Following a change in management at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blighty’s Bistro has kept fine dining alive on Oak Bay Avenue.
The bistro, which first opened in 1983, was purchased in late 2019. It has transformed from a fish and chips favourite to a fancy tucked-away bistro perfect for special occasions.
Staff reported that despite having been at 50 per cent seating capacity during the early months of the pandemic, Blighty’s generated more revenue during 2021 than it did in 2019. Front end manager Angie Choly and staff attribute this success to the welcoming environment they foster and high-quality customer service.
“Amid COVID-19, that was a big thing to make people feel welcome, to make people feel safe and to (allow them to) enjoy the experience,” Choly said.
“They (our clientele) inspired us to keep going because we felt there was a need for this restaurant in Oak Bay.”
Blighty’s prides itself on its seasonal menu changes and fresh fish, courtesy of nearby Oak Bay Seafood, with new seafood dishes offered almost on a daily basis. Staff described the bistro’s style as “basic North American cuisine with French highlights.”
In Choly’s words, Blighty’s is a perfect destination for couples looking to escape from their kids for a romantic evening, but also equally perfect for family gatherings away from home. Staff are also very flexible when it comes to accomodating events such as birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.
“We’re happy to create new menus and work with our clients for special occasions like that,” said Choly.
A considerable portion of Blighty’s clientele comes for peaceful date nights, be it newlyweds or more commonly, couples that have been married for upwards of 40 years.
Choly said the bistro has successfully kept most clientele on board but has also been able to grow its own following, adding that they hope to appeal more to Oak Bay’s younger demographic as well and keep the extended patio open.
“When things are not doing fabulous, we can change things just to try and keep excelling and reach that nice level of excellence so that, when people come in, they’re wowed.”
For more information, visit blightysbistro.com.
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