Here are our top 5 things you must try when you visit Victoria:
Seafood: I could list a lot of places in Victoria where you can get great local fresh seafood such as the mind-blowing crab cakes at the Blue Crab or iconic Ferris’s Oyster Bar for their amazing oysters or fried smelts. How could you hot visit the ocean-side food cart Red Fish Blue Fish for their fish & chips or the Mussels Cha Cha Cha at romantic Bodega Bar. But our favorite seafood in town has to be the candied sablefish and cold-smoked salmon found at Finest At Sea across the park from Fisherman’s Wharf. They make everything in the deli case and the smoking is done in their industrial smoker out back. FAS has been in the same family business since 1977.
Craft Beer: Victoria is the craft beer cradle of Canada and home to some of the most respected and popular breweries on the west coast. Here are the top three most popular and iconic beers you must try when you are here: Blue Buck Ale from Phillip’s Brewery, Fat Tug IPA from Driftwood Brewery, and Hoyne Pilsner from Hoyne Brewing. Looking for something unique? We suggest you visit one of our popular tap houses that carry a variety of local beers such as The Drake or The Churchill. Currently we are loving the aged sour beers from Ile Savauge brewery and the Nanaimo Bar Imperial Stout from Vancouver Island Brewing.
Nanaimo Bar: Technically you should go to Nanaimo to get the full experience of this popular dessert but Victoria does have some lovely and modern versions. Our very favorite traditional bar can be found at the Courtyard Cafe located directly across from the Steamship Terminal Building where the Clipper Ferry comes in. Made by the talented pastry chefs at the Hotel Grand Pacific, their bar is not too sweet and stays true to the original recipe (which can be found at the museum in Nanaimo). Oddly a lot of local places made this in to an ice cream flavour to be found at all of the tourist hot spots along Government including Beavertails, Chocolats Flavoris, and our favorite Rocky MTN Chocolate.
Shaft Cocktail: Let’s just set the record straight here, the Shaft Cocktail was invented in Victoria (sorry Calgary, you can only lay claim to the Caesar). This combo of coffee, bailey’s, kahlua, and vodka (traditionally served with a straw but the times are changing) was typically consumed by industry workers that would down one of these pre-shift to get some energy for the long night ahead. Now found at pretty much any drinking establishment in town, here are our top three places to indulge in this buzzy cocktail: Wheelies uses milk instead of cream to keep it light and the name “Driveshaft” is in keeping with this motorcycle shop/bar theme. Get hyper local at Northern Quarter that uses a local vodka and Discovery coffee to make their version. Feeling fancy? Visit Little Jumbo for their gourmet version served in a beautiful tall glass with top shelf spirits.
Brunch: I know, every city loves brunch. I’m telling you Victoria LOVES brunch and always has, long before millennials made standing in line for $20 egg dishes popular. Want to wait in line? Visit the iconic Blue Fox Cafe or modern Jam Cafe, both constantly packed and for good reason. Have a car and want to get out of town? Visit The Charlotte & The Quail tucked away in a garden or the new beautiful Sunday’s Child in Oak Bay. Like good coffee? Grab a pastry and a $2 Americano at 2% Jazz in the Hudson or sit among the hip locals at the Parsonage Cafe. While you”re at it, visit Russel Books and pick up a copy of local photographer Rebecca Wellman’s beautiful book First, We Brunch that has favorite local recipes from all the best brunchy hot spots.