While visitors to Victoria, BC have a plethora of great dining options in the downtown core, some of the city’s best casual dining is just a short walk away from popular attractions such as Chinatown and the Inner Harbour. Here are some options to explore just a few blocks off the beaten path:
Taco Justice Food Truck – (usually) Cook St at Pandora St (next to Wellburns Grocery)
From their eclectically decorated truck, Taco Justice slings big tacos with unusual toppings. While there are rotating specials, the mainstays are fish tacos such as seared Ahi tuna and grapefruit ale battered rainbow trout, while vegetarians can enjoy panko crusted avocado. Being a food truck, Taco Justice occasionally changes locations for events, so it’s best to check their Twitter feed before heading off to “fight hunger one taco at a time”. The truck packs up for the winter season, operating from April to December.
Relish Food & Coffee – 920 Pandora Ave
A 10-minute walk from Chinatown, Relish Food & Coffee serves casual lunch and breakfast fare with unique Asian influences. Their smoked chicken is a local favourite, with delicately flavoured rice, pickled vegetables and tender chicken topped with crispy skin. The menu changes daily and usually includes a soup of the day, dishes ranging from creamy gnocchi to kimchi hot pot and a selection of sandwiches– try the katsu, a Japanese-inspired sandwich with breaded chicken and black sesame slaw. For those looking for a quick breakfast, Relish pulls a great Americano that pairs well with a bacon, green onion and cheese scone. If there’s time to linger, their brunch is one of the best kept secrets in Victoria– generally no line ups and choices such as classic bennys, chickpea tagine and roasted pork belly congee.
Jam Cafe – 542 Herald St
Located just a few blocks past Chinatown, Jam Cafe is a popular spot for an indulgent brunch. Pair a buttermilk biscuit sandwich with a bourbon caesar, complete with sugared bacon garnish, tuck into The Three Pigs, maple sausages dipped and fried in pancake batter, or cut into a stack of pulled pork pancakes accompanied by a steaming cup of Vancouver’s JJ Bean coffee. The rustic decorations and big windows make Jam Cafe the perfect place to unwind and relax after a night out downtown.
Uchida Shokudo – A22-633 Courtney St (entrance next to the Bug Zoo– look for their wooden sign on the sidewalk)
Uchida is hidden away in a covered courtyard near some of Victoria’s most popular attractions. Just around the corner from the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Miniature World and the Bug Zoo, this quaint lunchtime eatery decorated with driftwood and hand written signs makes authentic Japanese food with fresh, local ingredients. Carefully seared tuna, teriyaki chicken and fatty tuna bowls are served with sushi rice and green onions, while a changing menu of salads offers a chance to taste delicate flavours made with Japanese vegetables such as kombocha (pumpkin), komatsuna (mustard spinach) and kabu (turnip). Past daily specials have included buta kakuni (slow cooked local pork), miso roasted chicken and saba nanban zuke (marinated mackerel). It’s best to show up early if you want to try everything– items can sell out quickly!
Dining in Victoria, BC