We booked a 7:30PM table on Christmas night at the restaurant at the Victoria House (VH) as recommended by our hotel, The Phoenix Resort. Now the Phoenix staff would never mislead you, so I have to assume that our experience was an aberration but the fact is that it wasn't impressive at all.
As planned, the VH sent the "stretch golf cart" to pick us up promptly at 7:15 and we took off through the streets of San Pedro, dressed to the nines for our Christmas dinner. We arrived and were lead to the dining room where we were greeted by a snarky manager that told us that we didn't have a reservation and that, given that we weren't resident at the hotel, he didn't have a table to seat us at! Wow, really? Reservations were made and confirmed on July 20! Might want to buy a computer for your manager - and maybe a smile as well. He resolved to send us over to the bar for a while during which he added a table because we showed him the confirmation!
It was a nice menu with some seafood and some traditional holiday specialties like duck and beef wellington. Between the four of us, we ordered virtually one of everything on the menu. Of the appetizers, the stone crab and the almond, truffle, mushroom soup were excellent. Pass on the tuna tartare. It's mostly "other" stuff, very little tuna and just sort of bland overall.
Next I had the duck and I must say that this was just bad. The puree on which the duck sat was drenched in oil and cold to the touch...nasty. The brussel sprouts were ok but bitter because the kitchen probably hadn't blanched them prior to roasting. The duck itself was tough and seemed to have been sitting under a heat lamp for a while.
The Wellington was tasty but nothing special and certainly pre-cooked (think banquet food). My youngest son enjoyed his Seafood "soup" - again, not much that was special but good enough. The desserts followed the same suit - ok but nothing special.
What I thought was most unpleasant was that our waiter had NO information about the menu or more details about preparation. He was a very nice person and we enjoyed talking with him; however, he couldn't answer the most simple questions that I had before making my order. What's more, he didn't offer to find an answer or someone that could answer them. He actually told me that he couldn't remember what kind of sauce was used on the entree. I offered him the menu to jar his memory! Sadly, that didn't help.
We finished what could have only been labeled an average meal and asked for the restaurant to call for our "complimentary" return to the hotel. The VH is pretty far from the action in San Pedro and with 6" heels on, I wasn't planning to walk. They couldn't find anyone to take us so we had to stand, in the rain, for more than 30 minutes waiting for someone to agree to take us. All kinds of excuses were made. My favorite? Our ride was waiting but another family got in and left at no fault of theirs.
Other issues included families that were dining but allowing their tween-aged boys to run around the restaurant playing tag - slamming doors and yelling to each other as they rounded the restaurant. I realize that this is a problem with the clientele, not the restauranteur but if you want patrons to enjoy a quiet dinner, you really must insist that parents mind their children. If they cannot, offer to seat them in the outside accommodations where they can enjoy their dinner but not interfere with the tranquility that others expect.
I wouldn't return. It wasn't "bad," it just wasn't good. Life's too short to eat mediocre food and sit through poor service....too short!
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