Third & Final Stop on the Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria Tour: Vista 18

I saved the best for last to close out our Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria Tour. We chose Vista 18 partially for the beautiful views of the city and the waterfront but also to try out some amazing food.

After perusing the menu, we decided to try the $30 selection. Our server, the ever easy going and good natured Russell, commented that many people were averse to trying the steak dish in the entrée after being told what sweetbreads were, but having developed a taste for pate, sweetbreads didn’t scare me.

My partner and I both decided to try the chicken terrine as an appetizer. It has less of a spreadable texture than I thought it would, but it was still tasty paired with the rosemary crackers that had come in our bread basket.

For a main course, I did choose the steak with the sweetbreads and onion Yorkshire pudding. My partner went with the pan seared sablefish with spicy tomato and octopus ragout. The steak I had was even better than the one I had at Spinnakers a few days previous, but Russell was right, the crowning achievement of the dish was definitely the crispy breaded sweetbreads.

They were so good, I’m still craving them now, in fact. My partner did enjoy his fish, but the ragout was a little too spicy for him.

To round out the evening, he had the flourless chocolate torte with peanut butter ice cream for dessert, while I chose the cardamom panna cotta with a cardamom shortbread cookie. My partner was addicted to the peanut butter ice cream while the panna cotta and cookie were so good, sometimes I feel like I can still taste them.

Overall, I’d say Vista 18 was definitively the winner out of the three restaurants for me and I can’t wait to have dinner there again.

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-Lilian

PS. Missed my post on Chez Michel or Spinnakers Gastro Brew Pub?

PPS. Sorry for the blurry photos, forgot the camera and had to make due with my partner’s phone.

Second Stop on the Dine Around, Stay in Town Tour: Spinnakers Gastro Brew Pub

For our second stop on Victoria’s Dine Around & Stay in Town event we decided to go more casual and fun than upscale.

We chose Spinnakers because of its strong $30 menu and we were definitely not disappointed. My partner ordered the meatballs as an appetizer while I went with the seafood chowder and both dishes surpassed our initial opinions.

The chowder was creamy and it definitely wasn’t short on seafood either. I tried a bite of my partner’s meatball appetizer and they were delicious, smoky and spicy with a hint of cumin and paprika.

For a main course, we both decided on the steak frites dish, given that the jambalaya was too spicy and neither one of use felt like having a vegetarian meal. The steak was tender and the fries were crispy, but the real highlight of the meal was being able to dip slices of steak into a condiment that tastes like ranch dressing mixed with chipotle. Though I’m not sure what it was, it was tasty all the same.

For dessert, my partner opted for the apple sorbet with handmade truffles and biscotti, whereas I wanted to try the blackberry tart with goat cheese ice cream. The bite of truffle I had was creamy and decadently rich, but the highlight of my own dessert was definitely the goat cheese ice cream. It’s something that I recommend everyone try, it’s not only creamy, but the taste of it is more mild than you’d think and just as addictive as regular ice cream.

Overall, I’d say this dining experience went better than the first one at Chez Michel. Here’s hoping for good experiences to continue at our third and last stop. I’d give Spinnakers a rating of 4 out of 5.

Missed my last review on Chez Michel? You can find it here.

-Lilian

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PS. Sorry if the photos come across a little blurry, I forgot my camera and we had to rely on my partner’s phone.

First Stop on the Dine Out Victoria Tour: Chez Michel

On our 4th annual trip into the Dine Around & Stay in Town event, my partner and I decided to try an entirely new trio of restaurants. As a rule, we don’t re-visit a restaurant that we’d already eaten dinner at.

For our first stop, we chose Chez Michel as we enjoy French cuisine and it was a restaurant that I’d heard good reviews from people that I knew, in the past.

For our first course, my partner and I both chose the lobster bisque.  It was deliciously creamy and rich with great lobster flavour and the crouton provided the right amount of contrasting texture.

Our main courses weren’t quite up to the same standard, unfortunately. My duck a l’orange was delicious, the orange sauce a perfect companion for the duck, but the vegetables left something to be desired.

My partner’s filet mignon was tender and he enjoyed the béarnaise sauce, but underneath the flavour of the sauce, he felt that the steak itself was under seasoned. A steak, he said, no matter how tender, should not be left with no seasoning at all.

As for dessert, we both decided to go with the old-fashioned crème de menthe sundae as mint is one of our favourite flavours. Though the dessert tasted good, it wasn’t what we were expecting for something labeled a sundae. It was too simple and plebeian for the price we were expected to pay.

Overall, while our experience at Chez Michel wasn’t the worst I’d ever had at a restaurant, it wasn’t the best either. Instead, it fell somewhere in the middle.  Thought it wasn’t bad, I expected more for my money and I would currently rather save the return trips for other restaurants.

2 and a half stars out of 5.

 

-Lilian