We all have our favourite spots to eat in the city and it’s hard to branch out, but what do you do when you end up on an island with your family on a trip to see your aunt or your friends want to visit that one gal pal who decided to go to UVIC instead of UBC?
Instead of puttering over Yelp reviews that are never reliable (honestly, who Yelps anymore?) use this list as your guide to Victoria’s best restaurants to avoid ending up at the White Spot.
Okay, you’re on an ISLAND you’d better eat some seafood. But if you’re still aprehensive…this ‘oyster bar’ offers all different kinds of dishes (yes, even some non-seafood meals for the less adventurous ones out there) with the downstairs grill, the upstairs oyster bar, and the tapas lounge.
Recommended: Fried oyster burger with the salad. Add lemon feta dressing. You’re welcome.
Tiki Tuesday! S’mores!! Fondue!!! This is probably the most fun you’ll have eating out. Everything they offer is made in-house from their main dishes down to their ketchup. Don’t try going on a Monday though, they’re closed. Hey, even God rested for a day.
Recommended: Duck wings with a side of house mayo.
Tip: Thursdays are “Buck-a-Duck” and you can get the deliciousness on a discount.
We all have that friend we need to accommodate. You know the one. Vegan. Gluten-free. Believe me, before Be Love I didn’t realize you could eat like that without it tasting like cardboard. This insanely creative and elegant restaurant is owned by siblings and offers organic and plant based foods that will both satisfy and energize you without harming any furry friends.
Bonus: Their Love Bowl initiative offers a legume rice bowl by donation so that no one has to go hungry. <3
Who doesn’t love pizza? With three locations in Victoria, Prima Strada is the primo spot to get a slice of pie. Even Vancouver blogger and owner of Fraîche Nutrition, Tori Wesszer couldn’t resist their Funghi Supremo.
Recommended: Rucola e crudo with lots and lots of chili oil.
Have you ever wanted to eat so much food you thought you might die? Well, look no further than Hanks on Douglas. With an ever evolving menu, the two sadistic owners cook and serve you with an array of meat inventions that will make you want to pass out but it’s definitely worth it. This open concept kitchen is only a 19 seater but if you manage to get a seat at the bar be sure to heckle the staff.
Recommended: Anything on the special board.
Three words: Bacon Wrapped Dates. The Tapa Bar is the best place to go with your girlfriends so that everyone can share a bit of everything. Okay, it’s actually so you can all get an order of dates without it looking weird. Make it a Sunday affair and get pitchers of sangria for $18!
Recommended: THE DATES, DAMMIT!
Nestled in the heart of Chinatown, OLO takes farm-to-table to the next level by using ingredients from all over BC. OLO’s mission is to forge connections over food so consider this a place to try on your next date night.
Recommended: Ask the server what their favourite dish is.
Since you’re already on Fisgard… you should check out Bao, a much-needed ramen spot in Victoria featuring buns, bibimbaps, and duh, ramen.
Recommended: Taiwanese classic bun.
It’s not always about where you eat but what you eat. It’s easy to miss this spot if you’re walking up and down the Douglas stretch, but when you step inside you’ll be greeted by owner Chris Zmuda and if he doesn’t already make you feel like family his pierogies will.
Recommended: The Borscht.
Creature of habit? While Foo offers specials every day, their standard menu items are so good you probably haven’t tried anything else. This tiny spot gives you the feel of street food from the comfort of restaurant dining.
Recommended: Caramel Chicken.
Expanded from Downtown to Westshore and Saanich, Bin 4 specializes in “The Burger”. They offer 17 set burgers with a rotating special every month but go for their onion rings and array of aiolis.
Recommended: Bin 27 “The Bistro” with half salad half fries and truffle aioli. Mmm.
Tip: After 9PM and your burger is 1/2 price with the purchase of any beverage, boozy or not.
Get ready to take pictures of your feet. Vancouver is almost too familiar with La Taqueria but their opening on Fort Street put Victoria in a taco frenzy. The vibrantly designed space is perfect for your next Instagram post and the mezcal margaritas are a must have.
Recommended: Mixed platter of veggie and meat tacos.
Seasonal? Local? An ever changing menu? Yeah, you’re on the island. This casual dining spot offers sandwiches, salads, and the “etc” menu that’s worth checking out. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Recommended: The Morrocan fries.
It’s like going to the Empress but with better sandwiches. Located in Chinatown, Venus Sophia is a vegetarian eatery and tearoom that gives you the vibes of eating with Queeny without the required inside voice.
Recommended: Tofu “Chicken” Burger and a pot of organic tea.
Yalla is taking shwarma and falafel to the next level by combining classic Middle Eastern cuisine with a Western twist. Matching their small and affordable menu with their street-cart vibe, Yalla is the newest and best place to hit on your lunch break.
Recommended: Halloumi Kale Salad.
Casual AF. Couch crash and admire the Persian rugs while you eat, drink, and be merry. Serving local craft beer and pairing them with small plates are what owners Mike and Lee Spence are all about.
Recommended: Any of the toasts.
Owned by couple Jon and Melissa Perkins, Dak is a chicken rotisserie with a Korean twist. The Perkins are Fort Street royalty who run cafes (Picnic and Picnic Too) on either end of the block. So roll up your sleeves, grab a couple (hundred) napkins, and slather more sriracha on that sando, these people know what they’re doing.
Recommended: Bulgogi beef sandwich and that nearly empty bottle of sriracha.
Certified Ocean Wise. Only open seasonally, RFBF teases us with tacones and the best damn fish and chips between February and October. The conservation program relieves some of the guilt of eating fish on the harbourfront while looking at, well, fish.
Recommended: Two piece BC Halibut with tartar.
Carbo-load for life. For thirty years Howie Siegel has been serving up everyone’s favourite: cheese on pasta in all different variations. This spot is classic Italian cuisine which means a fuck ton of wine.
Recommended: My Secret Garden. And my roommate swears by their cheesecake.
Victoria’s coziest kitchen and an escape from midterms, your boss, and your dating problems.
Recommended: The Bambino cheese and meat platter.
Imagine a place where you can get the best breakfast sandwich, wine, paella, and churros. Are you imagining Heaven? I’ll do you one better. That place is Spanish Eatery, Chorizo & Co and I’m warning you, the hospitality is as good as the brioche buns.
Recommended: The Bocata.
The perfect spot to celebrate your birthday with your gal pals. Glitter steps guide you down to a dimly light and loud basement where you’re guaranteed to polish a few pitchers of pimms and gossip about that girl dating your ex.
Recommended: Naan pizza to share.
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