There are a few things that set Vancouver Island apart as a travel destination. Undoubtedly, we have incredible natural landscapes, endless outdoor activities that you can do all year ‘round, safe, walkable historical towns and cities, a rich First Nations history and culture plus excellent shopping and dining experiences. What might be surprising though is that on south Vancouver Island, the dining scene is so robust and vibrant, the food served here rivals the quality of even the largest gastro-centric metropoleis. Like all cities, the trick to a great meal is to get to know where the locals eat – but don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Plus, Victoria is such a densely packed Valhalla of fine food that no matter if you’re staying at either Dalmeny Farm Estate or Beach Drive Manor or if you’re right near the action at either Fernwood Home or Seaglass Suite these incredible establishments are easy to get to! No matter what you’re looking for, whether it’s somewhere to spend a special evening, a cozy place to enjoy the ambience and local food or somewhere to fill up for a long walk or cycle, we’ve rounded up our favourite spots to dine while you’re in town.
If you’re in the mood to celebrate your vacation in style then you won’t want to miss an evening at Café Brio. Through wrought iron gates covered with vines, this unassuming but elegant facadé hides an incredible, intimate restaurant that serves up Italian inspired, rustic West Coast cuisine. So sit back, relax, sip a Sangiovese and enjoy a truly decadent and thoughtfully created menu. At Brasserie L’Ecole you can find local seasonal ingredients transformed into decadent French-country inspired dishes. From homemade paté and moules frites to decadently juicy burgers and truffle fries, the Brasserie takes comfort food to a whole new level. Looking for something upscale and contemporary? Then Saveur should be where you make your next reservation. With an eye to seasonal ingredients, contemporary French inspired fare, and eye-poppingly beautiful plates, chef Robert Cassels elevates our local humble ingredients into edible art. The only difficult thing about eating at Saveur is going to be deciding what to order.
If you’re more inclined to casual dining experiences, you can’t go wrong with Ferris’ Oyster Bar & Grill. Ferris’ has been serving up dependably excellent food since it opened its doors in 1991. From fresh or baked oysters to pasta and tantalizing burgers Ferris’ is a local favourite for good reason. In recent years Ferris’ expanded their upstairs space to include the aptly named Ferris’ Upstairs where diners can come for something more upscale and intimate and Perro Negro for absurdly delightful cocktails and tapas. Right in the heart of downtown Victoria, nestled in the middle of Trounce Alley, you’ll find The Tapa Bar. This cozy, bustling restaurant is home to tantalizing tapas, celebrating the popular Spanish small plates style of eating. While the tapas are small, this robust menu offers full dinner dishes as well so you’re sure to be satisfied at the end of the meal! If you’re looking for somewhere that exudes authentic Victoria then you’d be remiss to skip an evening at The Mint. Located underground, this incredibly cozy, eclectic, Victoria dining staple not only has an impressive cocktail menu but manages to offer outstanding contemporary West Coast, Italian and Himalayan dishes. Being right on the ocean gives Victoria chefs the distinct advantage of having the freshest seafood at their doorstep. What better way to celebrate this oceanic cornucopia than by eating at Nubo Japanese Tapas, one of the most lauded sushi restaurants in Victoria. Inspired by both culinary techniques and flavours all over the world and Izakaya dining, a slow, casual, dining experience found in many areas of Japan, Nubo is sure to impress even the most discerning sushi lovers.
If you’re more of a breakfast person, have no fear, Victoria is also home to some formidable breakfast spots. The Blue Fox Café is one of the most popular local spots in Victoria and with eggs benedict this good, it’s no wonder. On a weekend morning, lineups can stretch down the street so you’ll want to get up early for this gem! Jam Café is relatively new to the Victoria brunch scene and was quickly embraced by locals as a new hotspot with its great Southern US-inspired menu and cheerful ambience. This little cafe is on the small side, so if you’re planning a weekend visit, make sure you plan ahead and arrive a little early to snag a table. If you feel like starting the day with a totally healthy, wholesome breakfast, look no farther than Nourish Kitchen and Café. Located in a heritage house dating back to the late 1800s, this delightful little cafe showcases seasonal ingredients and lovingly prepares every dish with holistic nutritional philosophies and techniques in mind.
Victoria has lots to offer visitors and our food scene is definitely one of them. So this trip, skip the tourist spots and head to where the locals eat – you won’t be disappointed!