This list is courtesy of Jesse the best concierge and front desk manager at Promontory Building.
Close by and convenient:
- Casanova Café (Breakfast & Lunch) https://www.zomato.com/city-of-victoria-bc/casa-nova-victoria
- Just up the Esquimalt from Promontory. The most low key entry on the list, but I used to have lunch here 3 or 4 times a week. Excellent Portuguese caterers started this as a side business. They also have wonderful baked goods, pastries and sausages.
- Fol Epi http://folepi.ca/ Café Fantistico http://www.caffefantastico.com/dockside.php
- This bakery already has national acclaim and is barely a five minute walk from Promontory. Just fabulous. And Fantastico is arguably the best coffee in Victoria.
- Fry’s Bakery http://frysbakery.com/
- Another excellent bakery, and very close by as well. Their bread, pastries and croissants are all amazing.
- Victoria Sushi https://www.facebook.com/victoriasushivictoria
- Very good new sushi restaurant. More fine dine than fast food, but it is really good local sushi.
- Bimo Burger Stand https://www.zomato.com/esquimalt-bc/bimo-burger-stand-esquimalt
- Food truck right in front of AtoB Moving (beside the Canadian Wholesale Club on Viewfield). Great big, and tasty burgers. Very popular with workers in the area.
- The Blue Nile http://www.bluenilerestaurantvictoria.com/menu.htm
- Well regarded East African restaurant just over at Head and Esquimalt. Great for something different.
- Sarpino’s Pizza http://www.sarpinos-victoria.com/
- Above average chain pizza place.
Best places for Breakfast (and most are excellent for Brunch and Lunch as well):
- Sunnyside Café (Breakfast & Lunch) http://sunnysidecafe.ca/
- Just up Esquimalt near Admirals. Small, unassuming, and absolutely no-frills, but the best Huevos Rancheros I’ve ever had.
- Jam Café http://www.jamcafevictoria.com/
- Exceptionally popular and really, deservedly so. It is just a short walk from Promontory, but the wait in line can be a real turn off. (I hear that Saveur, which is just up the street from it, is a better choice for brunch on weekends given the line ups. http://saveurrestaurant.ca/)
- John’s Place http://www.johnsplace.ca/
- A Victoria staple. I know the owner very well, and he is a really good operator. Year in, year out one of the best spots for breakfast (and likely the best diner) in Victoria.
- Shine Café http://www.shinecafe.ca/
- A newer entry, but very strong as well. Their ‘Cali’ eggs benedict on cornbread is one of my favorites.
- Willie’s Bakery & Café http://williescafebakery.com/
- Just across the bridge. Another Victoria stalwart. Great bakery too.
Best places for Brunch:
- Marina Restaurant (Oak Bay) http://www.marinarestaurant.com/our-menu-1/our-menu.htm
- Highest marks for their excellent Sunday brunch. Also a really strong restaurant for dinner.
- Aura at the Inn at Laurel Pointe http://www.aurarestaurant.ca/brunch/brunch-in-victoria.htm
- I know many locals who consider this the best brunch in town.
- Fol Epi (as above)
- Patisserie Daniel http://www.patisseriedaniel.com/
- The go-to for fancy sweets. Very dangerous though; you will go in for one item and end up with a box full. Many cafés in town get their baked goods from here.
Best gourmet pizza:
- Pizzeria Prima Strada http://www.pizzeriaprimastrada.com/
- There isn’t even a close second. Lots of great pizza places in Victoria, but Prima Strada is in a league of their own – and they are the only pizzeria that is Zagat rated in Victoria.
- 900 Degrees http://www.900-degrees.ca/
- It is out in Millstream Village, but worth the trip. Easily the only pizza establishment that comes close to Prima Strada and the best restaurant in Langford.
Best Turkish food:
- Efes Turkish Doner & Kebap http://www.efesdoner.com/
- Might seem like a strange entry, but their shish and doner plates are one of my favorite low key dinners. Great place to go before a movie (it is right next door to the Odeon on Yates St.)
Best Modern pub fare & sports bars:
- Yates Street Taphouse http://www.yatestaphouse.com/
- Great lively atmosphere, excellent spot to watch a game or have a night out. Easily of the best kitchens of any pub in town.
- The Sticky Wicket at the Strathcona Hotel http://strathconahotel.com/venue/sticky-wicket/
- A sprawling operation – the largest liquor license in BC – but a very dependable kitchen. Another great place to watch a game. Their Friday & Saturday prime rib is very popular. (Personally I love their Beef Stroganoff on Wednesdays)
- Smith’s Pub http://thesmithspub.com/
- Modern-style English pub. Very hip. Lamb burger is amazing.
- Saigon Night https://www.zomato.com/downtown-victoria-bc/saigon-night-victoria
- I don’t think there is a single thing I haven’t tried on their menu in the 18 years I’ve been visiting them. Their lemongrass beef, hot and sour soup, grilled pork and pho are favourites.
