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May 27, 2010 09:05 PM

Suggestions for Victoria, BC dinner

I'm looking for favorite restaurants for a special occasion dinner in Victoria. I'm coming from Seattle, so PacNorthWest cuisine isn't vital (although always enjoyed), basically up for any type of good food, but would like a wine list that reflects B.C. wineries.
I'd also welcome lunch/breakfast recs. Thanks!

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  1. Falchas:

    given what you have described I would recommend Cafe Brio [google it as they do have a web-site] particularly since you mentioned BC wines. Owner Greg (partner Sylvia) loves his BC wines and manages to get his hands on interesting, often hard to locate BC wines. Unfortunately being from Seattle you may be appalled by our prices (good Canadian wine is ridiculously expensive) but if you are looking to try an interesting BC wine Greg is a terrific resource and the waitstaff generally know what they are talking about.

    Camille's off Bastion Square is another option but we have not eaten there for several years.

    the last time we were ast the brew pub Spinnakers they had ... at least for me ... a surprisingly good wine list.

    Our other favourite is Brasserie L'Ecole, but part owner/sommelier Marc is more the francophile and his wine list reflects that. However, the beauty of Brasserie's list is that if you order two glasses (bottle cost divided by 4 or 5) they will open any bottle (apart from bubblies) so wine drinking becomes quite affordable and interesting. Given as many open bottles you can certainly have a number of options come dinner.

    Victoria is quite the breakfast place but since I usually don't eat it apart from a bowl of bran puds ...oh the pity...I 'll leave the recommendations to others although but they abound, I have read good things about MO:LE and a number of others. More often than not I end up at Cafe Paradiso for a strong espresso and a nice view of the inner harbour weather permitting.

    Enjoy your visit...we just made reservations for October ourselves.

    Cafe Brio
    944 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8V3K2, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Mac

      I would second Bob's recommendations for Camille's and Cafe Brio, though I find the food at Brio can be "hit or miss." Both have good wine lists with many BC selections. I actually think Camille's has the nicer ambience for a special occasion dinner as Brio can be very noisy and is an open room. Camille's is in a basement but has lots of nooks and crannies. The only drawback to Camille's is that it can get very hot down there, which is not so kind to red wines.

      Brasserie is great but I would not recommend it as a special occasion place. It too is very noisy and does not take reservations, plus the food, while very good, is "brasserie" style.

      I often recommend Restaurant Matisse as a special occasion destination because it is a small room with a comparatively quiet atmosphere and excellent service. Best service in town IMO, and very good French food to boot. Open only Wednesday-Sunday, though.

      I have not been to Paprika in about two years but I really enjoy it, too. It is not downtown but rather in Oak Bay. I did go once after it changed hands two years ago and the food was still good.

      if you have a car and want to stay out of town, the Sooke Harbour House is considered to be the top restaurant in the area. It is a 40 minute drive from Victoria, so if you were to eat there you would want a reservation at a Sooke-area hotel (not that many to choose from).

      Breakfast in Victoria is popular, kind of like in Portland. The reason I recommend Mo:Le so often, other than its excellent food, is that one can enjoy one's coffee next door at Habit while waiting for a table to come up at Mo:Le, and the server at Mo:Le will come and find you when your table is ready (you have to put your name of the list, first, of course).

      Blue Fox is good but the lineups are WAY too long! A third, fairly good choice is the Shine Cafe on Fort St just outside of downtown (Stadacona Centre, kind of a strip mall). It is very popular so expect lineups there, too!

      Lunch in Victoria offers many tempting choices. Here are just a few.

      Daidoco for Japanese "home style" cooking using very fresh local ingredients.

      Hernandez for authentic Latin American cooking; I believe the owner is from Guatemala (on Yates in an office building).

      Pizzeria Primastrada for authentic Neapolitan pizza made in a wood burning oven (neither location is right downtown).

      Red Fish Blue Fish in the Inner Harbour, near the seaplane docks, for local, wild seafood prepared in casual style like sandwiches and tacones.

      Pink Bicycle for burgers and fries (on Blanshard).

      Devour on Broughton for lunch or for an early dinner on a Thursday or Friday.

      The one place I would deviate from Bob is in the recommendation of Spinnakers. I find both the food and the service to be lacking, and I am being polite. I would say that it is a nice place to have a beer (they make their own), especially on a sunny day when you can sit on their upstairs patio and look out over the water. And they don't screw up things like fries and chicken wings, so you could do that with your beer. I really don't care for their stabs at "gastropub" fare, as they have consistently, over many years failed in this department. It is too bad the owners won't make more of an effort to get top notch talent in the kitchen, because it really is quite an idyllic location.

      One place I have not been yet is Lure, a hotel restaurant at the Delta Ocean Pacific in Vic West. One trusted source told me they are good, but I cannot give any first hand recommendations.

      Have fun.

      BTW, my recommendations for top BC wineries are as follows: Road 13; Cedar Creek, especially their higher-end bottlings; Blue Mountain; Osoyoos Larose; Black Hills; Fairview Cellars, and Quails' Gate for their whites and pinots.

      Have a good trip!

      Red Fish Blue Fish
      1006 Wharf St, Victoria, BC V8W, CA

      554 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC V8W, CA

      Cafe Brio
      944 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8V3K2, CA