Considering we’re surrounded by ocean good seafood restaurants are hard to come by around this town. I used to frequent The Oyster for their fresh oysters and popular buck-a-shuck nights but The Oyster, along with its sister restaurant Pescatores, have recently undergone some major renovations both to the interior of the space as well as to their menus. What was The Oyster is now The Commons. I first went to check out The Commons with a friend earlier this summer and to be honest we didn’t make it past the menu. We sat down and took one look at the menu and decided to go elsewhere. The prices, in my opinion, are a tad too pricey for this town with mussels costing $19 and steak costing $32 this once casual eatery has now put itself up there with what I like to call the ‘special occasion restaurants’, the places you only can afford to go to for a special night out. After abandoning our table we headed to The Local instead and right away compared menus only to find the same bottle of wine we were considering ordering at The Commons for significantly less. I prove my point.
Okay so round 2 at The Commons. I had some visitors in town from Toronto (so special occasion right?) who wanted some fresh oysters. So I thought why not give it a whirl? We ordered two dozen oysters all of which were local oysters from our surrounding West Coast waters. They were served with a mignonette and a cocktail sauce, neither of which were explained to us by our server. The majority of the oysters were very disappointing. They lacked flavor, they didn’t seem fresh and most were overwhelmingly metallic. I fully understand that different varieties of oysters have different flavor profiles but hey if the oyster ain’t good , don’t serve it just because it’s ‘local’.
The final round 3. I figure why not one last attempt? Maybe my last experience can be considered a ‘bad night’? After finishing his birthday dinner my boyfriend was craving oysters so we both thought we would try The Commons as we were both loyal fans of the previous Oyster. We ordered 10 oysters ($3.75/ea?!), 5ypes, 2 of each type, all from the East Coast. They ran out of one kind and automatically gave us 3pcs of two of the types. I would have preferred if they checked with me first so that maybe I could choose a different fifth variety. This time the oysters came with four different sauces which was nice to see and our server described each one to us. I must admit though that all of the four types of oysters we received weren’t remotely good. One type was edible and the other three I could have done without. They were bland, very metallic tasting and left a chalky feeling in my mouth. I tried the mignonette on it’s own too and it stung my throat. I think straight vinegar out of the bottle would have tasted better. We decided to order another dish just to get the taste out of our mouth. We ordered the naan with hummus and tapenade ($9) which was a great little appy. There were ample amounts of the spreads to go around and the naan bread was warm, soft and fresh.
All-in-all our 10 oysters, a bottle of wine and appy cost us $88 which was definitely not worth it in my opinion. I do want to try their other menu items one day to see if the high prices get you a meal that’s worth the price but with regards to the oysters it has been nothing but bad experiences. Unfortunately The Commons may become yet another tourist trap in Victoria with an overpriced menu to cover the renovation expenses.