Friday night in Victoria within walking distance of cruise ship docks...
I would highly recommend either Niche or the Superior. The Superior is, in my view, a bit expensive for small plates, but then again I always feel that way about small plates.
Niche is incredible.
If you are open to walking 25-30 minutes to downtown, I recommend Brasserie L'Ecole strongly. Excellent bistro style Belgian/French food.
You would definitely require a reservation for Brasserie L'Ecole, though it is a good choice. AND, they're now doing what is supposesd to be a fantastic burger on Friday evenings only (they grind their own meat, make their condiments...it is an 'in-house' burger).
A few more thoughts...
Aura, at the Laurel Point Inn (in James Bay...10 minute walk from the docks) is supposed to be good.
I have never eaten at the Mark at the Hotel Grand Pacific, but they have a good reputation (they ARE expensive, though).
Blue Crab has easily one of the best views of our very pretty inner harbour, though I feel it is overpriced. Still, you could do a lot worse than the Blue Crab.
Good luck, and look forward to your report.
I would second the rec for Niche. It is a 10 minute walk from the docks.
Superior is not a bad choice, although sometimes there is fairly loud entertainment in the fairly small room.
I would not hesitate to walk to downtown Victoria. It is only a 30 minute walk. You could try making a reservation at Brasserie L'Ecole (they may already be booked, depending on what day you will be here).
Matisse, at the foot of Yates St., is a nice place with great service. Classic French cuisine.
Wherever you go, reservations are always a good idea, particularly on a Friday night.
The part of the post that may be difficult to satisfy is finding a "unique" dining experience. Victoria is a small city, and while there are restaurants that make decent food at fair prices, there are not many places here that I would describe as unique (other than somewhere like the Sooke Harbour House, which is not an option given that you will be nowhere near Sooke).
The Superior is quite good and is quite close to the docks (a ten minute walk tops). The food is excellent and they have live music in the evenings. But reservations are a must on a Friday night! http://www.thesuperior.ca/
Niche is also quite close (a couple blocks past the Superior) and always gets a lot of praise on this board. http://www.nichedining.com/
Also, downtown Victoria is about a 25 minute walk so that opens up your choices a lot, but I definitely recommend reservations on a Friday night.
Enjoy your evening in Victoria.