Restaurant: Ferris’ Upstairs Seafood & Oyster Bar
Cuisine: West Coast
Address: 4536 Yates Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1K8
Summary: A warm and cozy space illuminated by candlelight, Ferris’ Oyster Bar serves Mediterranean inspired dishes featuring local seafood and premium steaks. With subpar service and overrated food for an “upscale” menu, I probably wouldn’t eat here again.
Not knowing where to eat in Victoria, besides stumbling upon Harbour House Restaurant by chance, I turned to Yelp and searched “oysters”. Ferris’ Upstairs Seafood & Oyster Bar popped up with a 4-star rating and strong reviews, so we made a dinner reservation for two.
Located in the middle of Downtown Victoria just east of the harbour, Ferris’ segregates its restaurant into two – a downstairs grill and an upstairs oyster bar – due to the popularity of its initial downstairs grill. Be sure to choose the right door (not literally) to lead you to the right restaurant. The left door took us up a flight of stairs to Ferris’ Oyster Bar where we were greeted by a friendly hostess. We were glad that we made a reso as apparently the wait was 45 minutes (it was a Saturday night).
Not only did the vicinity remind me of Gastown Vancouver, but even the decor of Ferris’ Oyster Bar screamed Gastown – wood elements that make up the ceiling and the floor, paired with brick walls that hang paintings and ukuleles. A contemporary and hipster-ish look. A warm and cozy space illumiinated by candlelight to set the mood for a perfect evening meal. Due to its small size, tables are close to one another and the noise level is high from all the chatter.
Ferris’ Oyster Bar is known for its fresh local seafood and premium steaks from Alberta, with the chef drawing his culinary influences from the Mediterranean. We ordered all seafood dishes because that’s what we came to Vancouver Island for – seafood!! We even got a Seafood Caesar to drink, which comes with a fresh shucked oyster, a marinated mussel, and a spicy pickled green bean. Very nice!
Now onto the food:
The waitress screwed up (details below) on our order, but we ate it anyways. Very refreshing, healthy-tasting, and flavourful from all the nuts, seeds, and fruit. Delicious scallops but only two pieces.
Would not order again (note: I’m not a salad person)
The clams were fresh and we loved the sauce – it was garlic-y, buttery, and full of flavour. Too bad there wasn’t much sauce to “drink”. There was barely any left after dipping the bread and finishing all the clams. Portion also small for clams.
Would order again
The oysters were fresh but the horse radish was not – it was rubbery and tasteless, nothing like the horse radish at The Breakwater or other restaurants. Slightly disappointing.
Would not order again
6 different creations ranging from the original rockefeller to la truffe (creamed leeks, crispy prosciutto, truffle oil). Each one had a huge oyster and was delicious, but being so strong and rich in flavour, a few was more than enough to have.
Would order again
Ordered this due to a Yelper raving that it was the best Bouillabaisse they ever had – it was overrated. The tomato taste was too strong and overbearing. We were also too full at this point to enjoy any parts of it.
Would not order again
Our bill was approx. $130 including taxes and tip, and we took the Bouillabaisse to go. We actually thought that the Smoked Scallops would be voided from our bill, as the waitress screwed up on this order.
What’s funny is that we originally did want to order the Smoked Scallops, but our waitress had strongly recommended the Seared Scallops as it came with more scallops and that was what we wanted. When the dish came to our table, we got confused since there were only two scallops but we ate it not knowing that it was the Smoked Scallops. She later came to let us know about her mistake and said she would bring the Seared Scallops right away. As we already took a few bites, we kept the dish so that it wouldn’t go to waste. The Seared Scallops never came and we still ended up paying for an item that we didn’t order. If this happened at any other restaurant, the item would have definitely been voided from our bill. We didn’t argue about it, but just our two cents on this mishap.
Ferris’ Upstairs Seafood & Oyster Bar
- Quality: Mediterranean inspired, locally sourced dishes featuring seafood and premium steaks. Some interesting and creative flavours, but overall food was good, not great.
- Smoked Scallops – Good. Refreshing, healthy, and flavourful, but only two scallops.
- Steamed Local Clams – Good. Delicious sauce but not enough of it.
- Fresh Shucked Oysters – Average. Horse radish was rubbery, tasteless, and not fresh.
- Baked Oysters – Good. Amazing flavours with huge oysters, but too rich and creamy.
- Bouillabaisse – Average. Tomato taste too strong and overpowering.
- Quantity: Small to medium portions, but can be filling from the richness in some dishes.
- Ambience: Small, warm and cozy space illuminated by candlelight to accent the interesting decor and to set the mood. A contemporary and hipster-ish look. Noise level high.
- Pricing: Expensive for the quality and portion (approx. $40-50 per person not including alcohol).
- Service: Average. Besides the mistake she made, the waitress barely came to our table other than taking our order and bringing out the food, and she was difficult to flag down for the bill. Service is really subpar for a restaurant that considers itself “upscale.”
Eat Here Again? No. I think Ferris’ Oyster Bar is overhyped on Yelp. For a restaurant that calls its menu “upscale”, I wasn’t all that impressed by the food (or the service) for the prices to be justifiable. Despite a nice ambience, the food was too strong/rich for my liking, as the taste became overbearing and not enjoyable after a while, so I don’t know if I would eat here again.