I took a bite of the charcuterie, closed my eyes, and felt it melt in my mouth. Just hours before, I had met the charcuterie’s sister and her little piglets at the farm where they grow all their food. Rest in peace, but how much more farm to table can you get?
Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and we’re excited to start exploring more of our greater backyard. To start, we spent a few days in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, and we may have come back several pounds heavier.
Victoria is a beautiful city located on Vancouver Island that blends the old and new. You can find amazing architecture and old-world traditions. If you prefer soaking in some sun, there are plenty of outdoor activities too, but we’ll save that for a later post. Pair that with some of the mildest climate in Canada, the beautiful Pacific Ocean views, and the Olympic Mountains as the backdrop, it’s easy to see why visitors flock to Victoria.
We were surprised by the culinary scene. We’re no stranger to the farm to table movement living in Portland, but this was the first time we visited the farms where the food is sourced before sitting down for our meals. Not everyone who lives in Portland asks about their chicken’s name.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN VICTORIA BC
Roost Vineyard Bistro & Farm Bakery (Bakery & Bistro, $$)
At Roost, you can enjoy farm to table food right at the farm. After taking a quick tour, we sat down to enjoy a delicious meal at the bistro. They get a constant flow of traffic, and you can tell it’s a local favorite. I ordered the spinach and pear salad, and I’ve never had a salad taste so crisp. Be sure to try the duck pizza though. I’m usually not a huge fan of duck, but as soon as I got a taste of our friend Karens’ duck pizza, I instantly regretted my life’s decisions.
10 Acres Kitchen (Seafood, $$$)
10 Acres Farms supplies food to 3 different restaurants. We got an exclusive tour (they plan to do public tours in the future) then headed to 10 Acres Kitchen for a meal. Not sure if it’s a result of visiting the farm, but everything tasted so fresh. Did I already mention how much we loved the charcuterie?
La Tana (Bakery, $$)
This Italian bakery is as authentic as it gets. We chatted with the owner as he told us that he tries to make everything like they do in Italy. Alora! He said that sometimes people don’t like it, but that’s okay because he wants them to have a real taste of Italy. I wanted to stay all day eat his pastries and practice my Italian with him.
Terroir Tea Salon (Coffee & Tea, $$)
We visited twice to do a tea tasting, once on the first day, and then on the Eat Drink Pedal tour with the Pedaler. You can tell right off the bat that Charity, the owner, is very passionate about tea and we learned so much from our tasting. We even bought some of their Taiwanese teas as gifts for friends and family back home. Be sure to try their cold brews if it’s hot out.
Bon Macaron Patisserie (Macarons, $)
We’ve had our fair share of macarons in other big cities, but we fell in love with their savory macarons. If you like goat cheese, the goat cheese and fig is a must. But the watermelon is the most photogenic don’t you think?
Aura Waterfront Restaurant & Patio (Seafood, Asian Fusion, $$)
Since we were staying at the Inn at Laurel Point, we had to check out the restaurant in the hotel. Hotel restaurants can be hit or miss, but Aura serves up beautifully plated dishes that taste just as good as they look. A favorite of mine was the watermelon and sprout salad appetizer (pictured in the title image) and everyone at the table was so enamored with the cheese plate that we talked about it all week. In addition, you get a great view of the harbor.
Vista 18 (Seafood, $$)
If you want to enjoy the city along with your food (get the oysters), have dinner at Vista 18. It’s a great place to see the city during sunset and they also host live jazz music.
Cold Comfort (Ice Cream, $$)
They had unique ice cream flavors and ice cream sandwiches.
Snowdon House (Douglas Fir, $)
We loved Laura’s positive attitude and the story behind how she turned a struggling Christmas tree farm into what it is now. You have to try the Douglas Fir essence and fruit infused vinegar. You can actually put the vinegar in an ice cream machine and make a shrub ice cream!
Pure Lovin’ Chocolates (Chocolate, $$)
Cute chocolate shop right outside of Fan Tan Alley that’s vegan, organic, fair-trade, and gluten-free. Also, they make all their chocolate on site for your viewing pleasure. Yum!
Fishhook (Seafood, Indian, $$)
They serve a unique blend of Indian and Seafood dishes that is definitely worth stopping by for. They also have great vegetarian options.
Category 12 Brewing (Brewery, $)
This was a unique brewery is run by a husband and wife team. Michael uses his science background, a doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry, to make amazing brews. Also, check out the art work on the bottles because they’ve won awards for their art. It’s nice to see that some of them are actually geared towards women.
