Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Zambri's at the new location

<2010-10-08 Fri>

For my previous review of Zambris, please see this

The big question that was in my mind, is the new restaurant still Zambri's?

Few days ago I was talking to a person who said that she did not want to have a fancy dinner in the back of a London Drugs, thus never went to Zambri's for dinner.

The new Zambri's opened in an-almost-finished building: the Atrium. This building is a good addition to Victoria, which lacks good architecture, and its atrium lives up to the name of the building. It seems to be destined to be a gathering place. Pig BBQ Joint was packed. Maybe there is something in that little hole in the wall that has sprouted two people's favourites (the other being Hernande'z). Habit is getting ready to open.

The lunch service now feels like dinner. This is no longer the "family" style trattoria. It has changed dramatically, and it is now a fancy restaurant. I recognized some faces around the tables, but most of them were probably curious of the "new" restaurant. The bar is now large and it is a center of the new restaurant. Gone is the "order from the board" style. Now you have to wait for a table. Perhaps what I liked the most of the old Zambri's was the ability to greet the kitchen staff. Now that is gone. They are well beyond the prying eyes of the audience. Throughout the years I had build a relationship with them. They knew how to cook my food, and usually asked me for my opinion. It was one of the reasons I soo much enjoyed Zambris'.

I feel like a foreigner. This is no longer the Zambri's I knew. The question is, do I like the new restaurant.

The restaurant is in a beautiful location. Its floor to ceiling walls of glass overlook the corner of Blandshard and Yates. It will be interesting to see what happens during the hot days of August (although it seems to have air conditioning). The old furniture is gone, and replaced by modern, swanky one. A computer system has replaced the old "hand-written" ticket system.

The service staff has grown considerably too. From 2, there are now around 6-7, including a metre die. Many are new to me.

Coming by myself, I was offered to sit at the bar. I originally declined, but decided that it was a good idea.

The menu is printed, and the big novelty is pizza. Yes, there is a pizza oven. I am not crazy about pizza, and decided to ordered the salmon.

When it arrived it, I was surprised it came with a separate salad (simple lettuce dressed in a vinagrette). The smells of the dish were Zambri's. The olive tapenade was absolute delicious. But the salmon was dry. I mentioned this to the bartender, Brendan, who relied the info to the kitchen. I was offered a replacement. I hesitated. i don't like to be a pain. But he really pushed it and I accepted. Ok, New-Zambri's cares.

What came back was delicious, and reminded me why this has been my favourite restaurant since I came to Victoria.

I like the place, the extended hours.

It is hard to accept that the old cozy place is gone. Like many things over time, change comes whether we like it or not. Zambri's continues to serve good food, and that is, or should be, my primary concern. It is time to build a new relationship.

Verdict: Beautiful restaurant, serving excellent lunch food, but it is a different Zambri's.

Paid: 19.04 + tip

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