There are a few things that set Vancouver Island, British Columbia apart as a Canadian 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 in the capital city Victoria, BC, the dining scene is so robust and vibrant that 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! No matter what you’re looking for, whether it’s somewhere to spend a special evening, a cozy bistro to enjoy the ambience and local food or a casual eatery to fill up for a long walk or cycle, we’ve rounded up our favourite Victoria restaurants to visit while you’re in town!
944 Fort St, Victoria
If you’re in the mood to celebrate your vacation in style then Café Brio is a must-try! Through wrought iron gates covered with vines, this unassuming but elegant facadé hides an intimate dining room with Italian inspired, rustic Pacific Northwest cuisine. So sit back, relax, sip a Sangiovese and enjoy a truly decadent and thoughtfully created menu.
1715 Government St, Victoria
Year after year this bistro right near the entrance to Chinatown, is one of the best restaurants in the city! Here, 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.
658 Herald St, Victoria
Looking for a foodie centric restaurant that is upscale and contemporary? Then you need to make a reservation at Saveur. With an eye to seasonal, local 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!
555 Johnson St, Victoria
For nearly 30 years, this award-winning restaurant has been serving incredible Italian cuisine in a beautiful dining room with impeccable service. If you’re looking for the best restaurant for an intimate dining experience that will make you feel like you’re in the Italian countryside, this is it!
Q at the Empress
721 Government St, Victoria
In the heritage Victorian, Fairmont Empress Hotel, Q at the Empress is one of the best places to find Pacific Northwest Coast inspired cuisine in an elegantly modern dining room. For one of the best patios in the city, you’ll want to make a reservation on the Verandah where you can find comfortable fireside seating, warm drinks, festive treats and watch the people wander through the Inner Harbour.
AURA Waterfront Restaurant
680 Montreal St, Victoria
On the edge of James Bay is by far one of the best restaurants to find incredible food and waterfront views. With inspired Pacific Northwest cuisine made with fresh, local veggies and ingredients, incredible lunch brunch and dinner menus including a kids menus and a special tasting menu for large groups AURA is a must for when you’re visiting Victoria!
Little Jumbo Restaurant
Down the Hall, 506 Fort St #102, Victoria
Located in heritage downtown Victoria, this funky restaurant & bar with a speakeasy vibe, incredible craft cocktails and a delicious menu is a must! With edgy decor, and great music, this packed little place is perfect for a night out on the town!
Red Fish Blue Fish
1006 Wharf St, Victoria
From fish and chip combos made with top quality halibut and wild salmon to comforting chowder and deliciously messy fish tacos, tostadas and sandwiches Red Fish Blue Fish offers some of the best, Ocean-wise seafood in the city! It’s really the perfect place to grab a bite while you’re exploring Victoria!
1011 Broad St, Victoria
If you’re looking for a fantastic spot for casual Italian food that is a long-time local favourite, Pagliacci’s is it! Whether you’re looking for a great lunch, brunch or happy hour, Pag’s has it!
Ferris’ Oyster Bar & Grill
536 Yates St, Victoria
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.
The Tapa Bar
620 Trounce Alley, Victoria
Right in the heart of downtown Victoria, nestled in the middle of Trounce Alley, you’ll find The Tapa Bar. This cozy, bustling restaurant offers excellent craft beer and wine and is home to tantalizing tapas, celebrating the popular Mediterranean small plates style of eating. If you’re waiting for a table, you can find a seat at Bodega, the wine bar next door to enjoy light snacks, cocktails and incredible wines while you wait!
Nubo Japanese Tapas
739 Pandora Ave, Victoria
What better way to celebrate the oceanic cornucopia of Victoria than by eating at Nubo Japanese Tapas? This is one of the most lauded Asian restaurants in Victoria whose menu is inspired by both culinary techniques and flavours all over the world and Izakaya dining. If you’re looking for incredible sushi, noodle dishes, appetizers, ramen and so much more, Nubo is sure to impress even the most discerning diners.
The Blue Fox Café
919 Fort St, Victoria
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 a wide selection of breakfast favourites and eggs benedict to die for, 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!
542 Herald St, Victoria
With great Southern US-inspired dishes like Banana Split French Toast and Fried Chicken Benny plus a cheerful, rustic ambience, this Victoria brunch hotspot is a must-try! Jam 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.
Nourish Kitchen and Café
225 Quebec St, Victoria
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!