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15 Best Restaurants in Victoria, BC (By Locals)

Wondering where to eat in Victoria?

We’ve been living here for eight years now, and we’re thrilled to share that the city has become quite a foodie paradise.

One of our favorite things to do in Victoria is to treat ourselves to a fine dinner – especially as it means skipping the kitchen duties!

We love the variety of restos. You can slurp fresh local oysters on summer seaside patios, twirl chopsticks at sophisticated sushi bars and indulge in hearty Italian fare at cozy trattorias. Take-out and delivery options are top-notch too.

Here’s the inside scoop on our favorite Victoria restaurants.

Best restaurants in Victoria, BC

Restaurant cost guide

Here’s roughly what the following restaurants cost for dinner for 2 people in Canadian dollars.* (This includes 2 alcoholic drinks each.)

Taxes (12%) and tips are extra.

  • $ = Under $100
  • $$ = $100 to $150
  • $$$ = Over $150

*Note: If you’re coming from the U.S., lucky you! When you convert to U.S. pricing, you’ll pay about 1/3 less in U.S. dollars than us Canadians.

Best restaurants in Victoria, BC, for upscale dining

No surprise – but most of the top restaurants (date night and high-end ones) are found downtown, within easy walking distance of many of the city’s best hotels.

1) Ferris’ Upstairs Seafood & Oyster Bar

This restaurant has quickly charmed its way into becoming one of our new favorite restaurants in Victoria for dinner.

Now, don’t confuse Ferris’ Upstairs Seafood & Oyster Bar with their downstairs sibling, Ferris’ Oyster Bar (which is more about pub vibes and salmon burgers).

Upstairs, the atmosphere, while cozy, is more refined. Think aged brick walls and wood floors under high ceilings, with tea candles adding a warm glow. The menu is also more upscale.

What’s on the menu?

It’s a small menu, using seasonal ingredients. It features mainly fresh seafood. But you’ll always find one or two meat dishes plus a vegetarian option.

We typically start with the trio of baked oysters – one with chorizo cream sauce, one Rockefeller style and one in a cilantro lemon sauce. They’re usually big plump Fanny Bay oysters (harvested locally), served piping hot and packed with flavor.

For something shareable and starchy, the chorizo puffs with rosemary honey are a hit.

As for the mains, they change with the seasons but always impress.

Last time, I (Janice) enjoyed a beautifully prepared black cod with rice cakes and charred broccolini. George, in a very veggie mood, chose the roasted cauliflower salad with prosciutto. Both were spot on.

Portions are just right for a satisfying meal, without being overwhelming.

If you come at happy hour, you can get fresh-shucked oysters for a song.

Fresh oysters at Ferris Oyster Bar Upstairs

Bottom line

We’ve hit Ferris’ Upstairs several times now, and they always deliver the perfect combination of great food and excellent service.

Whether it’s your first time or you’re back for more, this resto is worth the visit.

2) Brasserie L’Ecole

Brasserie L'Ecole

Brasserie L’Ecole is somewhat of a hidden gem and a long-standing local favorite.

The restaurant serves classic French-style food in a brasserie setting. We’re talking wood floors, wood tables, brick-red walls and candlelight, all contributing to a cozy vibe.

What’s on the menu?

The dinner menu changes frequently, with dishes sourced from locally available products.

Brasserie L'Ecole food

True to their French roots, you can expect to find French onion soup, frogs’ legs in a lemon caper butter and chicken liver mousse.

Steak frites? Absolutely – perhaps with a dollop of Roquefort butter on the steak.

During our visit, I tried the duck confit, which I found a bit too salty for my taste. However, George was delighted with his choice of dish (pork belly).

Bottom line

The one pain is that they don’t take reservations. You ring the outside buzzer and someone comes out to acknowledge you. Then you wait outside until they’re ready to seat you.

So when visiting Brasserie L’Ecole, timing is key.

While we didn’t have to wait long, it’s advisable not to risk a visit on a Saturday evening at 7:00 pm. Instead, aim for around 5:15 pm (they open at 5:30 pm) or after 8:00 pm to avoid longer waits.

Despite the hiccups, the buzzy bistro atmosphere and the selection of dishes make us eager to return.

3) Café Brio

Cafe Brio

As they’re a few blocks away from downtown, Café Brio is not on the usual tourist trail. But they’re always busy with locals (and visitors who’ve done their research).

In summer, they have a handful of tables set up on their vine-adorned courtyard patio – snag one if you can. You’ll feel a little like you’re in Tuscany.

What’s on the menu?

They describe their menu as Italian-inspired. But they’re not an Italian restaurant in the traditional sense. The dishes are more international, with a Pacific Northwest touch.

We always start with a salad.

It doesn’t matter if you pick the beet salad with gorgonzola and candied walnuts or the wild green-and-herb salad with hazelnuts and goat cheese. Their salads are always fresh (no limp brown edges on the leaves) and lightly dressed.

We love that they offer half portions of every entrée. (That means George and I don’t have to share!)

And then, I always choose the duck for an entrée. Sometimes they have duck confit on the menu. Lately, it’s been duck with beets in a plum jus.

