Frankie’s Modern Diner
910 Government St #38
Phone: (778) 265-8575
Many, many moons ago, Frankie’s Modern Diner was once known Ric’s Steakhouse and before then, it was The Cheesecake Cafe. I miss the latter brand name and the rumour I heard was that the owners did not want to pay the licensing fee and rebranded until a name stuck. I seem to recall there was a Nanaimo-based Frankie’s too, but I don’t go up island often enough to find out if they are still around. In this updated post, this operation has moved south and with this corner having new owners, the changes are pleasant. According to some people who have talked to me in person, they are regulars for a reason.
With Capital City Comic Con near, it’s only fair to come in to see what this operation offers. Thankfully, the current management has not forgotten the heydays of when I visited this corner often. I enjoy browsing the window display of the desserts. Although the variety was not the same as I recall from years ago, I’m glad there is a daily feature dessert, instead of the ordering from their four standard staples – apple pie, molten chocolate cake, new york style vanilla cheesecake and key lime. I will have to give an update as I know I’ll be returning for another bite during this show. The ambience of this place is great and service is very friendly. I knew one visit is not enough.
Koto Sushi Izakaya
510 Fort St
Phone: (250) 382-1514
Late at night, folks do not have to wait long to get a seat at Koto Sushi Izakaya. Just how they compare to other places depends on what you are wanting to have. I usually go for the sushi rolls, and it was tough to decide on what to get without killing my wallet. Since this place specializes in Izakaya, where you are able to get quick bites (pub-style food), I went for the simple dishes first, hoping they will fill me up. The baked oysters were certainly wonderful, warm and lucid to the tongue. I also ordered deep-fried quail eggs, and could have gone for more. They were the highlight of my meal, given how filling they were over the rest of the items I ordered. The grilled fish was unusual. Sanma is a mackerel which had a distinctively salty taste. It was quite soft and was like eating a sponge cake. The texture took little getting used to, but I found enjoyment after the third piece.
533 Yates St
Phone: (778) 265-9575
El Furniture Warehouse is a strange name for a dining establishment. They began operation in Vancouver, BC and they made a name for themselves with reasonably priced meals — mostly in the pub style variety — for $5 or less, and since then they have expanded. After a fair number of years on the mainland, they decided to become island bound and set up shop in Victoria, BC.
The evening I was there was busy. I asked if I can grab a bite in under an hour as I wanted to get to a live theatre production in time. I was promised that’s possible and given a seat by the bar, the only space available. I like the fact this place is well stocked with a variety of beers, but I stayed sober if I had to run to catch my show.
I also knew what I wanted and placed my order in no time. My meal arrived fairly quickly, and it was not what I thought I’d get. I asked for a salad. Given how loud this place can get, I’m betting the waiter I ordered from could not hear.
I got a burger and fries and did not bother noting the change to the server. I ordered “The Works” which had no tomatoes or lettuce despite saying so on the menu, and the bacon — I hardly was able to taste it. The in-house specially made sauce gave the burger a good kick but there was nothing to make me think this place is special. If folks want cheap bites to help sustain them for a few hours, it’d be a place to hit. For filling bites, I’d go elsewhere.
Unlike other operations which gives you heaping amounts of fries, this place offers a reasonable portion to complement your meal than be it.
I may one day return to give this place another chance, but my first impression was not good. Another server came by with the salad I wanted and I saw it came with a burrito. I said I was given my order already and he walked away confused.
2 Blokes out of 5
1420 Quadra St #101
Phone: (250) 381-6141
I can’t say Futaba is a favourite restaurant of mine. They did a bit of change in the menu offerings over the years and the overall result is not convincing me by much. The quality is not quite there anymore as another mutual friend pointed out (see below image) and while the meal I had was certainly tastier on the night I visited here with James Shaw, the improvements were minuscule.
These days, this guy still has an opinion about the places we dine together and he always has to express (to me) what he thinks about the place. I tell him to speak to someone else or resume being a bloke. He stupidly looks at me and I always roll my eyes. I really have no clue why I still hang out with him since he can’t separate from when we are hanging out together as pals to when to shut up if we happen to hit an eatery. He knows I can use his words to put into the next food review. He can’t stop me. In that regard, he’s still continuing to be part of this food-zine (or should I say scene?)
Han’s Korean Restaurant
615 Johnson St
Phone: (778) 265-1760
E: Sadly, the diner Skinnytato closed operations around late Summer of last year, and in its place, the diner went from Polish to Korean. Will I miss it? Not necessarily. Some mom and pop operations can only last as long as it is profitable or the owner/operators wish to keep their business going. Another possible reason is that the people behind Skinnytato decided to retire. I did not investigate to know for sure, but with what James is about to officially announce, all I can do is sigh. He is getting old too.
J: After seven years, I’ll be packing it up and moving on. Also, I am disheartened to see many of the restaurants we have reviewed close up shop. It didn’t matter if a restaurant was good or bad; sometimes Victoria is a tough place to run a place that serves food. We just don’t have the customer base a big city like Vancouver has. Victoria is a little more cut throat.
E: In other words, he’s burnt out (as a mutual friend pointed out). The many labours he has to do at his day job(s) and responsibilities to his family show his mind is elsewhere these days. He’s no Hercules. I’m finding he is not willing to put in the effort into any idea he has or we have come up for this site anymore. He was ambitious and industrious once, but it’s all gone. We were going to pen an article on a variety of novelty sodas we discovered at the Lilly Gobble Sweet Shop early Summer, but even that is constantly getting put off by him than me. I’m willing to bet he wants that article idea to fizzle.
I firmly believe he is making a big mistake by walking away from what we spent many years shaping as this blog’s identity. He does not care and shrugs off everything I suggest to him. Two Hungry Blokes is not ending. I plan on carrying on.
128-560 Johnson St
Phone: (250) 590-2648
The difference between the different types of pizza available out there — Neapolitan, Sicilian and traditional American — is distinguished by what type of flour is used for the dough and what ingredients are used. For Neapolitan, San Marzano tomatoes must be used, and the Market Square based operation is Famoso for it. Okay, bad pun, but when this establishment is technically a franchise, neither James or I were quick or that highly interested in checking this place out when it came into business years ago. Now that I’m seeing this place is a permanent fixture, perhaps it’s finally time to check this place out and give a very late answer if Prima Strada should worry about their competition.
I say there’s none to be found. Very little overlap really exists. The Strada offers wood fired (and wonderfully scented) tastes whereas Famoso only reveals the fact their product is baked in a clay-shaped oven. I didn’t ask but I’d be curious in learning what form of heat is used. In a decades old building, I do not think allowing age-old techniques would be allowed by the fire marshal so adapting the space was important. When considering the Mexican place next door had a fire and closed down as a result, I’m sure safety is a huge concern.