Victoria Food Scene

 

Victoria’s devotion to farm-to-table local produce and range of multicultural flavours enticed us out of our apartment much more than usual.  For some reason, our social floodgates opened while we were here, possibly due to covid fatigue or the fact restaurants are open here, combined with a high number of friends to hang out with.  Whatever the reason, during our month here we enjoyed the company of friends contributing to the high number of dining/drinking establishments visited.  Our choices leaned towards those with views of the ocean wherever possible.  Being somewhat limited during the winter season and during covid, a number of waterfront establishments were closed and sadly the famous Empress Hotel is closed for renovations.  I had hoped to splurge and book their afternoon tea.  Despite a few closures we had no trouble finding great places to go, many within walking distance of our apartment 😊

Canoe Brewpub – Rustic brick architecture, soaring timber beams and an outdoor patio with a western exposure on the Inner Harbour make this a very popular pub.  It’s located at the foot of Chinatown overlooking a small marina,  with a wide variety of seasonal house-made brews on tap.  We first visited for a late afternoon Friday happy hour and the place was buzzing.  Canoe is the closest downtown pub to our house so we returned here many times for lunch or happy hour drinks during our month in Victoria.

Canoe Brew Pub

The Irish Times Pub – An authentic Irish Pub on Government Street in the heart of Victoria with two levels of seating and an outdoor patio facing Bastion Square.  They serve classic pub fare and in pre covid days was a popular place for live Irish music, hopefully returning soon.

The Irish Times

Bard & Banker – Also on Government Street, this is a Scottish-style pub housed in a historic building.  Constructed in the 1800s and formerly a bank, this pub was voted the most beautiful room in Victoria, and it certainly is.  On our Saturday happy hour visits, the place was very busy and a DJ was spinning some great tunes.  It was here we had the best squid ever, their Fried Coconut Humboldt Squid is melt in your mouth outstanding!  Our friend Carl commented it was his new favourite pub, and it certainly is ours!  So much so that we came here a number of times 😊

Inside the Bard & Banker

10 Acres Bistro – Just steps away from the Inner Harbour this is a very quaint bistro with farm-to-table cuisine.  We ended up here a couple of times on their heated, enclosed patio during a 5-day visit from our Calgary friends Jim & Terrie.

10 Acres Bistro (not my photo)

Lure Restaurant – This restaurant is in the Delta Hotel, just steps from our apartment, and the attraction here was their springbubble domes.  There are only 5 domes so they book up quickly but we managed to secure a Saturday brunch reservation while Jim & Terrie were visiting.  The domes can seat up to 6 people, leaving plenty of room for just the 4 of us.  It was a sunny day and the views across the Inner Harbor towards the Empress Hotel and Parliament Buildings were a beautiful backdrop for our brunch.

Lure Springbubbles (not my photo)

Steamship Grill & Bar – Casual yet upscale waterfront venue in a historic building, across the street from the Parliament buildings. Constructed in 1924 the Heritage Steamship Terminal building is an important landmark that welcomed steamship passengers from all over the world.  Their large patio overlooks the Inner Harbour and Empress Hotel.  This is another favourite spot of ours, returning more than once for food and drinks.  Their crispy fish tacos were our favourite!

Steamship Grill (not my photo)

Gozen Sushi – Gozen means big meal or good meal, and a good meal it was.  Popping in for a light lunch, we chose to sit at the sushi bar, watching the chefs preparing beautiful plates of food.  This gave us the chance to chat with one of the chefs during lunch.  I commented on the colour of the rice and was told it was brown because they use naturally sweet red vinegar instead of rice vinegar.  Gozen also makes their own soy sauce which is light and much less salty than store-bought.  The slices of toro and eel on our nigiri were huge and the roll was a good size.  Stop in for some sushi if you are in Victoria, you won’t regret it.

Gozen Sushi (not my photo)

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub – A 25-minute walk from downtown along the Songhees Walkway this pub has great waterfront views from the upper patio.  This is the first purpose-built gastro brewpub in Canada (according to their website)

Spinnakers Brew Pub

Four Mile Brewpub – A 10-minute drive from downtown this pub is housed in an 1858 Tudor style building with the charm and elegance of an Olde English Inn.  Formerly a rest stop for horse-drawn coaches, weary travellers could find a room, a meal…..and a brothel.  Rumour has it there are a couple of ghosts residing here  👻  We did not see them during our lunch!