George might go for the Saltspring Island mussels.

Salt Spring Island mussels at Cafe Brio

Bottom line

Café Brio has been a fave in Victoria for more than 25 years, and they’re still going strong!

Reserve well in advance. (If we were to call on a Wednesday in summer, we’d have a hard time getting a weekend reservation.)

4) Courtney Room

Looking for the perfect place for a special occasion? The Courtney Room is a top pick.

This award-winning fine dining restaurant offers a fresh take on modern Pacific Northwest cuisine. They showcase local ingredients, complemented by a superb wine list.

What’s on the menu

Maybe splurge on the chef’s seasonal tasting menu?

It might include oysters with rose hip and caviar or a foie gras parfait to start, followed by your choice of ling cod with a butternut squash velouté or local duck breast.

That’s usually a bit too rich for us, so we go à la carte. You’ll find a tempting selection of dishes ranging from seared scallops to roasted lamb and beef tenderloin in a Bordelaise sauce, all prepared just so.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and brunch too.

The Food Network declared Victoria the “Brunch Capital of Canada” (no disagreement here!) – and the Courtney Room is a great place for a high-end brunch.

Bottom line

The Courtney Room is pricey. But you’ll be treated to an excellent meal, along with outstanding service.

Our favorite Italian restaurants in Victoria

Mama mia! We love everything about Italy – especially its food.

Thankfully, we have some great Italian restaurants in the city that can satisfy our Italian food cravings.

5) Il Terrazzo

Somewhat of an institution, Il Terrazzo has been part of Victoria’s dining scene for more than 30 years.

We especially like their courtyard setting, with lots of plants and greenery – which adds a touch of romance.

Mind you, on weekends and summer evenings, when the place is rocking, the noise level isn’t conducive to a quiet dinner out.

What’s on the menu?

You can order all the usual traditional dishes – Caprese salad, Caesar salad, spaghetti carbonara, thin-crust pizza, Osso Buco and so on.

But you’ll also find some interesting Pacific Northwest twists on their Italian dishes, like pan-roasted sockeye salmon with prawns, served on a bed of linguine Alfredo.

Bottom line

If upscale Italian cuisine is calling out to you, you can’t go wrong with Il Terrazzo. The service is always exemplary.

Reservations are essential – this classic restaurant is another one that’s heavily booked.

6) Pagliacci’s

Pagliacci's in Victoria

Another popular Italian restaurant in downtown Victoria, Pagliacci’s is more casual than Il Terrazzo (#5 above). Pagliacci’s is known for their big servings of pasta and reasonable prices.

They also serve other dishes than pasta – crab cakes, veal chops, buttermilk fried chicken and so on. But pasta is their specialty.

We usually share a pasta (if we can agree!) – as the portions are just too big for us to finish a full entrée each. You can also order half servings if you each want a different pasta.

Wash it all down with a glass of BC wine or a local brew (or two).

What’s on the menu?

For seafood pasta, we suggest the garlicky linguine with scallops, prosciutto and spinach in a white-wine-and-lemon sauce. It’s totally yum!

Linguine and scallops at Pagliacci's

Prefer pasta with meat? Go for the “Bicycle Thief” – that’s what it’s called! In simple speak, it’s linguine with Italian sausage, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, green onions and asiago cheese.

You’ll also get a basket of complimentary focaccia bread (refillable, if you want).

Their baked New York cheesecake is also legendary. We definitely recommend it – but as it’s so rich and creamy, maybe share it?

Bottom line

Pagliacci’s is another resto that doesn’t take reservations, but you usually don’t have to wait too long.

They’re perennially popular and usually win a Tripadvisor “Traveler’s Choice” award each year.

The place is cheap(ish), cheerful and always packed. And the food is tummy-filling – you won’t leave hungry.

Places to go for Asian food

7) Nohra Thai Kitchen

Ahhh Thailand… So many exotic places to visit in Thailand!

And the food! Curries sweetened with coconut milk. Chicken with cashew nuts (George’s favorite). Delicately flavored soups.

Thankfully, we can go to Nohra Thai Kitchen here in Victoria.

What’s on the menu?

The “Crying Tiger” tender beef salad with fresh mint, cilantro and house-made lime dressing is a fan fave. So are the Thai crab cakes.

The green and red curries are always our go-to dishes for main courses. And George can never resist the Pad Thai.

We must expand our horizons though.

They also have some really interesting chef specials. The yellow Massamam lamb curry dish, with sweet pineapple and cashew nuts, has caught my eye. So has the crispy lemon chicken with rice or roti.

Bottom line

Nohra Thai Kitchen is a more upscale version of your usual Thai restaurant.

And unlike most Thai eateries, which usually don’t offer more than forgettable house wine by the glass, you’ll find a carefully curated selection of BC wines that pair nicely with the various dishes.

8) Nubo Japanese Tapas

Japanese fusion food at Nubo, Victoria

Nubo Japanese Tapas is one of our favorite places for dinner in Victoria when we feel like Japanese food. They go beyond sushi to serving a range of inventive Japanese fusion tapas.

