A Taste Of Victoria – Where To Eat In British Columbia’s Capital
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Touted as the most British place in all of Canada and named after the Queen who made the country a colony, the city of Victoria reflects the values of the lady herself; rather modest, genteel and pleasantly old fashioned but with a power that belies its appearance – this is the capital of British Columbia, the seat of power and a force to be reckoned with.
And from a food lover’s point of view there’s far too much on offer in this pint-sized city to tackle in the few days the average tourist spends here, so do yourself a favour and allow plenty of time to savour these Victorian highlights…
My foodie tour of Victoria barely scratched the surface of the eating (and drinking) options in city but here are a few of the places that piqued my palate, from cooking classes to afternoon tea…
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Cooking Classes With The London Chef
There can be no better example of the draw of Vancouver Island than the talented people who’ve come from all over the world to set up flourishing food-based businesses here.
Step forward The London Chef – Dan Hayes, originally a Londoner as the company name suggests, now juggles a schedule of ever-changing food and cooking classes in a modern and spacious purpose-built kitchen-classroom with a successful café/deli and a catering business in the capital.
Authentic Innovative French Macaroons At Bon Macaron Patisserie
When macaroons come in flavours like hummus and poppy seed, curry mango chutney and bacon and cream cheese it makes them pretty memorable – though the French owners who started this adorable shop also offer more traditional sweet flavours such as vanilla cheesecake and salted caramel.
Artisan Coffee At Fernwood Coffee Roasting Company
You know the hipsters are in town when there’s a queue round the block for carefully hand-blended coffee, so park your fixie bike round the back and settle in at Fernwood’s café, the Parsonage, for an award-wining espresso and a locally-sourced snack, then buy a bag of beans roasted on site, to take home with you.
Delectable Tea At Silk Road
If tea not coffee is your poison you’ll want to stop in at Silk Road, a veritable tea emporium selling every contraption a serious tea connoisseur could wish for, some tempting crockery, and most importantly a hand-picked selection of tea blends from the around the world. If there’s a tea lover in your life this is where you should stock up on gifts.
If it can be done with tea they’re doing it here – from the tea spa to tastings and what founder Daniela Cubelic doesn’t know about tea frankly isn’t worth knowing.
Fine Dining at Ulla Restaurant
Chef Brad Holmes is at the helm of his own eaterie whose unpretentious, welcoming and casual air belies the genuinely innovative and exciting food that will leave you running out of adjectives to describe what’s on your plate.
What’s more it’s been done in a city where the dining scene isn’t about fancy food or Michelin stars which just adds to the feeling that you’ve stumbled upon something really special, almost secret.
The Pedaler’s Food Focused Bicycle Tours
Joining cool bike tour operation The Pedelar for one of their signature cycling tours of the city streets is an unparalleled way to explore this two-wheels-good destination.
The consumption continues with tours named Beans & Bites, Eat.Drink.Pedal and Hoppy Hour, and the great guides turn what would already be a fun day out into an utterly memorable one.
Victoria’s most celebrated Italian restaurant – and named best Italian in BC in a recent food guide – was originally founded in the late 1990’s and pulled in the punters despite a less than salubrious location, but all that changed 4 years ago when Chef Peter Zambri took his celebrated authentic Italian cuisine to a suitably swish new setting in the glass-fronted modern Atrium building in the heart of downtown Victoria.
The White Heather Tea Room
Oak Bay is the genteel and village-vibed enclave of Victoria that plays host to the most British aspects of Vancouver Island culture so its no surprise to find an Afternoon Tea haven in the shape of the White Heather Tea Room.
As authentic as it comes, complete with delicate china, doilies, and proper tiered cake stands – containing the right proportions of both savoury and sweet treats – and all washed down with a thorough selection of teas and accompanied by copies of Hello Magazine all the way from across the pond; this is the place to go if you’re yearning for a taste of the UK.
Where To Stay For Foodies – Hotel Rialto
A contemporary boutique hotel with all the touches you’d expect from a modern property yet delightfully housed in a 1912 heritage building in the heart of downtown Victoria, a short walk from the city’s boutiques and attractions.
The hotel also plays host to one of the area’s most buzzing and atmospheric cocktail bars; the Veneto lounge serves tapas as well as expertly mixed and innovative cocktails like The Winterfell, described as a cocktail of fire and ice in which Bourbon holds court with apricot, lemon and white balsamic reduction.
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