Victoria Restaurants

Victoria has a tremendous number and variety of restaurants for such a small city; this fact, and the glorious pantry that is Vancouver Island—think local fish, seafood, cheese, and organic fruits and veggies—keeps prices down (at least compared to Vancouver) and standards up. As an island, there's a self-sufficiency vibe, and the collaborative foodie ethos between chefs, producers and suppliers is palpable. Restaurants in the region are generally casual. Smoking is banned in all public places, including restaurant patios, in Greater Victoria and on the Southern Gulf Islands. Victorians tend to dine early—restaurants get busy at 6 and many kitchens close by 9. Pubs, lounges, and the few open-late places mentioned here are your best options for an after-hours nosh.

Wild salmon, locally made cheeses, Pacific oysters, organic vegetables, local microbrews, and wines from the island's farm-gate wineries (really small wineries are allowed to sell their wines "at the farm gate") are tastes to watch for. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered to in this health-conscious town, and seafood choices go well beyond traditional fish-and-chips. You may notice an "Ocean Wise" symbol on a growing number of menus: this indicates that the restaurant is committed to serving only sustainably harvested fish and seafood.

Some of the city's best casual (and sometimes not-so-casual) fare is served in pubs—particularly in brewpubs; most have an all-ages restaurant as well as an adults-only bar area.

Afternoon tea is a Victoria tradition, as is good coffee—despite the Starbucks invasion, there are plenty of fun and funky local caffeine purveyors around town.

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  • 1. Aura

    $$$$ | Downtown | American

    When an award-winning chef names "imagination" as his most treasured possession, you know the food here is likely to be creative, if not exquisite...Read More

  • 2. Brasserie L'École

    $$$ | Downtown | French

    French-country cooking shines at this informal Chinatown bistro, and the historic room—once a schoolhouse for the Chinese community—evokes a...Read More

  • 3. Café Brio

    $$$$ | Downtown | Canadian

    This intimate yet bustling Italian villa–style room has long been a Victoria favorite, mainly because of its Mediterranean-influenced atmosphere...Read More

  • 4. Olo Restaurant

    $$$ | Downtown | Canadian

    Victoria's foodies rave about this small Chinatown bistro that serves up some of the city's most innovative fare, simply yet superbly. Many...Read More

  • 5. Barb's Fish & Chips

    $$ | Downtown | Seafood

    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...Read More

  • 6. be love

    $$ | Downtown | Vegetarian

    A stylish crowd of locals tucks into black bean burgers, sweet potato sandwiches, pad thai, asparagus risotto, and plates piled high with farm...Read More

  • 7. Bin 4 Burger Lounge

    $$ | Downtown | Burger

    This hip little burger joint elevates the humble patty with local ingredients and naturally raised meats, serving up intriguing burger combos...Read More

  • 8. Blue Crab Seafood House

    $$$ | Downtown | Seafood

    Fresh-daily seafood and expansive harbor views make this airy James Bay hotel restaurant a popular lunch and dinner spot. Signature dishes include...Read More

  • 9. Canoe Brewpub

    $$ | Downtown | Canadian

    The lofty windows of this power station–turned–brewpub open onto one of Victoria's best waterfront patios, overlooking the kayaking and ferry...Read More

  • 10. Ferris' Grill & Oyster Bar

    $$ | Downtown | Eclectic

    The wooden booths at the back of this dim, narrow room belie just how much fun this place can be with its upbeat atmosphere and hop-to-it staff...Read More

  • 11. Il Terrazzo

    $$$ | Downtown | Italian

    A cute redbrick terrace edged with potted greenery, and warmed by fireplaces and overhead heaters, makes Il Terrazzo—tucked away off Waddington...Read More

  • 12. J & J Wonton Noodle House

    $$ | Downtown | Chinese

    Fresh house-made noodles and wontons draw local office workers to this long-standing Chinese spot. Szechuan and Cantonese specialties, from...Read More

  • 13. LURE Restaurant & Bar

    $$ | Vic West | Canadian

    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...Read More

  • 14. Marina Restaurant

    $$$ | Oak Bay | Seafood

    This circular room with art deco rosewood booths and a 180-degree view over the sailboats of Oak Bay Marina has a chef with a flair for seafood...Read More

  • 15. Pagliacci's

    $$$ | Downtown | Italian

    Crowded, frenetic, and buckets of fun, this New York–meets-Victoria trattoria has trumpeted showbiz since it opened in 1979, from the signed...Read More

  • 16. Pig BBQ Joint

    $ | Downtown | Barbecue

    The food's as no-nonsense as the name at this funky little Downtown barbecue corner that dispenses with the niceties of table service and plates...Read More

  • 17. ReBar Modern Food

    $$ | Downtown | Vegetarian

    Bright and casual, with lime-green walls, hippie nuances, and a splashy Bollywood poster, this kid-friendly café in Bastion Square is the ...Read More

  • 18. Restaurant Matisse

    $$$$ | Downtown | French

    The gracious owner greets each guest personally at this tiny gem of a traditional French restaurant, where white linens, fresh flowers, and...Read More

  • 19. Seagrille Grill & Sushi Bar

    $$$ | Brentwood Bay | Canadian

    Local seafood paired with wines from neighboring vineyards shine at this lovely ocean-view restaurant in the Brentwood Bay Resort. Start with...Read More

  • 20. Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

    $$ | Vic West | Canadian

    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...Read More

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