Best Restaurants in Victoria, B.C. to Try This Summer (2024)

restaurant dinner
Restaurant

A West Coast gem, Victoria is often praised for its picturesque harbor, historic architecture, and tepid weather. But the food scene here is equally as enticing. And the city’s not without its culinary cred. 

The British Columbia capital is the scene of Canada’s first brewpub. The nation’s first chocolatier opened up shop along the cobblestone streets. It’s been recognized as one of the best places to enjoy high tea like a royal, is home to the oldest Chinatown in Canada, and its neighboring wine region has been not so silently earning attention. 

When it comes to the best restaurants in Victoria B.C. — it’s not one cuisine that reigns supreme. Rather, it’s the impressively well-produced variety. The following are some of our favorites to try this summer.

What’s more, getting to Victoria is fast and beautiful with a 45-minute flight from Kenmore and Lake Union or a 30-minute flight from Friday Harbor Marina— meaning less time traveling and more time eating!

Top Victoria B.C. Restaurants with a View

AURA Waterfront Restaurant + Patio

Sweeping views of Victoria’s Inner Harbour (including the Inner Harbour Airport where Kenmore Air docks) are paired with a stylish vibe and globally inspired menu at AURA Waterfront Restaurant + Patio. Nestled within the iconic Inn at Laurel Point, dishes here are vibrant — think burrata paired with roasted beets and rhubarb, crispy oyster mushrooms in a hot and sour glazed, and seared scallops with stir fried greens.

Vista 18

Vista 18 Steak
Vista 18 Fish
Vista 18 Sunset

Views on views on views. Located on the 18th floor of Chateau Victoria, Vista 18 is the most elevated restaurant in the city. Plan to come just before sunset, when you’ll be treated to the city scape turning from glowing gold and to twinking lights. Enjoy fun sharables, like crispy squid with lemongrass garlic yogurt and the house-made potato chips. Pay close attention to the seafood, including the blackened steelhead that comes with a bright street corn hash. But whatever you do, save room for dessert. The chocolate tart with fresh charred caramel marshmallow is not to be missed!

Spinnakers

The oldest gastropub in all of Canada, Spinnakers has been making craft beer since 1984. Their waterfront brewery and gastropub is nestled beside Lime Bay, just a 25-minute walk from the Inner Harbour Airport. This popular hangout destination focuses on sharable plates made with local ingredients. For the best view, sit on the covered waterfront deck. 

Can’t Miss Victoria B.C. Cocktail Bars

Clive’s Classic Lounge

clives cocktails
clives appetizers
Clives Pork Chop

Swanky, sexy, and all together enticing — Clive’s Classic Lounge is the modern day equivalent of a speakeasy. Tucked off Chateau Victoria’s lobby, patrons (19-and-over) are welcomed into the moody enclave by the removal of a plush robe strung across the entrance. ‘The cocktail’ reigns supreme here, with award winning drinks crafted by the brilliant mixologists behind the bar. But don’t let your libations keep you from the food. Though the menu options are slim in comparison to the dozens of cocktails, the focus on locally-sourced ingredients are specially crafted to pair with whatever you’re sipping. Of particular note are the beef carpaccio lettuce wraps — a unique twist on a leafy app loaded with bright acidity from the pickled onions and a touch of heat from the chimichurri. 

Wind Cries Mary

Fried Chicken at Wind Cries Mary
Tomatoes at Wind Cries Mary

While it’s sometimes touted as a hidden gem, the secret is definitely out about Wind Cries Mary. The basement restaurant and bar has earned numerous accolades for its inventive, seasonal cuisine. While the historic setting is rumored to be haunted, any said spirits are clearly bringing a stylish vibe worthy of date-night. Family-style service is designed for sharing — and with menu options like yarrow marrow duck breast, roasted long cod, and hand rolled ricotta gundi — you’re going to want to sample a wide breadth of options.

