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Mar 16, 2004 06:43 PM

Victoria, B.C. recommendations

  • c

I will be traveling to Victoria with my food-obsessed family, and I am looking for recommendations for our varied interests. My Mom and I love regional, organic, and more healthy food (Rebar has been a favorite restaurant on past visits) but my Dad and my brother are more meat-and-potatoes types. I've researched past threads on this board and Cafe Brio and Il Toratazzo seem to come highly recommended. Are these places still good? What other restaurants, bakeries, markets, dessert spots, etc. are not to be missed?

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  1. cf:

    Fortuitous timing...perhaps for both of us as I am just in the process of making flight reservations to head out to Victoria next month.

    We were last there in October.

    I can highly reommend Brasserie l'ecole
    We ate there twice during our 3 day stay.

    French country bisto style. Limited menu but very good.

    Extensive wine list with most by available by the glass. If you order two glasses of the same wine they will open any bottle [apart from bubblies]divide it by five and charge you accordingly.

    Very friendly and good service. If I lived in Victoria I could see myself sitting up at their bar sipping some vino and enjoying duck confit on more than an occasional basis.

    Zambri's was another good spot. Italian fare. It is in an unlikely strip mall location but do not let that turn you off. Operates as a modified cafeteria for lunch and as a full service restaurant in the evening.

    We had The Temple recommended to us but did not have the time to get there. The chef I am advised formerly worked at the Sooke Harbour House. Menu looked interesting.

    Cafe Brio was good the last time we were there.

    We had good meals at the Victorian which is in the Ocean Pointe Hotel.

    On other visits have dined well at the Herald Street Cafe, Camille' and Pescatores.

    I am not a fan of Pagliacci's though many others are.

    I am going to try the Tapas Bar this visit.

    Of course if you have a hefty wallet and don't mind a drive. You can either head up the Malahat and go to the Aerie [we had a simply superb meal there a few years ago] and venture to Sooke and the aforementioned Sooke Harbour House. I keep intending to try the latter but to date have not.

    Hope that this assists.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bob Mac

      i back up Zambri's (excellent lunch spot), Brasserie l'ecole (great wine list, very reasonably priced), cafe brio, rebar. they're all great places offering simple, fresh, local, often organic produce. I particularly enjoy their approach to food, straighforward and genuine. there's no fuzz, no pretension (unlike many places in Van). Their love and passion for food surely is contagious.
      The bakery: Wildfire
      Bakery/cafe: Ottavio
      Brunch/breakfast: Spinnakers pub (everything is homemade).
      Victoria has a lot to offer to a food lover.
      Have a great time!

      1. re: Bob Mac

        Ditto Zambri's, Cafe Brio.

        I also like Blue Fox & Herald St Cafe.

        1. re: Bob Mac

          The Tapa Bar is good :)
          For a great deal for lunch go to Japanese Village.
          Totally agree with Brasserie l'ecole, and I LOVE Cafe Brio

        2. We thoroughly enjoyed dinner at Paprika Bistro last summer.

          1. My Chosin Cafe in Metchosin is a place that might do for you all. Out of the way (25 mins out of the city), it is a rural area restaurant that has a huge menu, do most things well and serve giant portions of many things. If you order a salad in meal size it will feed your family!

            I love Pagliaccis and my family all like the Fan Tan Cafe for Chinese (try the Wor Won Ton soup - best in the city).

            Swan's does a great breakfast as does Spinnakers.

            The Noodle Box is great for take out Thai/Asian influenced noodle or rice boxes. Cheap and good sized portions. Add some meat. Be careful - most people can only handle mild spicing. Medium for the spicy peanut is great but will numb your lips.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Scott

              My Chosin Cafe is the way to go. Best food ever, best servise and just amazing, I go there litterly at least once a week. Its the best resturant and you have to try the cheese cake and fries, utterly perfect. And the petting zoo is a nice touch as well.

              1. re: McKenzie

                If going our to My Chosin (which my family does regularly, as my wife’s family is in Langford (community right beside) would suggest an extra 15 mins and go to Sooke for Mom's Cafe. Love the chowder in bread bowl with totally kitschy feel.

                As for foodie food place that will not intimidate the meat and potatoes crowd, I would through in Camille’s in Bastion Square. The food is not as good as Brio or Herald Street but I have found the staff to be, at least on last visits a little more causal. My in-laws like the place (and they are soooo not foodies) whereas wife an I still like it. In the past the BC wine selections have also been robust enough to be interesting.

                Would vote Spinnakers over Swan's.

                Pag's is alright, however it is always, ALWAYS, crowded with very cramped seating. Food of equal quality can be had in other spots mentioned without the cramped feel.

                For bakeries, I am still a little old school and Marie Antoinette cake at Murchies is a fav.

                As side note to other Victoria regulars is there any reason why Noodle Box has not become a franchise. SERIOUSLY; cheap, tastes great, awesome portions with funky flavours.

                1. re: squeegeeboy

                  The Noodle Box opened a second location in Vancouver (West 4th Ave near Broadway) about a year ago.

                  1. re: squeegeeboy

                    Noodle box just opened a Vancouver location :)
                    THank god! I thought I might die when I moved to Van and had no Noodle Box :)

                    1. re: squeegeeboy

                      There are two locations now in Victoria - the original in Chinatown on Fisgard and the new one downtown on Douglas @ Courtney.

                  2. re: Scott

                    Goodness, I went right out and tried the Wor Won Ton at Fan Tan Cafe based on this review. Sorry to say I strongly disagree. We were very disappointed in the soup and the service. Surroundings are good though.

                    1. re: Jazzwine

                      Have to go with the My Chosin Cafe. We were there in October and had a great meal. Its well worth the drive (its a very pretty trip) and a nice spot once you are there. Our table had its own personal gas fireplace. The food is fresh, well prepared and plentiful.

                      Herald Street cafe was great too. And the cheesecake at Pagliacci is wonderful. It makes it worth the wait to get in, and the crowds once you are in there.