Stage Small Plates Wine Bar is a 50 - seat wine bar featuring a small plates menu. Set in a heritage building in the funky neighbourhood of Fernwood, the wine bar has a contemporary vibe.
Stage is a casual bistro in the Fernwood neighbourhood of Victoria near the Belfry Theatre.
The concept is small plates priced about $10 each. Three plates are enough for a normal appetite. Smaller parties can easily share different dishes.
The food is beautifully prepared with excellent ingredients. Flavours are true and pure.
Stage serves some of the best food in Victoria. Reservations are not accepted so it's best to arrive at opening (5pm) or after 8.
My partner and I went to Stage in Fernwood for New Year's Eve. We had been there about three times in the past, but not in a couple of years as we don't live in Victoria anymore. We called the day before for a reservation, and although they were quite booked up they really worked hard to fit us in. We spoke with them on the phone a couple of times to arrange a time, and they were very courteous and accommodating.
Upon our arrival, the place looked amazing. The lights were dim (as usual) and there were pretty silver balloons with curly silver ribbons hanging from the ceiling. We were greeted promptly and waited just a few minutes before taken to our seats at the bar. As we had made our reservation late, our options were the bar or the table next to the window. When we first got there, we thought maybe we had made the wrong choice - but our first instincts were totally right. Sitting at the bar definitely was part of what made the night so special.
There was a set four course menu for the special evening. We started by ordering cocktails, and had our first course. I chose the salad - made from thinly sliced, sweet (and not vinegary!) pickled beets, shaved fennel, orange segments, fried goat cheese and a blue cheese vinaigrette. Usually, I would avoid something like this since I make beet and goat cheese salads quite frequently, but I wanted to try it - and it was just fantastic. My partner had the foie gras - which neither of us have ever had (and may never again!) and it was amazing - definitely worth trying once.
We selected a French Syrah for dinner and it was quite lovely, and a reasonable $40 for the bottle. Next came the highlight of the meal - ricotta gnudi in sage brown butter. This was one of the most amazing things I have ever had - just incredible. I found a recipe online from house and home that looks like it might just do the trick - I will try it soon!
Next came the mains, I chose arctic char with seared cauliflower, pine nuts and capers. Truly amazing. Duck confit was the choice of my date, also quite good, but the only item less than perfect. Dessert for me was a goat cheese cake with some lemony sauce and pistachios and chocolate cake with ganache for my partner. Again, mine was truly amazing and his was quite good.I chose the Wild Blackberry, a fizzy blackberry port and sparkling white wine cocktail, and a scotch for the man. Both were delicious.
What really made the night, aside from the really outstanding food and drinks was the atmosphere and our bartender/server. He was just perfect. Attentive without ever interrupting, chatted with us a bit between courses, just so polished. One of the best servers I've ever had really.
Really an exceptional night. I was just so impressed. Stage started strong a few years ago and I think has only gotten better. Thank you for a very special New Year's Eve.
I have not actually been inside stage, but rather enjoy the look of it, The outside of the establishment is very nice and so is the inside. The part that I find neat about the whole thing is that STAGE used to be my father's Art Gallery back in the 1990's. It was called the Ronin Gallery. After he closed shop the owner of the building boarded up the entire structure for years renting it out to nobody. It sat there with the windows covered up for about 6 or 7 years until finaly something happened and now the whole building is full of tenants again..YAY. Boy I tell you that block on fernwood used to be one happenin part of town back in the mid 1990's with the Soho Villiage Bistro, The Ronin Gallery, And The Once Extremely popular George And Dragon Pub, which yes believe it or not was actualy once a really good place. Boy it went downhill fast. Anyhow this rating is an architectural rating. Place looks great.
Stage is small, crowded and loud, with tables close together.
I tried five different small plates, and they were all tasty. None of the food was spectacular, but the consistency was enough to bump it up to four stars. The small plates averaged about $10, and we found that five was a good number for two people with a decent appetite. The wine menu is very good, and a small selection of wine is available in both three or five ounce glasses.
Stage is busy during peak hours, so you should plan your visit accordingly.
We came in from Vancouver and decided to try out Stage restaurant last night in the Fernwood area after reading these reviews. We had heard it was the sister restaurant of Paprika which he had tried last year and had found it to be excellent. Stage has a nice ambiance and the waiters were attentive to our needs. We ordered a nice bottle of wine and sampled a few different dishes. The food was ok, not great. I found most of the dishes were on the saltier side. I like salty foods but this was a bit overbearing and I had to wash down the food with a lot of water. We ordered duck confit, bread (forgot the name of it but it was crispy and had garlic), lamb sausage with hummous, stage fries, octopus, and for dessert brownies. The lamb sausage was very good but the hummous pairing was very very salty. The octpus was decent but again on the salty side so part way through we left it. By the time we got through our 4th dish, we tried to get some greens and ordered the cauliflower/brocolli dish which was bland...nothing great. The only thing that was good was the wine and the chocolate brownie dessert. The food is average at best. I don't really recommend this place....maybe for a quick snack or something. If you are a foodie, don't bother with this place...
Overpriced , good taste and creative variety, but very small portions food and drinks for thye money.
Mussels wre tasty but were few and pea sized. four small pieces of curried chicken does not make an appetizer.
clearly this place needs some menu, culinary, portion, and wait staff improvements. The 30% occupancy on a Saturday night speaks to this.
