The man and I recently visited Veneto two times: once for dinner, and once for dessert. It was a place I never really thought about going to (probably because I’m not much of a fancy schmanzy “cocktail” girl), but it was recommended to me by a few people so I decided it was worth a try.
I loved the atmosphere at Veneto – it’s swanky, but not pretentiously so. We saw a diverse crowd: hipsters, seniors, as well as a guy that my boyfriend swears was Chris Martin (don’t get your hopes up, ladies. I think Coldplay is on tour in Japan.). My point is that it is a place where anyone can go to have a nice night out and not feel out of place. The music is a surprising and eclectic mix of ambient, indie, lite techno, and even a little folk. The decor is simple but classy, and you can sit at the bar, in the lounge area, or in the dining room.
It took us AGES to get any service on our first visit. Granted, it was a Friday night, but it wasn’t that busy. However, our server was friendly enough and once we ordered our food it came quickly. On the second visit, our server was almost too prompt in her service, and revisited the table a number of times before we had decided on our orders. Overall, the service seems well-meaning, but my experiences were a little sketchy.
I should begin by mentioning how impressed both Matt and I were with the drinks menu. It is extensive, detailed, and fascinating. However, we stuck to wine and beer. As for food, we both ordered tapas-style entrees. I got the vegetarian (pictured above), and he got the lamb (photo at beginning of post). We found that unlike many tapas places, these dishes were perfectly portioned, and satisfied a hungry appetite. The quality of the food was good, though I had a few bones to pick with the veggie plates. I was disappointed in the tameness of the curry portion of my dish – it should have been spicier (a definite case of dumbing-down for “western” tastebuds). Also, the flatbread served with the chickpea salsa should have been served warm. However, the eggplant was divine, and I don’t even like eggplant. Veneto have a little bit of work to do on their vegetarian options, but they’re definitely on the right track. On the omnivore side of things, Matt was thoroughly pleased with his three dishes.
Dessert! You choose 3 off on the menu for 9$ – not bad! Definitely a great place for dessert in a city where the options are arguably few and far between. We chose the sticky date pudding, the kahlua creme brulee, and the chocolate pate. They were all delicious, and a perfect portion for sharing.
At 15-20$ for an entree, Veneto isn’t exactly cheap. But let’s be real - that is the competitive price range for a nice dinner in Victoria. The drinks prices are in the regular range of “I’m just not going to think about the price of this and enjoy it anyway”.
I would return to Veneto just for the atmosphere, the drinks menu (maybe I’ll be brave enough to try a fancy cocktail next time), and for the desserts. Although I wasn’t blown away by the vegetarian option, it seems that they have great meat dishes which are well worth trying, as well as a delicious range of desserts. Veneto is funky and swanky and yummy – enough said.