This creativity – along with the outstanding food – has earned them the “Best East Asian” award in YAM’s 2023 Best Restaurant Awards. (YAM is Victoria’s lifestyle magazine.)

The ambience is more intimate and inviting than your usual sushi joint too. The all-black décor creates a moody backdrop for the candle-lit tables.

What’s on the menu?

I always start with a glass of rosé (elegantly served in a champagne flute) from Unsworth Vineyards, located nearby on Vancouver Island.

George usually chooses a sake from their extensive sake menu.

As for the food, the calamari tempura with a spicy black bean sauce and jalapeno is a must-try. Equally tasty are their dynamite rolls, succulent pork belly and battered deep-fried prawns with their house chili mayo.

Bottom line

For high-quality Japanese fusion cuisine, Nubo is a wonderful dining experience.

Best Victoria restaurants for take-out or delivery

Best restaurants in Victoria, BC for takeout and delivery

Maybe you’re staying in one of Victoria’s lovely Airbnbs or Vrbos?

You’re hungry and the condo or house has a kitchen. But you don’t want to cook and you don’t feel like going out.

No worries. There are many excellent restaurants that deliver in Victoria and/or offer convenient take-out.

Great! You can stay in, relax and eat while watching a cool travel show on Netflix!

Below you’ll find our tried-and-tested favorite take-out and delivery restos. For delivery, some have their own drivers. Or you can check restaurant delivery services like DoorDash and Skip-the-Dishes.

9) Sizzling Tandoor

Takeout food at Sizzling Tandoor

Fancy Indian food? Then spice up your dinner hour with curries from Sizzling Tandoor!

They’ve been voted the city’s “Best Indian Restaurant” in the Victoria News “Best of Victoria” awards for 12 years now, from 2012 to 2023.

Open since 2010 (downtown Johnson Street location), they feature authentic family recipes and all-natural ingredients, with no additives or preservatives.

Our fave dishes are their chicken cashew korma (deliciously creamy with a hint of sweetness!) and the lamb Roghan Josh. And don’t forget their buttery chewy naan!

We’re simply addicted to Sizzling Tandoor’s Indian food!

10) Fernwood Pizza Company

If you’ve got pizza on your mind, don’t think Domino’s – not that we have anything against Domino’s. But there are better (in our view) pizza places.

The Fernwood Pizza Company uses all fresh and natural ingredients. And their pizzas are delish!

Pizza at Fernwood Pizza, Victoria

Can’t decide what to choose? The most popular is the artichoke pizza, with artichoke (of course), fresh tomato, olives, Macedonian feta cheese, onion, spinach and roasted garlic.

Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options are offered.

Don’t wait until the last minute to order. When we called one Friday night at 7:00 pm, the place had sold out and couldn’t make any more pizza!

11) Sookjai Thai Restaurant

A friendly popular little restaurant, Sookjai Thai Restaurant serves great Tom Yum Gai (sweet-and-sour) soup, along with a wide variety of other Thai dishes.

Some people also swear they have the best Pad Thai.

12) Romeos

Romeos proved so successful when they first opened in Victoria in 1974 that they grew to five brick-and-mortar restaurants (including one in Duncan).

Offered at reasonable prices, the food has stood the test of time and is much loved by families.

13) Pizzeria Prima Strada

Pizzeria Prima Strada

Pizzeria Prima Strada has won several pizza awards over the years from various newspapers and magazines in Victoria.

They’re known for their thin crust pizza, baked in a wood-fired oven.

Pizzeria Prima Strada uses simple fresh ingredients to make just a few types of pizza – but what they make is really good.

Do you like mushrooms? Then the “Funghi Supremo” pizza (with rosemary garlic oil and portobello, button and oyster mushrooms) is a no-brainer.  

14) Varsha Indian Kitchen

Not ready for the full Indian meal deal?

Varsha Indian Kitchen is a great place for Indo-Canadian fusion food.

Masala fries, yam fries, tandoori chicken wraps and Bollywood burgers are offered, along with more traditional curries like shrimp coconut curry and butter chicken.

15) Sen Zushi

Get everything from ginger beef and teriyaki chicken to various sushi rolls at Sen Zushi.

The fish is always very fresh, and the ingredients are high quality at this authentic Japanese restaurant.

Back in 2009, Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife even dined at the restaurant!

That’s a wrap for Victoria’s best restaurants

Are you drooling yet? Hopefully we’ve helped you in your search for good food in Victoria, BC.

If we missed any of your favorite eateries, please let us know in the Comments section below.

Experience more of Victoria, BC!

Gardens: Of course, you’ve heard of Butchart Gardens. But what about other lovely gardens? Well, it’s blooming pretty at these beautiful gardens in Victoria!

Walks: Lace up your walking shoes and check out these easy scenic walks in Victoria.

Beaches: Beat the heat in summer! We’ve sussed out many great swimming holes, lakes and beaches in Victoria.


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Best restaurants in Victoria, BC

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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Photo credits: Restaurant pics are courtesy of these Victoria restaurants


About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

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