Posted on 06 June 2011.
** CHANDLERS IS NOW CLOSED **
For over twenty-five years, Chandlers Seafood Restaurant has not only been known for it’s fabulous seafood, but also for its great steaks.
Fortunately for my friend Mark and I, we got to discover first hand why this restaurant has been voted “Best Seafood in Victoria” in Victoria News’ Best of the City Contest, eight times out of the last twelve years.
Because of it’s excellent location on Wharf Street in the Inner Harbour, it’s wise to call ahead for reservations just to make sure you get a seat.
When we first walked in for our 7:00 reservation, the first two things I noticed were the bar and the open kitchen at the back of the restaurant.
The bar is made of dark wood and has a nautical theme which matches the restaurant’s decor.
The open kitchen at the back is neat as you can see the chefs preparing the various dishes, and every so often see a of a burst of flames coming off the grill.
The Chandlers building is quite historic which gives the restaurant a more unique atmosphere.
It’s a bit fancier with the dark leather chairs and white table cloths, but not so much that you feel it’s stuffy.
Once we were seated, Mark and I got a chance to look at the very extensive menu. Wow, there were so many great sounding dishes. I have to admit it was hard deciding what to order.
Chandlers Open Kitchen
One word of caution: make sure you’re very hungry when you come here as the portions are a good size and if you start with an appetizer like we did, you may find it hard to finish your main course.
Speaking of appetizers, did we ever score on ours! When I read about the “King Crab and Shrimp Fondue for Two” ($19) on the menu, it sounded absolutely amazing so I asked our server if she recommended it.
She said it was one of her favourites and we soon found out why.
The fondue is made with Gouda and Reggiano cheese mixed with local hand peeled shrimp, shelled king crab, sauteed red and yellow peppers, and artichoke hearts. It’s one incredible fondue!
Both Mark and I loved how super creamy and rich it was. You just have to watch out you don’t eat too much bread with the fondue if you don’t want to be too full to finish your main course.
King Crab and Shrimp Fondue
Oh, that reminds me. Just as a little note, I really like the fact that Chandlers delivers bread with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to your table before your meal arrives.
It doesn’t take much to offer this, but when I get fresh warm bread served to my table, I definitely give bonus points to the restaurant.
Chandlers serves some of the best pre-dinner bread I’ve tasted.
So when it came time to order our main entrees, we decided that I would get steak and Mark would get seafood. That way we would get to sample both Chandlers’ claims to fame.
I ended up ordering the “New York Steak” ($33), and Mark ordered the “Blackened Halibut” ($28).
All the steaks at Chandlers are “Certified Black Angus”, are topped with sauteed mushrooms, and are served with seasonal vegetables and your choice of potato. I got mine with roasted potato fingerlings which were nice and tasty.
As I said before, the portions are a good size here, and the steak is no exception. They serve only one size, and it’s a 12 ounce.
New York Steak
I asked for mine to be cooked medium rare, and I would say it was cooked mostly the way I like it. When I’ve ordered steak at other steakhouses, I order medium rare and it comes red in the middle and pink throughout.
Chandlers medium rare was just pink throughout, so next time I would maybe try the rare as I like my steak pretty red.
In general I like steakhouses that have a chart to tell you how they cook your steak. That way you know exactly what you will be getting when you order, instead of hoping they do it the way you like.
I guess I’m being a little picky here, but I have high standards when it comes to steak, and restaurants who claim to serve great steaks.
Don’t get me wrong, Chandlers’ steak tasted really good. It was a nice thick cut and I really liked the mushrooms on top.
There was some sort of garlic salt seasoning on it that added to the flavour as well, but in my opinion there may have been a bit too much on it as it was quite salty overall.
Again, I am only saying this as I am comparing this steak to how other steakhouses cook theirs’.
Moving on to Mark’s entree. When you order any of the “West Coast Fish”, which includes salmon, ocean trout, halibut and sea bass, you can order it in one of five ways.
You can order your fish grilled, blackened, with a dijon cream sauce, with a teri-basil sauce, or with sweet peppers and mushrooms on top.
Mark ordered his halibut blackened because he thought he would like its spicy cajun seasoning.
He said that though the fish was nicely cooked, the cajun spicing got a bit lost. He felt you could only taste the blackened part, not the spicy part.
Next time Mark said he would order his halibut with the dijon cream sauce as many people say it’s quite good.
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream
I have to mention that the side of carrots that both Mark and I had with our dishes were exceptionally sweet and tasty, and the asparagus were also perfectly cooked.
Although Mark was able to finish all of his fish, I was stuffed by the time I got halfway through my steak and had to get the rest to go.
Of course even though I was really full I saved a little bit of room in my stomach for dessert!
For that I ordered the “Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream” ($8), and Mark ordered the “Maple Creme Brulee” ($8).
I have to say my dessert was just average. Though there was nothing wrong with it, nothing really stood out about it either. Unlike our entrees, the serving size was not that big either.
Mark’s creme brulee was also average. We both agreed that the maple flavouring didn’t seem to go very well with it.
Even with the mediocre desserts, I would definitely come back to Chandlers.
Maple Creme Brulee
They have a great menu with tons of selection in both the seafood and meat departments.
The appetizer we had was so amazing I would love to see if their other ones taste as good.
We also had great service from our server Amanda and enjoyed the atmosphere too.
The pricing may be at the higher end, but it is comparable to other restaurants in Victoria serving the same quality of food.
Overall I would say that the value at Chandlers is very good.
Too good to not come back again.
IN A NUTSHELL…
Chandlers Seafood Restaurant
Address: 1250 Wharf St., Victoria
Phone: (250) 385-3474
Hours: 5 pm – 9 pm, seven days a week
Price: $$$$ ($25 and up per entree)
Dress: Smart Casual
Click Here To Get Directions