The "A" List
Victoria Area Restaurants
"A" List Restaurants
Joe Carr

Home • Millos • Baan Thai • Blue's Bayou • Cafe Mexico • Fifth Street • The Keg • Milestones • Moxies Classic Grill • Nautical Nellies • Passero's • Spinnaker's

(Listed in no particular order)
What are the criteria for an "A" List restaurant?

 

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Spice Jammer Restaurant - 852 Fort St, Victoria BC V8W 1H8  Ph (250) 480-1055 - This unassuming restaurant offers East African Indian cuisine at its finest in a nicely decorated quiet room.  The service is excellent, and the menu varied.  It would be easy to make a meal of the appetizers and stuffed Naan breads, however leave room for the mains: Tandoori, meat and seafood, and vegetarian. Advice: if you normally order Medium spiciness at other Indian restaurants, you should order Mild spiciness at this restaurant. Spice Jammer website

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Pluto's Diner - 1150 Cook St, Victoria, BC  V8V 3Z9  Ph (250) 385-4747 - A converted Royalite gas station which has a retro-garage decor.  The menu is quite extensive and the prices are low to moderate.  Food quality is OK to good, and the service is friendly but spotty - sometimes excellent, sometimes not. Mid-week they have all-you-can-eat nights featuring different items. Their salads are good, and they make great smoothies and floats.  Odd though it may seem, their specials are often not the thing to order...stick to the basics on the menu. Pluto's Diner website

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Olive Grove - 4496 West Saanich Road, Victoria, BC  Ph (250) 479-9361. This family-run Greek restaurant serves very good and reasonably priced Greek food, especially their Lamb Kleftiko - the tender and flavorful meat falls off the bones. There are several rooms which will accommodate family celebrations or small events, and there is a large patio in the back for when the weather is warm. They are one of the few restaurants to offer an extensive gluten-free menu for those who are allergic to wheat. Olive Grove website

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Blue's Bayou - 899 Marchant, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1B5 Ph: (250) 544-1194 - Excellent Cajun style seafood served to you right over the shoreline at Brentwood Bay.  Worth the drive to find this gem.

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Nautical Nellies Restaurant & Oyster Bar - 1001 Wharf St, Victoria, BC V8W 1T6 Ph: (250) 380-2260 - They serve some of the best seafood in town.

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Swans Pub - 506 Pandora St, Victoria, BC  V8W 1N6 Ph: (250) 361-3310 - The best fish and chips in town, but pretty expensive.  Excellent quality pub-style food and they offer a west coast menu as well, along with very good beer made on the premises. Free entertainment some nights.  Check the Swans Pub website.

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Millos - 716 Burdett Ave, Victoria, BC V8W 3G2  Ph: (250) 382-4422 - Very good Greek food.  Features a belly dancer on Friday and Saturday evenings.  A large restaurant located right downtown close to many hotels.  Arrive between 5-6pm and order their Early Bird Specials.

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Moxies Classic Grill - 1010 Yates St, Victoria BC V8V 3M6 Ph: (250) 360-1660 - Good variety of interesting entrees and appetizers at reasonable prices. Line ups often form shortly after 6pm on weekends. Noisy.

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Baan Thai Restaurant - 1117 Blanshard St, Victoria, BC V8W 2H7 Ph: (250) 383-0050 - Authentic food of Thailand. Located downtown.

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Spinnaker's Brew Pub - 308 Catherine St., Victoria BC V9A 3S8 Ph: (250) 386-2739 - The downstairs restaurant serves superb, locally sourced west coast cuisine & pub fare. They offer an excellent selection of their own quality ales (no lagers). Patio downstairs, pub upstairs & harbour views from both levels.

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Milestones - 812 Wharf St, Victoria BC Ph: (250) 381-2244 - Arguably this restaurant offers the best waterfront view on the Inner Harbour if you happen to get a window table.  They offer high quality and large portions of: steak, prime rib, ribs, pasta. The room is always noisy, and it is hard to find parking during tourist season. Line ups often form shortly after 6pm during tourist season. Located downtown on the Causeway across the street from the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

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Passero's - 1102 Yates St, Victoria BC V8V 3M8 Ph: (250) 384-6474 - Very good Greek food, reasonable prices, Mediterranean decor, friendly and attentive service.

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Cafe Mexico - 1425 Store St, Victoria, BC V8W 3C6. Ph: (250) 386-1425 - West side of Market Square. Very good Mexican food and drink, and funky Mexican decor.

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Fifth Street Bar & Grill - 1028 Hillside Ave, Victoria BC V8T 2A3 Ph: (250) 380-4600 - Half pub and half restaurant; wood roasted chicken and other meat dishes. 10 minutes from downtown by car or bus. Noisy.

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The Criteria

These Victoria-area restaurants are favourites of my friends and I.  There are some simple criteria which these restaurants must meet in order to make this list:

bulletFood must be good on a consistent basis. We personally visit each restaurant or pub at least four times each year
bulletFood and drink must be mid-priced, which means:
bulletmost standard entrees priced less than $35, with a good selection available in the $25 range (CDN$, excluding taxes)
bulleta large draft beer or glass of house wine is priced at $7 or less (CDN$, excluding taxes)
bulletService must be prompt, cheerful, and professional, yet not persistent to the point of being annoying
bulletNo strict dress code - i.e. clean jeans & t-shirts ( not torn) are acceptable
bulletReservations are not necessarily required if you arrive early (before 6PM)

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Many of the restaurants listed above are not establishments tourists to our town would likely find or try out.  Too bad, because they represent some of the finest food in town at reasonable prices.  If you are a tourist and are staying downtown, most of these restaurants are located within walking distance, however some are located up to 8 km (5 miles) from the city center, so keep this in mind if you are taking a taxi.

Opinions expressed are based on repeated visits over many years, and are based on dinner menus only.  The restaurants listed above are all open for lunch and dinner unless otherwise noted.

Health regulations prohibit smoking in close proximity to all public places in the Province of British Columbia. This law includes restaurants and bars and any patios or other adjacent outside areas.  If you smoke, you will have to step outside and stand clear of the building to take a "puff" - please read the Province of British Columbia's Tobacco Control Program for further info.

 

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Revised: July 15, 2012
2012 Joe Carr  See Copyright and Usage notice