experience with Camille's began even before we arrived, when they graciously accommodated our last-minute request to bump our reservation up by an hour.
On our arrival were were met by a cheerful hostess, who immediately walked us past an old bank vault to a good-sized table. Although our table was well separated from other diners, I could see that some of the others were a bit closer together. The restaurant is in the basement of an old brick building, and has the low ceiling you'd expect it to have, but it's nonetheless a warm and welcoming space.
Our server, who, like many of the servers, is also a chef at Camille's, was very knowledgeable about everything they served. My wife and I chose the Spinach and Brie Salad and Butternut Squash Ravioli as appetizers, and both were absolutely delightful. The mix of texture and flavour in the Ravioli made it simply the best appetizer I've ever tasted.
Moving on to the mains, we chose the Cowichan Bay Chicken Breast and Ranchlands Tenderloin. Even though I'd asked for the tenderloin medium-well, and been warned that this might make it a bit less tender than it could be, it was simply excellent. My wife's chicken was done to perfection, and the flavour of the crusting was simply divine. Both entrees were accompanied by ample quantities of delicious risotto and vegetables.
Despite the fact that I was already well satisfied, I couldn't resist the temptation of the Chai Tea and Vanilla Creme Brulee. It arrived at the table beautifully presented with sliced strawberries and flambeed bananas, and it completely lived up to the promise offered by the appetizer and mains.
Camille's is justifiably proud of the fact that they use almost exclusively local suppliers, and the freshness of everything we had is a testament to the short journey between grower and chef. All in all, a delightful experience.
Camille's used to be one of my favorite fine dining experiences in Victoria. It was quaint, used high-quality local ingredients, and everything was oh so tasty.
However, several recent trips have been disappointing. Popular and fabulous menu items have been removed with little rationale (other than, because they can), quality has become inconsistent, and the presentation has become quite pretentious. The owner/chef seems much more interested in giving interviews to the newspaper than he does in maintaining quality at his restaurant. The value is just not there anymore.
I was a regular patron and now I'm not certain I will ever go back, especially when there's much better quality, consistency, and value at so many other Victoria establishments.
My husband and I visit Victoria every summer for several months. We made an early dinner reservation at Camille's and were the first guests to arrive. My husband ordered a glass of wine and I ordered a cosmo martini which was made incorrectly and had to be remade with specific instructions from me. We both ordered the same meal - fresh garden salad and steak cooked pink. The fresh dill bread was excellent and the salad was a delight with a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits in a blackberry vinagrette. All was well up to this point and then several large groups of cruise ship guests arrived (we could tell bcause they were dressed in rumpled shorts and sneakers and loudly proclaiming the need to get back to the ship before it sailed). The next thing we knew they were being served course after course and our steak was no where to be seen. We finally inquired and we were told "our ticket was next". Our steaks arrived with an andouille sausage bread pudding. The plates had obviously been sitting under a heat lamp for who knows how long and the bread pudding was hard and the steaks were dry and over cooked. The food was practically inedible. A terrible ending to the dinner. We will not return as Camille's is obviously geared toward cruise ship guests interested in a quick dinner and not people interested in an elegant fine dining experience. Camille's needs to redefine itself as such.
I had a business dinner at Camille's with two co-workers from out of town (one Toronto, one San Francisco) and we all left extremely impressed and full.
This is not my first visit to Camille's but it has been 6 months or more since I have been and it won't be that long before I go back.
Camille's has done some renovations to the front area of the restaurant. These really improve this area by opening it up and adding some brightness from the larger windows. There are also improvements to the decor and I think it looks great while still keeping the quiet atmosphere that Camille's is known for.
I had the Tuna Salad starter and it was excellent. A beautiful piece of albacore tuna with greens and asparagus. Very tastefully arranged and with an accompanying sauce / dressing that was a perfect match if not slightly salty.
For my main course I had the Wild Salmon and again, the portion was excellent and accompanying vegetables and rice was delicatly and deliciously prepared.
One thing that I find consistently at Camille's which I really appreciate is an excellent selection of quality mid-price ($50-90) wines. While the list is not massive (maybe a total of 200 wines??) it is big enough and the wines are carefully selected. There is a great selection of good BC wines which is always nice to expose out of town guests to. Camille's seems to have a reasonable markup on their wines as well - more around 100% over retail than not and this compares favourably with many other restaurants which I have seen charge up to 200%.
Also worth mentioning was that many of the food items were sourced locally - again a nice touch and great way to expose yourself and guests to BC / Vancouver Island fare.
My first experience with Camille's was for a three course special and it was seriously the Best food, service (and wine!) I've ever had in my life. It was cosy, romantic and so delicious I was savouring the meal for days.
When I went back on a less special night the food was still excellent, but the service and the ambience were not quite so fantastic. Still one of my favourite places for special occasions!