We went to Old Vines because our friend got engaged there and we thought it would be a special place to return to. We had received a call the day before to confirm the reservation, but when we showed up, we were told the table wasn't ready and that we would have to wait 15-20 minutes. They gave us free tasting at the Wine Shop, and I appreciate the gesture, but I would appreciate getting my table at the specified time more.
We finally got our table, after spending about 30 minutes at the wine shop. I told the hostess / manager that we were at Quail's Gate as part of a stagette and that the bride-to-be actually got engaged at the restaurant. She said "Oh really" and just ignored me. At other places, they would say congratulations, or thank us for coming back. She came off quite snooty and insincere.
As my meal, I decided to have two Lunch Appetizers instead of the Main Courses. The Main Courses just looked more like a dinner item to me: really heavy. I had the Elk Carpaccio and Farm Salad.
The Elk Carpaccio was quite delicious, the elk was sliced perfectly: even and thin. When you have it altogether with the greens and the onion aioli, it combines perfectly in your mouth.
The salad was also quite successful. The vinaigrette was a perfect balance of sweet and sour and really brought out the sweetness of the beets, which ended up tasting like an earthy honeydew. They were perfectly cooked - wasn't too crunchy and wasn't too soft. Each element on the plate was good on its own and also together in one bite. The cheese was fresh and bright.
As dessert, as soon as the server told us one of the flavours of the day was "Lavender Honey," I forgot everything else she told us. Whenever I hear Lavender, I have to eat it. The ice cream was really well made - churned perfectly and you can still see the flecks of Vanilla. At first I thought it was a little too sweet, but as soon as I took a bite of the butter short bread, it really balanced. It normally comes in a three scoops, but we had it divided up into three ramekins to share.
Overall the food was delicious and the view very nice. However, given that there are so many other restaurants in the area also selling delicious food and nice views, I thought Quail's Gate would be a level above in terms of service. Unfortunately, the service was mediocre, and I'm not just talking about the snooty manager / hostess. Our server had entered a wrong / extra item in when taking our order and brought it out to us. She apologized later when she realized we didn't order it. However, when the bill came, it was still in the bill. I expected more and was disappointed. I would recommend visiting with low expectations - at least the food was good - but I likely won't return.