Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > B.C. (inc. Vancouver) >
Feb 2, 2009 07:17 PM

Vancouver and Victoria restaurant recs please

My husband and I are going to be in the area the first and second weeks of June. We like a variety of foods and want to find some local, tasty fare in the area. As long as it doesn't cost a car payment, we're good on all types/styles of restaurants, including cheap cheapos too. Any recs would be fantastic - thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here's a really recent post with a similar question to get you started

    Can you tell us where you're from, and where you're going to be staying (Vancouver is actually a decent-sized city)? Then we can help find you things you won't get at home, without driving all over the Lower Mainland (which is really big)!

    1. Heyteacher:

      I will leave the Vancouver suggestions to the many Vancouverites but with regard to Victoria I would recommend:

      Brasserie L'Ecole
      Cafe Brio

      Many have web-sites if you want to google and check out their menus.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Bob Mac

        ALso I love Zambri's in Vic for lunch.

        1. re: starlady


          agreed...particularly for ragu with green olives on soft polenta...sigh

        2. re: Bob Mac

          Not sure if you have heard about this yet Bob Mac:

          Niche is part of that group so we may be seeing two places crossed off your list very soon.

            1. re: fmed

              That is a shame.

              Thank for the article Fmed as I was not aware of its "history".

              It was a beautiful dining room

          1. Thanks so much! We're from Colorado and will, most likely, be staying in Victoria most of the time - lunch and dinner recs would probably be best for there while lunch recs would be good for Vancouver.

            Thanks so much!

            8 Replies
            1. re: Heyteacher

              For lunch in Vancouver in June, here's two extremes:

              Go Fish near Granville Island for great fish, decent chips and tasty tacones (order one with white fish if they have it, and ask for extra house-made hot sauce instead of the side of slaw you get as there is slaw inside already). Oh and if you call ahead and get it to go, you will avoid a big hairy lineup.

              For a splurgish lunch, check out Fuel on 4th which has been getting talked up on a recent thread. This area is also fun to stroll around in (lotsa boutiques) and boasts the flagship 49th Parallel store for a mid-afternoon cuppa.

              1. re: grayelf

                Here's the current discusson on Fuel and other great ideas for lunches in Vancouver

                It also has Places links incorporated...

              2. re: Heyteacher

                Lunch in Victoria?

                Go with Starlady's recommendation of Zambri's.

                Well cooked, rustic Italian fare served semi-cafeteria style at lunch, i.e. you order off the greenboard specials, pay for the food and take a seat and they deliver it.

                Is in a rather off the beaten track in a strip mall that I think houses a London Drugs and is adjacent to the Yates Market. Parking within the strip mall can be problematic but we usually find meter parking on the adjacent street.


                Well known pub off Songhee's Way and inner harbour. Great beer, better than average pub food with beautiful views of the inner harbour and if the weather co-operates the balcony is nice.

                Tapas Bar

                in the quaint Trounce Alley downtown between Government [it may be Douglas] and Broad Streets. Spanish influenced fare. Not particularly "tapas" in my view but we usually end up there at least once during our trips to Victoria.

                Vista 18

                I probably have the numeric component in the title mixed up. Help me again Victorians. Top of the Executive House or Chateau Victoria hotel that used to be called the Parrot House. We only went the one time and the food was quite good at lunch and the view...we too were/are tourists after all...wonderful.

                Il Paradiso

                Smallish Italian coffee shop off Bastion Square. Good panini grilled sandwiches, some pasta, salads and the like. This is often a spot where we'll stop walking into or out of the downtown area for an espresso and the like.


                Good Japanese I am told because we have not managed to try it in the Nootka Mall [?]. Restricted menu and hours but a number of locals have recommended it.

                Blue Crab

                Not one of my favourites. Rather conservative ambience and menu but once again the view is very nice. It is in the Coast Hotel on the Legislature side of the inner harbour.


                Bustling, noisey popular spot. I personally would not go but will likely come up if you are reading reviews/recommendations.

                Go or Gio

                Popular, gastro-pub adjacent to the Gorge waterway. I would gived it mixed reviews. The food was not bad and with their windows open and the weather co-operating was a nice spot to have an afternoon lunch


                If you do not mind driving out to Oak Bay, the Marina is a nice place. Good fish and good views. Feed the resident seals later but watch out for the "dive bombing" gulls who will steal the herring out of your hands.

