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Good Eats at Red Fish Blue Fish!
Good Eats at Red Fish Blue Fish!

One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at the SpringTide Office is, where are the best places to eat (and drink) in Downtown Victoria. So, we decided to ask the crew about their favourite restaurants, and this is what they said. Along with all the standard stuff you’d expect in a blog of this type, we’ve also included some neat tips from the crew to help you get the most of your visit!

The best breakfast in town!

Shine Cafe
1548 Fort Street, Victoria BC
(250) 595 2133

There are a few good breakfast places in town but our crew have a clear favourite: Shine Cafe. Shine serves up a huge range of cooked breakfasts including 10 different styles of eggs benedict, huge omelettes and creative daily specials. Crew favourites include ‘Burrito Del Soul’, a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, refried beans, avocado and caramelised onions, and the ‘Tree Planter’ omelette filled with creamy brie, pesto, spinach, mushrooms and yam. If you’re not a breakfast person you can always drop by for lunch and take advantage of their awesome burgers!

Crew tip: This place can get pretty busy on weekends (especially in summer), so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time for breakfast, just in case you have to wait for a table.

A morning coffee before your tour…

Paradiso Di Stelle
10 Bastion Square, Victoria BC 
(250) 920-7266 

Whether you like your coffee steaming hot, flavoured with caramel or poured over ice, Paradiso has got a drink for you. This little Italian style café offers plenty of drink options (including draft beer), as well as plenty of quick meal options. Daily specials include pasta, soups, salads and paninis, not to mention the delicious rosemary-ham and cheese croissants they offer for breakfast.

Crew tip: SpringTide Whale Watchers receive 10% off drinks at Paradiso on the day of their trip. Just ask for a discount voucher when you check in at the SpringTide office. 

A quick bite before or after your whale watch…

The Joint
1219 Wharf St, Victoria BC
(250) 389-2226

For a quick bit to eat that will surely fill you up, you have to visit The Joint. They always have a great selection of fresh pizzas, made with quality ingredients, including 100% real dairy cheeses and homemade organic whole-wheat pizza dough. The great thing about The Joint is it also caters to the gluten-free crowd, featuring a range of toppings on a gluten-free rice crust. At $3.75 a slice (2 for $6 or 3 for $9) and located just down the street from our office, it is the perfect option for a delicious and budget-friendly lunch or dinner.

Crew tip: The house-made Chipotle Ranch Dip is absolutely delicious (and self-serve). Try some on your pizza – you won’t regret it!

Brunch, lunch or dinner…

Pagliacci’s Restaurant
Broad & Fort Street, Victoria, BC
(250) 386-1662

Pagliacci’s is a great casual dining option, especially if you love pasta. SpringTide Naturalist and Guest Services Representative Fiona says that the “Sophia” is simply to die for. A creamy blend of pasta, white wine and seafood – you can’t go wrong! They also offer a great range of salads, steaks and specialties, such as meatballs and wild pan-seared salmon.

Crew tip: Reservations are only available of parties of 6 or more for the 10:00 am, 11:30 am and 5:15 pm sittings. It’s a busy spot, so if you’re a smaller group make sure arrive a little earlier than you plan to eat in order to allow some time for your table to become available.

Vancouver Island beers

Canoe Brew Pub
450 Swift St, Victoria, BC
(250) 361-1940

Okay we’ll admit it; this pick is more about the beer and less about food! But having saying that, this place has a great food menu and is a “must see” for insight into Vancouver Island’s AMAZING craft beer scene!

This excellent brewpub is one of our favourites and made the cut for more than one reason. To start, they have a great selection of handcrafted beer, including a stellar IPA! They have a separate dining area if you want to bring the kids along and feature live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. While they specialize in delectable beers, the food menu is also worth noting, featuring a wide range of seasonal share plates and hearty mains, as well as a full gluten-free menu!

Crew tip: The patio is absolutely gorgeous, so try to visit on a nice sunny day so you can make the most of the view and atmosphere! It can be a little cooler than you would expect, but if you forget a sweater, they provide cosy blankets for you.

Fish and Chips by the wharf

Red Fish Blue Fish
1006 Wharf St, Victoria, BC
(250) 298-6877

Red Fish Blue Fish needs no introduction, as it is perhaps the most well-known and iconic eatery in Victoria. Serving up fresh Halibut, Salmon and Cod, along with seafood Tacones, sandwiches and specials – this place has secured itself a reputation as the best fish and chips in town. Once you’ve ordered take advantage of the outdoor waterfront location and enjoy the view as you watch the boats and floatplanes go by. Our only advice: get there quickly and try it all, because their hours change according to the season and they are closed for November, December, January.

Crew tip: If you visit between 11.30am and 4.30pm in the summer you can expect to wait between 45 minutes and an hour for your food. It is best to visit in the evenings when the crowd has died down, or even better, visit at quieter times of the year, such as April and October.

