I am completely embarrassed that hundreds if not thousands of visitors to our great capital, walk the streets of our city we call Victoria, and innocently find themselves in one of our waterfront restaurants. Even myself, a born and raised
BC guy stumbled into the Warfside Restaurant, drawn in by its brick facade, extensive wood details on the bar, the custom wood burning oven, the antique flooring, and the waterfront patio overlooking the beautiful inner harbour. There was even signage publicly re-enforcing the message that this was a great, no actually, THE #1 seafood restaurant in the city. Only to find our meal a pathetic excuse for lunch, never mind the seafood.
You can see that this establishment has had some serious detail put into its design. The woodwork has seen some wear and tear but you get the outline of what someone wanted this restaurant to feel like. They do have a great custom built wood burning oven that is now a storage area for peoples purses and jackets. You can tell they used to have some sort of bar set up when you first walk in that now has tables and chairs pushed up against the wall, and if you look closely enough, you could even say some fun times were had when this place drew in more than just tourists.
We did get a great table on the patio overlooking the harbour, but unfortunatley the warm weather has also increased the smell of the local garbage bins which were evident after a few minutes.
A quick peruse of the menu and you can tell they are defiantly cashing in on the tourists as many of the lunch features were in the $24-28 range and based on the quality of the $17 fish and chips, that is some serious gouging on price.
We both ordered the fish and chips with cod, or for $4 more we could have had the halibut ($21 fish and chips) after learning that they had had a busy evening, that caused the kitchen to run out of more than few items. A noticeable wait for our order, the first glance of the fish and chips looked pretty good. They had custom food grade paper done up to look like old fashioned newspaper, but you soon discovered the paper was to distract from the inordinate amount of grease left on the bottom the plate. Chances are the oil in the fryer was not hot enough from putting too many items in at the same time. When deep fryer oil isn’t as hot as it should be, your ingredients absorb too much oil instead of creating a nice crust on the outside. Your items will still get brown but they will take too long to cook and they will taste like grease too. The fish itself was almost mushy and even difficult to pick up with a fork, the battered crust just fell off the fish.
The toughest part for me was noticing that 90% of the customers were from out of town, descending upon Victoria in the hopes of experiencing the beauty this city has to offer. For that reason, I send out my deepest apologies to any traveler who has been mis-lead into thinking they were going to get Victoria’s #1 Seafood Grill. I ask that you put down your guide book, stop a local on the street and ask politely where they would go for good food. I guarantee you will have a better experience.