Aura Waterfront Restaurant
We visited Aura during Victoria’s annual Dine Around promotion. Dine Around, an event occurring in the doldrums of February each year (a reason to venture out on a soggy rain soaked eve), is a great way to sample new restaurants. Participating dining rooms offer set menus, each including appetizer, entrée and dessert for $20, $30, $40 and $50 per person. The menus come with optional wine pairings. For wine fanatics, this is a nifty opportunity to both educate and titillate your palate! Most restaurants also offer their regular a la carte menu during this promotion in addition to the dine around menu.
Strolling in to Aura, we were immediately impressed with the sexy, contemporary design. The restaurant features floor to ceiling windows and a sleek lit up bar that hums with activity. The patio is killer; located right on the waterfront path between downtown and Fisherman’s Wharf, it offers breathtaking harbor views. We made a mental note of this for summer (though from our indoor table we had a marvelous view of the sea. We ogled the little boats and fancy yachts dotted along the shoreline).
The menu at Aura, created by Chef Takashi Ito, puts an emphasis on seafood and locally sourced ingredients with a playful Japanese twist. On this particular evening, we feasted on an appetizer with sweet spot prawns atop crab infused bisque. We used our bread to sop up every last drop of the silky, saucy bisque. Regrettably this appetizer is not available on the a la carte menu but the skill demonstrated by the kitchen on this special dish bodes well for the rest of the fare. On a previous visit to Aura I have delighted in the risotto. Available as a starter or main course, and containing more of those impossibly sweet prawns (this time poached in a dashi broth), this dish is a standout.
Aura would be a great destination to bring your seafood loving friends for a special treat. The view is marvelous and the menu is playful and creative. Where else can you sample scallops with jerk pork belly or deep fried sushi with albacore tuna and wasabi mayo? (om nom nom!). Service is attentive but unobtrusive, leaving you to enjoy the quiet ambiance and sublime sea view. For a special “staycation”, we recommend booking an overnight stay in the Erickson Wing of the Laurel Point Inn (see our review here). Bon Appetit to our fish fiend friends!
MONTY’S PICKS: Scallops, deep fried sushi, steelhead trout, warm gingerbread cake IMBIBE: “K” Rose, Hillside, Prosecco, B52 coffee, French 75 Location: At the Laurel Point Inn, 680 Montreal Street. View in Google Maps. Click here to visit the Inn at Laurel Point’s website.