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“Good Greek, Average Continental”
Review of Voila

Voila
Ranked #18 of 711 Restaurants in Norfolk
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: French, Greek, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Description: Tucked into a corner of Botetourt and & York Street, Voila, with it's soft lighting and eclectic decor, is a local gem. The restaurant sits tucked away in one of the city's oldest historic neighborhoods, complete with cobblestone streets and some of the few surviving antebellum houses on the side of the Elizabeth River. With a full bar and known for its three-course prix-fixe, Voila's menu features fresh ingredients & home-grown herbs. Voila boasts an impressive selection of international, French, & Greek dishes, incorporated together by the owners, Hampton Roads restaurateurs John & Maggie Tsouris. As well as Hand crafted cocktails concocted with vintage liqueurs and spirits, fresh squeezed juices and homegrown herbs. Voila is a local's favorite and must try authentic cuisine.
Virginia Beach, VA
Level Contributor
115 reviews
99 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Good Greek, Average Continental”
Reviewed January 29, 2013

Our first visit to Voila, as part of a whirlwind of restaurant activity during Va Beach and Norfolk Restaurant Weeks. The restaurant is located away from Norfolk's Granby Street restaurant scene, in a nicely maintained older section of the city at the corner of Botetort and W Bute Streets, very near the river and Norfolk's NOAA facility. It's a small place, probably less than 15 tables, plus a small bar area. Interior decoration is nicely done and very colorful, with a mix of prints (mostly French Impressionists) and opera and theater posters on the walls, plus exotic fabrics serving as drapes and wall and ceiling hangings. Lighting is also pleasant, and is provided by several low-intensity chandeliers, indirect wall lighting fixtures, and candles on the tables. Very quiet music plays in the background. The initial vibe is one of sophistication, with the intent maybe being to create a mix between a more upscale French bistro and a darker Mediterranean cafe. And, OK ---since the restaurant's logo shows a waiter in a tux, with the words "Cuisine Internationale," maybe that's also where we got that idea...

But it turned out that we weren't going to need to remember our French, or get to compare the richness and subtle flavors of the sauces accompanying our entrees, after all. Our server got us off to a bad start by speaking in a very low mumble (sadly, throughout the evening), and did not look directly at either my wife or me when she spoke. After taking and delivering our cocktail orders, it became extremely difficult to engage her in any meaningful conversation about the menus, the somewhat limited wine list, the kitchen, or any other bits of normal conversation you might enjoy having with your server at a restaurant you'd not visited before, and that is trying to position itself as upscale. We did manage to find out that the restaurant has changed owners less than a year ago, and that the new owner is (maybe) first-generation Greek, but is not connected to any of the notorious Greek restaurateurs in Virginia Beach. So, armed with that information, we set out to navigate the menus ourselves --- and were a little bit disappointed with our results.

With a glass of too-sweet house reisling in hand, my wife stayed with the Restaurant Week menu and ordered escargots, followed by a lightly breaded and sauteed breast of chicken, stuffed with a creamed spinach and served with mashed potatoes and a fresh vegetable medley, mostly broccoli. She found the escargot to be cooked well, but the accompanying white wine sauce to be tasteless, not at all rich or smooth and containing bits of parsley that apparently had been cooked with the sauce. She thought her chicken was also cooked correctly, but again found the accompanying lemon white wine sauce to be much too thin and tasteless. I tried a glass of an OK Sonoma Pinot Noir, and had better luck ordering from the regular menu: my keftedes was very flavorful and cooked exactly right (moist on the inside, crispy on the outside), and the accompanying tzatziki was clearly home made, and delicious. I then went to the rack of lamb (on the menu, the Côtelette d'Agneau) and was again very happy with the medium rare preparation, the accompanying thin shallot demi, and the crisp fresh asparagus. But presentation on all our dishes was average at best, and neither my wife no I could figure out the mashed potatoes that came with both our entrees --- they just made no sense as an accompaniment to the rest of either of our dishes. And now realizing that the strength of the menu seemed to be in the Greek and Mediterranean dishes, we both chose the galaktoboureko for dessert. This was very flavorful and creamy, clearly homemade and not too sweet, but was served ice cold and, based upon its consistency and texture, seemed to have been previously frozen. At that point, we were both just ready for coffee, which turned out to be fine.

So we left a little disappointed with our experience at Voila. Our initial feeling was one of a first-rate Continental cafe with hints of Mediterranean, but our waitstaff experience, and the output from the kitchen, suggested more of a nice spot for average Greek food --- but with French names on some of the menu offerings. In fairness, the kitchen's bland seasoning and thin sauces may be an attempt at country French or Tuscan cuisine --- but if so, the choices of ingredients have a ways to go in order to duplicate those styles. And the stark contrasts between the quality of the Greek-inspired dishes we had, and the rest of our food, suggests to me that maybe they would really like to ditch the Continental, and concentrate on the Mediterranean. Which would be fine: next time, we just won't expect so much when we visit.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank RickSchlegel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    53
    17
    5
    1
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chesapeake, Virginia
Level Contributor
194 reviews
150 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Yum!”
Reviewed January 18, 2013 via mobile

French cuisine that's not drowned in heavy cream sauces. The mussels, scallops (off the menu) and salmon dishes are all top notch.

Helpful?
1 Thank Brett E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falmouth, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Quite good”
Reviewed January 13, 2013

I enjoyed dinner here with a group of co-workers on a business trip to the port of Norfolk. It was a bit over our per diem level, but the food was quite good and the wine list was great, with several affordable wines by the glass. The setting is formal, but the staff was very nice and did not seem to mind that we were in very casual clothes (we were working on a ship). We all felt comfortable and welcome, and we all had good meals.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank NotANumber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern Shores, North Carolina
Level Contributor
181 reviews
126 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Always Good”
Reviewed December 30, 2012

We had dinner there last night (12-29) and it was fantastic! We started off with the Beet salad, fresh greens and golded and red beets. Next, one of the dinner specials; Rock fish stuffed with Oyster Rockerfellow, over mashed potatos and a lemon menure topped with fresh asparagus. The bouillbasse was terrific also. We finished it off with the Chocolate Mousse. Top of the line service. Oue favorite go to place!

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank john b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Athens, Ohio
Level Contributor
265 reviews
174 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Nice French Restaurant in Norfolk”
Reviewed December 9, 2012

Had enjoyable meal. The crab bisque was outstanding. The chocolate mousse was authentic as they make in France, which means it probably contains raw egg. The one downside is I ordered the red snapper francesca which is a specialty of the house. The fish was served with too much salt, a common complaint I have at most restaurants is over salting the food. I think the chef may have just forgotten that he added the salt before and added a double dose or perhaps it was done to mask an old fish. Anyway, I would avoid this dish if you do not enjoy brine infused seafood. I did not downgrade my rating much because the other dishes were excellent. In addition, they serve very good wine, especially the sparkling white that follows the champagne process. It was a very good brut. I look forward to my next visit to try again.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Harring10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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