38 Best Restaurants in Victoria, British Columbia

Aura Waterfront Restaurant + Patio

$$$ | Downtown Fodor's choice

The critically acclaimed Aura offers inspired west coast–Asian fusion cuisine and a drop-dead gorgeous backdrop of the Inner Harbour—arguably the best in town. Think BBQ sambal skate on banana leaf or crispy pork belly with peanut and bacon crumble, and carrot truffle mouse. Dining here is also a grazing adventure of small plates, so hearty appetites may need multiple plates, which can rack up the cost. The wine cellar is full of hard-to-find Vancouver Island wines and Okanagan labels; there's also a good selection of local craft beers and spirits as well as splash cocktails. Did we mention that Aura has the city's best waterfront patio, bar none?

Boom + Batten

$$$ | Vic West Fodor's choice

Located along the Songhees Westsong Walkway, adjacent to the new Victoria International Marina, the views match the food at this waterfront restaurant. Its bakery-café offers sweet and savory treats for walkers and coffee aficionados, and the restaurant menu is a combination of charcuterie boards and terrines for sharing, wood-fired-oven pizzas, raw options like scallop with pickled beet citrus vinaigrette, marinated octopus and ceviches, as well as pastas and imaginative takes on classics such as duck Bolognese. The entire space is bold and modern with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Inner Harbour from an outer harbor vantage—provided there isn't a multimillion-dollar yacht in the sightline. Late night munchies? This is the spot. Picnicking? Then order a Boom Box (for delivery or pick up) filled with culinary delights.

Brasserie L'École

$$$$ | Downtown Fodor's choice

French country cooking shines at this informal Chinatown bistro, and the historic room—once a schoolhouse for the Chinese community—evokes a timeless brasserie, from the patina-rich fir floors to the chalkboards above the slate bar listing the day's oyster, mussel, and steak options. Owner Sean Brennan, one of the city's better-known chefs, works with local farmers and fishermen to source the best seasonal, local, and organic ingredients. The menu changes daily but lists such contemporary spins on classic bistro fare as duck confit with house-made sausage, beef bourguignon, or spring salmon with beets, shallots, and pommes rissolées. Be prepared for lines as this petite spot does not take reservations—but it's worth the wait.

1715 Government St., Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 1Z4, Canada
Known For
  • seasonal menus
  • French-country fare
  • French wine and Belgian beers
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch, Reservations not accepted

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Café Brio

$$$$ | Downtown Fodor's choice

This intimate yet bustling Italian villa–style room has long been a Victoria favorite, mainly because of its Mediterranean-influenced atmosphere and cuisine, which is prepared primarily with locally raised ingredients. The menu changes almost daily, but you might find local halibut paired with an anchovy bacon vinaigrette, or even an apricot dessert soup. Most dishes come in full or half sizes, which are ideal for smaller appetites or for those who want to sample the menu more widely. Virtually everything, including the bread, most pastas, charcuterie, and desserts, is made in-house. The 400-label wine list has a top selection of BC choices.

Il Covo Trattoria

$$$ | James Bay Fodor's choice

The warmth of Italy surrounds you at this family-run trattoria near Fisherman's Wharf. The owner hails from Genoa so much of the menu features cuisine from that region as well as daily specials from other parts of the country. Traditional favorites include carpaccio, polpette in agrodolce (tender beef meatballs with a savory sweet and sour sauce of caramelized onions, dried cranberries and green olives, and toasted almonds), spaghetti allo scoglio (a seafood medley in a wine and marinara sauce), and gnocchi in various incarnations. The heritage building adds to the inviting ambience, as does the delightful patio rock garden where you can dine alfresco and from where the kitchen gets its herbs and edible flowers. Classic desserts like tiramisu and panna cotta also make their mark. Families will appreciate the menu for children. 

