There are so many great dining choices in Victoria B.C. that it can be overwhelming. If you only have a couple of days to spend in Victoria, check out my list. You won’t be disappointed!
All recommendations are in Downtown Victoria, within walking distance from the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
1. Nourish Kitchen and Café
Address: 225 Quebec Street (10-minute walk from the Fairmont Empress Hotel)
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9 AM – 9 PM and Sunday – Monday 9 AM – 3 PM
Cost: $20-$25 CAD per person (an entrée and a specialty drink)
What to expect: Casual, Healthy, Vegan & Gluten-Free options, Organic, Unique Beverages
What to Try: Benny’s Gone Nuts and any of their specialty drinks
Nourish Kitchen and Café focuses on feeding and nourishing the mind and body. They use only fresh, natural, organic, and whole ingredients. You can taste the difference this makes in their dishes.
Nourish Kitchen and Café is in a charming Victorian House on the corner of Quebec Street in James Bay, Victoria.
Nourish has a casual atmosphere with several types of dining areas for guests. The Grand Room occupies the first floor and is their main dining area. They offer traditional table service in the Grand Room.
The second floor is a café and bar and consists of two separate rooms with open seating. There are comfortable couches, chairs, and several tables. Instead of table service, you place your order at the bar. A full menu, just like downstairs is available.
I arrived at noon on a Sunday. The first floor was full, and there was a waiting list. The list didn’t seem long, but I didn’t want to wait. The hostess informed me that I could try to find a seat upstairs if I did not want to wait for a table. I decided to head upstairs. There was plenty of open seating on the second floor. I found myself a table and went to the bar to place my order.
Everything on the menu looked interesting, so I asked the bartender for his recommendation. He said the most popular items on the menu are the Benny’s Gone Nuts and the Whole Oat Pancakes.
I had never had eggs benedict before, so I decided to try the Benny’s Gone Nuts, made with two farm fresh eggs, kale, mushrooms, baked sweet potato, and turmeric cashew hollandaise sauce. I also ordered and an Imperial Sunrise made with harmonic arts turmeric, herbal chai, almond milk, and fredrich’s honey.
I liked that the Imperial Sunrise was flavorful and not too sweet.A person next to me ordered Dandelions on Ice (dandy blend, maple syrup, almond milk, cinnamon) which I wanted to try! There were so many interesting drink choices that it was tough to decide.
The Benny’s Gone Nuts was excellent! You might wonder how these things (sweet potato, kale, hollandaise sauce) go together, but they blended perfectly, and each ingredient tasted amazingly fresh and full of flavor.
Nourish set the bar very high and was my favorite on this list. If you can only visit one place, this should be it!
2. Murchie’s Tea & Coffee
Address: 1110 Government Street (10-minute walk from the Fairmont Empress Hotel)
Café Hours: Monday – Saturday 7:30 AM – 6 PM, Sundays 8 AM – 6 PM
Cost: $5-$12 CAD (a drink and a pastry)
What to expect: Crowded, Busy, Casual, Unique Beverages
What to Try: Merchie’s Medley & Blueberry Macaroons
Murchie’s Tea & Coffee is a high-quality tea & coffee café. They also serve pastries, sandwiches, and soups. They have a retail store that sells tea, coffee, spices, and other gifts. They have several cafes throughout Canada. However, not all locations have a retail shop like this one.
Don’t expect a visit to Murchie’s to be quick. I visited twice, and both times they were packed. My first visit was on a Sunday at 2 PM, and the next visit was on a Monday at 3 PM. On both visits, there was a long line, and most seats occupied. I didn’t mind the wait the first time because I was able to look in the cases at all the pastries and sandwiches.
When it was my turn to order, I felt overwhelmed, so I just asked for whatever the most popular drink was. The employee suggested the Murchie’s Medley – a black tea latte with caramel and vanilla. I decided to try it. I also picked out several macaroons – blueberry, passionfruit, mint chocolate, and pistachio.
All of the macaroons were good, but my favorite was blueberry. The filling in the middle was so flavorful and delicious!
I loved the Murchie’s Medley. I liked it so much that I visited the next day, before leaving Victoria, to order another one. They have a large variety of other teas to try, but I didn’t want to take a chance and get one that wasn’t as good.
The only thing I did not like about Murchie’s was how crowded it was. Still, it is worth stopping by for a cup of tea or coffee. I am sure you won’t be disappointed. It’s no more expensive than Starbucks and probably even better!
3. Little Jumbo
Address: 506 Fort Street (5-minute walk from the Fairmont Empress Hotel)
Hours: Monday 5 – 11, Tuesday – Thursday 5 – 12, Friday – Saturday 5 – 1, and Sunday 5 – 12
Cost: upwards of $40 CAD (an entrée and a specialty drink)
What to expect: Upscale, Creative, Romantic, Unique Cocktails, Local Ingredients
What to Try: Ask the server for a recommendation.
Little Jumbo focuses on preparing dishes made with fresh and local ingredients. They specialize in mixology and take bartending skills very seriously. Besides great food and drinks, they also provide exceptional customer service. My server was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about both the food and beverage menus.
