Over the past few years, I’ve been spending more time in Victoria exploring the food & drink scene. When the pandemic shut the world down, Victoria was my haven for a getaway. I discovered there was a lot of great eating and drinking and learned to appreciate the quiet moments found on a simple beach walk or great hikes close to the city. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been going to Victoria for years to visit family, but in the past, it was different. I had convinced myself the only way I’d go to the Island was by Harbour Air sea plane, which would get me door to door in just over an hour and a half. But the problem with that was that I wouldn’t have a car which made discovering the treasures of the city more difficult. The ferry ride takes almost 4 hours door to door, but when it became my only method of travel to the island during the pandemic and the only source of real travel for almost over a year, I started to enjoy the beautiful journey more. 

While Victoria doesn’t have the most ethnically diverse food scene, there are many restaurants with very delicious offerings. I’m not really a breakfast person, so my Victoria favourites only includes recommendations for lunch & dinner spots.

Part & Parcel is a great option if you’re in Hillside or coming in from the ferry. I’ve only eaten in and taken out for lunch, but they’re open for dinner as well. I’m a huge fan of both their broccoli and fried chicken sandwiches. 

If you’re visiting from out of town, in the spring/summer then Red Fish Blue Fish is a fun option. Located on the wharf in front of the Empress Hotel, this is a great place to grab some local seafood, like fish&chips or one of their tacones, eaten on the deck surrounding this shack. It’s not the most comfortable spot, and you’ll most likely wait in line for your meal, but it’s definitely worth the experience.

Ramen in Victoria? I’ve been to a few other places before, but I wasn’t impressed enough to want to return. But Arashi is best ramen I’ve had in Victoria. It’s a quick lunch (when there’s no line) and their ramen with a variety of broths are delicious. I found their appetizers to be all overly fried so I’d stick with the ramen.

Head to Boomtown for filling burritos and a great local beer selection. A bonus is their huge patio where you can find sun or shade on a warm west coast day.

The coconut-based seafood chowder at Fishhook is another great bowl of warmth on a cold day,. Their albacore tuna melt tartine with broccoli smash and smoked tonatta sauce is a nice take out option to take for a beach lunch. 

For a simple lunch to take to eat in line at the ferry as you go home, stop at the Italian Food Imports or one of Red Barn Market’s sandwich counter. 

House of Boateng sits on every best of Victoria list and I’ve been meaning to go for years. The problem? It’s way the heck out in Langford, which doesn’t make it conducive to an easy dinner out. But they are open for brunch everyday (it gets busy on weekends but is reasonable during the week. Their bowls at brunch are amazing, everything complemented by their spicy sweet house mango habanero hot sauce. It’s a great stop on the way back from a morning hike in Sooke.

Wind Cries Mary’s courtyard patio is perfect for a romantic night out or enjoy with a group of friends. A seat at the bar has become my favorite later night spot after a few cocktails. Their fried chicken is a must and vegetable dishes and pasta are always strong. 

10 Acres Bistro is a great farm to table experience not just their food but their cocktails as well. You know that you’re eating seasonally, because many of the products used, are sourced from their own 10 Acres farm.

I’ve enjoyed the space at Eva Schnitzelhaus in all of its previous incarnations over the years. While a beer and schnitzel aren’t for everyone, when I’m craving something different, especially in the cold weather, I love their comforting fare. 

Chorizo & Co is great with a small group so you can taste a good sampling of their tapas. Their paella isn’t traditional but the flavours are good. Go with a group so you can eat through their creative tapas menu.

Stage Wine Bar in Fernwood changes their menu daily with influences that lean towards French bistro. The only thing I wish is if Stage was more conveniently located to where I stay where I’m in town as I’d be there more often.

Nowhere is definitely somewhere and doing something special. You have to go all in with a tasting menu, but if you’re up for it, you’ll be served course after course of flavourful dishes with locally sourced ingredients prepared with care. If you’re not up for a big tasting, Hanks has an ever changing menu of fresh plates, eaten cozily in its tiny space. Both restaurants work closely with local purveyors who provide fresh seasonal ingredients.

I’ll try to keep this list updated as I discover more deliciousness that Victoria has to offer.

Places I mentioned in this post:

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