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Chowhound in Victoria

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I'm looking for some reccommendations for places to eat in Victoria. My husband tends to avoid anything that smacks of "trendy" but we would like to find a place on the water and a good pub (or reasonable facsimile). Also are there any places that do tea, besides the Empress which I hear is very touristy and expensive. I realize that I am going to a tourist city ( I'm from Orlando, so I know what that means, retaurant-wise)) but I would like
that hard-to-find-but-memorable-restaurant - the one that tourists like, but still serve a good meal.

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  1. v
    viola da gamba

    See the comments below re: Il Terrazzo - and I can certainly second the recommendation for Spinnakers as a great pub. There isn't really anywhere directly on the water that isn't touristy, for obvious reasons, but the fish at the Wharfside, although on the expensive side, is very good. Have fun!

    2 Replies
    1. re: viola da gamba

      i used to live in Victoria... and Il Terrazzo is incredible. pricey as hell, but well, WELL worth it.

      for a good beer-drinking time, i'd recommend Swan's... good selection, and it's a brewpub, so..

      swan's is located on wharf street, one street north of johnson.

      1. re: danbird
        viola da gamba

        The comments about Il Terrazzo weren't all that complimentary - have you been there recently?

    2. Hi, yes the Empress I think is very expensive and touristy - and not that great. Funnily there aren't a lot of great tea rooms in Victoria, but the one I like is called the Windsor tea room in Oak Bay. It is cosy and small, very homey! Spinnakers is great, on the water and has a lovely walkway. Cassis is very "untrendy" but good. Let us know how it goes and good luck!

      1. I just posted recently about a great experience at Cafe Brio. The owners are omnipresent, warm and very attentive. The food was outstanding. This felt like a 'local' bistro but executed far beyond. Highly recomended.

        Sorry but I haven't been to tea in Vic.

        good luck!

        4 Replies
        1. re: David

          David, where is Cafe Brio? I might have to investigate on my next trip to Victoria! Is it operated by the fellow that used to be at Oak Bay Marina and before that Herald St Cafe?

          1. re: Allison

            hmm. Honestly, I went on a recommendation and hit it on a day trip. So all I remember is dialing 411 and following directions. The ownership history I know is storied in Vic, but I don't know the particulars. Someone told me to ask for the outrageous chocolates that the owner creates!

            1. re: Allison

              Cafe Brio link below. I haven't been so I'm just providing the info for you.

              Link: http://www.cafe-brio.com/

              1. re: Allison

                Cafe Brio is on Fort St. (between Vancouver and Quadra streets), and about a 7 minute walk from the waterfront in Victoria. It has a gorgeous patio (a bit chilly at times, but they'll give you a blanket) and the atmosphere inside is great. The owners were both previously at Herald St. cafe; not too sure about the Marina. Try the chef's tasting menus -- they are an incredible deal and often very imaginative.

            2. I would second the recommendation for Spinnakers for good beer. Also recommend Swans Pub (& Hotel).
              For tea suggestions, try Point Ellice House. The best way to get there is to catch one of the little harbour ferries in the Inner Harbour (in front of the Empress Hotel). The boat will drop you at the Point Ellice dock (reservations recommended). It's a little gem of a place with a wonderful museum and tea served in the garden. Beautiful.

              1. a
                Annie, Vancouver

                Zambri's and Brasserie L'Ecole are recommended by my brother and his wife who go to Victoria fairly often.

                1. Sorry this is too late but I thought it would help future travellers!

                  I've been lovin' Victoria for two years now and let me tell you, the food, awesome, tons of choices. Some of my favorites, closer to downtown:

                  MIDDLE EAST: The Mint (Douglas st., right next to Feilds. Kinda hard to find, it is underground, but isn't how it sounds, candlelit soft atmosphere, yummy India cusine. Great selection of cheeses, olives and wines. Gotta try the Nut Burger! If you like spice and curry, this is the place)

                  VIETNAMESE: New Siagon (Fort st., good prices, good poritions, yummy buffet on Fri. Sat. nights)

                  PIZZA: Romeos on Hillside (it's a chain so they're all good but the one on Hillside is the best)

                  JAMACIAN: The Reef (1st block on View st., cool Jamacian environment, real Jamician food, awesome!)

                  CHINESE: JJ Wonton Noodle house (Fort and Vancouver, very busy atmosphere, but very good eats!)

                  ALL AROUND GOOD NORTH AMERICAN: 1550's (Ceader Hill xroad, A wee bit of a drive, 10min form downtown, but really worth it, you'll have leftovers)

                  BESTEST BREAKFAST PLACE EVER!: John's Place (Pandora st., downtown, diner style, very cool. I wish I could take this place with me when I travel!)

                  MEXICAN: Cafe Mexico (Warf st. Pretty authentic)
                  Hernandez (Pandora st., very authentic, right down to the family run business, Dad cooks, Mom serves with her daughter on her hip, their son giggling in the background)

                  SUSHI: The Oak Bay Marina (kinda$, but good)
                  Japanese Village (Broughton st.)

                  COFFEE SHOPPE: Paridiso (Bastion Square, awesome view of the harbour)

                  GOOD MARTINI'S: Suze (View st. downtown, next to the Reef)

                  The previous posts are good ones too, Spinnakers is a good brew house (yummy seafood salad), nice view.

                  Il Toratazzo is great, they know their pasta, but be prepared to pay for it (reservations are a good idea)

                  Cafe Brio is a first class place, they know what they're doin'. A good special occasion dinner choice. Nice atmosphere.

                  Well these are all my personal favorites, hope this helps!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: erin


                    These are perfect suggestions! You have picked all of the great restaurants in downtown Victoria.

                    I might also suggest:

                    VEGETARIAN: Re-Bar (on Bastion Square)

                    TRENDY/YUMMY AMERICAN: The Superior (in James Bay - an eclectic little place - incredible food and one of the few places in Victoria for good, live music)

                    GREEK/PIZZA: San Remo (on Quadra) Been posted on this site a few times - but truly incredible food and worth the wait!

                    PUB: Spinnakers - HANDS DOWN! Can walk along the sea wall from downtown Victoria or take one of the cute little ferries across the Inner Harbour

                    FISH & CHIPS: Barb's Fish & Chips at Fisherman Wharf (also in James Bay - and accessible with a 10 minute walk from downtown) VERY touristy but a Victoria tradition (and where else can you see a floating home community?)

                    Post more if you've got 'em.


                    1. re: lm1000

                      I would say that for FISH & CHIPS, a better choice now is Red Fish Blue Fish. I work downtown and it's one of the most popular places for my colleagues to grab lunch... and they have practically unlimited options! I'm normally a vegetarian but even I succumbed to their charms last summer and the fish and chips were great. Another cool thing is that they're super eco-friendly. The menu is here http://www.redfish-bluefish.com/menu.php with help on how to find it.

                    2. re: erin

                      I just spent six months in Mexico, and the whole time I was there I wished the food was like it is at Adriana's Cocina Mexicana, hands down the best place for MEXICAN in Victoria. The owners are from the Baja Peninsula but the food is definitely influenced by the abundant produce in southern Mexico. It's upscale as far as Mexican places go, but still really affordable. The enchiladas in mole (negro) sauce are their signature dish and you have to try them. The website is http://www.adrianascocina.com/mexican... .