Drinking, Food & Dining In Victoria BC
Posted by Tom Westley on
While it might not have the most restaurants per capita in Canada (that one goes to Montreal), Greater Victoria may very well be second — or the very least in the top five. Visitors and locals alike can experience tastes from around the world in a variety of forms, all in one picturesque city: Food trucks, patisseries, floating restaurants, high tea, farmers markets, bubble tea bars, dining and drink festivals, and even Canada's very first brewpub.
Covering every local culinary treasure is impossible, but there are a few staples that are always worth mentioning. Read on for our list of Greater Victoria's best food markets, dining festivals, and restaurant events:
Victoria Food & Drink Festivals
Where: Hotel Grand Pacific, Belleville St.
The Annual Victoria Whisky Festival is a frequently sold out event featuring the best the whisky world has to offer, including dozens of master classes and special tasting sessions! Partial proceeds benefit the Q!'s charitable foundation TLC Fund for Kids.
Where: All around Victoria
When: Mid-January to Early February
Dine Around & Stay in Town is Victoria's favourite food festival. Over 50 of Victoria's best restaurants offer set three-course menus at deliciously low prices. Both locals and visitors alike delight in the wide range of culinary experiences and host of world-class accommodations to be had in the Greater Victoria area. This is an opportunity to visit old favourites or discover new ones.
Where: Victoria Public Market, 1701 Douglas St.
When: Early March
Victoria Beer Week is a nine-day festival of events highlighting a broad selection of BC craft breweries while educating Greater Victoria residents about craft beer. VBW is fuelled by events that pair BC craft beer and local Victoria artisan food vendors, with a clear focus on showcasing quality BC craft beer and educating beer enthusiasts. Smaller tastings, seminars and micro-events happen at various venues throughout the week.
Where: Yates Street Taphouse Bar & Grill, 759 Yates St.
When: Early to Mid-March
Join in the Irish Whiskey Hooley and get: A beautiful logo'd tasting glass, a sampling of 1 dram of 40 different Irish whiskeys, a Whiskey Passport to take notes, Whiskey School downstairs at the Yates St. Taphouse, a Whiskey Diploma (upon graduating from Whiskey School), light snacks, and live entertainment from Cookeilidh Celtic Band, Knackers Yard, and roving table magic by Jordan Blaikie!
Where: Parkside Hotel and Spa, 810 Humboldt St.
When: Mid- to Late May
With the recent boom in artisan shops across the capital region, the Cheese and Meat Festival aims to showcase both international and local cheese and meat in an experiential tasting format. Attendees will walk at leisure around the grounds enjoying bite size tastes of cheese and meat while pairing the bites with wine, beer, and cider. In between each tasting, seminars will take place showcasing cheese and meat creation, pairings, and unique offerings. This event is a 19+ event: no minors.
Where: St. Ann's Academy, 835 Humboldt St.
When: Early June
YYJ Eats is an exciting variety of gourmet food samples, local wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails created and presented by some of Victoria’s most popular restaurants, breweries, wineries, cideries & spirit makers. Over 25 exhibitors bring their tastiest bites and sips each year.
Where: Fernwood Square, Gladstone Ave. & Fernwood Rd.
When: Mid- to Late June
Join friends and neighbours at Fernwood Bites in beautiful Fernwood Square and taste the best food & drink Victoria and Southern Vancouver Island have to offer. At this fabulous event, you will have full reign to enjoy samples from over 30 restaurants, breweries, distilleries, cideries, and wineries. All food and drink samples are included with the purchase of your ticket. You don’t have to choose; you can try them all! This is a 19+ even, rain or shine.
Where: The Phillips Backyard, 2010 Government St.
When: Mid- to Late July
The Phillips Backyard Weekender is a 19+ licensed event taking place rain or shine in the very awesome and large Phillips Backyard, located at the Phillips Brewery. Coined in 2013 by Atomique Productions and Phillips Brewing Company, The Phillips Backyard Weekender has become downtown Victoria’s homegrown party of the summer. Disguised as a brewery parking lot by day, the Phillips Backyard magically transforms into an outdoor music super-party for three unforgettable nights.
Where: The Greek Community Centre, 4648 Elk Lake Dr.
When: Late August
This free annual family festival is held by Victoria's Greek Community Society and is their biggest annual fundraiser. Soak up Greek culture while enjoying great live local entertainment, food and beverages!
