We all have our favourite spots to eat at 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.
Ferris’ Oyster Bar, 536 Yates St.
Okay, you're on an ISLAND - you'd better eat some seafood! But if you're still apprehensive, this oyster bar offers all 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.
Little Jumbo Restaurant and Bar, 506 Fort St.
If you're wanting to celebrate a special occasion, or just enjoy some creative fare, look no further than this chill speakeasy. This intimate, urban spot is a perfect place for a late-night craft cocktail that'll quench your thirst and blow your taste buds away.
Recommended: Little Jumbo Burger and Frozen Lemon Soufflé.
Be Love, 1019 Blanchard St.
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.
Pizzaria Prima Strada, 230 Cook St.
Who doesn't love pizza? With two 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.
Hank's *A Restaurant, 1001 Douglas St.
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 owners cook and serve you 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.
The Tapa Bar, 620 Trounce Alley
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 $20!
Recommended: THE DATES, DAMMIT!
OLO Restaurant, 509 Fisgard St.
Nestled in the heart of Chinatown, OLO takes farm-to-table to the next level by using ingredients from all over B.C. 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.
Bao, 626 Fisgard St.
Since you're already on Fisgard... You should DEFINITELY check out Bao, a much-needed ramen spot in Victoria featuring buns, bibimbaps and, duh, ramen!
Recommended:Taiwanese classic bun.
Taste of Europe Deli, 735 Yates St. #130
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.
Update: This Yates' location has closed. As the owner awaits securing a new permanent location, his tasty Polish classics are available through online orders.
Foo Asian Street Food, 769 Yates St.
Creature of habit? While Foo offers specials every day, their standard menu items are so good that you probably haven't tried anything else. This tiny spot gives you the feel of street food from the comfort of restaurant dining.
Bin 4 Burger Lounge, 911 Yates St.
Expanded from Downtown to Westshore and Saanich, Bin 4 Burger 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, too!
Recommended: Bin 27 "The Bistro" with half salad, half fries and truffle aioli. Mmm.
Tip: After 9:00 PM, your burger is 1/2 price with the purchase of any beverage, boozy or not.
La Taqueria Pinche, 766 Fort St.
Vancouver is almost too familiar with La Taqueria, and yet their opening on Fort Street still sent Victoria into 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.
Part and Parcel, 2656 Quadra St.
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 Moroccan fries.
Venus Sophia Tearoom & Eatery, 540 Fisgard St.
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, 1011 Blanshard St.
Yalla is taking shawarma and falafel to the next level by putting a Western twist on classic Middle Eastern cuisine. Matching their small and affordable menu with their street-cart vibe, Yalla is one of the best places to hit up on your lunch break.
Recommended: Halloumi Kale Salad.
The Drake Eatery, 517 Pandora Ave.
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.
Dak, 838 Fort St.
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.
Red Fish Blue Fish, 1006 Wharf St.
Certified Ocean Wise and 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.
Pagliacci's, 1011 Broad St.
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 ton of wine.
Recommended: My Secret Garden. And my roommate swears by their cheesecake.
Fiamo, 515 Yates St.
Victoria's coziest kitchen also doubles as an escape from midterms, your boss, and your dating problems.
Recommended: The Bambino cheese and meat platter.
Chorizo & Co., 807 Fort St.
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 Mint, 1414 Douglas St
The perfect spot to celebrate your birthday with your gal pals. Glitter steps guide you down to a dimly lit, 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.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.