OLO Restaurant

$$$ | Downtown Fodor's choice
Victoria's foodies rave about this small Chinatown bistro that serves up some of the city's most innovative fare, simply yet superbly. Many items like the smoked salmon and pasta are crafted in-house, and the locally sourced menu changes often, often with a French flair. The tasting menus (C$68–C$78) are superb examples of Olo's creativity: starters might include lamb tartare, grass-fed beef carpaccio, or perhaps pea soup with cauliflower and an "egg" made from cheddar and carrot. Main tasters could be short-rib steak done "French-rare," from a local organic farm, or miso-sake lingcod. And the different pavlovas are to die for. The high-arched windows, brick walls, and sparse decor make the room feel airy yet warm, an ambience that emphasizes the restaurant's passionate foodie ethos.

Red Fish Blue Fish

$$ | Downtown Fodor's choice

If you like your fish both yummy and ecologically friendly, look no further than this former shipping container on the pier at the foot of Broughton Street. From the soil-topped roof and biodegradable packaging to the sustainably harvested local seafood, this waterfront takeout shop minimizes its ecological footprint. The chef offers a choice of local wild salmon, tuna, and oysters from the barbecue. Portuguese buns are baked daily for the seafood sandwiches, fish tacos come in grilled tortilla cones, and even plain old fish-and-chips are taken up a notch with a choice of wild salmon, halibut, or cod in tempura batter with hand-cut fries. And don't knock the "frikle" (battered pickle) 'til you've tried it. Be prepared for long lineups on sunny days and for variable closures during wet and cooler months.

1006 Wharf St., Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 1T4, Canada
Known For
  • jerk fish poutine
  • barbecued oysters
  • top-notch fish-and-chips
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner. Closed Nov.–mid-Feb., Reservations not accepted


$$ | Downtown

Half the space is a cozy café with soup, sandwiches, and amazing pastries from Fol Epi, one of the city's best bakeries; the other half is a tiny restaurant and bar. Either way, food is focused on organic locavorism and both are great to satiate hunger pangs.

Barb's Fish & Chips

$$ | James Bay

Funky Barb's, a tin-roofed takeout shack, floats on the quay at Fisherman's Wharf, west of the Inner Harbour off St. Lawrence Street. Halibut, salmon, oysters, mussels, crab, burgers, and chowder are all prepared fresh. The picnic tables on the wharf provide a front-row view of the brightly colored houseboats moored here, or you can carry your food to the grassy park nearby. Ferries sail to Fisherman's Wharf from the Inner Harbour, or you can work up an appetite with a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. 

be love

An on-trend crowd of locals tucks into plant-based fare: black bean burgers, sweet potato sandwiches, pad Thai, asparagus risotto, and plates piled high with farm-to-fork salads at this chic, bustling Downtown spot. Everything here, from the spring rolls and yam chips to the long list of power juices and smoothies, is free of wheat, gluten, dairy, meat, additives, and processed sugar—but delicious nonetheless. Most ingredients are organic and locally sourced as well, and everything is made from scratch. And for every Karma bowl sold, C$1 goes to charity. This place is no 1960s karmic throwback, though: the lofty white room and creative cocktails keep be love firmly rooted in the 21st century.

Bin 4 Burger Lounge

$$ | Downtown

This slightly out-of-the-way, hip little burger joint elevates the humble patty with local ingredients and naturally raised meats, serving intriguing burger (and sandwich) combos like beef with chipotle-bourbon barbecue sauce, BC–raised bison with aged cheddar and fried onions, or chicken with bacon, Brie, and balsamic red onion jam. Vegetarians can substitute crispy tofu on any sandwich or opt for the chickpea, black bean, and goat cheese burger. Be sure to sample one of the house-made dips, perhaps curry aioli or lime-and-tomatillo hot sauce with the house-made fries. There's a kid's menu as well as drink choices that include creative cocktails, beer from island microbreweries, and house-made berry iced tea. Other lounges are in Langford and Nanaimo.

