Moving to Victoria - ethnic grocery help please, esp. vietnamese bakery, mexican foodstuffs, etc!
I'm moving to Victoria, from Vancouver, in April, and I was wondering if anyone would be able to make some good grocery store recommendations. I will be living near Cook St Village. I'd be really interested in any bakeries doing bahn mi style bread, places selling sunrise tofu products (especially the tofu puffs!) and interesting produce.
Thanks so much!
- Market on Yates (they carry a lot of smaller "boutique" lines of groceries).
- Fairway Market (Quadra location) - largest asian selection of this chain's locations
- hit chinatown - there are a few produce options
- Rootcellar on McKenzie/Blenkinsop - by far the BEST produce section in town, including an asian/indian specific selection. Talk to the owners - they'll let you know if they can get something in for you.
- maybe Sakura Japanese food on Quadra (right beside Market on Yates).
- or Fujiya (Shelbourne, near Pear St.) - it's Vic (not Vanc) sized though ;-)
- Mexican House of Spice (Douglas St, near Queens)
I have been meaning to reply but wanted to find a good time to do it.
Sadly, Thrifty foods has really gone downhill since it was bought by Sobey's. It's still one of the better options for a general grocery store.
Market on Yates--good line of specialty products. Some local produce.
Lifestyles--not really in your future hood, but not too far either. Good selection of organic and health foods.
Produce: Moss Street Market runs on Saturdays April-mid November. Particularly in summer and fall the quality of produce at the market is unparalleled in the city.
If you have a car, there are some excellent farm gates for local organic produce. Madrona Farms on Blenkinsop Road is a good one. Sun Trio farms in North Saanich (not to be confused with Sun Wing Farms) is also an excellent local organic producer.
Butcher: Village Butcher on Oak Bay Ave. is THE place. They'll also do a lot of special orders/requests. And the fabulous charcuterie The Whole Beast is right next door.
Seafood: Finest at Sea in James Bay. You may be acquainted with the 2 locations in Vancouver.
Bakery: fol epi is the best bakery in town hands down. Wildfire has a loyal following too but does not compete. fol epi does not make bahn mi bread but does make some fantastic baguettes.
Note that there are several excellent bakers at the Moss St. Market that do not operate storefronts anywhere else in town.
I cannot think of a Vietnamese bakery. However, you could also ask one of the Asian restaurants in town where they source their bahn mi bread. Foo (not specifically Vietnamese) often has bahn mi on their menu; they might be able to tell you.
Asian goods: Fisgard Market in Chinatown really has the best selection in town for Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese products.
Spices: Nothing right in your area comes to mind. If you don't mind busing, there is an Indian spice store right at Quadra and MacKenzie. There is also a good one on Burnside near MacKenzie.
Coffee: Discovery is certainly my favourite for beans.
Cheese: Three good choices: Ottavio in Oak Bay; Choux Choux Charcuterie right downtown; and Chiarelli's on Foul Bay Road down the hill from UVic.
Mediterranean/Middle Eastern Foods: Seven Valleys on Douglas near Bay is an excellent choice run by a very friendly Bahai family. There is also a very nice place on Quadra just south of McKenzie (near Quadra and Reynolds intersection).
Italian deli: Two choices: Italian Food Imports on Blanshard or Ottavio on Oak Bay Ave.
Chocolate: Lots of places peddling high end chocolate now. The kitchen store in the Atrium building has a good selection. Habit Coffee in the Atrium has a good but small selection. The Whole Beast carries about a half dozen high end bars.
Market on Yates has a good selection for a grocery store (i.e. Michel Cluizel bars)
Mexican: Mexican House of Spice on Douglas Street.
I can't think of anything else right now but I'm sure you'll fare well. Prices are higher than in Vancouver in general due to being on the Island (also, let's face it, we're a much smaller market).