Big Bad John's is THE bar in town if you don't want any pretense whatsoever. And by pretense I mean the full spectrum from poseur hip-hop gangstas in Top 40 dance clubs to obnoxious indie hipsters who think they're so ironic and cool.
At Big Bad John's you get straight up service, including free shelled peanuts which enevitably lead to shenanigans in the back of the bar (peanut shell wars for the most part). Chances are you'll find yourself sitting next to someone you'd never dream of talking to on the street - and by the end of the night you're best drinking buddies. The surreal log-cabin redneckish environs is cozy and so over-the-top that no one takes themselves too seriously - which makes for a great melting pot environment.
Foodwise - you can get food from the same kitchen that serves the Sticky Wicket - and it will seem better at Big Bad Johns because it's not pretending to be a pub or restaurant.
The only qualm is the shared washroom facilities with the hotel. It would be nice if they built some sort of crazy Big Bad John's styled washroom so you don't hit the sterile and sobering hallways and washrooms of the Strathcona inbetween drinks.
Nonetheless - this should remain a mainstay of Victoria nightlife for years to come. A must-see for any visitor, if only for a couple drinks before a night on the town.
While one can see some original fixtures like the bar, chandeliers and wall mirrors that speak to a previous incarnation of a pub - the Sticky Wicket presently offers a lowest common denominator experience that every other room in the Strathcona seems to share (with the exception of Big Bad Johns, which remains one of the best-value drinking holes in Victoria).
We ordered a pint of Guinness and a pint of Kilkenny, and when the Guinness came in less than 20 seconds we knew that although we were seated at the bar - something was amiss. Clearly the bartender cared more about watching the game on the massive big screens than properly pouring a Guinness (which should take about a minute to do). I could understand if it was smoking busy, but there were only a handful of customers at the bar, all of whom were nursing relatively full drinks.
The former ambiance (I do remember when the Sticky Wicket was more pub-like back in the 90s) has been washed out by the light pollution of big screen TVs on all sides, which have rendered the Sticky Wicket's most authentic room a clash of cultures (if UK football was screened it would be much more tolerable than NBA and fight night). The other rooms no longer connect to the bar area in terms of aesthetic flow - and without the link to the heritage aspects around the bar, have the feel of a family restaurant - like a Denny's if Denny's had a bit more budget for wood fixtures.
Speaking of Denny's - I guess the decorum in the other main L-shaped room is appropriate, given the sad decline of food at the Sticky Wicket (although friends who grew up here have said the food has always been of a low calibre). The pub natchos were drab compared to other Victoria restaurants, which is pretty bad because quality pub natchos are a tall order in this city for some reason.
Value for the money? Meh. The "pints" we ordered were served in "sleeves" (I think bar staff should specify when customers order "pints" that they only serve beer in smaller sleeve glasses) - so instead of $7.50 like at Irish Times for a true 500 ml pint of Guinness, we paid $5.50 for what was surely less than 400 ml. I suspect these sleeves were designed to hold a 355ml can of beer. The food, however, costs about the same as any other pub in town - and is thus not good value for the money.
I guess the transition to a "something-for-everybody" sort of philosophy has worked for the Strathcona marketing strategy, but it's sapped the cultural experience out of what used to be a nice room. You'd think the sports-bar thing could have been left to the Clubhouse and rooftop venue and games room. I assume when Irish Times opened much of their clientele seeking a more authentic UK pub experience shifted over, with Smiths Pub and The Bard & Banker hammering the final nails in the coffin.
As we left, American cock-rock started blaring over a PA system as a final reminder as to why we won't come back.
My husband, myself and two lady friends go out to different restaurants about once a month. The Sizzling Tandoor was a wonderful experience. The food was perfect. The owner and waitress were so very nice. Very friendly and informative. Naan breads were the best. Samosa were the best I've ever had. The menu is large with lots to choose from. At the end of the meal we ordered one dish of Rose Ice Cream with four spoons. Heavenly. Will we be going back? Absolutely. Want to try their lunch buffet. I certainly would recommend this restaurant.
Went for the first time in May , was impressed. It has gotten better everytime I go in now, Food is good service is great. I keep going.The new menus they come up with every few months are great. They make you feel right at home all the time. The people whjo wpork there are always friendly and will help you in anyway the can. I highly recomend this place.
So, if you're getting tired of the old stadard fodder (i.e., Pho Vy, Saigon at Night etc..) this is definitely worth your time and money~ Green Leaf Bistro is taking the Vietnamese food scene by storm!
