Ferris' Oyster Bar is a dimly lit, hip, New York-style bistro. Oysters are the mainstay served 14 ways but the rest of the dishes on the eclectic menu are not to be missed.
I don't live in Victoria and was visiting with my two children (ages 8 and 6). I had been to Ferris' years ago and wanted to visit with my kids one evening while on a weekend trip to Victoria.
I called the establishment to make sure that a) they were open; b) there was room and c) it had not changed into an adults only establishment (i.e. pub) before I walked the 10 blocks from our hotel.
The person answering the phone was a little unhelpful. They asked if I wanted "upstairs or downstairs" - I asked the person what they meant. They seemed put off by my question. I explained I was "a tourist and do not know how 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' differs". They impatiently stated that the upstairs was more upscale and the downstairs was more pub like. After a clarified that my children were welcome in either, we decided to trek out.
The host, an older man wearing sandals (in a restaurant??!) offered to seat us. I asked if there was room outside. He said, "not for three." I asked him if there was a table for four. He gave me a stink eyed look and said, in a condescending tone, "I'm a little confused. You said that there were THREE of you." I wanted to explain that a table change mid meal would be difficult for my son (who has high functioning autism). I just took the poor table by the front door because the attitude of the host made my skin crawl!!
A few minutes later, we were given a table outside (probably the host saw me watching closely where subsequent patrons were being offered seating....). We went outside to the courtyard patio where there were SEVERAL suitable tables. Hmmmmmmmm....
We ordered the poutine to start. The kids ordered chicken strips off the kids menu and I had jambalaya. The food took a long time to arrive. I was very proud of both my kids (especially the one with special needs) because they behaved themselves very well, considering the slowness of the service.
When the food finally arrived - it was very tasty.
I like the food and the building of Ferris' - their service definately needs work though.
Very reasonably priced food, with a very large menu. My favourite is the oyster burger- oh, so delish! Both the sweet potato fries and regular fries are also good. Love the atmosphere. The only thing I'm not that fond of is the oyster soup- more tomatoey than oystery. Would definitely recommend this place
Is this place fun!! I went here for dinner with some work friends and was I ever surprised. The oysters are their specialty and they are some of the best I've ever had. They do them in a myriad of ways. They have a varied menu so if you don't like oysters they have salads, soups prawn dishes etc.. I had the oyster burger with the spicy oyster soup, fantastic! The houmous appy was home made and my friend’s dishes were equally good. Prices are very reasonable, the beer is cheap the space is an old brick building off Warf street. If you are in Victoria, do you self a favour and check this place out, you won't be disappointed. P.S. their French fries are huge and homemade, a side bowl is 4 buck with dips!!
I recently went to Ferris' for lunch after a long absence and it was like I had never left. I ordered their "famous" sweet potato fries, that are oh so delicious and I had their veggie nut burger which is awesome, I love the medley of texture and flavors.
All in all I am glad I returned to enjoy their tasty, eclectic comfort food.
Of all the places that offer seafood and oysters in Victoria, id say this one has one of the best. Their clams, mussels, oysters are exquisite..the only thing that is not so much is their service. I have been here a couple of times for lunch and dinner and their dinner always seems to be bad. Maybe its the servers are tired or something but the service is always kinda spotty, especially at nite.
So when my best friend whose from out of town wanted to try dinner here, i was a little weary.I didn't want her to have a bad meal in my home city! But upon her insistance, came here. I had made a reservation and called in to check for it just in case. Phew! It was there and when we came, it was not that busy. But after the appies, things started to get slow because people were coming in like crazy. It was a busy nite, but luckily that didnt spoil the waitresses' mood or the food. Our steamed clams & mussels were delicious, we ordered large just in case to not get underserved. Also the bouillabaisse did not disappoint it was one of the best ive had!
