For years I had thought that the area between Rock Bay & Gorge Road was of interest only to cement companies and anyone wanting to pick up a transvestite prostitute. My old gym, Club Phoenix, is on Government close to Bay and working out in the evening meant being propositioned by at least one worn-out queen on the walk home. Imagine, then, my surprise when I learned that the neighbourhood was home to Glo Euro Pub & Grill, a well-recommended lunch and dinner spot with an amazing view of the Gorge Waterway.
Victoria is a beautiful city – that’s the reason I moved here and one of the reasons I stay. Strangely enough, given all that beauty, there are few enough places where you can enjoy both the view and a worthwhile meal: the Wharfside has a stupendous view of the harbour with food that borders on the inedible.
The Canoe Club has what is probably the best patio in the city, but getting there requires braving a neighbourhood strewn with human wreckage. Over the years I have spent hundreds of dollars on food at the Canoe Club and come away disappointed every time. It’s always busy though, a testament to its popularity with men and women in oversized sunglasses whose caloric intake is limited to what can be mixed with orange juice or tonic water.
We pulled up to Glo around 1 o’clock with the sun shining on the water. The free parking along the road was a nice touch and the condition of the area caught me by surprise. The design of the buildings, the steel and glass, and the configuration of the street gave me a brief sense of unreality, as though I was no longer in Victoria. I don’t mean that as a slight but it stood out in stark contrast to the surrounding neighbourhood’s motif of faded signage and napping transients. We entered the pub and were seated right away in a booth by the window.
The lunch rush was dressed in Hugo Boss and I felt a bit shamefaced about my weather-beaten gym shoes and t-shirt until I noticed that one of the televisions above the bar was tuned to professional wrestling. When your definition of acceptable entertainment has grown to encompass sweaty men in tights busily groping one another, shame has long ago bought a ticket for the westbound train.
Our waitress was as efficient and friendly as she needed to be. My coffee and Dan's soda turned up quickly and she remained attentive to refills so I have no complaints.
Our starter was the "calamari frito", "crispy fried squid, artichoke + jalapeño, lemon + artichoke tapenade + roasted jalapeño ranch" ($11). The portion was generous, the calamari was tender rather than chewy and the jalapeños were a nice touch but the plate was far too oily, even for a deep fried dish and the artichokes were more out of place than Keanu Reeves in "Bram Stoker's Dracula".
Ever the adventurer, I chose a grilled cheese sandwich for my main. In my defense it wasn’t just any grilled cheese sandwich but one with "shaved rosemary ham, caramelized pear and blue cheese" on sourdough bread ($14) with a side Caesar. I am the Mundane Gourmet.
The sandwich was good - "sex with your high school gym teacher" good. The blue cheese was thick and rich, the pears added a hint of sweetness and they were both backed up by a rhythm section of thinly sliced ham. The Caesar salad was like an expectant father in the delivery room: it was present but no one particularly cared. Whether or not all that was worth $14 depends, I suppose, on how good looking your high school gym teacher was. Since mine looked like a gorilla trained to walk upright I felt I had overpaid.
I have often heard Glo compared to the Canoe Club which, I suppose, isn't much of a stretch - both are trendy, upmarket pubs with stupendous views and lovely patios, and both are in neighbourhoods where no one would be particularly surprised to find that a curbside garbage bag contains human remains. For me, however, the comparison falls apart in customer satisfaction: while overpriced, my meal was very good.
Living, as I do, a fair distance from Glo I’m unlikely to make it a regular, or even semi-regular stop, but I would happily return. In comparison, the only way you'll get me back into Canoe Club is if they hire Uma Thurman and Charlotte Church to perform selections from "The Story of O" as dinner theatre. It’s not perfect but, for now, Glo is my choice for best downtown combination of view and value.
- About the Author
- Restaurant Reviews
- Every Man a King: New Orleans in the summer was a bad idea
- The Road to Olympia: High strangeness on the drive to Las Vegas
- The Thing About the Desert: Nothing good happens when you go looking for trouble at night
- Midnight at the Waffle House: Ghosts, Meth and breakfast in Austin
- North on 19: Grief and a savage sunset on the Old Island Highway
- Riptide, Body Condoms, and the Jealous Sea
- All the World is Green. Also, Flamethrowers
- Revelstoke Current, "Blanket Creek campers rocked by explosions"
- Revelstoke Current, "Roller Derby's Coming to Town"
- Movie Review, "Armored"
- Movie Review, "Undead"
- Album Review, Dethklok, "The Dethalbum"
- Album Review, Meat Loaf, "Hang Cool, Teddy Bear"
- Album Review, Rob Zombie, "Hellbilly Deluxe 2"
- Album Review, White Zombie, "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie"