Business dinner with our most important suppliers. Party of 10. We go for dinner twice per year, once here in Victoria and again in Vegas in the Spring. We have eaten some amazing meals in Vegas at places like Guy Savoy, American Fish and Estiatorio Milos. In Victoria we have often found ourselves at Il Terrazzo but a party of 10 can be tough to squeeze in, so we decided to try the newly renovated Pescatores. Glad we did...I've lived in Victoria for 25 years and have eaten everywhere during that time, only a few are still in business from when I arrived - this was a special surprise - simply put: The Kitchen at Pescatores is the BEST food and overall dining experience I've ever had in Greater Victoria.
I'm going to tell you all about the food but that is only one part of the experience so let me back up a bit first and tell you the whole story. I sent them an email about reservations and had a note back almost immediately telling me that 10 people was no problem at all. I booked the date and then got there a few minutes early on the night in question. Pescatores has been renovated recently and is now divided in to two sections: The Commons which is a great lounge with a prime-space patio for the summer and The Kitchen which is their dining room. Just take the door on the right for The Commons or the door straight ahead for The Kitchen. I was met as I entered The Kitchen, I presented my company name, was introduced to our waiter for the evening and taken to our large table at the back of the room. Our waiter asked if I was Mr. Xyz. I made the reservation 10 days earlier online but I thought it was interesting that my waiter knew my name, normally at restaurants the gal at the front is the only one who knows or cares.
At first, I looked around and thought the room looked kind of casual in comparison to the darkly lit dining rooms which are so standard. Being a guy about to turn 50, it's nice to be able to look at a menu without hunting for nearby candlelight and reading glasses. The space grew on me very quickly. It was new, interesting, clean and open while also being spacious so you didn't have to worry about being overheard by others or having to keep your voices down while talking to a table of 10. In the end, I can only give the space a score of 10 out of 10 despite my initial thought that maybe it was more casual than we were used to. It was a terrific space with super high ceilings others than our rounded cove ceiling surrounding our table. Bench seating on the backside of the table stretched beyond the end of the table which was perfect because we were actually 10.5 for the evening as we had a new born baby joining the party this time - it worked out great because the bench gave room for the baby carrier and bags that allowed them to stretch out and deal with anything that came at new parents during the evening. At the other end of the table was a large coat rack with room for all our coats with extra space for briefcases and bags so it was just us at our table.
I think it is always a fine line for service in restaurants: you want to be well taken care of but not rushed, you don't want to be ignored but you don't want conversation interrupted every two minutes, you want them to pay attention to the needs of the table but you would also like a little privacy. We were there for more than 3 hours and I thought the service was perfect. Our French waiter appeared and disappeared and took perfect care of the table all throughout the night.
The food as absolutely spectacular – again, best I’ve ever had in Victoria in the past 25 years – not just one item but absolutely everything I ate was incredible and we ate a fair bit. We started off ordering appies for the table to share while we all chatted. 36 Oysters, 2 Tuna Tataki, they made us 3 Prawns cocktails and 2 grilled Octopus. The oysters were amazing and I haven't really been oyster guy until now. I am a huge fan of Tuna Tataki and it was perfect. I was very surprised by the prawn cocktails which were just cold prawns on ice but they were fantastic. Perfectly cooked tender and tasty but ice cold which really seemed to make the flavour pop somehow. The biggest surprise at the table was the grilled octopus. For some reason I thought we were getting calamari and I this was probably the first time I've ever had octopus. It was mind blowing, packed with flavour, tender and amazing - can't say enough about the octopus I will have to have it every time I go to Pescatores.
We drank wine and cocktails while eating the appetizers and warm bread brought to the table over and over again while we all caught up with each other around the table. For the main course I had a Striploin with Lobster tail and Truffle Frites. The steak was one of the best I've ever had and the lobster tail was perfect - I think it may have actually been poached because it was tender and juicy, split down the centre and served without the shell. Now apparently the restaurant owns a farm on Vancouver Island where they grow many of the vegetable they serve - good for them, it seemed to make a difference as I could have eaten the grilled vegetables forever. Steak and lobster and fries? Yup, that's me. The Truffle Frites were such a unique flavour and worked really well with everything I ate during the evening. Incredible. Now like I say, I've been to some mind blowing restaurants where waiters present the tomatoes to you table side before they are cut for your meal, caressing them like they raised this tomato from seeds but I have never been to a restaurant where everything was the best I've ever had! I'm going to say it again even though I know it is bad to put anyone on a pedestal but this meal was perfect. Everything was perfect. Will it happen again. I sure hope so! BTW, I had cheese cake and French Pressed Coffee for dessert and everyone at the table commented on what a nice touch it was to have the coffee presented along with a three strength sand timer that tells you when to press the coffee based on your own personal coffee strength preference.
Pescatores did a fine job in giving us the perfect get-together with friends with great food and drinks, awesome table service and the perfect environment for conversation while we enjoyed ourselves. We were very well taken care of by Pescatores and I'll be back - I'll also tell everyone I know to go to Pescatores because they deserve to enjoy increased business because of that excellent evening they gave us. The food, staff, atmosphere, service, lighting, seating, room volume and even the bathrooms were all something that made this an experience instead of just dinner!
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