From seafood to brunch to craft beer to the infamous shaft cocktail, we’ve compiled the top 5 must eat food & drinks while visiting the Garden City.
Of course Victoria has great seafood, we live on an Island! Looking for oysters? Check out Finest At Sea, The Courtney Room, and the iconic Ferris’s Oyster Bar. If you visit Whistle Buoy Brewing at Market Square they often have a pop-up oyster bar called the Wandering Mollusk. How about some mussels? Our favorites are at 10 Acres Bistro and the Mussels Cha Cha Cha at the romantic Bodega Bar. In the mood for fish & chips? Of course you are. You must visit Red Fish Blue Fish, Nautical Nellies, Old Vic Fish & Chips and of course Barb’s Fish & Chips at Fisherman’s Wharf. If you’re feeling fancy you could splurge and get the Haida Gwaii Halibut & Chips at Q at the Empress Hotel.
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 Village Restaurant in Oak Bay. Just looking for a strong coffee? We love 2% Jazz Coffee shop in the Victoria Public Market, Discovery Coffee on Blanshard, and Hey Happy on Johnson Street. How about a morning pastry? You have to go to The Dutch Bakery for some Stroopwaffles, Fol Epi for a croissant, and Crust Bakery for their amazing danish pastries. Across from Crust is Russell Books, go ahead 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 brunch hot spots.
Want To Try Some Local Favourites On Your Own Time?
Try our new Self-Guided Tour through the famous James Bay neighbourhood in Victoria to try five local favourites plus learn some history and see the sites!
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 new and funky? Visit Ile Sauvage Brewery for some natural sour beers, Whistle Buoy Brewing does a mean Scandanavian golden ale, or the new Herald Street Brew Works for a hazy oat lager.
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 favorite places to indulge in this buzzy cocktail: Moon Under Water Brewery has a new tasting flight of shafts, not to be missed! Super hip Citrus & Cane serves a fancy one that includes a local coffee infused vodka and local coffee. Industry favorite Clarke & Co has them on tap just in case you really need a dose of the jitters.
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). A lot of local places include a Nanaimo bar ice cream flavour to be found at all of the tourist hot spots along Government Street including Beavertails and Chocolats Favoris.