Sidney, Victoria with teens
We are staying in Sidney and traveling all over that area, including Victoria with our teens. Any recommendations? It doesn't have to be expensive or unusual, a good brewery with decent food will work too. But I'd love to do stuff that is unique or characteristic for the area. I've heard something about Victoria and high tea also...ideas?
With teens, you will have to go to the "restaurant" part of any brew pubs (BC liquor laws). Swan's Spinnaker's and Canoe Club all have appropriate sections.
For tea, I recommend White Heather Tea Room. It is in Oak Bay. They offer a very nice afternoon tea. Further down Oak Bay Avenue, you can find teh Blethering Place, which I believe also offers afternoon tea. There are a lot of interesting food shops near the Blethering Place, including an excellent Italian deli, Ottavio.
In Sidney itself, I love Sabhai Thai. It's right downtown. It is always packed. Their garlic pork is not breaded, and it is the best I've ever had. Their Phad See Iw is also nicely flavored. I drive to Sidney for their Golden Cups, though. (Note: I have never been to Thailand; as such, I don't know how "authentic" Victoria's Thai food is.) Sidney also has a market on its main street every Thursday and Friday night, I believe.
I have eaten at the Rumrunner Pub (on the pier in Sidney) with my parents many times, but have not been back after a terrible (isolated) service experience when I went with a friend. The Blue Peter is pretty average.
The Empress in downtown Victoria serves a satisfactory, but not great, tea. I find it to be too much money for too little food.
Again, downtown, I quite like the Cactus Club Cafe. It is a chain based in Vancouver. They serve interesting West Coast food in a trendy environment. The bathrooms in the restaurant are amazing. Many teens and twenty-somethings love it, but there seems to be a wide demographic there.
If you come downtown, I'd strongly recommend Red Fish Blue Fish. It's a take-out fish and chips place made out of a shipping container. They are dedicated to fresh, ethical ingredients and green practices (organic recycling for the wood composite forks). It is not cheap by any means, but it is tasty. It is hard to find. On Wharf Street at Broughton, there is a lone pink building on the water side. There is a driveway (I think it's part of the wharf) beside the building down to the wharf, and on the wharf is Red Fish Blue Fish. Teh driveway does not lead to a parking lot, and it wil like be blocked off, as you can't drive down it; it is for pedestrian traffic.
Thanks for all the advice. Our favorite place we found was in Sidney: Dockside Grill in Sidney. It's next to Blue Peter (which we just looked in and said "oh no, not this one!:) on that marina area. Fantastic steamer bowl, the best fried calamari and I had a halibut with lovely vegetables in a broth with olive oil and it was like any you could get in a French restaurant. Other things we tried: salmon (perfectly cooked!), yam fries (again perfrect) and a pasta with mushrooms and chicken in a gorgeous sauce. It was reasonably priced and the service was wonderful. (something we could not say about Rumrunner---yes, we just went there because we were walking along the harbour!) So give it a try. We tried to go there our last night but didn't have reservations and they were booked until 830 so we liked it that much!
Loved the whole Sidney/Victoria area--gorgeous!
My wife and I tend to go back to our old favourites so I am probably not much assistance when it comes to teens.
However, with regard to a "good brewery" I heartily recommend Spinnakers along Songhees Way beside the inner harbour. Good beer brewed on site, a better than average wine list if you prefer vino to ale and pretty decent pub grub. The view from the upper level, balcony or inside is nice of the entrance into the inner harbour.
Others may recommend Swan's which is a 20 minute or so easy walk away. I am not as much a fan of their beer but it is worth a visit if only to admire their wonderful collection of native art.
Also in the area adjacent to the Gorge waterway is Canoe which also has some in house brewed beer. If you can get a table upstairs in their restaurant you have a limited view of the waterway.
If you are in Sidney you are not far from Brentwood Bay which has a nice spot or two. I have not been to any of them but there is a new ... ok, relatively new cidery in I think Saanich along with a number of wineries so you do not have to drive out to Mill Bay or the Duncan area.
Your in a lovely area. Hope you enjoy your visit.