Where: SHOAL Centre, 10030 Resthaven Dr., Sidney
Celebrate this German tradition with the Victoria Accordion Club at SHOAL with rousing music, bratwurst on a bun, sauerkraut, German potato salad and apple strudel. You won't want to pass this up.
Where: Odd Fellows Bastion Lodge #4, 1315 Douglas St.
It's time to polish up your lederhosen and get ready to party in support of charity at Odd Fellows Bastion 4 Lodge Odd-toberfest. Come out and support a great charity while dancing and sharing a laugh. They sell out every year so get your tickets fast!
Where: Distrikt, Strathcona Hotel, 919 Douglas St.
When: Mid October
Jon Montgomery, Olympic Gold Medalist and host of CTV’s Amazing Race Canada, and KidSport Victoria have teamed up to bring an awesome new event to Victoria, inspired by the very popular Calgary-based "Eric Francis Pizza Pigout". Join many of your favourite local entertainment, media and sport figures for all you can eat pizza, beer, live auction, raffle prizes, and more. They promise a fun, casual, interactive evening – and pizza. A lot of pizza.
Where: Victoria Public Market, 1701 Douglas St.
When: Mid- to Late October
Roast Meat & Sandwich Shop celebrates Oktoberfest and BC Craft Beer Month with delicious German food and craft beer. Enjoy a cold brew with braised chicken bratwurst or pork schnitzel balls while getting entertained by traditional Oktoberfest dancers, or playing beer pong and giant Roast Jenga!
Where: Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, 1925 Blanshard St.
When: Early December
Most beer festivals are held throughout the summer months to take advantage of the beautiful relationship between warm weather and cold glass of suds. There are few things that go together so well, but having to wait through fall, winter and spring to get together again and see what is occurring in the industry by celebrating the delectable flavours seems very short sighted. To bridge the gap, the Annual Christmas Craft Beer Show was started. The multitude of fantastic local micro-breweries gather together to display their seasonal products as well as their brewery favorites to both beer lovers and food and beverage professionals, ahead of the holiday season.
Victoria Restaurant Events
Where: Vista 18 Westcoast Grill & Wine Bar, 740 Burdett Ave.
When: Fridays & Saturdays, 8PM - 11PM
Join the rooftop at Vista 18 Westcoast Grill & Wine Bar for live, local music every Friday and Saturday night. No cover! Savour your favourite martini and a small bite while enjoying the music and amazing view. Arrive early to save your seats as they always fill up fast.
Where: Bear Mountain, 1999 Country Club Way
When: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, 7PM - 9:30PM
Bear Mountain offers live music every Thursday, Friday, & Saturday, featuring local, renowned or up-and-coming artists. Sip a handcrafted signature cocktail or a pint of local craft beer with a light snack while you enjoy the view or the game. In the winter, the Master’s fireplace warms the room as live music provides the atmosphere. Summer nights on their expansive patio, complete with fire pits, are abuzz with storytelling from the day's adventures.
Where: Bear Mountain, 1999 Country Club Way
When: Fridays, 6PM - 7PM
The Cellar is nestled deep within The Westin Bear Mountain and surrounded by over 2,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines. Join them every week for an intimate gathering as their in-house sommelier hand-picks a wine region and features a well or not-so-well known vintage. This fun yet educational night, complete with cheese, canapes, and great company, make this an unforgettable experience in Victoria's only Cellar.
Victoria Food & Farmers Markets
Where: The Hudson, #6-1701 Douglas Street
When: Monday to Saturday, 10AM - 6PM; Sundays, 11AM - 5PM
The Victoria Public Market at the Hudson highlights local artisans, farmers, fishers, butchers, bakers, cheese-makers, preservers, brewers, vintners, florists and restaurateurs. The day vendor program features even more of Vancouver Island’s artisans and makers.
Where: Craigflower Schoolhouse, 2755 Admirals Rd
When: First Sunday every month, 9AM - 4PM
The Schoolhouse Market is a new monthly market at the Craigflower Schoolhouse in Victoria, BC. They have a variety of vendors, including craft, artisan, food and more!
Where: Corner of Superior & Menzies St.
When: Saturdays, 9AM - 3PM, May to September
Just two minutes from the Parliament Buildings, this market features locally-produced quality products from award-winning artisans. Featuring food vendors, a wide variety of food products, and baking, including gluten-free items. There is live music, wine, beer and liquor tastings, and ample parking available. All products are handmade, homemade and homegrown on Vancouver Island. Whether you're a local in need of some fresh red peppers, or a visitor looking for that unique something from Victoria, they've got it.