- Green Leaf Bistro https://www.zomato.com/westshore-bc/green-leaf-bistro-langford
- I know the Langford location extremely well, but almost all I ever get is their pho. The downtown location is excellent too.
- Vista 18 http://www.vista18.com/
- Great food, great room, great view. A choice spot for special occasions.
Best specialty seafood restaurants:
- Lure http://www.lurevictoria.com/
- Over at the Delta Ocean Pointe. Always dependable for seafood.
- Ferris’ Oyster Bar http://www.ferrisoysterbar.com/
- Of course Ferris’ is famous for its oysters, but their main menu is excellent as well.
- Shiki Sushi http://www.shikisushi.ca/
- Some of the best sushi in town, and they have an all you can eat price (which is great for someone like me who can eat $100 worth easily)
- Forum http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/317/1445836/restaurant/Vancouver-Island/Downtown-Victoria/Forum-Chinese-Seafood-Restaurant-Victoria
- As mentioned; excellent Chinese seafood restaurant.
- Nautical Nellies http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/317/1415704/restaurant/Vancouver-Island/Downtown-Victoria/Nautical-Nellies-Steak-Seafood-House-Victoria
- I don’t know Nellies’ as well as I’d like, but I know many people who are big fans of it.
- The Marina Restaurant http://www.marinarestaurant.com/
- Excellent higher-end seafood restaurant. Nice area for a walk before or after dinner.
- The Dining Room at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel http://www.oakbaybeachhotel.com/dining/room.php
- Another great higher-end establishment in Oak Bay. Certainly the best hotel in Victoria.
- Spinnakers http://www.spinnakers.com/
- Spinnakers, I’m sure you know well – but I would guess you want something different.
The restaurants below are the best ‘foodie’ restaurants in the area – arranged by proximity:
- Agrius by Fol Epi http://www.agriusrestaurant.com/
- One of the best new restaurants in BC. Quaint, unpretentious but extremely creative farm-to-table fare, boasting the only 4-star review from Globe and Mail’s Alexandra Gill http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/restaurant-reviews/agrius-by-fol-epi-succulence-of-the-lamb/article28750909/
- Il Terrazzo http://www.ilterrazzo.com/index.php
- Fine dine Italian. Year after year one of the best reviewed, most highly regarded restaurants in Victoria. Also boasts one of the best wine lists in BC. This the favourite place to eat of John Cantin, the owner of John’s Place (among many others).
- Ulla http://ulla.ca/
- Relatively new and already very highly regarded already. High-end, inventive international cuisine.
- Brasserie L’Ecole http://www.lecole.ca/
- Minimalist fine dine French. Great place for ‘brasserie’ style French food. Excellent steak-frites. One problem: no reservations.
- Zambri’s http://www.zambris.ca/
- Certainly my favorite dining room in town, wrapped in glass on the main floor of the Atrium building. Peter Zambri has a near religious following of foodies in Victoria.
- Café Brio http://www.cafe-brio.com/
- Another top spot for foodies. Recently added to several Canadian top 100 lists.
- Deep Cove Chalet http://www.deepcovechalet.com/
- Fine Dine French in North Saanich. Very high end. Those who go there swear by it.
- Sooke Harbour House http://www.sookeharbourhouse.com/
- Way out in Sooke, but worth the drive at least once. Arguably the most creative restaurant on the island. Menu changes daily and is prix-fixé.
- Part & Parcel http://www.partandparcel.ca/
- Much lower end, but very inventive new restaurant down on Quadra. Raving reviews. Perfect for lunch.
- Auntie Pesto’s Café http://auntiepestos.com/
- On the off chance you go to Salt Spring Island, I had one of the best meals in recent years here. Very unassuming, but very very good.
And here are the best Mexican restaurants in the area that I know of:
- La Tortilla Mexicana http://latortilla.ca/
- This is the one that is just up Esquimalt Rd. from us, and is getting rave reviews. I’m looking forward to trying them soon. From what I’ve heard, they are the best sit-down Mexican food in town now.
- La Taquisa http://casaminervaguadalajara.com/lataquisa/
- Excellent food-truck style Mexican, just over at Westside Village. I have almost never eat any meat here as their vegetarian Rajas and Mole are so good.
- Hernande’z https://www.zomato.com/downtown-victoria-bc/hernandez-victoria
- This is actually El Salvadoran street food, and it’s amazing. I used to eat here all the time when I worked on Yates St. A lunch favorite in that area for over a decade.
- Tacofino http://tacofino.com/menus/victoria
- Huge hit from Tofino and now a huge hit here.
- Three Gringos http://www.3gringoscafe.com/
- This is out in Langford, but if you are in the area, it’s worth a stop for lunch.
- Café Mexico (Closed indefinitely) http://cafemexico.com/
- Right across the bridge from us, they used to be the go-to for a good sit-down Mexican meal in Victoria, but suffered a terrible fire at the start of 2015. I’ve heard word they will be reopening in 2016.