Summer seems to have finally arrived in the garden city and we’ve been out on a handful of food-related bike tours in Victoria already. Flowers are blooming, everything is green, and the refreshing sea breeze combined with what we call “hot” (about 20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit) make for excellent cycling conditions.
Nothing seems to go together as well as cycling, snacks, and tasty beverages. Would you agree? And Victoria, BC is a foodie paradise—we have the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada! With a great growing season, you’ll find a lot of fresh, local fare, and seafood, of course. Victoria also boasts more than 15 local or close-by breweries, cideries, and craft spirits producers, so be sure to ask your waiter or bartender what’s local (you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise!).
We always recommend asking our friendly Bike Tours Victoria guides about their favourite places, but here’s a shortlist we’ve compiled to help you make some “hard” decisions.
Charlotte & the Quail and its sister restaurant, Nourish
Charlotte & the Quail is one of our favourite spots—and our destination for the Harbour to Farm tour. Located in the luscious and green Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, its garden setting and delicious local (and healthy!) food is the perfect accompaniment to a bike ride up the local Galloping Goose and Lochside bike trails.
Nourish not only has a very convenient location for cruise ship visitors but some of the best food around. Go for brunch and try the cashew hollandaise.
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Food is what connects people with local culture and we created the Harbour to Farm Tour to connect and highlight our amazing island culture. Exploring the beautiful coastal bike trails you'll wind your way to a secret garden where local gardeners highlight the amazing variety of plants that grow in our temperate climate as well as explore the bounty of what island farm to table food culture can create at Charlotte and the Quail one of the islands best kept local foodie secrets. An amazing island adventure set at a leisurely pace with stops to take in the local scenery and eat at one of Victoria's best kept secrets. - - - - - - #instagood #photooftheday #nature #instadaily #travel #beauty #landscape #instacool #wanderlust #travelgram #bike #cycling #bikelife #bicycle #bikes #cyclinglife #instabike #biking #bicicleta #cyclingphotos #pnw #ExploreBC #ExploreCanada #pacificnorthwest #beautifulbc #vancouverisland #yyj #pnwlife #hellobc #foodie
Fine dining to die for
If you’re here for a special occasion or just really love good food, there are a few favourites you should visit.
OLO in Victoria’s Chinatown district has a must-try tasting menu, always changing, and fabulous desserts. Definitely a date-night must.
Little Jumbo’s, inspired by modern-day mixology, serves up beautifully-prepared dishes and cocktails you’ll want to write home about.
Sharing is caring, and Tapa Bar is the perfect place to spend an evening with a significant other or a group of family and friends. It’s located conveniently at the centre of downtown but tucked away on a side street—if it’s warm enough out, try the patio!
Named Victoria’s favourite Japanese place, Nubo Japanese Tapas is another great place to share plates. Mango Lemonade Roll, anyone? They even deliver through Skip the Dishes.
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Are you passionate about beautiful, locally sourced, low impact, high flavour, community minded, terroir driven cuisine? . Do you take pride in telling the stories of the ingredients and producers we represent? . In Chinook Jargon, OLO means hungry, but what does the word mean to us? . If these questions spark your interest, and you happen to be an experienced service professional, we might be looking for you! . We're hiring! . Send your resume to info at olorestaurant and tell us why you are interested by these questions. . . . #werehiring #oloeats #olodrinks #farmtotable #farmtoglass #slowfood #foodlove #drinklove #victoriabc #vancouverisland #serverlife #yyjeats #foodgram #instafood
Fast food done the right way: Tacofino & Big Wheel Burger
Fast food shouldn’t mean compromising quality for convenience. Local taco joint (from Vancouver Island surf-town, Tofino), Tacofino, serves up delicious tacos. Ingredients are fresh, service is fast, and you’ll find one of the best Caesar cocktails in town here (like a Bloody Mary, but better). Expect a bit of a lineup but the wait is worth it.
Big Wheel Burger is our answer to modern day fast food, but way better. This is a locally-owned burger joint with fresh local toppings, locally sourced beef and multiple veggie burger options as well. We think they have some of the best french fries and milkshakes on the island (the fruit loop milkshake is a personal favourite). Plus, they focus on sustainability—everything on your tray is compostable, recyclable or edible.
Vegetarians rejoice—these restaurants are for you
Tired of going to restaurants with one or two vegetarian options? Victoria’s health-focused and that means there are many vegetarians, and vegetarian-friendly, restaurants here. Our favourites are Be Love, which serves up delectable veggie bowls and a must-try Chai Soda, and The Very Good Butchers, a plant-based butchery. Vegetarians have seven—SEVEN!—veggie burger options, plus sandwiches and other takeaway items to choose from.
Local, delicious coffee and pastries
You could go to your regular coffee chain for breakfast…or you could try even better coffee and local pastries. Victoria has so many great coffee places but here are our favourites:
Discovery Coffee makes a strong espresso and also serves locally-made donuts.
Habit Coffee offers a lovely, well-lit view of the busy streets of Victoria.
Hey Happy is in Market Square, where we’re located. Convenient, cute, and good.
Caffe Fantastico has a few excellent locations on popular bike routes, including right across from the entrance to the Galloping Goose trail. Besides coffee, you’ll find great picnic items and fresh bread.
Shatterbox Coffee serves some of the Island’s favourite coffee—from Drumroaster in the Cowichan Valley.
Our favourite hangout spots: pubs and bars
There’s nothing quite like a good, cold brew after an afternoon of cycling. Luckily, Victoria has you more than covered, with a number of places that are fun to hang out in and that serve local craft beer, cider, and spirits.
The Drake is a favourite place for those hanging out downtown—it’s also in Market Square, steps from our bike rental shop. It’s always busy and it’s always serving new brews.
Canoe BrewPub has the ideal patio setting–the patio size rivals the indoor restaurant! Check out their lineup of local music.
Irish Times is always a good time, often with live music! It was voted Best Irish Pub in North America in 2017 and Best Irish Entertainment Venue in 2018, and was designed by the same architect that created the Empress Hotel.
If you’re looking for a true local spot, head slightly out of town (but very close to Beacon Hill Park, one of our tour stops) to The Beagle in Cook Street Village. This place is always busy, serves local and imported drinks, and has a nice patio for people-watching.
Phillips Brewery is a staple in Victoria. They throw lots of fun events, like outdoor movies and music festivals. They also have a fantastic tasting room on the outskirts of downtown Victoria.
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Sat. July 28th help us celebrate our 4 year anniversary. 23 of our favorite independently owned craft breweries pouring beer and 10 of the city's best chefs preparing and serving delicious food items. Get your tickets at The Drake Eatery or online at eventbrite.ca #thethirstychefIV #islandchefscollaborative #supportlocalfarms #independantbreweriesonly #onlypourthegoodshit #craftbeerbar
Get it fresh at the market
Sometimes, the best thing to do is grab a backpack-full of fresh veggies, pastries, and drinks, and head to the beach or Beacon Hill Park for a picnic. If that’s more your style, be sure to check out one of Victoria’s local markets, such as Moss Street Market (Saturdays), James Bay Market (Saturdays), Esquimalt Farmers Market, and the Uplands and Marina markets (Saturdays and Sundays). You could also rent bicycles (we recommend North 48) or a car and pick up local produce, eggs, honey, and more at farm stands in Saanich.