One meal in Victoria
Mid-June, I am going to Seattle for work. I will be making a day trip to Victoria. If I only get one meal there, where should I go? It will be lunch/dinner. I'll have my mother with me - she's not a fan of seafood. I'm looking for more comfortable, good meal. Perhaps $30USD/person and under?
Brasserie L'Ecole is the best in that price range.
Paprika is also good.
The only one I might recommend over it, if that's what you're looking for, is Matisse. Which is classic French and for the quality, still a great deal.
For whoever said Milestones and Swans: COME ON! There are SUCH better choices than these places, especially Milestones. You can go to Milestones, or 5 - 10 other restaurants that are exactly the same, in any Canadian city. Why waste your time at such a drab place when you have one meal in a thriving culinary town.
A chain but with a great view.
Milestones is right on the Inner Harbour and has a wonderful view of all the harbour activity.
Another Victoria landmark is Pagliacci's. Serves up incredible food, but does tend to be very busy and crowded.
Swan's! The food, atmosphere and micro brews are terrific. Grab a six pack for the return to the USA. Also, let us not forget the west coast native art all over the place. I love the atmosphere. One note though, last time I was there at around 8 p.m. a jazz band was playing....not the best atmosphere for conversation. Lunch no band for sure. Grab a seat outside if you can and watch the bridge go up and down. Pag's as well, there will be a line up though, plan for it. John's Place serves up real home cooked food and tons more than seafood...if they have seafood at all. I love the place from breakfast to dinner:
Swan's with my mom, she would really remember the place and the food. You can take a water taxi from the inner harbour if walking or a taxi are not an option. The water taxi is as I recall maybe $5 each, an experience to remember. You can walk back to the Seattle ferry if you like, might take 30 minutes. For me, water taxi to Swans, walk back along Government Street to the Seattle ferry. Stop at Munroe's book store, a real book store is rare these days:
Cross the street and check out Rogers Chocolates, been around for 120 years:
Don't mean to be a naysayer, but....
Not a fan of Swans, Pags, or Milestones. Mediocre food at all of the above.
Why not plan ahead and book a dinner at Brasserie L'Ecole? You will not pay much more than you would at any of the other places, plus you will get a much better meal. Went there last night with my wife. She had an amazing pasta consisting of papperdele (sp?), shredded braised beef short-ribs, morels, and house-made ricotta. I had the steak and frites with an incredible red-wine shallot reduction. The steak was topped with a roquefort butter. The frites were tossed with parsley, parmesan, truffle oil, and roasted garlic, and served with an aioli.
Appetizers: we shared Ragley farms (local) organic lettuces with radishes and shaved parm-reg; also shared chicken liver-cognac mousse with crostini, grainy mustard and cornichons. Dessert: bittersweet chocolate cake topped with a sour cherry reduction and whipped cream. INCREDIBLE!
Other good options in Victoria:
Paprika Bistro (in Oak Bay)
Matisse (Yates St)
Any of the above serve terrific food, though Brasserie is probably closest to your price range (the others have $25-35 mains).
Milestones, by the way, is a chain that has locations across Canada. Swan's has never had very good food OR beer in my opinion. If you must go to a pub, I would go to Spinnaker's in Vic West. Pagliacci's does not serve real Italian food. Their food is heavy, cream-laden, doughy, and definitely more in the Italian-American school of cooking. I would say the ONLY place in Victoria to get a good Italian meal is Zambri's.
My two cents.
PS--Chocolat, on Fort St near Douglas, has excellent chocolates and truffles. Best in Victoria, hands down.