Cuisine: Contemporary/West coast/Seafood
Last visited: August 14, 09
1560 Water Street
Price Range: $20-30
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Ambiance: 5, mainly b/c of history and concept
- To locals and tourists it's one of the best restaurant in Kelowna
- Reincarnation of a 4 diamond, award-winning fine dining restaurant - still same owner/chef
- All time favourites from Fresco are still on the menu
- Focus on organic, fresh, natural, all regional food
- Everything is from local bakeries/farms etc. in Kelowna
- Homemade sauces/condiments/dressings
- Very unique flavours and chef creations - but everything was missing a little salt and came across as a tad bland - yes, fresh ingredients, but when it all came together it was missing that punch
- Simple ingredients, but unique recipes and combination of flavours
- Excellent presentation with really decent portions - not huge, and not small
- Very reasonable prices for what you are getting - a gourmet bargain, however overall experience impressed me more than the food
- They offer a sample menu, but they don't advertise it and you need to ask your server
- They don't take reservations and open 5pm daily
- Drink specialties: Fresh fruit martinis
- Complimentary gourmet housemade lollipops when you get your bill eg: Tangerine & Thyme lollipop
How I discovered this restaurant was completely by chance, luck was on my side...so I'm glad I fell upon it. If I were in Kelowna again I would go back to this restaurant to try other things are their menu.
I walked by the restaurant at around 5pm and stopped to take a look at their menu posted outside. There was a couple from Seattle waiting outside the restaurant for it to open and they strongly recommended us to try this restaurant. They said it was their favourite and that they dine here everytime they are in Kelowna. They said they come especially for their Crab Cappuccino which enticed my immediately. I took a quick look over their menu and saw the most creative dishes eg: hot dog with lavender mustard - right then and there I knew I had found my dinner spot for the night.
I went in to put my name down for a reservation but the hostess said it was so busy that reservations were not accepted...as if I wasn't convinced enough; now I knew I had to check out what the hype was all about. We basically ordered everything that was recommended on their menu, but I'll discuss the best out of those.
Overall, the experience was better than the food, although the food was by no means disappointing. It's comparable to great restaurants in Vancouver.
On the table:
- **Crab Cappuccino 4/6
- Dungeness crab, milk froth
- One of the most popular items on the menu. It actually originates from the old Fresco menu, the restaurant that came before RauDz...it's such a favourite it had to stay on.
- The presentation was lovely. It was good, but lacked a little bit of saltiness, it wasn't sweet either though...it was just a bit bland. The texture is not thick and creamy, it's the texture of a cappuccino made with whole milk, so it's not heavy or filling.
- It came with 2 larger pieces of dungeness crab which is a bit disappointing because I expected more. The dungeness crab flavour wasn't brewed into the cappuccino broth...it was more just 2 pieces of crab found in the broth. I found they should have chopped it up a bit more rather than just putting in 2 big chunks. I understand that they did this because it's called a "cappuccino" not a "soup"...but still.
- A nice subtle hint of cappuccino flavour and I think I tasted a little saffron which was great. It came with a nice frothy foam on top, and it's actually good as an appetizer or even order it for the end of your meal.
- It is a must try because it's unique and you can't find it anywhere, but I wouldn't need to order it again or anything. For $12 I found it on the expensive side, but because everyone orders it they can afford to keep it there.
- Calamari 4/6
- Another favourite item from the Fresco menu.
- Fresh calamari stuffed with sundried olive stuffing on a bed of roasted cauliflower salad.
- This calamari was very fresh and not the deep fried kind that you typically get served when you order a Calamari. You could really taste the freshness of these beautiful squids. Eat these little guys in one bite otherwise the stuffing oozes out and your ratio of calamari to stuffing is off. The stuffing is fabulous! Nice and salty, a great texture where you can taste the olives and the hint of sundried tomatoes. The squids don't taste salted, you get the saltiness from the olive stuffing. The olive stuffing was almost a spread - I would love to eat it with crostini or warm baguette.
- The cauliflower salad was very nice. Small pieces of roasted cauliflower, I think it could have used some capers in there because again it was a tad bland.
- ** BLT 5/6
- Grilled salmon, pancetta, fig anise toast, baked fries
- The fig anise toast made this sandwich! They order this fig & anise bread from the local bakery in Kelowna called The Bread Company - see my review on this bread and on this cafe because we tried it the next morning.
