Tapas at Perro Negro

Located above Ferris’ Oyster Bar and Grill is the latest addition to the Ferris’ family, Perro Negro tapas and wine bar. This is the fourth restaurant launch for co-owners Tom Ferris and Dave Craggs, which includes Ferris’ Upstairs and Catalano in the Magnolia Hotel. Perro Negro (Black Dog) opened to the public this past June as an extension of Ferris’ Upstairs with a focus on tapas (small bites), or “para picar” (to pick or nibble). The dim lighting, picture windows, brick walls and rustic chairs makes Perro Negro a sexy locale to enjoy authentic Spanish tapas, refined cocktails and impressive wines.

I met with owner-chef Craggs for a first look at the space and a brief chat about the vision behind Perro Negro (As a chef, however, he was quite happy to let his tapas do the talking, and did they ever).

Maintaining a prosperous restaurant in Victoria (Ferris Oyster Bar opened 23 years ago), is an accomplishment in itself. With such a high turn over in the food service industry, to have not one but four busy establishments is a triumph. I asked Craggs why he and Mr. Ferris decided to expand again: “Because we’re idiots!” Craggs says. (Successful and extremely savvy idiots, I would have to argue.)


Pintxo-Dungeness Crab with Corn

Pintxo-Dungeness Crab with Corn

“We were waiting for this space [Perro Negro] for a long time. There was a definite demand for the tapas” Craggs says. “We had to turn people away some nights. So, initially the room was to act as an over-flow space while people waited for their table. But it’s grown into something else. Between upstairs and downstairs, it’s already become its own entity.”

The very popular Sevilla Sundays at Ferris Upstairs were a strong catalyst for expanding the tapas concept, Craggs says. “Tapas can be the in-between food; you can have a couple of bites and move on with your night. Or, stay and share a bunch of food. Plates are priced accordingly (which puts the fun in sampling several items).

For my visit I had the pleasure of trying not one but eight different tapas. First, I’d like to personally thank Dave Craggs for his generosity and excellent cuisine. Bravo! Second, I’d like to make a disclaimer: I did not eat all of this by myself! I had to cart a few dishes home, but oh, how I tried.

Clams & White Beans
Stuffed Piquillo Pepper

To begin, as I sipped on a tart and earthy gin and tonic (a Perro Negro nod to Spain), topped with egg white, lime and cucumber foam, I sampled vine ripened tomatoes with Macedonian feta and mint in a 30 year old sherry vinaigrette ($6). This was followed by Pan y Tomate: a crispy baguette rubbed with tomatoes, garlic and arbequina olive oil ($4). After this there was a tribute to the Basque region of Spain: Banderillas a one-bite skewer of olives, piquillo, guindilla pepper and boquerons (anchovies) ($4) and Pintxo (finger food served on bread) of Dungeness crab and corn topped with a hot pepper ($5). One word so far: Amazing. Next, came clams with white beans (from the daily special sheet) ($8) followed by smoked albacore tuna with preserved lemons, olives, marcona almonds, caper berries and olive oil ($10). The latter dish was heavenly; the perfect marriage of flavours and textures. A must try. I washed that down with a house favorite: the piquillo pepper stuffed with spicy shrimp. Good thing these are only ($4) a piece because one is not enough. Lastly, I ended my evening with fried bravas potatos in a spicy tomato jam with alioli ($6). And I admit, I got a bit greedy when I encouraged a Hot Day in Jerez: a refreshing spicy cocktail made with alvear amontillado sherry, moorish spices (all-spice, cinnamon, black pepper) fresh lemon and soda water ($8). What can I say? It went well with my potatoes.

G & T (Perro Negro)

There is no doubt in my mind (or, in my belly for that matter) that Perro Negro will be yet another prosperous venture for Ferris and Craggs. Currently open just three nights a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday 5pm to 12am), Craggs suspects they will have to expand those hours soon enough. For the moment they are letting it unfold and booking plenty of private parties, with a capacity to seat 40 people for dinner and 55 or more for a casual cocktail style reception.


Perro Negro

536 Yates Street,

Victoria, B.C.


(250) 382-2344




Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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