At this price level serviettes should be high quality and larger if not quality linen, not caffeteria style as were the tables.
I'll try this place in 6 months and see if they have improved or have gone out of buisiness.
I have been to Stage many times and for awhile it was almost a monthly event. The food was usually wonderful, a good atmosphere and fair value but not fantastic. I never would have said the service was terrific. The bartender was always great and made terrific drinks but sometimes the arrival of the plates was poorly timed and on more than one occassion the wait staff was a bit cranky. Our break with Stage came just a couple of weeks ago when four of us decided to meet for dinner and drinks at Stage. We arrived early (before 6) to ensure we got a table and actually remarked it was quieter than usual as even at 7:30 it was not totally full. We had drinks for about a half hour, then ordered from the menu and had more drinks. Our meals arrived and were tasty but not, we thought, as good as usual. They had changed the recipee of the pomme frites in some way and the taste was not as appealing. A couple of the other dishes were very good and the rest ok. After dinner we ordered dessert and coffee. The creme brulee was great. Before we had even finished the coffee our bill arrived on the table. We were not asked if we wanted anything else to drink or eat. Our one companion looked at her watch when the desserts arrived and it was 8:35. 20 minutes later the owner approached our table and stated that they needed our table as we had finished an hour ago and they had people waiting. We promptly departed but all of us felt very put out by the request which ruined our enjoyment of the evening. When we had arrived at the restaurant they had asked us if we wanted a table closer to the window but they would need it by 8. We asked for a different table as we knew we would want to spend longer. We had friends arriving later in the evening and we thought we might want to join them. After thinking about it for a couple of weeks I e-mailed the owner to let her know how these events had effected our evening. She was less than apologetic and essentially just lectured me via e-mail on the stresses of being in the business. So if you want to linger and enjoy a restaurant and not be treated like a naughty child after spending a few hundred dollars........go somewhere else.
I dine out a fair bit ... I have never tried such salty food before. The food would be good if it wasn't so salty. The potato bread and the daily special (sablefish) was way to salty. Being from Vancouver, there are so many amazing places to eat, with great value and lovely tases. Stage isn't as great as I heard it was. It needs to revamp their menu, work a bit more on presentation and reduce the amount of sodium. The fennel salad was decent.
Stage has a great cheese list and good wine pairing for them. Definitely recommend the Duck confit and Octopus. Plates are $10 - $12 and although the plates are not overly generous you will not be left wanting, except for wanting to go back another day. Trendy location is only held back by impossible parking followed up by a sadistic parking enforcer.
The food at stage is incredible, it's just too bad that they don't give you much of it! I was really excited for a small plate restaurant in such a cool part of town, but I left quite disappointed. The food was incredibly prepared and delicious, I just feel for the price we paid, we'd have gotten better value elsewhere.
I'm not adverse to dropping a fair amount on dinner, I just expect to feel satisfied after I do. In this sense, Stage did not deliver.
Stage is a hip, happening little restaurant that keeps me coming back for more. The tapas here are delicious, creative and fresh. The servers are attractive, attentive and knowledgeable. The ambiance is romantic, stylish and upscale. What else can yo ask for when going out for drinks and good food on a Friday or Saturday evening?
We were visiting friends in Victoria and they decided to take us to Stage for dinner. Our table had 5 people and we ordered 11 dishes. All were wonderful and SO TASTY!! I was pleasantly surprised also, how quickly the first few dishes came. The pace was also good, as we never were overwhelmed with more than 3 or 4 dishes at a time, so we could relax and ENJOY each dish. The server recommended the chicken pate, which was SO good. But my favourites were the pork belly and beef brisket & beans. Mmmm. Definitely would go there again the next time I'm in Victoria, and I would recommend it to anyone I knew who was visiting Victoria.
There should be more of these restaurants available but a previous reviewer makes it painfully obvious why there are not. We live in a culture that expects food fast, cheap and homogenous. If you want fast and cheap, stick to the chain restaurants. That will ensure more seating for those of us who appreciate locally sourced food and restauranteurs who understand seasonality and 'slow' food.
Stage offers terrific small plates that allows me to dine on several flavour combinations in an evening rather than one big honking plate loaded with the ubiquitous mashed potatoes and out of season tomatoes.
While stage is not inexpensive, when you factor in the quality of the menu and the wine selction (while small it is very well chosen) this is a great and unpretentious way to dine. The quality of the charcuterie is top notch and I highly recommend the braised pork belly.
The service is casual but very knowledgeable about their products and, if you take the opportunity to involve them in your evening, can guide you through a remarkable experience.
Kudos to Stage and I will be back as often as possible.
Stage was recommended by several people. The food was fantastic and the small plates were great to share with friends. Not one dish was weak, but I did especially enjoy the octopus and the pork belly. The cost of the little plates adds up quickly so prices are equivalent to a $20-$25 entree, unless you want a light dinner. One of my best dining experiences in Victoria.
It's about time Victoria had such a great concept to go to. Revitalization of the Ferwood is a welcome change and having Stage is no exception. Great spot in reclaimed neighborhood, makes this a favorite space to go for wines by the glass. Great wine list, great mussels and cheese dishes, would love see more options for menu, as it's limited, but very good for what you get. Come early for a table or make reso as it's a favorite among locals.