Little Jumbo, on the harbor side of Fort Street, is in an easy to miss brick building. Look for the blue elephant above the entrance.
Once you have entered, you will find Little Jumbo “down the hall.”
Upon entering you will find a small but stylish and sophisticated dining area and bar, dimly light with candles and soft lights. When I arrived around 8:30 PM on Sunday evening, several tables were open.
Upon being seated, a server offered me a drink menu. There were many exciting and unique options. However, the descriptions might as well have been in another language for all I understood. I asked my server for some recommendations, and based on my taste preferences she recommended choices. I settled on the Sherry Unlikely Quincedence.
As described on the menu – Sherry Unlikely Quincedence: A teenage buffalo, in a fit of angst, runs away from his herd. He makes it all the way to Spain, where he stumbles on a patch of bison grass: his favorite snack. Overwhelmed by nostalgia, he turns back for home. Ingredients: Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Fino Sherry, Silk Road London Fog Tea, Quince Jam, Plum & Rootbeer Bitters, Lemon, and Egg White
The drink embodied the meaning of mixology. Slightly reminiscent of a Moscow Mule, with a somewhat more sour flavor, it was refreshing, exciting, and incredibly complex. I highly recommend trying one of their cocktails.
For an entrée, I ordered the Sage Roasted Chicken Breast with winter squash puree and hash, nutmeg-ricotta gnudi, hazelnut, and sea cider gastrique
When I first saw the entrée, I thought it looked small, but I found that it was filling enough to satisfy me. You wouldn’t want to share this meal though. The food was fresh, and I liked the winter squash puree and hash. I was disappointed that the chicken did not have more flavor.
I enjoyed my experience at Little Jumbo and was impressed with the overall experience. High-quality food and drinks matched with excellent customer service. If you are on a budget, this is probably a place you will want to skip, as it can be a little expensive. Great for a date though!
4. Roger’s Chocolates
Address: 913 Government Street (5-minute walk from the Fairmont Empress Hotel)
Hours: Sunday – Saturday 9:30 AM – 7 PM
Cost: $10 CAD and upwards
What to expect: Busy, Pricey, High-Quality, Candy Shop Only
What to Try: Victoria Creams: Caramel Cream and Maple Nut
Roger’s Chocolates has a long history in Victoria, dating back to 1885, and has become a well-known, locally owned, Canadian chocolate company. Roger’s is also committed to using fair trade certified cocoa in their products.
I ended up making two visits to Roger’s Chocolates. On my first visit, I only bought two Victoria creams. Once I tried them later that evening, I knew I had to visit again before leaving to get more.
They have a lot of different options available; brittles, bars, bark, chocolate covered nuts, espresso beans, and popcorn, gift boxes, and so much more!
Roger’s is also probably not a place for someone sticking to a budget. It’s worth stopping by and trying at least one of the Victoria Creams though!
5. Blue Fox Café
Address: 919 Fort Street (10-minute walk from the Fairmont Empress Hotel)
Hours: Monday – Friday 7:30 AM – 4 PM and Saturday – Sunday 8 AM – 3 PM
Cost: $20-$25 CAD per person (an entrée and a specialty drink)
What to expect: Casual, Breakfast All Day, Brunch Cocktails, Busy
What to Try: French Toast & Breakfast Cocktails or Steamed Almond Milk Mocha Coffee
Since 1991 Blue Fox Café has been putting smiles on many faces with heaping plates of all-day breakfast items and unique beverages and cocktails. Blue Fox Café is in small colorful café extremely popular with locals, and of course non-locals too! Make sure you visit when you are starving. The servings are massive!
I arrived at noon on a Monday. It was busy, but luckily there was one table open! The host told me I came at the right time because I didn’t even have to wait for a table – which often happens at Blue Fox Café.
My server greeted me and asked if I was interested in hearing about their seasonal cocktails. Since it was a bit too early for me to consider a cocktail I passed and instead went with coffee. A steamed almond milk mocha, made with a double shot of dark espresso, Belgian dark chocolate, steamed almond milk, freshly whipped vanilla cream, Saigon cinnamon, and roasted almonds.
This drink was fantastic. The freshly whipped vanilla cream was a great addition. One thing I liked is that servers were walking around offering coffee refills. Although you ordered a specialty drink, you could still enjoy a coffee refill once you finished.
For an entrée, I decided to go with a recommendation from the server, the Moroccan Chicken Benny, made with Moroccan spiced free run chicken breast, sautéed button mushrooms and onions, palm date apple chutney, and Moroccan spiced hollandaise sauce.
While I did like this dish, it wasn’t quite as flavorful as I had been expecting. If I visit again, which I hope to do, I will order the French Toast. A lady sitting next to me had ordered the French Toast and was raving about it. It looked AMAZING!
The servings at Blue Fox are HUGE! Both the French Toast and Moroccan Chicken Benny were well worth the prices. I would recommend going with a friend and sharing one entrée.
You won’t be disappointed after a visit to Blue Fox Cafe!
If you tried out a place on our list, let us know what you thought.