                Those are some which spring to mind that we try when out to Victoria. I am sure "locals" and have others.

                Enjoy your visit, it is a beautiful city.

                As far as dinner is concerned you have my old stand-by's recommended above.

                1. re: Bob Mac

                  I'm a Victoria-area resident and pay close attention to the restaurant scene here. My recommendations would be as follows:


                  1) Mo:Le--Best Breakfast in town
                  2) Cafe Artigianno--Best coffee in town
                  3) Shine Cafe--Casual but good food, especially the omelettes. Not right downtown.


                  1) Pizzeria Primastrada--authentic Neapolitan pizzeria in the Cook St. Village.
                  2) Hernandez--In Sussex plaza; weekdays only; fresh and authentic southern Mexican cooking.
                  3) Daidoco--Good lunch spot for sushi. Kaz also has pretty good sushi and does dinners too.
                  4) Orale--really tasty Mexican 'fast food'; good tamales, tostados, salads, etc...
                  5) Pink Bicycle: Gourmet burger joint. Great burgers (including meatless options), onion rings, fries, sides, etc...
                  6) Re-Bar--Healthy but tasty vegetarian cuisine.
                  7) Red Fish, Blue Fish: Outdoor spot in the inner harbour; awesome local fish sandwiches, fish and chips, etc...


                  1) Brasserie L'Ecole--affordable French bistro. One of Victoria's most consistent restaurants
                  2) Paprika: Very good fine dining option. 'Localvore' choice.
                  3) Stage: 'Small Plates' wine bar. Good for sharing.
                  4) Ferris' Oyster Bar: Casual place. Good for pasta and burgers.

                  Have fun!


                  1. re: anewton

                    Thanks so much! I'm intrigued with Mexican in Canada but I will give it a whirl! I'm so excited - thanks!

                    1. re: Heyteacher


                      Hernandez is owned by a guy from, I believe, El Salvador or Guatemala (can't remember which country). He describes his food as "Mayan" style; in any case, his tortillas are very good. The place is a little hard to find as it is not on the street, but rather in a walkway through a commercial building (entrances on Yates and View Streets). It is worth the search, though. The food is inexpensive and very fresh. There are two menus: a slow-food menu and a fast food menu. The fast food menu is more American style (i.e. burritos); the slow-food menu is more traditional.

                      Orale is also a very casual place. You have to order a lot of food because the servings are small, but also inexpensive. It is also pretty authentic. Great tamales!

                      Otherwise, you are correct. The Mexican restaurant scene in Victoria is pretty dismal overall. We simply do not have the large Mexican population that would generate a better, more diverse Mexican food scene.

                      What Victoria does have is great coffee shops. They are everywhere. Local examples include Habit (a personal favourite) and Cafe Fantastico. Some small regional chains that are good include Cafe Artiggiano and Bean Around the World. All of the above have good coffee (Artiggiano has great coffee, but my wife complained yesterday that her Americano was not up to snuff).

                      The other thing Victoria has is good French restaurants. My favourites are Brasserie L'Ecole (reservation absolutely essential; you should book a month in advance if possible), Chez Michel, in Oak Bay (very traditional menu), and Restaurant Matisse (also very traditional). All three are reasonably priced (for fine dining) and are pretty consistent. Matisse and Michel are very old school, though, so if you are looking for more innovative, modern French fare, head to Brasserie.

                      1. re: anewton

                        Thanks! Hernandez will definitely be on the list of places to try and the cafe scene is right up our alley - thanks! I love the recs on pubs too - I'm a Scottish girl through and through and pubs are definitely a plus on my list! Thanks again!

                  2. re: Bob Mac

                    Bob's recs are solid, with the exception of Spinnakers which I find has really declined in the last two years (food, beer and service).

                2. In Victoria there is a great pub called Bard and Banker. I was there in the summer and they have a wicked rooftop patio area.

                  I had Duck Confit Poutine, and i've been craving it ever since.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lolacreative

                    Did you say "duck confit poutin" ...........*drool*