The Courtney Room

The Courtney Room Cocktails
The Courtney Room Bar

The ultra posh Courtney Room is in keeping with its ritzy Magnolia Hotel home. Bright and open, the space combines the ethos of Parisian simplicity with the comforts of a French bistro. The menus here are as thoughtfully crafted as the soaring ceilings and the art nouveau-style light fixtures. Happy hour is considered particularly attractive, earning the dining establishment Yam Magazine’s 2023 Best Happy Hour. But whether you imbibe and nibble from 2 to 5 or you splurge for a celebration-worthy meal, you won’t be disappointed. The menus here focus on coastal offerings, both in food and drink. Local, seasonal ingredients reign supreme, with local lamb, PNW fish, and hand-forged herbs woven throughout.  

Top Bargain Places to Eat in Victoria B.C.

Red Fish Blue Fish

fish and chips at red fish blue fish
Red Fish Blue Fish Destination BCReuben Krabbe
Photo by Destination BC/Reuben Krabbe

Given Victoria’s seaside location, fish and chips aren’t an unusual menu sighting, but this harborside eatery has solidly established themselves as the best battered seafood destination in the B.C. capital. Deeply committed to sustainability, Red Fish Blue Fish only uses Oceanwise seafood in their tempura battered fish, hand-rolled tacos, and buns. Operated out of a repurposed shipping container, barstool seating here is available along the dock on a first-come basis. If there’s an unseasonably chilly day, consider adding a cup of clam chowder to your order. It’s a great way to keep warm while your fish and chips are frying!

Nubo Kitchen + Bar

Nubo

Specializing in Japanese tapas, Nubo is so popular they have three locations scattered throughout downtown Victoria — the most modern of which is Nubo Kitchen + Bar. But don’t expect a ‘chain’ vibe. The locally owned eatery is dishing up spectacular food and modern cocktails. The best bang for your buck is lunch, when Nubo offers its TEISHOKU menu — a Japanese style set meal that’s composed of pre-selected dishes. Each offering comes with miso soup, okazu, salad, 3 pieces of tempura and a main of your choice.

Bard & Banker

Located in the historic building at the corner of Fort and Government, Bard & Banker has a daily happy hour (2-5 PM) that’s one of the best deals in town. Originally a bank, the interior is as elegant as its stone exterior. Come here for a cheap pint and a bite (the cauliflower bites are fabulous). If live music is your thing, consider coming back in the evening when bands perform daily. 

Best Brunch Spots in Victoria BC

Jam Cafe

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes at Jam Cafe in Victoria BC
Jam Cafe in Victoria BC

The all-day egg-extravaganza at Jam Cafe is the kind of dressed up early-day event worth getting up to enjoy. It has a hipster vibe, to be sure — brick-walled and sporting a collection of creative breakfast-inspired cocktails. And the menu is scrumptious. Eggs Benedict comes with fillings like pork belly and Nashville hot chicken. Pancakes range from s’mores inspired to cinnamon bun swirled. Hearty breakfast bowls are tipped with sunny side eggs. And the vegans among your party haven’t been overlooked, with more than one plant-based selection. 

Fuego Old Town Eatery

Caesar at El Fuego
Breakfast at El Fuego

The name’s not lying. Fuego Old Town Eatery brings the heat with their habanero house-made hot sauce. While best tested in small doses, don’t overlook the orange slurry. It’s loaded with flavor — as is the whole menu. Brunch here is the star, whether enjoyed in the colorful dining area or sunny patio out back. In keeping with Victoria’s Benny culture, they offer a selection of eggs Benedict — the most popular of which is the sweet and savory El Porco Benny made with juicy slow-roasted pulled pork and caramelized apples on crispy papas patties topped with smoky chipotle hollandaise. 

But the real breakfast star is the Conquistador — potato pancakes loaded with chorizo and sunny side up eggs. Pair it with a spicy bloody mary and you’re in business! 

Nourish Kitchen & Cafe

Golden Benny at Nourish

Farm-to-table breakfast takes center stage at Nourish Kitchen & Cafe — where cozy food is served in a heritage James Bay home. The veggie-loaded menu includes a vegetarian twist on eggs benedict, including a turmeric cashew hollandaise that’ll make you weak in the knees. Equally beloved are the oatmeal pancakes loaded with fruit compote, house whipped cream, and pumpkin seeds. Want to sample both? They offer a Half & Half — a health helping of both the Benny and the pancake!

Victoria B.C.’s Tea Scene

Fairmont Empress 

Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Empress

Undoubtedly one of the most iconic landmarks in Victoria, the Fairmont Empress has been serving tea since 1908. The grand tradition is so popular, the Empress serves more than half a million cups of tea a year!

