Victoria, British Columbia knows food! With countless cafes, brew pubs and dining experiences, tourists and locals alike have many restaurant choices…and probably the biggest problem is which ones to choose?!
We’ve helped narrow it down a bit for you.
Want seafood? Want a great brew? Then head on over to Canada’s oldest brewpub, Spinnakers.
Established in 1984, Spinnakers offers a gorgeous view of Victoria, along with the perfect vantage point to watch the multitude of sea planes taking off and landing in the harbor. Dinner with an air show!
OUR FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS–
Spinnaker’s West Coast Seafood Chowder, chocked full of smoked salmon, crushed red pepper flakes and Salt Spring Island spices, just sprinkle a touch of their house sea salt on it to your liking and enjoy this creamy, chunky soup.
You absolutely cannot go wrong with Spinnaker’s Halibut & Chips. First of all, the beer batter is incredible. It is so flakey and it practically melts in your mouth. The halibut is also flakey, but just as important, it is moist and meaty. Truly perfectly cooked. A delightful surprise was their house coleslaw. It is light, bright and refreshing, made with a citrusy caraway seed vinegarette dressing, and definitely a coleslaw to be remembered.
WHAT TO WASH IT DOWN WITH–
At Spinnakers you have the option of ordering different types of flight, or you can build your own, and at $8 (Canadian), you just can’t beat that opportunity! We chose both the Classic Flight and the Hoppy Flight. Our favs? From the Classic Flight, we really enjoyed the Scottish Nitro for not only it’s fragrant features, but for its smoothness and its hint of coffee flavor. From the Hoppy Flight, there was no question about it, we LOVE the Jolly Hopper. It has the perfect balance of flavor and hoppiness, that left us only wondering, “How do we get a keg of this home in our luggage?”
We had a chance to chat with Maddie Mackenzie, from Spinnakers. She shared the secret to why Spinnackers is a special place to visit, “We have one of the best patios and an incredible view.” She continued, “What I like is we source locally,” from the greens to the meats, (wines), and seafood. Spinnakers serves what’s in season. Their seafood is not only local, but wild caught and some of their veggies arrive from Top Soil farmers transporting on their bikes, less than a kilometer away. Now that’s some environmentally friendly Farm to Fork functioning!
While Whale Watching one day, we were given a great tip, from an 8 year old, to go visit Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch. Not being those kind to miss following a great tip, if possible, we did! That’s when we met Barb. Well, kinda. Let’s just say, we had a long time in line to “get to know Barb” and we were obviously in good company.
So who the hell is Barb? I have no frickin’ idea. But let me tell you she has the longest line, BY FAR. of every restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf. We figured we may be onto something (so we started checking the ratings…OFF THE CHARTS)! And we couldn’t agree more. We made a lot of friends in that line that day. Not one person complained about the wait—and for good reason. PEOPLE, the food is FRICKIN’ AWESOME! No seriously, it is. So much so, that in a jam-packed visit to foodie haven Victoria, we gave up a night at other establishments, to GO BACK to Barb’s Fish & Chips. Here’s why:
Fish and Chips baby! But, though we enjoyed the salmon and chips, what we LOVED was the Halibut and Chips. OH MY GAWD!!! The moistness of the meaty fish was incredible, but it was deep fried in a batter so light and crispy it was like biting into, (for lack of a better comparison), an egg roll. AWESOME!!! Plus their homemade tartar sauce is out of this world with tanginess. (I’m NOT a tartar sauce gal, and they made me a believer)! Here’s where the jury is out: THE CHIPS. Seriously, our famous photo journalist, Dave Giacomini, stands by his belief that the traditional chips are best, yet I disagree and think you should spend a little more money and upgrade to the Sweet Potato fries. Something about the sweetness of the chips paired with the salt and vinegar (because I dash it, along with squeezed lemon on my fish), and the crispy texture of the batter mixing with the incredible meatiness of the filet, just goes better—at least to my taste buds. I guess you should go with your gut on that one—no pun intended—maybe?!
Regardless, go there, and send us photos, and tell us if you had the Carrot Cake, because we were too stuffed to go back for it! And don’t forget to tell them that DayTripper Magazine sent ya!
If I was forced to pick my most favorite meal in Victoria, BC, it would be the Mr. Roberts Seafood Lasagna at Pagliacci’s. This is almost comical, because I almost missed the opportunity to eat at this incredible establishment.
So what is Pagliacci’s? Okay simply put, it’s heaven on earth for any foodie who ever lived. (Mic drop)
As employee Roxanne Cameron explains, Pagliacci’s is “Fun and super entertaining. It opened in 1979 by two brothers,” and their success has been phenomenal. The family has established this restaurant as an excellent and authentic Italian restaurant. She adds, that not only is it a fun place to work, but “It’s a staple in Victoria.”
We can see why. From the moment we were seated in this bustling establishment, waitress Cerianne Lewis gave us excellent recommendations, (including the Mr. Roberts Seafood Lasagna). She should know the menu, she’s been working for the restaurant since 1999. Why the longevity? She says, “NOTHING is the same as this (place).” And she’s not the only one, other employees have remained working there for even longer.
EVERYTHING WE ATE HERE, WE RECOMMEND. We started our meals with an incredible Tomato Soup with orzo, feta and spinach and perfectly balanced Caesar Salad. These were fantastic on their own, BUT, they were accompanied by the softest, buttery, right-out-of-the-oven focaccia bread. OH YUM!!!
We honestly could have walked out of the restaurant completely satisfied on the soup and salad alone—but then came the entrees. Both the Mr. Roberts Seafood Lasagna and the Hemingway Short Story Tortellini were simply robust with flavor and texture.
And that’s not all!
We were then brought a piece of marbled cheesecake to share. This gigantic slice of heaven is so special. First of all, it’s made by the owners’ mother, and words cannot describe the dense, creamy euphoria you feel when biting into it. Dave Giacomini, huge cheesecake lover, remarks the dessert is incredible for many reasons. “Just the density, the flavor, the crust. Whoever’s a cheesecake lover has gotta try it. You won’t be disappointed.”
We certainly feel that way about Pagliacci’s, and give it a FIVE-STAR recommendation and truly believe you will not be disappointed with your dining experience here.
If you are looking for some more of the best Seafood Chowders you can find, be sure to duck into The IRISH TIMES pub in downtown Victoria. There you need to try their Famous West Coast Chowder. One bite and your mouth exclaims, “Oh wow!” Bacony , smokey and creamy goodness accentuating the salmon. You’ll swear there’s a sharp cheddar cheese in this soup, but there isn’t. How they do that, we do not know, but it’s worth going back for further research! Honestly, a big bowl of that soup and an ale and is the perfect combo to be almost completely satiated! (Of course we were leaving room for ice cream just a few steps away down Government Street).
Pair with Guinness or Lighthouse Brewing Race Rocks Amber Ale
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