Wind Cries Mary is truly a hidden gem in Victoria. Opened in 2019, just eight months before the Covid shutdown, the restaurant has become both a favorite for locals and a destination for those traveling to Victoria. Located downtown in Bastion Square, Wind Cries Mary is in the downstairs of the historic Law Chambers building.
Once you descend down the stairs you’re met with a dark and moody candlelit space. The canopied bar at the center of the room filled with local and international wine and spirits lets you know that this is the right place to come for a good drink. Explore farther into the restaurant and you’ll find an even cozier brick-walled room that, for some, will bring back memories of Camille’s, a Victoria staple that occupied the space for 27 years.
Head farther back still and you’ll find the best seats in the house, the hidden courtyard patio. Complete with string lights, a tree stretching high over the top of the tables and more brick walls on every side — you’ll feel like you’ve left Victoria and been transported to Montreal or New York.
Chef David Healy’s food complements the aesthetic of the room perfectly. The dishes are comforting, coastal, and very Vancouver Island. With a seasonal menu that can change daily, Chef David offers a little bit of everything. Think fried chicken (which happens to be their signature dish). Butter-poached ling cod. Vancouver Island greens. A massive 16-ounce aged ribeye.
There really is no limit, though the menu does tend to focus on seafood and showcasing the island’s abundant produce. Plus, each dish is designed to be shared. This was a thoughtful design, as Chef Healy wants to bring people together to “break bread” with one another, talk about the food, enjoy the dishes together like you would have at your grandmother’s table. Get to know a little more about Chef David.
Executive Chef David Healey
Q: Where are you from originally and how long have you been in Victoria?
Chef: I was born in Saskatchewan, grew up in Alberta and spent a good part of my career in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. I’ve been in Victoria for the last 5 years.
Q: You knew at nine years old you wanted to cook for a living. When did you actually start cooking?
Chef: I started working in restaurants when I was 15 years old. I went to culinary school at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology when I was 18 years old.
Q: What was the best lesson you learned at cooking school?
Chef: I had a Chef tell me the secret to good food was to buy great ingredients and don’t f*#k them up.
Q: Where else have you cooked professionally?
Chef: Vancouver, Abbotsford and Langley. Mostly in small restaurants that are sadly no longer in business. I’ve been slowly making my way left across the country until moving to Victoria where I fell in love with the city. This is home for me now.
Q: Why is the restaurant not rooted in a specific theme?
Chef: Because I think when you tie yourself to a single concept you limit your ability to be creative. Vancouver Island is so bright and flush with amazing ingredients, so I never want to limit myself to a single theme.
Q: How is the menu developed? Do you create each dish or is it a collaborative process with your team?
Chef: It starts with me wanting to work with a specific ingredient. Sometimes I have a defined idea of where I want to take it and other times I go to my team for a more collaborative approach. The dishes are always ingredient-driven.
Q: Do you have any specific ingredients you look forward to each season, especially in the fall and winter?
Chef: Every year tomatoes are one that excites me because we only use them when they’re in season. As we get closer to the fall and the summer draws to an end orchard fruits and squashes always become a thing I look forward to.