Despite having a population of just 400,000, Victoria’s restaurant scene punches above its weight. But if you’re new to the city or just visiting, the number of options can make it hard to know where to eat in Victoria. Dozens of quaint cafes dot the downtown; perhaps nowhere in Canada will you get to experience high tea to such a high calibre. Decadent desserts and French pastries – is your mouth watering yet? 😉
In this post I’ll introduce you to 10 amazing places to eat in Victoria. I’ve tried to strike a balance between off-the-beaten-path and casual joints (like Imagine or the Fish Store), with fancier or iconic places (like the Empress).
Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants in Victoria
The Courtney Restaurant
The Courtney Restaurant is located downtown and has great views of Parliament. The menu only has a few items, the lion’s share of which is seafood or steak, but each dish is done to perfection and looks like a piece of art. Fair warning though – this place is super pricey.
The Courtney Room
619 Courtney St, V8W1B8 Victoria, BC, Canada
Imagine Studio Cafe
For something more low-key, try grabbing a coffee and snack from Imagine Studio Cafe. Imagine is located a little outside the main downtown core, near Fisherman’s Wharf. The cafe offers a wide selection of homemade baked goods, teas and espresso beverages. In front of where you order there are displays of small artwork pieces for purchase. I got a few beautiful cards, but there were also small sculptures and trinkets. I’d suggest coming in the morning, get a coffee and bannock, and sit in their garden patio.
Imagine: Studio Cafe
31 Erie St, Victoria, BC V8V 1P8, Canada
Lunch Restaurants in Victoria
The Fish Store
Hands down, I think the best place for lunch is the Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a quaint neighborhood of houseboats and restaurants right on the water. My favourite place there is The Fish Shop, which has several different dishes all made with local, freshly caught fish. The fish tacos are the best and I also loved the salon chowder. The fish and chips is a great classic too.
Nourish Kitchen & Cafe
Nourish is located a little outside downtown, near Fisherman’s Wharf (but not at the wharf) inside a beautiful 19th century heritage building. If you’re health conscious this is an excellent restaurant to check out. All the food is made with fresh and whole ingredients, but it’s so tasty that you’re non-health-conscious friends will definitely not complain.
225 Quebec Street,Victoria, BC, V8V 1W2,Canada
Dinner Restaurants in Victoria
This French restaurant is a true gem in the Victoria downtown. I think it has a little bit of a speakeasy vibe; exposed brick, low lighting and an old, polished wood bar. I highly recommend the Duck Breast or the Albacore Tuna. For dessert have the Mille Feuille – I’m not usually a fan of creamy desserts, but this one blew me away.
Little Jumbo Restaurant and Bar
Down the Hall, 506 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8W 1E6, Canada
If Italian food is more your fancy, be sure to check out Il Terrazzo. This cozy restaurant has tons of traditional Italian pizza, pasta and meat entrees. If you want to splurge go for the Australian lamp or the tenderloin. But really, anything with prosciutto or the pasta dishes will be excellent. Just be sure to leave room for a Creme Brulee or Panna Cotta for dessert.
555 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8W 1M2, Canada
Dessert in Victoria
Perverted Ice Cream
Perverted Ice Cream is located right across the road from the Fairmont Empress and Little Harbour. And it is home to some of the best soft-serve ice cream I’ve ever had. Vanilla or chocolate soft serve comes served on their classic black ice cream cones. What makes Perverted so good are the toppings – each ice cream has a theme of toppings piled high. I went with the salted caramel, which came with caramel sauce, crushed pretzels and a mini snickers bar.
Perverted Ice Cream
797 Thurlow Street, Vancouver, BC, V6E 3V5, Canada
La Roux Patisserie
If you like pastries you will love La Roux. They have the most beautiful (and delicious) French pastries I’ve ever seen. There are several flavours of macarons, and pastries like Tiramisu, Creme Brule, Brownies and two flavours of Eclairs. Although this is a dessert, come in the late morning and pair your treat with a cup of tea.
519, Fisgard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 1R3, Canada
Drinks in Victoria
Q at the Empress
This bar at the Empress is perhaps a bit overhyped and definitely overpriced, but the cocktails are too tasty for me not to recommend it. I absolutely love the Empress 75 (I still can’t get over that I paid $30 for a drink but it was one of the best cocktails of my life). The gin lemonade and sangria are great too.
Q At The Empress
721 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5, Canada
Bard & Banker
For more affordable drinks, head to Bard & Banker. The inside decor made me feel like I was in an episode of Mad Men. There is often live music on weekends and the drinks are good and very reasonably priced. They have an overwhelming number of cocktails and a huge variety of beer on tap.
Bard & Banker
1022 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1X7, Canada
Bonus: Afternoon Tea in Victoria
The Fairmont Empress is home to perhaps the fanciest Afternoon Tea in Canada. I first went here when I was a young girl and felt it was the height of sophistication. Finger sandwiches towered high on fancy plates, black tea in delicate china or perhaps a glass of bubbles – The Empress continues to be a major attraction and excellent way to spend the afternoon.
721, Government Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1W5, Canada.
Where to Eat in Victoria?
I hope this post has helped you to narrow down the list of restaurants you want to check out in Victoria. Happy eating!
About Mikaela, the Author
Mikaela is the voice behind Voyageur Tripper, a blog dedicated to outdoor adventure travel. Mikaela spent several seasons working as a hiking and canoeing guide throughout Canada. She now balances weekend adventuring with a full time job, and writes stories, resources and travel guides for her blog. Follow Mikaela on Instagram and Facebook.