Agrius | Victoria, BC

If you’ve read our previous post on Agrius you’ll see that we’re big fans of their brunch as well as Fol Epi bakery, their sister company. After hearing such great things about their dinner service it was at the top of my foodie bucket list but after finally checking it out the other night I must admit I wasn’t wowed.

It being Christmas season we reserved about two weeks ahead of time and managed to get a reservation for 5 guests at 7:30 no problem. On the evening of our dinner I received a call an hour before our reser saying that the table before us was a little late getting there so we’ll be seated closer to 8pm we were told there would be some seats at the bar as well as a comp’d round of drinks while we waited. Upon arriving there just before 7:30 we found there was one seat at the bar available. The hosts quickly set up a table for us to wait at in the closed bakery section of the restaurant which we appreciated. We each ordered a drink.┬áMy drink, the Rise and Shine, is one of my favorites here especially with brunch. It’s a nice refreshing coffee cocktail with a slight, yet welcomed, bitterness.

About 15 minutes after we were offered a table, a table for 4 with an extra end chair which makes me think this cramped little table wasn’t the one initially intended for us in the first place.

Agrius is a small restaurant with only about 7-8 tables. The warm lighting and buzzing atmosphere create a welcoming environment and the open kitchen is always great entertainment. If you’re not a fan of loud restaurants though, then this may not be the place for you. The menu is seasonal and not overly extensive (in a good way) with about 8 appetizers and 6 main dish offerings. They also offer a tasting menu which seemed like a great deal for about $63 for 5 courses.

My friend and I split the steak tartare (~$18) and the cured salmon (~$9). The appetizers arrived quickly. The steak tartare was a generous serving. It was mixed with diced onions and soft bread croutons on top. This might be the worst steak tartare I’ve ever had. Not to sound dramatic, it wasn’t inedible or terrible, but if I were to rank all my steak tartares I’ve had in my life then this one would be right there on the bottom. It was extremely chewy and quite fatty and rich. I didn’t mind the raw onions as it helped cut the richness but my friend struggled a bit with it as the onions to her were too overwhelming. The bread however was a nice touch and complimented the meat nicely without masking the flavour. My main course, the duck breast (~$29), was better in quality. The duck breast, although slightly chewy, was very moist and cooked to a perfect medium doneness. The generous helping of veggies on the side was a nice touch. Did this dish change my life? No. It was just okay. For dessert we all split the maple tart, PB&J sundae, as well as the macarons. The maple tart was simple yet good. The macarons are always a favorite of mine as I think Fol Epi makes some of the best macarons in the city! Their chocolate one is heaven. The sundae I thought was creative and fun. Made up of a grape sorbet and peanut butter sauce it was light and refreshing.

Overall my $95 meal (with tip) was just okay. My appetizer I could have done without and my main was alright. Perhaps I set my bar too high with Agrius? The service from our server however was top notch and the drinks were great. I don’t think I’ll be in a rush to eat dinner here again, but if I did I think I would try their tasting menu instead. I still love this place for brunch though and the pastries and bread at Fol Epi will forever remain my favorite in the city.

Oh and those drinks which we were told would be comp’d? Never were