Another invigorating swimming session left Jess and I in pursuit of good food, pronto. Since we were on campus anyway, the Grad House was an appealingly short walk away. Jess and I had both enjoyed our prior experiences there, although we had both only visited once before. I think that many undergrads fail to experience the joys of the Grad House due to it’s veil of being exclusively for Graduate Students, and because it’s tucked away behind the Student Union Building. However, the great prices, delicious food, and friendly service is wholeheartedly enjoyed by those students, staff, faculty, and community members who are in the know. A hidden gem of UVic!
The Grad House is comprised on two rooms – the main larger room, and the David Clode room (which is off to the side). Both rooms are fairly spacious, and from what I’ve gathered they will use one room, or the other, or both, depending on the volume expectations. The decor is plain, with a few paintings on the wall – nothing fancy, but does the trick. It caters to a more mature crowd than Felicita’s, is brighter, and offers more of a dining experience.
In my experience, I have seen great service at the Grad House. The servers are friendly and effective, and even offered my boyfriend a magazine to read while he waited for me (for our first visit). This particular time, our server was prompt, attentive, and offered seemingly genuine smiles. He didn’t refill my water, though it does say on the menu that water is self-serve. I was too lazy to get up, so I went thirsty. Call me high-maintenance, but I like being poured water. It makes me feel special.
I enjoyed the food at Grad House, and I think Jess did too. The selection is great – I had a really hard time making up my mind, which is a testament to their variety of vegetarian options. However, I happen to know that many of the meat options, such as the pulled pork sandwich, are also delicious. The Grad House aims to use fresh, local ingredients in their dishes, which although a common line in Victoria restaurants, is always nice to hear.
After a lengthy debate between the Grad House Veggie Wrap or Herbed Goat Cheese Sandwich, I followed the server’s recommendation and went for the sandwich with a side of the tomato soup. This was an unlikely choice for me, as I am not a huge fan of tomatoes; but I was definitely not disappointed! The soup was light, simple, and fresh – everything a spring soup should be. And the sandwich was wonderful! It had been grilled, and the combination of the cheese, spinach, and tomato was spot on. It was pleasantly herbed, the veggies were perfect, and the bread was delicious. I have no complaints.
Jess got the falafel burger with yam fries, and was happy with her choice! I too have had the falafel burger, and it was zesty and delicious, with a fluffy, fresh bun. Oh, and the yam fries are absolutely divine, especially with the chipotle mayo. The portion is quite large, too – good bang for your buck!
The Grad House offers great value. The portions are good, the quality is excellent, and the prices are reasonable. Especially attractive for the thrifty individual is the five dollar menu – a rare phenomenon in the Victoria restaurant scene; consisting of items such as grilled cheese and a salad, or perogies and a salad. Most of the other items hover around the 10$ mark, which is extremely doable.
Great food, value, and service – the Grad House is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. It’s the best on campus sit-down restaurant option.