Restaurant: Harbour House Restaurant
Cuisine: West Coast
Address: 607 Oswego St, Victoria, BC, V8V 4W9
Summary: Conveniently located just off the harbour surrounding many hotels, Harbour House offers a throwback to the olden days with its retro interior and servers in tuxes. Catering to West Coast food with steak and seafood at reasonable prices, I would come here again for the bread dippin’ good food and wine.
Continuing from my previous posts, our weekend trip to Vancouver Island started off with food adventures at The Breakwater and Pho Maple Noodle House just north of Nanaimo before we made our way down to Victoria for two nights and two days.
For our first night in Victoria, we decided to just walk around our hotel to see what was nearby to eat. We didn’t walk far when we spotted Harbour House Restaurant, thanks to its sidewalk sign promoting a Steak & Lobster special for $32.95.
From the outside, Harbour House looks literally like a house surrounded by white fencing and flowers, minus the murky green awning hanging over the entrance and the big, red lit letters spelling “Restaurant”. We were standing by the door checking out the menu, when an old couple recommended us to try it out, saying that they have been coming here for years.
As soon as you go in, you will find that the interior of Harbour House is retro with its decor well kept. It’s a casual, old style restaurant offering its patrons a throwback to the olden days, with its servers even dressed up in tuxedos. The lighting is dim and the atmosphere warm and inviting. Not sure if just for the Christmas season or what, but the window seats were decorated with lights, further boosting the ambience.
I definitely knew we picked the right place when I opened up the menu and saw this:
We started off our meal with some drinks. Not only was our server friendly and made small chit chat, but she was knowledgeable about the local beers and wines. Someone had a Philips Blue Buck ($6/bottle) to start before we shared a bottle of Jackson Triggs Merlot ($33/bottle).
For food, we ordered three appetizers and an entree to share between the two of us.
Bread came with the meal (for free) to start, and they’re just average little buns – grainy and a little hard on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. These were great to dip in the sauce from the mussels and the escargots. The server kept getting refilling our basket too!
Ordered white wine, garlic butter vs pimento, chipotle. Cute presentation with the lemon flower, but it was slightly hard to squeeze juice out of. Mussels tasted fresh like the ocean, juicy, and flavourful. Sauce was bread dippin’ good.
Would order again
Glad we ordered the appetizer size for this rather than the entree, as it was just the right amount. Came with three oysters – two big, one small – but all quite big in size. Creamy and rich, not the best tasting oysters rockefeller but decent.
Would order again
The snails were chewy with a nice firm texture and flavour drawing from the garlic butter they were bathing in. Sauce was really good to dip the bread in like we did with the mussels… can’t ever go wrong with garlic butter.
Would order again
Upon serving this, the server then removed the lobster meat from the tail in one go – amazing technique! The lobster was good, the veggies were plain and simple, and the steak was simple, seasoned with just salt and pepper but at least tender and juicy.
Would order again
Our bill was $140 including taxes and tip. If we simply ate and not drank, the bill would have been approx. $70-80. We thanked the wonderful old couple before we left for a nice stroll around the Parliament Building.
Harbour House Restaurant
- Quality: Everything was good, but flavours were as expected – nothing short and nothing over the top. Seafood used was fresh. Sauces good to dip bread in.
- Steamed Mussels – Good. Fresh, juicy, and flavourful. Bread dippin’ good.
- Oysters Rockefeller – Average. Big sized, rich, and creamy.
- Escargots Bourguignon – Good. Chewy, firm, and flavourful. Bread dippin’ good.
- Steak & Lobster Special – Good. Yummy lobster paired with simple steak and veggies.
- Quantity: Moderate and fair portions.
- Ambience: Old style restaurant that looks like a house on the outside, but retro look on the inside with classic, old school decor. Warm, inviting, and peaceful atmosphere with dim lighting to set the mood.
- Pricing: Affordable for a nice evening meal (approx. $30-40/person not including alcohol).
- Service: Great. Dressed in tuxedos, the servers were friendly, knowledgeable, kept refilling the bread and water, and one exhibited amazing technique serving lobster.
Eat Here Again? Yes. Harbour House doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside offers a blast to the past with its retro decor and tuxedo-dressed servers. Prices were reasonable for food and alcohol. Even though the flavours weren’t amazing or creative, everything we had was good and satisfying. I would eat here again for the bread dippin’ good food and wine.
A few more posts will be coming soon about what else we ate in Victoria. If you have any any recommendations for what’s good there, let me know in the Comments below so I can keep in mind for next time.