I've been to Ferris' four times -- twice for lunch and twice for dinner -- and while the food is always great, the service is spotty in the evening. On my most recent visit, my parents' oyster meal (two parts -- oysters and pasta) arrived over 10 minutes apart, and there was another significant bread between the time their pasta arrived and the other meals arrived. Also took about 45 minutes for any food to arrive. At lunch, everything is flawless -- my guess is that the there isn't enough service at night around tourist time. But the food is AMAZING -- esp. the prima piatti pasta, the pesto baked oysters and the awesome nut burger.
The food is excellent here. The oyster burger is fantastic; it is the best on the entire planet. The Portobello mushroom burger is fabulous. The potstickers are great, the old lamb burger was my favourite until oyster burger came along. The chicken penne soup with falafel is very spicy, but delicious. Their feta dressing is so good that both my friend and I have tried to copy it. They are very solid with regard to service; the covered patio is nice when it rains. I wish every town had one as I miss it when I'm not in town.
My friends and I go to Ferris' often because they have great food and you get A LOT of it. Everything I have ever had from burgers, to salads, to oysters, to pasta has been fantastic! The service however, is a completely different story. Do not go here if you are in any kind of hurry because it will take them several minutes to take your drink order, several more to bring it to you, then a long, long time to get your food. After you get your food if you need anything else, you will have to track them down because once they drop off the food, they are never coming back. Not to ask how the meal is, not to ask if you need anything else, and not to clear the plates, so you'd better order everything you need while you can. This is not an isolated experience either, we have been here about 15 times in the last 3 years and it's the same every time. Sometimes the service is friendly, sometimes not, but you always wait a long time and you always feel neglected. I would like to introduce this restaurant to new people but I feel a little embarrassed taking people there because of the service. Bottom line: if you don't mind feeling ignored and are not in a hurry try this place because the food is delicious!!!!!!!!
I actually enjoy the atmosphere of Ferris's. I have been comming here for about 5 years now and I almost always have the Half Pound burger with mushrooms and Cambazola Cheeze. I always order it with a Caesar Salad which is the biggest side salad I have ever had served in a restaruant.No skimping on the greens that's for sure. The service is OK and the staff are always hurried and too busy to give you that one on one feel of service. I do have a problem with their dishwasher though as it seems it does not do a very good job. On about a doezen occasions I have had strange things floating in my glass of water and I always have to wipe down my cuttlery as it is usualy dirty. But 9 out of 10 times the Burger is great and that is all I care about is filling my belly when it gets hungry for a burger. One more downside is that while the owner is great to his customers and generaly a nice guy, You can often hear him yelling at his staff and treating quite poorly. This is an unfortunate thing as they do work hard for him in one of the bussiest restaurants in the city. To sum it up...I go there for the BURGER and that is about it.
Every time we go out to dinner with someone the first question we ask is: have you ever been to Ferris's? If not, there's no question about where we want to go. Reasonably priced, good service (although we may get spoiled because they know us from being so often!). There's so many delicious things on their huge menu that you can find someone for everyone's tastes. You must try the brownie for dessert. Best. Ever!
After all the hype and after being told that this was the "hippest most relaxed place to be; with excellent food and atmosphere" I was extremely disappointed with our experience. We needed to wait outside for about 20 min, which was amazing, I though hmm, this is the place to be. I had talked my friends into coming this night and it was highly recommended. However once we were seated all was fine. Then our appy's came and there great, we had veggie pot stickers and of course the Oysters. However the pot stickers were mushy and only burnt on one side, and the oysters, were gritty. We thought well, after an hour and half of waiting, our meals must be spectacular. Boy were we wrong 1/2 the meals were cold, and undercooked; (ordered a steak Medium Well, we received Medium Rare). The service was not the greatest, not once were asked for a refill of anything, our table was not set. As for the atmosphere, sitting out on the patio on narrow benches and using narrow tables was a nice challenge. Then we spoke up about our dissatisfaction and all we relieved was attitude. At the end we even waited 1/2 hour to get our cherub. After such high recommendation we were very sadden by the outcome.