We had a Wonton Noodle with Seafood, a Vermicelli Noodle bowl with Chicken and Prawns and a crispy fried crepe with prawns and shredded pork.
The Wonton broth was by far the best I have ever had. I love my wonton soup and this base was outstanding. the Vermicelli noodle bowl was also very good. The flavors were full and robust for Vietnames food
The Crispy crepe could have been left off. It was good, but there was a sweetness to the crepe that didn't suit it for an appetizer.
The price was a bit high in my opinion. It was standard 5.95 for Fresh Rolls, and $10-12 for a main dish. I guess after travellig in Vietnam and tasting amazing vietnamese food at a fraction of the cost, it seems disproportionate to be paying 4-5x more for the same fare.
All in all, we will definitely be back! However, if they were to lower their prices we would be back more often!!!
I had no problem with service at this restaurant. I went with an asian person and they knew all the tricks. Apparently using traditional eye contact methods of getting a servers attention doesn't work here. You need to wave to the server and possibly call out to them. This is apparently acceptable and quite normal even though I was slightly appalled at my asian friend's manners. They are very busy so it would be easy to overlook someone. Don't get offended!
I tried the dinner for 2 (off the chinese menu) which included pig feet and jellyfish (not a fan but apparently they were decent) beef and vegetables and fried chicken were very yummy as was the crab meat and fish soup. The jade fountain chow mein was super. The fried rice was boring though. That's the only thing I can complain about. The black sesame seed dessert was different (for me) but was quite yummy even though my friend said it should have been thicker. We were very impressed we went with 4 people all together and even though we ordered dinner for 2 they gave us dessert for 4!
All together we paid around $65 including tip. I was very impressed with the price and the value for the food.
I will definitely be back.
We had a reservation and got seaten beside the hostess area, not too far away from the entrance. I asked for my steak " medium", it came with 3 spears of asparagus, some squash, and beets. Instead of garlic mashed potatoes, I asked for fries, the fries were good and came in a bowl. It was a thick piece of meat, of average size, but think it was slightly overcooked and it was a bit dry. My partner had the same meal but he ordered it "well done" which was a mistake, as it came out super dry. The prices were high for the amount of food you get.
As local business owners ourselves, we know how much effort, talent and consideration has to go into attaining pleased customers. Since Basilico Restorante and Lounge opened, we have dined there several times, each and every time the food has surpassed perfection, the menu is of great variety, there is such an impressive mix of venues, spaghetti lunch all you can eat Monday, Brunch on the Weekends, Wednesday night live entertainment, what a variety to compliment food of excellent quality and preparation, WOW - a restaurant that continuously supports local markets, and the service, from the owner who seems to be always on top of things, to the very well trained and knowledgeabe, pleasant, embracing staff. Langford is so fortunate to have a restaurant of this HIGH quality on Goldstream Avenue the beating heart of Langford. It is a restaurant I recommend, and say is fantastico. I must mention that I also have special food requirements, and this restaurant has always gone beyond to accomodate me; the decor is upscale, the atmosphere uptown but welcoming, last but furthest from the least is the cleanliness. If every restaurant could boast the cleanliness of this establishment, we would indeed be fortunate. So I say a well hearted thank you Basilico Ristorante & Lounge.
What a great evening was had by all. The food was to die for. My Ossobucco was the best yet. The service was simply the best. Well done Sidney. Great music and super ambience. All in all well worth the trip out to the burbs. Well done John you've created another gem...We'll be back..neek
On Friday at quarter to five, we decided to go to Amrikko's for supper for the first time. I phoned and asked for a reservation for 5:30, and got a bit of a confusing response - he said "very busy, but just walk in, we'll squeeze you in" and then asked for my name. So I figured I had half a reservation. Maybe.
When we got there, I gave my name, and they looked through the book but couldn't find me. So I guess I didn't have a reservation at all - but when I said I'd called 45 minutes earlier they went "Ohhh" and showed us to a table to the left of the door by the bar, where there are only two tables. I guess it's their overflow area.
From that slightly rocky/confusing start, everything went well. We seemed to have a waiter, a waitress, and a manager all taking care of us, so we had service galore. The manager seemed a bit shocked we didn't want appetizers, and when we ordered 3 dishes plus rice for 4 people he told us it wasn't enough food but my husband told him we weren't very hungry so he accepted our order as it was :)
The food was great! (And there was plenty of it - we ate it all with no leftovers, and with dessert that we really didn't have room for, we were stuffed.) We had the butter chicken, coconut beef, and spinach paneer along with an order of roti, an order of garlic naan, and two orders of rice. I had gulab jamun (sp?) for dessert and tried a bite of my husband's ice cream (jaffi?) - both were very good (once I got over the sugar shock of mine!)