Blue Crab Seafood House

$$$$ | Downtown

Fresh-daily seafood and expansive harbor views make this airy James Bay hotel restaurant a popular lunch and dinner spot. Signature dishes include a crab cake starter, cedar plank salmon, and the variety contained in the steamer pot, but check the tempting daily specials on the blackboard as well. Desserts made in-house and a wine list highlighting British Columbia and Pacific Northwest labels round out the menu. Reservations for dinner are highly recommended. The lounge area and patio, serving until 11 pm nightly, has equally impressive views and a more casual menu.

Butchart Gardens Dining Room

$$$$ | Brentwood Bay

The dining room at The Butchart Gardens, in the Butchart family's former residence, serves traditional teas daily, year-round. Afternoon tea (C$50), with sandwiches and baked treats, is served noon to 4:30 pm from April through September. Gluten-free teas require 24-hour notice.

Craft Beer Market

$$$ | Downtown

The lofty windows of this power station–turned–brewpub open onto one of Victoria's best waterfront patios, overlooking the kayaking and ferry action on the gorge. The casual, locally sourced menu runs from high-end pub snacks such as chickpea fritters, mussels with chorizo, short-rib tacos with dark ale, and crispy duck confit to flatbread pizzas and good old fish-and-chips. There are plenty of gluten-free options, too. Choose from the adults-only brewpub with several TVs tuned to sports, or the all-ages restaurant—both have water-view patios. And try the beer—the Dark Ale, Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, and other signature creations are brewed the old-fashioned way. There are 110 brews on tap. You can even see the vats from the pub. Reservations are accepted in the restaurant section only.

E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar

$$ | Downtown

Offering a unique take on Japanese specialty dishes, the cuisine here can be paired with the largest sake selection in Canada—so diverse it is curated by two sake sommeliers. In addition to classic temaki, bowls, and charcoal aburi oshi, the big faves are small-portion plates paired with sake sangria, and the much grander Omakase Shokado, a showcase of nine different dishes (C$59/person). Try the sake tasting flights or for nondrinkers, the philosopher's tea, a blend of lemongrass, citrus peel, rose hips, and lavender blossoms. Nubo, the sister restaurant next door, is more casual and equally admired (but for its sushi tacos), as is the third location in this family of restaurants: Nubo near Johnson Bridge.

737 Pandora St., Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 1N9, Canada
Known For
  • raw bar
  • sake selection
  • creativity in taste and presentation
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch

Fairmont Empress Hotel Tea Lobby

$$$$ | Downtown

Victoria's "big production line" and most elaborate afternoon tea (C$89) is served, as it has been since 1908, in the ornate lobby of the Fairmont Empress. The tea is the hotel's own blend, and the cakes, scones, and crustless sandwiches are prepared by some of Victoria's finest pastry chefs. As you face the bill, remember that tea here is more than a snack; it was, historically, a way to keep civilization alive in this farthest outpost of the empire. Seatings are daily from 11 am to 5:30 pm. Children under 12 pay half price.

Ferris' Grill & Oyster Bar

$$$ | Downtown

The wooden booths at the back of this dim, narrow room belie just how much fun this place can be with its upbeat mood and hop-to-it staff. Most of the arty-looking clientele are here for the oysters (served shucked, smoked, baked, breaded, or as shooters) and large portions of updated comfort food (try the sweet-potato fries; lamb, beef, or halibut burgers; or chicken-penne soup). The service is snappy, there's a small patio out back, and even the kids' menu portions would feed a linebacker. The evening-only, upstairs oyster bar with its black-granite bar and inviting sofas is even more intimate, and mains like prosciutto-wrapped lingcod are included on the pricier, more upscale menu.