This restuarant appears to be a favorite of many in the city. The ambiance is nice and it can accomodate larger parties pretty well. Their salads are quite good. the one bad comment I could make is that they use way, way to much oil in their food. Their yam fries are mushy and theirpastas are over oily as are some of their appetizers, all in all though its not a bad place to grab a bite
We visit Victoria often and have noticed a common problem with many restaurants there, the poor service. Ferris is another fine example of this. From the moment we walked in, the problems started. Firstly, we stood at the door for 5 minutes before anyone noticed. During this time 3 other parties piled in, one of which was served before us! There was no reason for this considering the place was half empty. The host eventually sat us in the back where he felt we would be more comfortable. Perhaps, it was because we had a baby with us? Sitting isolated in total darkness at 11am isn't exactly comfortable. We got nothing but attitude when we asked him for a high chair (like we need to ask anyway) and he proceeded to take his sweet time bringing it to us too. When the waitress arrived, she was no different. I don't know if it's something in the water, but what's with the "I can't be bothered moving a muscle" attitude? Despite all this, I was looking forward to the food, which was recommended to us. For the most part, the food turned out to be a huge letdown. My eggs benny arrived 10 minutes after everyone else's food and it was overcooked and cold. The $6 sweet potato fries turned out to be tiny little bits of greasy, burnt potato skin and couldn't even be dipped into the sauce which came with them. The waitress never did come by to see how everything was and not once was water, coffee etc refilled. About 45 minutes later she came by, dropped the bill on the table and left without clearing any of the dishes. I wasn't expecting fine dining, but anyone that thinks this is awesome is out of their minds. This is mediocre at best.
Every time I go to Ferris' Oyster Bar (upstairs) I am completely satisfied with absolutly everything. The servers are friendly and efficient, the oysters, no matter the preperation, are remarkable! Not to mention the Pulled Pork Sandwich, it is on par if not a little better (in my opinion) than Smokin Bones Cookshack. The meat is so tender and the Chipolte Mayo is so flavorful, this sandwich is to die for. They have a nice wine list to accompany anything and everything on their menu. Not to mention that it is very reasonably priced. I guarantee you will enjoy your experiance at this resteraunt.
Steak ( ordered by four in our group ) definitely not a wise choice. Will not be going back. Sorry we decided to give it a try. Did not find the staff to be enthusiastic .... food was mediocre to say the least. Would not recommend to my friends. There are some great restaurants in Victoria .... this is not one of them.
After much dithering, went to Ferris' Oyster Bar (upstairs, not the downstairs grill) on their Sunday Tapas night. Be forewarned - their regular menu is unavailable on Sundays. No concern, though, as the tapas are simply amazing.
The room is old and very Spanish-style, quite unexpected and not unattractive, with aged wood floors and brick walls. The artwork on the wall is, however, quite bizarre. You'll have to see it to judge for yourself. There are about a dozen or so tables, and lots of room to maneuver. The lighting is nice, and the music - instrumental Flamenco-style - is suited to conversation.
Our drink order was taken within two minutes of being seated, and they have a very nice selection of martinis, martini-style cocktails, Mexican drinks and beer. Some of their cocktails are definitely not what you find on seemingly every drink menu in North America, a refreshing change. The bar has a great selection of mixers, and if you sit at the bar you can also watch the tapas being prepared.
The tapas menu - comprising two pages - is awesome. From bacon-wrapped smoked oysters to lamb and couscous to chorizo in puff pastry, there was nothing that was not well prepared and delicious. Everything is made to order, so don't expect to place your order and get it from under a heat lamp in 5 minutes. Seafood definitely comprises the preponderance of the offerings (it IS an oyster bar, after all) so don't go expecting to find many non-seafood alternatives. As well, they have a special wine menu to complement the Sunday tapas menu, with bottles(!) starting at $20 - super value!
Our waitress was quiet, polite and non-intrusive. At first I took her to be a little stand-offish, but then I compared her to some of the obnoxious twits I have encountered at some of the more touristy spots here in Victoria (such as a popular patio spot on the boardwalk...Gallstones, or something). She was mature, friendly and offered positive information about the menu. Her tip was in the 25% range.