Where: Otter Point Rd., across from Eustace Rd.
When: Saturdays, 10AM - 2PM, May to October
Sooke's Saturday market offers fresh local vegetables and fruit, fresh baked treats and bread, jams, jellies and preserves, plants, flowers and seeds, eggs, local crafts, woodworking, leatherwork, sewing, jewelry, local artwork, and lots of smiles! Fine artists and craftsmen enhance the festive market with body care products, unique handcrafted jewelry, knitted creations and unique west coast inspired art. New vendors, musicians and non-profits are welcome!
Where: Moss & Fairfield (Summer); Garry Oak Room, 1335 Thurlow St. (Winter)
When: Saturdays, 10AM - 2PM, May to October; Saturdays, 10AM - 12PM, November to April
Every Saturday, rain or shine, you'll find friendly local farmers with tables filled to overflowing with a wide variety of fresh produce. Local artisans and chefs offer donuts, salmon burgers, breads, salsas, sauces, pestos, and more. Moss Street Market is a "make it, bake it, grow it" organic farmers market, and everything is local and produced by the person at the stall.
Where: Veterans Memorial Park, Goldstream Ave. & Veterans Memorial Parkway
When: Saturdays, 10AM - 2PM, Early May to Mid-October
Saturdays during summer, in the heart of Langford's city centre, is Goldstream Farmers Market. Here, Langford's inner creativity is released in the form of locally-grown and locally-processed agricultural products and artisan crafts. The Market supports and promotes a sustainable and vibrant local agricultural industry and artisan community by providing an outlet for the farmers and artists of Langford and West Shore. Local musicians and entertainers provide atmosphere throughout the day and non-profit groups share their community stories.
Where: Metchosin Municipal Grounds, 4450 Happy Valley Road
When: Sundays, 11AM - 2PM, Mid-May to Late October
Take a leisurely drive to Metchosin country and browse through organic and naturally grown vegetables and fruit, farm-fresh eggs, jams and jellies, salsa, breads of every kind, cookies, muffins and much more! Pottery, jewellery, soap and bath items, essential oils, a variety of flowers, cloth bags, books, garden pots and ornaments, plants and herbs, veggie starters, hand knitted and crocheted items, and the list continues. Wander through the Pioneer Museum and then sit at a picnic table with a "sausage in a bun" made by the local Galloping Goose Company, or listen to the live music.
Where: Beacon Avenue, Sidney BC
When: Thursdays, 5:30PM - 8:30PM, Early June to Late August
The Sidney Street Market is Vancouver Island’s largest outdoor market featuring 130 vendors and attracting between 3,000 and 5,000 people each night. Every Thursday night from 5:30 to 8:30 during May to August, the Town's main street is transformed into a spectacular, festival offering everything from locally grown produce, home-baked goods, artisan jewelry, crafts, gifts, mouthwatering food and live music.
Where: Memorial Park, 1230 Esquimalt Rd.
When: Thursdays, 4:30PM – 7:30PM, Late May to Mid-September
Esquimalt Farmers Market exists to provide a marketplace which serves as a community gathering point that builds relationships, encourages healthy, local living, environmental and economic sustainability.
Where: Saanich Fairground, 1528 Stelly's Cross Rd.
When: Saturdays, 9AM - 1PM, Early June to Early October
This vibrant community market has more than 50 vendors weekly offering farm fresh products, jams and jellies, honey, homemade bread, cut flowers, assorted fresh meats, organic produce and a fine selection of arts and crafts. Enjoy a country morning among friends live music, hot coffee, great munchies and children’s activities.
Where: Saint John’s United Church, 10990 West Saanich Rd.
When: Saturdays, 9:30AM - 12PM, Early June to Early October
The intent of the North Saanich Farm Market is to support local growers and farmers by providing them with a venue to sell their produce and products, while giving the community access to locally grown fruits, vegetables and products. The North Saanich Farm Market operates on the principles of not-for-profit; any profit made will be used to either promote the market or support local farmers.
Where: Oaklands Community Centre, 1-2827 Belmont Ave.
When: Wednesdays, 4:30PM - 8:30PM, Mid- to Late June to Late August
The Oaklands Market is a free weekly outdoor market that runs every Wednesday from June to September offering local fresh food, live music, a beer garden, community events and a chance to meet your neighbours. Since its beginning in 2012, the market has grown in size and frequency and now includes up to 50 vendors representing fresh produce, prepared food, hot food, arts and crafts, local non-profits and small businesses.