In all, the food was very good, and we will definitely go back. I recommend making reservations farther ahead than 45 minutes, though, so you don't confuse everyone ;) I've rated the ambiance as just "solid" since there really wasn't any where we were... but we weren't in the main restaurant either. I believe they have belly dancers as entertainment, but if they were working that night, they didn't come over to where we were sitting, but that's fine.
Where to start?
Pescatores was our favorite spot when in Victoria however, I don't know if it is the economic condition of Victoria or a change in ownership/management that has terminated any ability for us to ever return.
Prior, for years I have always enjoyed the interaction and friendliness of the staff and the complete desire to have your evening there the best it can be. Starting with my second to last "appreciation" I noticed the food had seriously deteriorated in quality and the staff seemed distracted and stressed. With the last visit it terminated any ability to return.
There are far better places in Victoria to appreciate and have the owners and staff appreciate that you have been there, but I will say this, when you book a party of 18 people a month in advance and they put you in a section with one server whose only attention seems to be centered on one table of four (visiting, servicing, delivering bottles of wine, all the while never once attending our table) this results in 45 minute before even water is served to the table.
Problems: (now remember, I picked the restaurant so I tried to keep everyone pumped up and happy)
Appetizers were missed and then begrudgingly removed from bill; meals all arrived separately and spread over a period of an hour; the food arrived before the wine came to the table; meals were double billed; the meals themselves were not a ghost of the original; three and a half hours is fun at a restaurant if that was your intent (not this time); the sauces/flavors/presentations all below standard; the list goes on and on.
I asked to speak with the manager while others ate and some waited for their food, she came to the table and I said we needed to talk after the meal. (My hope was the focus would change) Afterward I explained in detail the situation and in honour of all the problems she credited our $1,500.00 invoice $16.00, just slightly over 1%. As a result no tip was left.
Follow up and word to the wise:
If I hear the standard management booklet "I have to defend "insert name here", she/he is our top server and ........ blah and a blah blah ..." This is such an over used line in the hospitality industry it makes me sick. The client is right, always, 100%. Nordstrom knows it; you need to get it. Stand out, be a Purple Cow, and you will be rewarded.
There is little chance you could find a place as bad as this. I can't believe that visiting this beautiful city i could stumble across such god awful gastronomy as this - This is not edible food - horrendous quality. Some one should should call the food inspector and have it shut down.
Great buffet, and thought we couldn't go wrong when the buffet was down for holidays. Turned out to be the most expensive awful lunch I've ever had. Waited nearly an hour for a salad, which they couldn't make (so they substituted with another unasked for, unauthorized version, that was western and had great ranch dressing!). The fish curry we ordered was prawn, curry, which was so overcooked it was inedible. The fish curry, when it finally arrived, tasted as poorly as the prawn curry, and the naan finally showed up near the end of our meal. We canceled dessert we had been messing around trying to get food for 1.5 hours. It cost $45 bucks. Yeah! The server did her best, but we likely won't go back...
Last weekend I had my last experience at the Mint. A friend and I were on a schedule, so we just sat at the bar for a quick drink. Had to escort ourselves in to sit down, ask to see the drink menu, ask to order (2 different people - they were that clueless) and of course ask to pay. The whole thing was *quite* an ordeal for the staff to process, and it certainly was not the least bit busy.
My second to last experience saw two friends and I attempt to celebrate a birthday. The staff did nothing to acknowledge the birthday (which we noted out loud-- not even a dessert, nada), and we were literally not able to order another drink due to desertion by our waitress. Our drinks and water glasses dry and with no relief in sight, we quickly left. The butter chicken left MUCH to be desired, and was so salty I could barely get it past my mouth. Two of the side dishes were bland, flavourless and cold. No thanks, I'd rather not waste my money!
we just moved into the area and stumbled upon them 3 weeks ago.an whats not to love about shine,
the dining room is done in bright pastel/crayon colours, with an assortment of funky prints.all the staff have been so friendly and courteous. I even had the chance to speak with the owner,(she speaks good spanish)
every time we go its allways busy, but we usually get a cofee and wait outside talking of that .i didnt like their cofee the 1st few times,but about a week ago they pushed me to try it saying they changed it to fernwood?
But its goood. My fav food is their blueberry pancakes and the cali. evrytime its amazing, i will venture to other menu items, but im so stuck in a rut, the bill for the 2 of us is about 30 dollars or so.
I live round the corner and pick up dinner on the way home sometimes,
I just love the halibut fish and chips, and theier burgers
Its has a weird uninviting dining room, Huge wooden booths, super bright lights and i think i could eat in there.