Pub Grub

Darcy’s Pub
1127 Wharf St, Victoria, BC
(250) 380-1322

What can we say…Darcy’s is awesome and has been the stage for many SpringTide gatherings over the years. We absolutely love this place and recommend it to anyone looking for some great ‘pub grub’, good selection of local beers and (wait for it….) LIVE MUSIC EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK! Food wise, we recommend anything served with fries (the seasoning makes them absolutely irresistible), the Potstickers or Tuna Tataki for something light, and the Quinoa Veggie Wrap for something a little more filling. Other things to love about Darcy’s include, multiple TV’s around the bar for optimal sports viewing, the outside patio (perfect on sunny days) and the monthly menu specials at just $11.27 between 11am – 3pm!

Crew tip: For a limited time only, Darcy’s is offering half price appys between 3pm-9pm, Sunday to Thursday. This is an amazing deal, so make sure you get in quick and make the most of it while it lasts!

Seafood! Seafood! Seafood!

Nautical Nellies
1001 Wharf St, Victoria
(250) 380-2260

This place has a fully stocked oyster bar – what else needs to be said! You won’t be disappointed with Nautical Nellies if you’re looking for fresh (and sustainably caught) seafood. It’s not only the oyster bar that’s made Nellies a crew favourite – this place also has an amazing sushi menu, including classic sushi rolls, sashimi and nigiri. If you’re not crazy about seafood don’t worry. Nautical Nellies also has a good steak menu and plenty of delicious sides!

Crew tip: If you enjoy a little bubby with your Oysters, drop by on wine Wednesday – it’s $10 off wine and bubbly.

Ferris’ Oyster Bar
536 Yates St, Victoria, BC
(250) 382-2344

Comfortable. Cosy. Delicious. Three words that sum up Ferris’ Oyster Bar! Ferris’ offers a full oyster menu featuring an array of natural, smoked, fried and baked oysters! But it doesn’t stop there; this place has a huge menu packed with tasty appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, mains, desserts and plenty of gluten-free options. While everyone loves the food at Ferris’, it is the atmosphere that makes it special. The high ceilings, brick walls and wooden floors make it the perfect place to warm up on a chilly day.

Crew tip: If its oysters you want, don’t miss the ‘buck a shuck’ special Monday-Friday between 3 and 5pm!

A nice place for dinner…

515 Yates St, Victoria, BC

Fiamo feels more like a European bistro than a local restaurant with its authentic Italian racing bikes hanging from the bare-brick walls and a rustic, yet sophisticated menu. For classic Italian flavours done well, and a classy yet not pretentious atmosphere, head to Fiamo. The steamed mussels, caprese salad and shaved prosciutto pizza topped with figs and goat cheese are perfect examples of this restaurant’s commitment to tried and tested combinations that taste absolutely divine.

Crew tip: Fiamo is a restaurant and bar, so it’s open until around 2pm on weekends! The warm atmosphere and extended hours make it a great place for a late dinner and drinks with friends.

The Keg
500 Fort Street, Victoria BC
(250) 386-7789

Despite being a chain restaurant The Keg has impressed our crew time and time again. The service is always impeccable and the steak and seafood combinations are reliably cooked to perfection. If you’re in town looking for a ‘surf and turf’ with a little more class than average, The Keg on Fort Street won’t let you down.

Crew Tip: Book ahead and ask for a table by the window. Our crew have enjoyed many meals looking over the harbour at the absolutely stunning sunsets! 

A cocktail (or three)…

Veneto (at the Rialto Hotel)
1450 Douglas St, Victoria, BC
(250) 383-7310

If you want a good drink (and we mean a really a good drink) Veneto is a stylish and sophisticated option with a seemingly endless cocktail list. They also have a delicious menu of share plates and tapas, well worth ordering with your favourite drink. Whether you want to dress up and be seen or just fade in the background and take it all in, Veneto is the perfect location!

Crew tip: Try the ‘secret burger’ it always changing and always amazing (trust us – we’ve had our fair share of them!)

A sweet treat

Bon Macaron
1012 Broad St, Victoria
(778) 265-0850

This place is seriously amazing! If you like macarons you cannot go past Bon Macaron! Owners David Boetti and Yann Fougere both originate from France and certainly know how to make perfect macarons every time. With a crunchy outer layer, soft chewy centres and a huge range of flavours, Bon Macaroon is the perfect sweet treat for any occasion!

Crew tip: This place always has a huge range of flavours to choose from. Do your self a favour and try some of the more ‘out there’ flavours like Asian Fusion, Bacon or Pineapple and Basil – trust us, they are delicious!

No matter your budget or food preferences, Downtown Victoria serves up some of the best food in British Colombia – you’ve just got to know where to go. We hope this blog helps you find your way to best places to eat (and drink) in Downtown Victoria!

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