Four Mile Brewpub (not my photo)

Rumrunner Pub – This pub is on the waterfront in Sidney, roughly a 30 min drive from downtown Victoria.  While the food left a little to be desired, the views from the patio over the Salish Sea and the towering snow-covered Mount Baker in the distance are breathtaking.  Seagull poop is a real hazard here, my lunch was missed by just a couple of inches as they flew overhead, but our friend Jim’s head was not so lucky 😱

Mt Baker from the Rumrunner Pub

The Surly Mermaid – Is right beside the Rumrunner Pub in Sidney and in our opinion has better food.  The view is towards the marina and the ambiance of the cafe is warm and inviting.  We had a nice long lunch with Debbie, another friend from our Cayman days.

The Surly Mermaid (not my photo)

 

Well, I think we did a bang-up job of checking out the food and drink scene during our month in Victoria!!  It was without a doubt a very fun month spending time with a variety of friends.  Life now resumes to normal as we are in the small town of Osoyoos, BC with no friends living here.  Looks like it’s just you and me babe…

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Victoria Food Scene

  • April 7, 2021 at 8:02 pm
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    Wow sounds like u found and tried all the good spots! Good for you! Makes me want to visit again!!💕

    Reply
    • April 8, 2021 at 9:44 am
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      Thanks Barb, we sure did find many lovely places to eat and drink. It was a fun month spent with a variety of friends. It would be great to meet up with you in Victoria one day 💕

      Reply
  • April 4, 2021 at 12:57 pm
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    Happy Easter Susan and Blair. It is good to see that you are still making the best of your travels during this time of Covid. The photos of the restaurants and pubs look like great places to dine but where are the photos of you sipping fine wine and eating like King and Queen, or are you leaving it up to our imagination? Still looks too cold and grey for us here in Cayman to visit!

    Take care and stay safe Nomads!

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    • April 4, 2021 at 7:31 pm
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      Thanks Bruce, Happy Easter to you guys also. Yes, we seem to be managing OK with confining our travels to Alberta & BC, and definitely leaving it to your imagination of us sipping wine and eating fine food 😂 You are right about the weather, it is still fairly cool and quite grey but there is no snow which makes us happy! Stay safe and enjoy life in Cayman, we are envious of your warm weather!

      Reply
  • April 2, 2021 at 8:30 pm
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    Hi Susan and Blair, Happy Easter to you both. Just been catching up on some of your recent posts. Amazing nomad life you are still leading albeit a little closer to one of your “homes”! We are very lucky here with the Covid vaccinations now being available to everyone over 16. I had mine back in January. Longing to travel again, but nowhere to go without quarantine etc. Who ever could have thought life on our planet could/would change to this? Stay safe and well.

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    • April 2, 2021 at 9:55 pm
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      Hi Sandra, I hope you had a lovely Easter as well. Life seems good for you in Cayman these days, despite the inability to travel. We are doing OK under the circumstances and making the best out of being stuck in Canada. I am so happy for all of you there that have had your vaccine, hopefully we can get our jabs this summer in Calgary. Stay safe and fingers crossed we can all travel soon 😊 We miss all of you in Cayman!

      Reply
  • April 2, 2021 at 8:29 pm
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    If you’re still looking for high tea, my best friend and I found the high tea at the White Heather Tea Room on Oak Bay Avenue to be both better value and more delicious than at The Empress.

    Of course, the Empress’ ambience – and the opportunity to people watch – are unparalleled. That said, having done it once we now have bragging rights, but I wouldn’t do it again at the very premium price.

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    • April 2, 2021 at 10:01 pm
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      Thanks Rose, I will keep that in mind next time we are in Victoria. Currently, we are in Osoyoos and back to a very low-key lifestyle now with no friends here to spend time with. The weather is warm so we are happy to be out golfing. Take good care and stay well 😊

      Reply

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