Everytime ive been there the server has been friendly and nice,
I only order for me but it seems to be ready fast.
I dine out often in Victoria, but I will NEVER go back to Romano's Macaroni Grill
The good things about the Macaroni Grill:
-You don't have to pay/look for parking
-The restaurant has nice decor and a fire place which creates a nice ambience
The bad things about the Macaroni Grill
-By FAR the WORST meal I have had in Victoria
The Chicken Parmesan tasted like a thin macdonalds chicken mcnugget (burnt black on the sides), the noodles and sauce could have been the cheapest spaghetti and tomato sauce from a can left over night to congeal
The difference between leaving out some pasta sauce overnight, putting it on some spaghetti, with a topping of chicken mcnuggets and the chicken parmesan at Macaroni grill ... the cheap pasta costs about $5 per meal (and tastes better) and the Chicken parmesan was around $16.
The spaghetti with meatballs: the meatballs had the texture of spam or spork and the sad fact that it was so gross that a person who comes away from most restaurants still hungry after finishing their meal didn't even get 3/4 of the way through before they stopped. At $16.99 horrible value for money
-The service was mediocre...had to practically do a dance to get the attention of the waitress to fill the empty water glasses (and the restaurant was by no means busy)
I don't know if we somehow managed to order the two most horrible things on the menu, but for approx $17 per entree the quality and taste of the food was unacceptable.
Just wanted to write a few words about our new favourite restaurant in Victoria, Pescatores. We had been twice before and enjoyed our meals thoroughly, so decided a month ago we would like to spend our New Year's Eve dining there. So happy we did. Another great meal.
We love seafood and this is THE PLACE in the city to have a fabulous seafood dinner. In our three times at Pescatores, we have had the same server twice and have loved the service excellence the whole team at this restaurant delivers. Friendly hostess, everyone smiles and says hello and we feel incredibly welcomed and appreciated as guests. The servers at Pescatores are some of the finest in the city, we've lived here for over 5 years now and have had our fair share of dining experiences in Victoria.
We have tried something different upon each visit and they have been consistently exquisite meals. Last night, we had two of their dinner specials. My husband had the crab stuffed tenderloin and I had a beautiful scallop pasta in a truffle cream sauce. We, of course, shared back and forth and agreed both dishes were amazing, but the stuffed tenderloin was the best plate we tasted in all of 2010. What a great way to end the year of dining out. We shared a dessert, some sort of creme brulee wrapped in genache. Melt in our mouths delicious! Our server informed us they make all their desserts in house which really impressed us.
Great meal, great service made for a fantastic New Year's Eve. Thanks to the staff and management. You will be seeing a lot of us in 2011.
I think the location used to be a garden store that was closed for the longest time so I was intrigued at what was being built here.
McCraes opened with a bang and offers good food and very reasonable drink prices. We have eaten there a number of time and always enjoyed the fairly limited menu. Meals are sold a la carte - so you order the burger/sandwich whatever and then pay extra for any side dishes you may want...these include fries, salad, mac and cheese etc. All the meals that we have had have been served quickly and very tasty. No complaints whatsoever.
We have yet to try the deck/patio but it faces Shelborne so is going to be noisy and there is no view. Inside the decor is simple with a fireplace at one end. The only complaint, and it's a minor one is that the doors open right into the restaurant so on cold nights as we have had recently, I don't want to sit anywhere near the door. That's it - minor stuff so I hope this business does well as we will continue to patronize it.
Let me state my bias from the outset - I had a coupon.
I went with for lunch with an acquaintance who had never been here. The location right by the Belleville ferry terminal blocks the view of the harbour a bit - but it means there is lots to look at as people come and go. The tables were set with crisp white linen and it rather feels like dining in someone's old house. Charmingly eccentric.
There was nothing eccentric about the food as it was well cooked, delicious and more than ample quantity. Lunch is always cheaper than dinner so I cannot comment on how the dinner value compares but I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this place for lunch and do recommend it. Even without a coupon!
Service was great with just the right level of intrusiveness. In December the restaurant was not overly busy - but with all the rooms it seems quieter and cozier than it would if it were one big room.
|2.||Ferris' Oyster Bar & Grill|
|4.||5th Street Bar and Grill|
|6.||Smoken Bones Cookshack|
|11.||Baan Thai Restaurants|
|13.||Canoe Brew Pub|
|15.||Spice Jammer, The|
|16.||Heron Rock Bistro|
|17.||Pescatore's Seafood & Grill|
|18.||Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse|