Victoria, BC, is known as a destination for relaxation and romance, and it’s generally a fantastic place to soak up laid-back Pacific Northwest island vibes.
In recent years, BC’s capital city has garnered more and more national and international attention for its plethora of killer restaurants, cocktail bars, breweries, and distilleries – like Caledonian Distillery – which recently won Best Canadian New Make Whisky at the 2019 World Whiskies Awards.
Whether you arrive via ferry or kick off your Victoria visit with spectacular views from a Harbour Air seaplane, this city is one you’ve got to visit – rain or shine – to enjoy the views and the grub.
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Plan a food and beverage crawl with these awesome must-try restaurants and bars in Victoria.
Located at the corner of award-winning boutique hotel Magnolia Hotel & Spa, The Courtney Room has been serving up modern Pacific Northwest cuisine since 2018.
The elegant ingredient-driven eatery is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but what you really should be heading here for is the Chef’s Tasting menu (but be sure to squeeze in a couple of cocktails before you’re seated in the upper dining room).
With two chefs at the helm of the kitchen, Chefs de Cuisine Chris Klassen and Brian Tesolin, this tasting menu proves there’s power in numbers when it comes to creating memorable dishes.
The Courtney Room’s Chef’s Tasting Menu is a delightful culinary journey with twists and turns from start to finish.
In addition to the carefully chosen, locally sourced produce, proteins, and house-made bread and cultured butter, the thoughtful presentation is what really makes this menu stand out from other multi-course ones we’ve tried before.
The nine-course fall menu features dishes like a Foie Gras Cereal made with pistachio, summer berry, and yuzu, as well as a pasta incorporating local foraged mushrooms and crickets – yes, crickets.
That being said, we can verify that the adventure is real here in The Courtney Room.
Each course of the tasting menu is vastly different from the one that came before it, especially the Tomato served with Granita, which is finished with a consommé poured out of a vessel disguised as a decorative vase.
It’s elevated experiences like this that surely landed The Courtney Room a top spot on Air Canada’s prestigious Best New Restaurant list in 2018 and a top spot on our Victoria must-try list too.
At $82 per person, the tasting menu is worth splurging on when you’re in town.
Address: 619 Courtney Street, Victoria
Need a quick and satisfying bite? Look no further than The Joint. This pizzeria on Wharf Street offers a wide selection of meat- and veggie-based pizzas made with local ingredients for cheap.
Address: 1219 Wharf Street, Victoria
If you ask anyone living in Victoria about the things they love, they’ll likely mention brunch.
Partaking in a mid-morning meal is undoubtedly popular around the globe, but in this island city, it seems to rule the roost.
Located one block down from Victoria’s most famous brunch spot, the original Jam Cafe, is another popular spot for this service, Saveur Restaurant.
A chef-driven eatery serving French-inspired contemporary cuisine for dinner and weekend brunch, Saveur’s got all the trappings of a solid destination to grab your favourite breakfast staples, but with a twist.
The Egg ‘McDuckin’ Breakfast Sandwich is made with thin and flavourful Duck Bacon along with Egg, Duck Confit, Pickled Fennel Orange Slaw, and Thyme-Orange Marmalade Mayo.
It’s a must-order and comes with house greens or a rosti potato.
Other highlights here include the Breakfast Risotto made with seasonal Chutney, Spiced Milk, Maple Crème Fraiche, and Crispy Coffee Quinoa, and the Saveur Benny, a combo of Poached Eggs, Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Truffled Mushroom Sautee, and Foie Gras Hollandaise.
Address: 658 Herald Street, Victoria
If you ask a lot of the awesome hospitality folks in Victoria their favourite spot to head after their day wraps up, they’ll likely mention Tapa Bar (at least, many of the ones we spoke with did).
The eatery is located Victoria’s historic Trounce Alley, and it offers up a selection of flavourful Spanish eats and a great array of cocktails too.
Whether you’re coming for a drink, a few bites, or a full meal deal, you won’t be disappointed with Tapa, because after all, if the locals love it, you know it has got to be good.
Address: 620 Trounce Alley, Victoria
Conveniently located right next door to sister spot Tapa Bar, Bodega is a Spanish eatery and bar that serves a different vibe.
Bodega specializes in meat and cheese boards and has a drink program heavy on the Sherry, Vermouth, local and Spanish wines.
The house Gin & Tonic is almost too drinkable – if you know what we mean – and the atmosphere after dark is a great way to kick off or end a night out in Victoria.
Address: 1210 Broad Street, Victoria
Open daily at 5 pm, this bar and restaurant starts delighting your senses even before you walk through the door (which is down a short hall off Fort Street, by the way).
While the grub at Little Jumbo is top-notch – especially the Truffle Fries and the Salt Spring Island Mussels during our visit – the craft of making cocktails takes a front seat here.
Designing and mixing drinks is the name of the game at Little Jumbo and a seat at the bar is the prime location at which to enjoy one of these beverages.
This should definitely be a destination on your crawl of Victoria, if only for a drink (or two) before or after dinner.
Address: 506 Fort Street, Victoria
CANOE Brewpub boasts one of the best and busiest patios in Victoria, but the brewery and restaurant have a lot more to offer than just awesome outdoor space in the heat of the summer.
Located in Victoria’s scenic Inner Harbour, anyone who takes a seat in the rustic dining room at CANOE can enjoy delicious fare made with ingredients sourced from local purveyors.
The seasonal menu may change here, but the emphasis on quality produce, meats, and fish does not.
Patrons here can expect a selection of sharing plates, handhelds, CANOE classics like Fish and Chips and other BC fish.
CANOE is a great spot to head if you’re in a group, as the eatery has the space and the menu to accommodate all kinds of folks.
Address: 450 Swift Street, Victoria