Il Terrazzo

$$$$ | Downtown

A cute redbrick terrace edged with potted greenery, and warmed by fireplaces and overhead heaters, makes Il Terrazzo—tucked away off Waddington Alley near Market Square and not visible from the street—the locals' choice for romantic alfresco dining. Starters might include steamed mussels with sun-dried tomatoes and spicy banana peppers, while mains range from such traditional Northern Italian favorites as breaded scaloppini of pork tenderloin to a more local-leaning red snapper with blackberries. Thin-crust pizzas come piping hot from the restaurant's open-flame stone oven.

555 Johnson St., Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 1M2, Canada
Known For
  • romantic terrace
  • Northern Italian dishes
  • a local favorite
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch

J & J Wonton Noodle House

$$ | Downtown
Fresh house-made noodles and wontons draw local office workers to this long-standing Chinese spot. Szechuan and Cantonese specialties, from shrimp noodle soup to beef with hot-chili bean sauce, dominate the long menu, but Singapore-style noodles and Indonesian chow mein appear, too. The diner-style eatery is low on character, but the crowds of locals and an open kitchen keep things buzzing. Reservations are accepted only for groups of four or more.
1012 Fort St., Victoria, British Columbia, V8V 3K4, Canada
Known For
  • house-made noodles
  • open kitchen
  • local crowd
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.


$$ | Downtown

This wine and cheese bistro feels as if it should be in the French countryside, not only for its casual ambience but for its offerings: small plates of cheese and cured meats, simple salads, and imaginative "morsels" that are so good, they often become a meal. Try the flight of three wines paired with three cheeses (C$35).

1028 Blanshard St., Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 2H5, Canada
Known For
  • wine selection
  • creative bites
  • warm atmosphere
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. No dinner Tues. and Wed.

LURE Restaurant & Bar

$$$ | Vic West

A sunny patio, intimate balconies, and a wall of windows take in sweeping views across the Inner Harbour at this seaside spot in the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort. Casual mains and shared plates, such as local-brew battered halibut, maple bourbon pork ribs, and spiced-grilled Angus beef striploin, along with simple desserts with a twist (try vanilla cheesecake with pickled cherries) are served all day and into the evening. Creative cocktails, wines by the glass, beer tasters, sunset views, and a lively bar scene make this a great choice for a casual night out.

Marina Restaurant

$$$$ | Oak Bay

This circular room with art deco rosewood booths and a 180-degree view over the sailboats of Oak Bay Marina. Ocean Wise savvy, food is all about sustainably sourced seafood including wild salmon and Dungeness crab, all of which are teamed with local organic vegetables. Starters include spot prawn bisque or spiced calamari and fresh shucked oysters. A lunch menu of salads, burgers, and fish and an evening-only sushi bar also favor local ingredients. An attached marina-side coffee bar makes a handy stop for a seaside drive or cycle tour.



Noodles, whether Indonesian-style with peanut sauce, thick Hokkien in teriyaki, or Thai-style chow mein, are scooped straight from the open kitchen's steaming woks into bowls or cardboard take-out boxes. Malaysian-, Singapore-, and Thai-style curries run from mild to scaldingly hot. Gluten-free, vegan-, and kid-friendly options are all available. There are half a dozen "boxes" around town; most are loud and busy spots.

818 Douglas St., Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 2B6, Canada
Known For
  • vegan-friendly menu
  • gluten-free dining
  • fast service
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations not accepted


$$$ | Downtown

Crowded, frenetic, and buckets of fun, this New York–meets–Victoria trattoria has trumpeted showbiz since it opened in 1979, from the signed photos of owner Howie Siegal's movie-star friends plastering the walls, to the live jazz, swing, blues, or Celtic music playing several nights a week. The tables are so tightly packed that you'll be eyeing your neighbor's food from a menu that runs from the "Mae West" (veal with artichoke hearts) to a number of à la carte fresh, handmade pastas and gluten-free rice bowls to the "Prawns Al Capone" (shell-on butterfly shrimp sautéed in butter and white wine). The fun and the food isn't set to break the bank either. Sunday brunch is equally good.