- Nice piece of fresh and moist salmon, you get a bit of saltiness from the pancetta and the sweetness of the figs. The taste is in the quality of ingredients.
- Fries - the fries they use made of Yukon Gold potatoes, and they aren't cut in house but they do bake them in house with their special infrared oven - these fries are really good and taste deep-fried...but they're not!
- I liked the little dish of salad it came with - that was actually not bland
- Fish & Chips 3/6
- Baked chickpea batter pacific rockfish, fennel spiced chips, cucumber tartar
- The picture for this was too blurry, so I didn't realize it at the time...so I apologize for having no picture.
- Nothing too spectacular, big pieces of fish and the fennel spiced chips are fries
- I'll repeat my fry message above - it's made of Yukon Gold potatoes and they're baked and are genuinely as good as deep fried ones.
- **Arctic Char 6/6
- Oat crusted, maple butter, potato, bacon & spinach sautee
- This was my favourite entree of the bunch. Another signature entree form the Fresco menu.
- For me the feature of your entree also known as the protein should be the stand out of your entree, for this dish - it was! The oat crust was amazing - I would order this again for sure.
- Halibut 4/6
- Raudz spice rub, grilled potato, and walla walla onion salad, blueberry and nectarine salsa
- Very good, but not excellent. What made this dish was the blueberry and nectarine salsa - I wish it was the halibut...but it wasn't. The Arctic char was better. The halibut was on the dry side for me and because it was such a thick piece and it was coated in this dry rub it became even more dry. I had to enjoy every bite with the salsa, and I think you should be able to enjoy your protein with or without condiments if it's done really well.
- Blueberry and nectarine salsa was excellent! Fresh local fruit, very well composed and great texture. You can see the quality and freshness. Could have used a squeeze of lime or maybe some lime zest to really bring out that fruity flavour. I'd ask for lime and do it myself next time. But I may not order this again, I would rather try something else.
- Best presentation out of all the entrees
- Lamb 5/6
- Bbq double chop and tenderloin, homemade gnocchi, oyster mushroom and arugula saute, tomato and molasses BBQ sauce
- This was better than the halibut, but not as good as the arctic char. Really decent sized portion and the lamb was very tender.
- The stand out of this dish was the homemade gnocchi, you could really taste the potato in it - best part of the dish, and one of the best gnocchi I've tried. It's easy to get the oyster mushrooms confused with the gnocchi though because they look the same and are same in size. The BBQ sauce was more tomato based, and it did have a unique homemade flavour - can really tell they put care into their sauces and the texture was perfect! - Not too runny and not too thick and bold enough to stand up to lamb, but subtle enough to not overpower the main ingredient.
- **Signature 6/6
- Double chocolate mashed potato brioche, raspberry sorbet, warm chocolate sauce
- Holy crap...this was soooo good! We literally consumed it in under 45 seconds. This is a dessert I would dream about and what to go back for. This is SO their signature dessert and SHOULD NOT BE MISSED.
- It was $10 and I'd pay more for it.
- This potato brioche is amazing, it's so moist and decadent. The raspberry sorbet is made in house and was the perfect accompaniment to this dish.
- Blueberry Tart 4/6
- Apricot salad and sour cream ice cream
- This was good, but not the best tart I've had. The apricot salad was 2 apricots cut in half and I think they should have really chopped it up into smaller pieces. It would have been better and the apricots would have been more tender. The blueberries and apricots were all from local farmers and were fresh - so I think they wanted to let them stand out on their own...but they didn't. If I order it as a dessert I would prefer them to be used more creatively and then have them fresh as a garnish.
- Sour cream ice cream - homemade...and a great choice to match with this tart. This was my favourite part, you could tell that it was sour cream ice cream but it wasn't too sour or too pungent. Quality ice cream that was a perfect match for fruit.
- Hands down the Signature dessert was better
- Must try their fresh fruit martinis - they have an extensive drink/wine menu, but their specials are their fresh fruit martinis.
- We tried their Blackberry martini made with a fresh blackberry puree and aloe - great texture and you can taste the aloe - brilliant ingredient to use with fresh fruit I have now discovered