I’m always on the lookout for a restaurant that serves great lamb and since I had read that The Black Olive Restaurant was “internationally known” for its rack of lamb, I had to check it out for myself.
I have to admit that though I have lived in Victoria for several years, this restaurant has been off my radar, being just slightly off the beaten path in downtown Victoria.
Neither my friend Mark or I knew much about The Black Olive or its Greek/Mediterranean West Coast menu, so we were both very curious about seeing how it would stack up against other restaurants in Victoria.
Once inside, we were greeted by owner Paul Psyllakis and seated right away.
Taking a look around the restaurant, we noticed a faux olive tree in the middle of the room, as well as several beige linen-covered tables.
The room is softly lit providing a romantic atmosphere, and vibrant paintings are displayed on the walls that are for sale by local artists.
After a few minutes with the menu, we both agreed that before getting our entrees, we should try some of the delicious sounding appetizers first.
I rarely have a prawn dish that I don’t like so I decided to order the “Feta Tiger Prawns” ($12).
It was served with white wine, feta butter sauce and spicy phyllo chips.
For me, the predominant taste was that of the feta, which gave the dish a very salty taste.
Also, the phyllo chips were very spicy to me, and though they had been described as spicy on the menu, I had hoped they wouldn’t have been overly so.
Though I won’t be ordering this dish again, I will say that I thought the prawns by themselves were quite good.
It was just unfortunate that their taste got lost in the salty feta.
As Mark had ordered the “Three Course Special” ($35), his meal included a choice of appetizer so he chose the “Roasted Red Pepper”, which was stuffed with whipped goat cheese.
Mark was nice to let me taste his yummy appetizer and if they have it on the menu the next time we visit, I will definitely be ordering it!
I loved the creamy goat cheese filling, and could have easily eaten two of these….
But alas, I had to save room for my main course of lamb, which was the main reason I was here at the Black Olive in the first place.
The “Rack of Lamb” ($39 full, $26 half) is rubbed with Cretan spices and served in a red wine demi glaze.
Now I must be careful here not to offend anyone who loves this lamb dish as I thought it only to be “good”.
The meat itself was perfectly cooked however I wasn’t overly crazy about the spicing. In general, I prefer to taste more lamb and less spice and in this case I didn’t.
Again, for all of you who love the lamb at The Black Olive, I’m not saying it wasn’t good.
It’s just that I had been waiting for this amazing moment of mmmm when I took my first bite, and sadly I didn’t get that.
Continuing on with Mark’s three course special in which he had the choice of seafood or pasta for his main, he decided to go with the “market fish” which for today was Halibut.
The Halibut came with capers in a white wine and citrus sauce, and was served with wild rice and vegetables.
Mark was pleased with his selection and said that overall his entree was “solid”.
The fish was nicely cooked and though perhaps not the very best he’d tasted in Victoria, it was definitely worth having again.
To finish off our evening, both Mark and I ordered desserts.
As I often do, I went with the dessert containing the most chocolate which in this case was the “Flourless Chocolate Cake” ($8).
As far as this flourless chocolate cakes go, this one was as good as others I’ve tasted, though I preferred the one I had at Fiamo recently as it was a bigger portion and better presented.
Mark had “Creme Brulee” ($8) for dessert and was happy with it so overall we were both fairly pleased with our meals.
In general what we both liked most about The Black Olive was the comfortable yet elegant feel it had to it and the fact that our sever was attentive, yet not invasive.
The food was good, though our meals weren’t in the outstanding category so on our next visit I plan to ask for recommendations from owner Paul to see what else his widely varied menu might have to excite us.
IN A NUTSHELL…
The Black Olive Restaurant
Address: 739 Pandora Ave., Victoria
Phone: (250) 384-6060
Hours: Lunch: Mon – Fri 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner: Mon – Sat 5 pm – 10 pm, Sun 5 pm – 9 pm
Price: $$$ ($15 – $25 per entree)
Dress: Smart Casual