These are many places we didn’t get a chance to try, but I’m sure we will be back. We got recommendations from friends, blogs, and other listicle sites, and we cross-referenced them with Yelp and TripAdvisor to see that they have at least 4 out of 5 stars.
We usually order our food bucket lists by neighborhood, but since Victoria is only 7.5 square miles, we figure, you can easily navigate around. Also, you can check the map at the bottom to see what’s closest to where you’re staying.
MORE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OUR NEXT VISIT
- 10 Acres Bistro (Brasseries, $$)
- 10 Acres Commons (Bars, Seafood, $$)
- Ayo Eat (Indonesian, $)
- Bao (Asian Fusion, $$)
- Bard & Banker (Pub, $$)
- Be Love (Vegan, $$)
- Bin 4 Burger Lounge (Burgers, $$)
- Blue Fox Cafe (Breakfast & Brunch, $$)
- Bows & Arrows Coffee Roasters (Coffee & Tea, $$)
- Brasserie L’ecole (French, $$$)
- Bubby’s Kitchen (New Canadian, $$)
- Butchart Gardens – the Dining Room (Canadian, $$$)
- Cafe Brio (Italian, $$$)
- Canoe Brewpub and Restaurant (New Canadian, $$)
- Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar (Mediterranean, $$)
- Chorizo & Co. (Spanish, $)
- Choux Choux Charcuterie (French, Sandwiches, $$)
- Crust Bakery (Bakery, $$)
- The Drake Eatery (Tapas, $$)
- Dutch Bakery & Coffee Shop (Bakery, $)
- The Fairmont Empress Hotel (Tea Rooms, $$$)
- Fol Epi (Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch, $)
- Ferris’ Oyster Bar (Seafood, $$)
- Fiamo (Italian, $$)
- Habit Coffee (Coffee & Tea, $$)
- Il Covo Trattoria (Italian, $$)
- Il Terrazzo (Italian, $$$)
- Ithaka Greek Restaurant (Greek, $$) – family run authentic greek. they will do some traditional dancing. make reservations
- Jam Cafe (Breakfast & Brunch, $$) – Almost everyone includes this on their list and I’m really curious about their pulled pork pancakes.
- John’s Place Restaurant (Breakfast & Brunch, Burgers, $$)
- Kid Sister (Ice Cream, $)
- Little Jumbo (New Canadian, $$)
- The Mint (Asian Fusion, $$)
- Mo:Le (Breakfast & Brunch, $$)
- Nubo Japanese Tapas (Sushi Bars, Tapas, $$)
- OLO (Tapas, $$) – new restaurant after the popular Ulla closed
- Pagliacci’s (Italian, Seafood, $$)
- Part and Parcel (New Canadian, $$)
- Perro Negro (Tapas, $$$)
- The Pink Bicycle (Burgers, $$)
- Pizzaria Prima Strada (Pizza, $$)
- Red Fish Blue Fish (Seafood, $$)
- The Ruby (Breakfast & Brunch, $$)
- Saveur (French, $$$)
- Shine Cafe (Cafe, $$)
- Silk Road Tea (Coffee & Tea, $$)
- Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub (Gastropub, $$)
- Veneto (Tapas, Lounge, $$$)
- Willie’s Bakery & Cafe (Bakery, Breakfast & Brunch, $$)
- Yalla (Middle Eastern, $)
Are these enough options for you? Let us know if there’s another spot we need to check out.
MAP TO HELP YOU GET AROUND
- Do the Eat Drink Cycle tour with the Pedaler, and you can knock off many food spots. Don’t forget to save your appetite and pace yourself, because there is a lot of food.
- The airport is 30-45 minutes away from Victoria, and YYJ Shuttle provides easy transportation to and from the city.
- Once you’re in the city, you can explore a lot of it on foot! It’s one of the most walkable cities in Canada and is the Cycling Capital of Canada.
WHERE TO STAY
During our visit, we stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point. The beautiful property sits right on the harbor and is a short walk from downtown and fisherman’s wharf. We loved how convenient it was to walk everywhere.
Inn at Laurel Point
680 Montreal Street
Victoria, BC V8V 1Z8
The city is pretty casual, but it helps to have a dressier set of clothes. Jacob has been wearing these Bluff Works pants with a blazer for when he needs to dress up his outfit. They’re great for travel because they are wrinkle-free and they’ve designed it just for us travelers with plenty of pockets (zippered and secret ones too) plus other features.
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SEE MORE CITY FOOD GUIDES
“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust