Victoria has the second-highest number of restaurants per capita of all North American cities! The waterfront tourist area is home to a wide variety of restaurants and eateries, including several English-style pubs. Try the fish and chips or shepherds pie for a taste of England in Canada. For a more eclectic Victoria experience, check out the classy restaurants that surround Chinatown, offering interesting west-coast fusion and Asian dishes.
- Northern Quarter, 1724 Douglas St, +1 250 590-7702. Delicious food and drinks. Music most nights of the week.
- Ocean Island Cafe Lounge, 791 Pandora, (250)385-1784. 5 PM-11 PM. Located inside Ocean Island Inn|Backpackers|Suites, it is priced for backpackers and probably the cheapest place in town to eat and one of the cheapest for drinks. The clientele is a mix of travelers, local downtown dwellers in the know, and bohemian/student types. They have live music several nights a week and their Wednesday Open Mic is a Victoria institution.
- Relish Food & Coffee, 920 Pandora Ave, 250-590-8464. Beautiful lunch place. Great food, coffee, and treats. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday until 2:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday until 2 pm.
North American Cuisine
- Canoe Brewpub, 450 Swift St, +1 250 361-1940. Brewpub with good food and fantastic outdoor waterfront patio, great for a sunny afternoon in summer. Also has beautiful and spacious indoor seating, good for a large group.
- Garrick’s Head Pub (est. 1867), 69 Bastion Square, +1 250 384-6835. A simple pub — and “One of the oldest English pubs in Canada” according to their website — but with excellent food and amazing friendly service. As is typical in such pubs, not a great selection for veggheads, but their veggie burger (nuts and chickpeas) is really fantastic. The fries are beer-battered to a lovely crispy dark golden color and the fish is cooked really well, flaky, not squeaky. Mushy peas that come with the steak pie are very tasty. Lots of traditional British food… but with taste. Not enough for you? How about that fireplace?
- Bent Mast Pub and Restaurant, 512 Simcoe St. in James Bay, +1 250 383-6000. A great place to drink, eat, make friends, and have fun. Talk to the staff for a bit of the history of this old Victorian house and invite your friends!
- Irish Times, 1200 Government St, +1 250 383-7775. Wonderful pub meals, good beer and lots of seating.
- Spinnakers Brewpub, 308 Catherine St, +1 250 386-2739. Within walking distance of downtown. A great place to go for a drink or a meal. Pub: 7 days a week, 11 AM-11 PM. Restaurant: 7 AM-10:30 PM. There is a restaurant on the main floor and a brewpub upstairs. Great atmosphere and a nice view of the inner harbor, especially in the evening. A variety of in-house brews, as well as whatever else you want to drink.
- Swans Restaurant and Hotel, 506 Pandora Ave, +1 250 361-3310. Swans brews their own beer and features live music every night of the week. Also worth checking out for the awesome art collection in the pub, including First Nations' art.
- Blue Crab Bar & Grill, 146 Kingston St, in The Coast Harbourside Hotel & Marina, 480-1999 Beautiful harbor-view dining with an elegant atmosphere.
- Fairfield Fish and Chips, 1277 Fairfield Road, +1 250 380-6880. They are closed Sunday and Monday and most holidays. Get your chips to go and take them 4 blocks down to the waterfront and enjoy the view of Juan De Fuca Strait. They do an especially light and fluffy batter.
- Ferris' Oyster Bar & Grill, 536 Yates St, +1 250 360-1824. A large menu and classy atmosphere, perfect for first dates or nights out with friends. Even the burgers are good.
- John's Place, 723 Pandora Ave, 1-250-389-0711. A local favorite with some of the best staff in town and excellent food at decent prices. The Eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce is to die for! Great place for Saturday or Sunday brunch. Comfortable, casual family & friends atmosphere. Open 364 days/year, M-Th 7 AM-9 PM, F 7 AM-10 PM, Sa 8 AM-10 PM, Su 8 AM-9 PM.
- Shine Cafe, 1458 Fort St. and 1320 Blanshard St. A very popular brunch spot located at Oak Bay Corners (Fort and Pandora), outside of downtown and a new location in downtown. A particularly interesting dish they make is Scottish breakfast with black pudding and potato scones. Expect a long wait after 11 AM on weekends.
West Coast Fusion
- Brasserie L'ecole, 1715 Government St, +1 250 475-6260. Open Tu-Sa 5:30 PM-11 PM. A highly-acclaimed fine dining destination with the atmosphere of a classy but comfy Parisian restaurant. Probably the best food in Victoria.
- Cafe Brio Restaurant 944 Fort St, Victoria - Cafe Brio is open seven nights a week for dinner from 5:30 PM - Advance reservations are highly recommended; phone +1 250 383-0009 or Toll-Free at 1-866-270-5461 "Cafe Brio, the hottest restaurant in Victoria, is a destination for serious diners from all over the U.S. and Canada." writes Northwest Palate Magazine.
- Il Terrazzo Ristorante, 555 Johnson St, Off Waddington Alley. Great Italian in a charming patio atmosphere.
- Oh Gelato! Italian Ice Cream, 1013 Government Street. 66 flavors of beautifully-presented gelatos, garnished with bits of fruit or chocolate to illustrate their flavor. Also snacks and Canadian food souvenirs. Worth a stop to photograph the gelato.
- Pagliaccis, 1011 Broad St, +1 250 386-1662. One of the most popular Italian restaurants in town. Intimate settings and addictively scrumptious endless free bread. Always a good experience.
- Rathskeller Schnitzel House, A taste of Bavaria, best German food and beer in town; authentic interior and atmosphere! Live accordion music most nights.
Rebar Modern Food, 50 Bastion Square, +1 250 361-9223. M-W 8:30 AM-9 PM, Th-Sa 8:30 AM-10 PM, Su 8:30 AM-3:30 PM (brunch). A partially vegetarian restaurant with a diverse modern menu, and a nice location. Limited vegan options and many menu items contain fish.
The Mint, 1414 Douglas Street, between Pandora and Johnson, 386-6468 & 361-9223. Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine in a swanky atmosphere, DJs included. A popular spot for students.
The Noodle Box, 626 Fisgard St., +1 250 360-1312, and 818 Douglas St., +1 250 384-1314. Hours M-Sa 11 AM-9 PM, Su noon-8 PM. Another very popular spot for locals. Serves southeast Asian food fresh and in a takeaway box. Wait times vary depending on the time of day (for example, 20-25 minutes during lunch hour rush), but the meal is worth it. Minimize the wait by phoning in your order in advance. The boxes look deceptively small, but they make a very filling meal.
Mo:lé, 554 Pandora, between Government and Wharf, +1 250 385-6653. A trendy restaurant serving fusion breakfast, lunches, and dinners.
- Afternoon Tea at Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery, in the heart of Chinatown on 540 Fisgard Street. Charming tea room with unique decor and ambiance. Offers a fresh twist on traditional afternoon tea. Generous portions of finger sandwiches, dainty tarts, shortbread, fruit, scones and more to be enjoyed with a fresh pot of organic loose leaf tea from an extensive selection. Tea is served in antique English teacups and teapots. Served daily from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dress code: Casual/Smart-casual. Telephone: (250) 590 - 3953. Reservations recommended, walk-ins welcome.
- Afternoon Tea, at the Empress Hotel (see under "Lodging"). This is quintessentially Victoria or unbearably kitsch, depending on your taste. Afternoon Tea, served from 12 noon on, includes fine teas, fruit with cream, and elegant petite sandwiches. Altogether it is a full meal. Price changes with the season. West Coast Tea, served Th-Sa from 7 PM on during the summer only, builds on the concept but is designed for cruise ship visitors. Reservations required and should be made 1-2 weeks in advance at (250) 389-2727. Dress-code is "smart casual": dresses and ties not required, but avoid tank tops and flip-flops.
- Green Cuisine, #5-560 Johnson St., in the Market Square center, tel +1 250 385-1809. Vegetarian Restaurant offers a buffet of 100% vegan dishes. Open 10-20h daily in the summer, M-Sa 10-20h and Sun 10-17h in the winter.
Cabs aren’t too expensive and there isn’t too far to go to get from point A to B. Victoria's police force has an aggressive crackdown on drinking and driving, so take a cab, all you have to do is stumble to Douglas and eventually you will grab one before someone else. Most bars have cash machines inside and accept only cash as payment.
- Lucky Bar 517 Yates. A bit small, but not nearly as costly as others.
- Upstairs Cabaret (in Bastion square).
- Distrikt is probably the largest club in Victoria, with a sunken dance floor and multiple bars. Used to be called Legends and was very popular. in the basement of the Strathcona hotel which also features the Clubhouse, Rooftop and Big Bad John's.
- Victoria's gay crowd, although usually more comfortable at Lucky or Hush, will occasionally show their support and hang out at Paparazzi (formerly known as Prism) the “official” gay bar on Johnson St. The music is pumping and special drag shows or karaoke contests are often. Straight people are welcome…sort of…if they are willing to have a little fun anyway.
- Redd's Roadhouse Pub (Redd's Pub), 3020 Blanshard Street (In front of Topaz Park), 250-382-4400. 11 am-11 pm. Sports bar featuring all sports events in huge TV screens, daily specials, game nights and live bands.