Tea service is held in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge, a grand space where English tradition and modern décor have been brought together with lavish flare. The feast includes the signature Empress scones, clotted creams, and dainty finger sandwiches. Twenty-one of the finest loose leaf teas are available for the choosing — not the least of which is the Empress’ own blend. The dress code calls for sophisticated, smart casual attire. Flip flops and bikinis are not welcome.

Murchie’s Fine Tea & Coffee

Murchie’s Fine Tea & Coffee doesn’t make any world-renowned lists — but you’d be remiss not to at least visit. Another historic Victoria institution, the tea importer has been importing and blending tea for more than 100 years in downtown Victoria. In addition to selling their loose leaf teas in bulk, they have a lavish selection of tea-related wares and a large counter-style service of baked goods and hearty soups and sandwiches. 

The Butchart Gardens

Tea at The Butchart Gardens

A world-famous flower destination, the Dining Room Restaurant at The Butchart Gardens is a floral event. Service features a variety of delicacies — scones, sausage rolls, and other savory treats ong with rotating sweets like trifles, torts, and carrot cake — along with nine loose tea options from which to choose.

More Can’t Miss Restaurants in Victoria B.C.

10 Acres

When it comes to local, fresh ingredients — 10 Acres is on the vine. And root. And the stem. Most of their menu is grown from their own organic farm located nearby. Seafood and proteins are sourced from local farmers. And locally brewed beers are showcased on tap. And did we mention the handmade gelato? This place has it all. 

Pagliacci’s

Considered the pillar of Italian cuisine in Victoria, Pagliacci’s traditional dishes like a seafood loaded fettucini, beef stuffed tortellini, and buttermilk fried veal chops. Happy hour is a favorite here, as is the selection of live music Sundays through Thursdays from 8 PM to 10 PM. 

Little Jumbo

Little Jumbo Pouring a Drink
Little Jumbo Bar
Little Jumbo Neon Sign

Hidden down a hallway and marked by a neon elephant, Little Jumbo still feels like you’ve discovered a well-kept secret (despite the fact that it’s more than 10 years old). The drink menu features cocktail titles that roll off the tongue with a bit of jest (like ‘Brown My Butter’). And the food is a delectable tapas-style variety intended for sharing. Polenta fries come with a spicy chimichurri aioli. Crispy pork belly is topped with peach salsa. And, Quadra Island Clams come in a succulent white wine cream sauce that’s so good you might want to request more of the fresh bread for dipping. 

Ferris Oyster Bar

It’s a bit of an odd concept, to be sure. But somehow Ferris Oyster Bar pulls it off — three different restaurants all smashed into one. If fine dining is your thing, head into the heritage building where a seafood eatery awaits. Looking for something more casual? Opt for the summer patio’s oyster bar. Or maybe you want tapas and wine? They have you covered there too. Ultimately it all comes back to the oysters — shucked fresh and served up chilled. It’s really hard to go wrong with an oyster.  

Brasserie L’Ecole

Taking a seasonal approach to French cuisine, this downtown eatery is named after the old school building which it calls home. Walking the fine line between fancy and casual, Brasserie L’Ecole is the kind of place where you’ll feel at home, but also well taken care of. Reservations are not accepted and tables fill up fast — so arrive early. 

Dishes here are deeply satisfying, with a bent towards elevated comfort food. The moules frites are a constant crowd pleaser as are the rotating selection of prime steaks. Should a burger be your thing, the Brassier Burger is a double-fisting monstrosity worthy of a steakhouse. 

More Fun Things To Do In Victoria B.C.

Victoria BC Day Spas

Oak Bay Beach Hotel Mineral Pools
From aromatic steam rooms to rejuvenating massages, let your body relax and be restored at these premier day spas in Victoria BC and Vancouver Island.

Romantic Things To Do In Victoria BC

A couple on a hike during sunset at Gonzales Hill Regional Park. Photo by Destination BC and Hubert Kang.
If you’re looking to add some extra va va voom to your romantic Victoria getaway, we have you covered. This list includes date-worthy restaurants, scenic views, heart-thumping activities, and more! Photo by Destination BC and Hubert Kang.

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