Favorite Restaurants in Victoria, B.C.

Old May 19th, 2005, 12:33 PM
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Favorite Restaurants in Victoria, B.C.

My wife and I will be in Victoria soon for an anniversary. I haven't seen much on this forum for good restaurants in Victoria and am looking for recommendations. They don't have to be 4 star fancy expensive places but we both enjoy well prepared food with fresh ingredients. We enjoy almost anything - seafood, italian and other ethnic fare. Recommendations on where the locals go is always a good source. Thanks.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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I like Willies Bakery for breakfast( not just bakery food) They have an outdoor courtyard with fireplace/ heatlamps and they give you blankets to keep your legs warm- very good food I think.
Suggest Blethering Place or White Heather for high tea which is a meal in itself-
Don't know much about the rest -
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Old May 21st, 2005, 05:46 PM
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Hi je,
For good, freshly prepared food and great service we like Milestone's which is located on Victoria's Inner Harbour. Ask for harbour view seating for a special treat. Across the street from Milestone's is the Fairmount Empress Hotel which has several restaurants. These are pricier but might be more intimate for an anniversary dinner. Pablos Dining Lounge on Quebec Street has excellent food as well but no seaviews. Pablos is located in an old Victorian mansion. My husband also recommends the Blue Crab Bar and Grill in the Coast Hotel for good food and great water views. All these restaurants are located in the Inner Harbour area, near the Parliament Buildings. All are in walking distance of each other. You might enjoy checking them out in person and having a look at their menus before you decide. Good luck and have a great time in Victoria.
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Old May 22nd, 2005, 07:17 AM
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There actually was a thread on this subject a couple of months ago; you might be able to find it if you search.
Meanwhile - we really like Rebar Modern Food in Bastion Square.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 03:08 PM
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Congratulations on your anniversary! Victoria is a beautiful and romantic city - I am sure you will fall in love all over again here. I may be a little biased, as it is my home

I am a hard-core foodie and amateur chef, so hope I have some useful ideas for restaurants here. My #1 recommendation would be for L'Ecole Brasserie, especially for that specially romantic dinner on your anniversary. It is a small and intimate authentic french brasserie, and has won high accolades since it opened a couple years ago ~ some call it the most authentic french bistro in north america. Few places live up to the hype, but this one surpassed my expectations. I have eaten there on several occasions, and have without exception left completely impressed (and I am pretty tough on restaurants). The food is simply outstanding, with a new menu made every day based on what the chef's inspirations and what's fresh locally. EVERYTHING I have eaten there was astonishingly good, from the smoked albacore tuna on spring greens, to raw oysters with a mignonette, to braised lamb shanks, and hard-to-find authentic french cheeses before the dessert course. Staff are attentive and expert, providing thoughtful wine or menu suggestions. The atmosphere is intimate and romantic: red walls & dark panelling, small tables with flickering candelight. And the best part: the price. I simply don't know how they can serve the quality of food they do for the price. My friend and I ate there last weekend for $56 CAD for two, including 3 appies, an entree, and 2 cocktails (shared between us, so we could sample the most variety). And this is not one of those places you get a bite only of each item ~ I have a hearty appetite, but left food on my plate. Enough said ~ I am simply in love with this place and highly recommend it.

You are right that you don't need to spend a fortune to eat really well, and this mantra holds true in Victoria. Many of my favorite places are very affordable, and have outstanding cuisine. The best deals are usually ethnic, and on the West Coast that means Asian. Try Thai at Sookjai Thai on Fort Street for wonderful authentic thai food ~ Victorians love their Thai, and this is arguably the best of many great places in town competing for our business. Japanese Village is a teppanyaki steakhouse, which is a unique experience if you haven't tried one ~ the chefs cook your food right in front of you and provide some entertainment while you eat (kids especially love this). While there are others like this, I have eaten at quite a few different teppanyaki houses across Canada, and this one is the best as far as food goes, and they also offer very good sushi. If you can have lunch here (only Mon-Fri) it is a FABULOUS bargain at under $10. My other personal favorite is Vietnamese, especially their famous beef soup called "Pho". Pho Hoa on Fort has over 30 varieties of this highly addictive soup concoction, offering choices from very tame slices of lean steak to adventurous mixtures including tendon, tripe, etc. If you have never had Pho, you do yourself a big favour by trying it here: the broth is cooked slowly for 24 hours, imparting the most intoxicating yet subtle flavours into the soup, which is then layered with noodles, your choice of meat (or seafood), and topped with cilantro & chives (you are also served fresh sweet basil, bean sprouts, and chili slices on the side to add to your taste). I am totally addicted to this delicious and very healthy fast food alternative, which will offer you a very satisfying meal for about $6-8 dollars CAD.

I personally would avoid the touristy spots like Milestone's. Not that the food isn't good per se, but this kind of restaurant is so common and predictable. Some of the places you find dotting the waterfront are just expensive and not very good, catering totally to the tourist clientele that they don't feel hard-pressed to impress since most will never bring them repeat business. They do have lovely views, and if you must indulge in the view... Milestone's is one of the better (the food is of good quality and in quantity, if not inventive and memorable). Blue Crab is very pricy and the quality of their food is at great dispute: some people walk away with great experiences, while others are deeply disappointed. Personally, I don't like taking those chances on a high-budget meal.

If you really want an outstanding high-end dinner with a phenomenal view, try Sooke Harbour House or the Aerie. Both are a little ways outside of town, but have astonishing views (Harbour House is located on Whiffen Spit in Sooke, providing unobstructed views of the Cascade Mountains and the wild west coast of the island; the Aerie is perched at the apex of the Malahat Drive, and offers panoramic vistas of the Saanich Peninsula, Georgia Straight, and the Gulf Islands in the distance) and world-class food. Each one will require a 20-30 minute drive outside of the city, but either would be an absolutely unforgettable experience. Both also offer exceptional accomodations, if you wish to spend the night and savour their views after dinner.

Hope I have been of some assistance. Enjoy your visit!

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Old May 27th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Try the Forum Restaurant in ChinaTown. We ate there twice and the food and service were great. Not a lot of atmosphere - but good value for your $$. Tell the waitress your budget and let her surprise you with dishes. They'll cook just about anything for you.

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Old May 27th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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Thank you all so very much. We are looking forward with excitement to our first visit to this city.
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