Archive for the ‘Small Plate (Tapas)’ Category

Stage Small Plates Wine Bar

February 17, 2010

Stage Small Plates Wine Bar
1307 Gladstone Avenue
Victoria, BC V8R 1R9
(250) 388 4222

The Entry to Stages Wine Bar

Ray Creurer and I west to the Belfry Theatre to see Where the Blood Mixes a great new play by Kevin Loring- a fantastic production.  Just down the street from the Belfry is Stage Small Plates Wine Bar.  Stage is a small place, about 50 seats I would think and, as the name suggests, they specialize in wine and small plates to keep the hunger pangs away.  It’s a really pleasant atmosphere in an old heritage building that has been very tastefully restored.  There are the old brick walls and lots of ultra modern touched.  It can sometimes become a bit loud though.

I guess people are starting to respect that tapas are Spanish and if you are going to call a restaurant a tapa bar, you really should honour the Spanish tradition.

Of course there is nothing really to compare with a tapa eaten on the street in Seville.  Having the same thing in Victoria just isn’t the same.  ‘Tapa’ literally means ‘top’ or ‘cover’ and comes from the tradition of bars putting a small saucer on the top of your drink, possibly to keep it fresh or to keep the flies out.  And then, on the saucer they started to put a little snack.  And so the tradition started.

Stages- Small (but delicious) Plates

Stages does a great job with their Canadian interpretation of a Spanish classic.  In fact, these aren’t really tapas in the Spanish tradition: they are small plate menu items.  Instead of a full meal on a plate, you are served a delicious appetizer portion.  And boy were they delicious.  We had Organic greens with olive oil and lemon, Lamb merguez sausage with houmus and cumin harissa, Duck confit with caramelized caraway wine syrup and lemon cabbage, Crispy fried local octopus and for dessert, I ordered Crème brulee.

Stages is a bit of a distance from Albion Manor Bed and Breakfast so unless you feel like a walk (a bit less than an hour I estimate), I’m afraid that a vehicle is necessary.

Go to Albion Manor Bed and Breakfast Home Page.


Santiago’s Café

December 25, 2009

Santiago’s Cafe
660 Oswego St
Victoria BC, V8V 4X2
(250) 388-7376

Santiago's Café

Literally just around the corner from Albion Manor Bed and Breakfast in Victoria is Santiago’s Cafe. Well not literally, and not just around the corner, but just 3 blocks away, an easy walk from the Manor. Santiago’s is a very popular little restaurant that serves an enticing combination of South American-ish, Mexican-ish and Spanish-ish foods with the occasional burger if you want. It’s a very colourful but low key kind of place.

Many years ago, before the idea of owning a bed and breakfast in Victoria, even before I had met Fernando (if such a time is possible), when I was still single and living in Vancouver, my friend Kim and I used to get together at Topanga’s Café in Vancouver, a small but very popular Mexican restaurant that served the best chicken tostada ever. Nachos with extra salsa and chicken tostada- that was the usual for us. Mmmm, my mouth is watering, as much for the memories as for the food. For some time Kim and I were having trouble getting together- conflicting schedules, that kind of thing. I had for some time been talking about moving to Spain to work at Expo ’92 so I phoned Kim and told her that if she wanted to see me she had better meet me at Santiago’s on Thursday night because I was leaving for Spain on Saturday. At that time I had no plans to go to Spain, she didn’t have to know that and my ruse worked at getting her to clear her schedule so that we could get together. Her anger soon abated and, as it turned, out about a month later I did go to Spain where I stayed for 3 years.

Santiago' Halibut Burger

Santiago’s has the nachos, but not the chicken tostada. It has a hint of Mexican cuisine in its menu, but it is not a Mexican restaurant. It is, though, a no-frills neighbourhood place with a great selection of seafood (particularly their many variations on mussels).  They even offer Spanish paella. The food is flavourful and tasty with delicious homemade bread, which they serve with many entrées. South American tapas I guess you could say, in a funky, casual environment, and very close to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Santiago Cafe is great for lunch, dinner or a snack. And Sangria!