If you're in Vancouver and you have some time to spare, we highly recommend heading over to Vancouver Island for a quick get-away. Particularly if you are a foodie!
The largest, and most Southern city on the island is Victoria, which also happens to be the capital of British Columbia. It is just a short ferry ride from Vancouver city.
Downtown Victoria has a wonderfully quaint feel; old style street lamps, cobbled streets, boutique style restaurants, shops in renovated old brick buildings and the oldest Chinatown in Canada.
The Island boasts a strong "Farm to Table" food scene, where establishments are proud of their locally sourced ingredients and products. And along with a vibrant dining scene, there's lots of other things to do and see on the island, including museums, beaches, forest, parliamentary buildings, "book towns" and more.
In just a short time in Victoria, we managed to find some absolutely amazing food and coffee. Here is a guide to give you some ideas of where to eat if you're heading over there.
OLO was an unforgettable, complete "foodie" experience. A combination of local ingredients, incredible work in the kitchen and excellent service resulted in outstanding dining experience.
We had the Kitchen (meat inclusive) and Vegetable (non-meat) tasting menus, with wine pairings. Each beautifully presented plate had perfectly balanced flavours, and the server was extremely knowledgeable about the menu and matching wines.
Go if you... Have time to sit and enjoy; like to try new foods and tastes; are happy to go with the flow and trust the chefs in kitchen; want a real taste of local food.
On our first night, we decided to stroll around near where we were staying to find somewhere to have dinner, and came across Fiamo.
The small, dimly lit restaurant was a cosy and warm respite from the cold, wintery night outside.
Offering primarily Italian style food, it was delicious and ultimately comforting food. We tried pasta and risotto, and they were both amazing.
Go if you... want a romantic dinner; want a relaxing and comforting meal; love italian food.
NOTE: The dim-lighting was great for atmosphere, but not for photos; sorry for the dark photos!
Famoso Neopolitan Pizzeria
Famoso was another good spot we found while walking around in the snow. It was warm, well-lit and had great, big windows offering an excellent street view.
The food was delicious; traditional style pizzas and other italian food. Simple, tasty and with good service.
Go if you... love pizza; want a relaxing meal; like italian food; want a group or family meal.
Red Fish Blue Fish
We wanted to try some seafood while over on the island, as we had heard it was a must! So we did a bit of research and decided to try this food truck/shack on the waterfront.
It is set up well, and they have a good size menu with lots on offer. We just went with the standard fish and chips, which were good - and got some deep fried pickles to try on the side. We'd definitely be interested to try more of their menu next time.
We were there in Winter, so it was cold on the waterfront in the outdoor seating area. In other seasons it would be a sweet spot, but in Winter make sure you wrap up warm before heading there!
Go if you... like sea food; like fried things e.g. pickles; want a casual, outdoor meal; want to enjoy the waterfront.
In the search for some Japanese food in Victoria, we came across Park's Kitchen. It's a Japanese/Korean fusion restaurant, with lots of options on the menu, and really attentive, caring servers.
The food was made quickly, and it was really tasty and fresh.
Go if you... love Korean food; love Japanese food; like to spice it up; want a casual lunch or dinner; want a group or family meal.
Some other worthy mentions...
- The Bubble Tea Place - China Town
A really cool, zen spot with some delicious and freshly made bubble tea - perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up
- La Roux Patisserie - China Town
We missed the chance to try this place, but we were mesmerized by the window display! The treats look divine, and we will definitely try it next time we're in town
Any other places we should visit in Victoria, or elsewhere on the island?
Let us know here! We'd love to go back over to taste and explore some more...