I highly recommend Ferris' Oyster Bar for tapas.
I have been to this place twice, with similar experiences. The second time, and most recent time I was with the grandparents. The food was pretty good, but I felt that in general the portions weren't big enough. The oyster burger which you would think would be a prominent item on the menu was small, but tasty. I thought it was a little lack-luster for an Oyster bar. I tried a couple other oyster dishes from around my table and the tasted very good. The service was lacking. I politely asked the waitress what she thought of the lamb burger and the oyster burger, and asked her for a suggestion. She gave me an unenthuasiastic response, very indifferent, didn't care. She was impatient. More annoyingly was her, hurry up and order demeanor, especially with my grandparents. The place was new to them and she made them uncomfortable and flustered. I asked what beers were available, and she looked exhausted by the question. Blank, rushed look on her face throughout, and it wasn't too busy! Ambiance is fine, I like the location, and the idea of the restaurant. You can have all the tools, but with out the proper delivery of the idea, it gets abit lost.
This is, for some reason, a favorite amongst many friends and colleagues. I just don't know why.
My wife and I strolled past there about a month ago looking to try out a new restaurant. There were a few employees wandering around and it was only about half full. After waiting for about 5 minutes at the entrance, we had to track down a waiter and ask if we are supposed to seat ourselves, despite the sign saying to wait. He told us to go back to the entrance and wait for the guy who was the host. About 3 minutes later, the host came along. Without any pleasantries, "How many." 2. "Look, you can sit there or there. (pointing several tables away)" It looks like you have a patio in the back, could we sit there? "Um, I think I have it mostly reserved" Could you double check? "Ya, but it will take 5 minutes or you can just sit here." What a smug putz.
For some reason we still sat down. From all the raves, we figured that guy was just a one-off. The tables are relatively small and are very close to other tables. My wife was still quite put off. We basically decided to try a different place. Then our waiter came by and we told him about the host. He apologized and said he would guarantee we would all have a blast tonight.
He took our drink order and about 10 minutes later we finally got our drinks. We ordered a couple champagne-oyster shots, a bowl of yam fries and I ordered Jambalaya (forget what my wife ordered). Took about 25 minutes to get food. First drink was done 10 minutes earlier. No one noticed.
Everything was boring and had no presentation. Jambalaya was incredibly boring. I don't know how you can do that, but they managed to pull it off. Bland everything in it. Oyster shots were decent - and they better be with 'oyster bar' in the name. Fries were skinny, peel on, and almost broke when putting in the sauce. Never saw the waiter again, despite his promise of us all having a blast.
Ordered dessert. Some sort of a chocolate-bomb. Boring again. No presentation.
Took the bill to the counter to pay with debit. Bar maid saw me standing there with card in hand but continued chatting with some friends. Had to call her over. I entered about a 5% tip. I said "goodnight" and she just gave me a look without saying anything.
All in all, everyone here seems to have some sense of superiority that is totally unjustified - especially given the quality of the ambiance, food and presentation, and service. There are many better places to spend your money in Victoria.
The descriptions of the oysters at Ferris' were so good, we ordered some as an appetizer for the first time in recent memory. The (huge!) pan-fried oysters with butter, lemon and garlic were fantastic, and you could easily make a meal out of a half dozen of those monsters with some bread or fries. They were so good, I may have to try them on the half-shell next time we're in Victoria.
Lunch entree was the falafel sandwich with yam fries. The falafel were flavourful and wonderfully chewy. The yam fries came with skin on, which I quite enjoyed.
An excellent lunch option, not too far from downtown.
The place was packed on the night we came, but we were shown to a table right away as we had booked. The service was efficient and friendly and the seafood was fresh, tasty, and abundant. Not much of a wine list, but seafood is the reason to come here. It is noisy and without much ambiance, but with good service and food it is a great place to come during the week.