1011 Broad St., Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 2A1, Canada
Known For
  • live music
  • handmade pasta
  • upbeat atmosphere
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Reservations not accepted

Q at The Empress

$$$$ | Downtown
Candlelight dances beneath a carved mahogany ceiling at the Fairmont Empress hotel's flagship restaurant, where one of the two gracious rooms has expansive harbor views. The classically influenced Pacific Northwest menu changes seasonally but might feature such appetizers as Angus beef tartare or caramelized scallops and pork. Mains, featuring sustainably sourced meat and seafood, might include roasted Haida Gwaii halibut or butter-poached venison tenderloin. Simply grilled proteins with a choice of sides and sauces are also an option. The service is discreet and attentive and there are more than 800 labels on the wine list. If the weather is fine, the summer-only Veranda serves lunch, cocktails, and early-evening snacks, as well as the best sunset views over the harbor.

Rebar Modern Food

$$ | Downtown
Bright and casual, with lime-green walls, hippie nuances, and a splashy Bollywood poster, this kid-friendly café in Bastion Square has long been the place for vegetarians in Victoria. But don't worry, the almond burgers, decadent baked goodies, and wild salmon tacos keep omnivores happy, too. Try the yam and pumpkin-seed quesadillas or the vegan Monk's Curry, or join locals for the popular weekend-only brunches. An extensive selection of teas, fresh juices, spirulina tonics, smoothies, and wheat-grass concoctions shares space on the drinks list with espresso, microbrews, and BC wines.


$$ | Downtown

Like many European coffee shops, this place starts as a grab 'n go coffee bar before transitioning to breakfast, to lunch, and finally dinner. Most of the suppliers are locally sourced and menu items range from generous sandwiches to pasta, burgers, and roast chicken. Caesars and other cocktails are served from 10 am and in the evening, the wine list is a showcase of local labels.

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

$$ | Vic West

Victoria's longest list of handcrafted beers is just one reason to trek over the Johnson Street Bridge or hop a Harbour Ferry to this Vic West waterfront pub. Canada's oldest licensed brewpub, and a popular hangout, Spinnakers relies almost exclusively on locally sourced ingredients for its top-notch casual fare. Opt for the pubby adults-only taproom, with its covered waterfront deck, double-sided fireplace, and wood-beamed ceilings, or dine in the all-ages waterfront restaurant. Either way you can enjoy a great selection of sharing plates alongside high-end pub grub such as mussels steamed in ale, or brick-oven pizzas (try the house-smoked wild salmon or the mushroom and beer). You can also stop by for breakfast, served from 8 am to 2 pm daily, or grab some house-made picnic fixings and malt vinegars at the take-away deli and bakery.

The Arbutus Room

$$$$ | Brentwood Bay

Locally sourced, west coast cuisine is paired with wines from neighboring vineyards at this lovely ocean-view restaurant in the Brentwood Bay Resort. Start with beet and asparagus salad, then opt for halibut with a touch of ginger or one of the beef, lamb, poultry, and vegetarian dishes. The resort's well-known sushi bar is a destination unto itself offering Dynamite Rolls (tempura prawn based) and a Westcoast Roll (tuna and salmon with avocado) among others. Liquid desserts, as in a Mocha Expresso Martini, are hot favorites among traditional choices of pies, mousses, and sorbets. A big fireplace, two-story-high windows, and a wonderful array of Canadian art warm the interior; outside, a heated patio takes in views of Saanich Inlet. A more casual marina-view pub offers burgers, pizzas, and craft beers at lunch and dinner.

The Fickle Fig


Everything here is farm-to-table or items come from local bakeries and orchards. Sandwiches are piled high with flavor, pizzas come directly from the brick oven, and shelves are stacked with produce such as jams, jellies, canned fruit, and veggies. The farm of this outfit is in North Saanich at 1780 Mills Road where meals are a bit more leisurely in a very bright bistro. As you might expect, we're talking pasture raised, non-gmo ingredients from start to finish.