By Maria Filosa with files from Lisa Naccarato:
Stunning panoramic views at Chateau Victoria's Vista 18 Restaurant (photo: courtesy Chateau Victoria)
Move over regular calamari. There’s a new squid in town. Well, new to some who live east of British Columbia. Buttery and more tender than regular squid, local Humboldt squid add a new dimension to calamari. This version is lightly battered, fried and served in strips as opposed to rings. The result is unique and delicious. Pair that with Vista 18's spectacular view of Victoria's inner harbour from the top floor of the Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites and it is an experience worth the trip to Vancouver Island.
Humbolt Squid at Vista 18 (photo: Gino Ortuso)
When visiting Victoria, seafood is a must and the Pacific's bounty is always close at hand - especially at the city's Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you will find a variety of restaurants, shops and beautiful water views. Fresh Fish & chips from The Fish Store are a delight. Be forewarned, line ups are the norm here, but it is definitely worth the wait. Both the local Halibut & Chips and Cod & Chips are fresh, creamy and flaky with no "fishy" after taste. Orders come with a delicious homemade tartar sauce.
Halibut and Chips from The Fish Store (photo: Gino Ortuso)
If seafood is not your thing, Victoria has all varieties of restaurants to choose from. For authentic Italian food and a wonderful ambiance, you won’t go wrong at Il Terrazzo. You can enjoy a selection of pasta dishes and one of the best traditional tiramisus on the west coast.
Pasta brimming with shrimp, scallops and clams at Il Terrazo (photo: Gino Ortuso)
For breakfast, lunch or brunch, try The Jam Café for traditional eggs benedict or salmon eggs benedict with B.C.'s own Coho salmon. It comes with a velvety hollandaise sauce, crispy bacon and a potato rosti worth waking up for.
Guinness anyone? Enjoy the dark and creamy stout at The Irish Times Pub with their cheesy topped shepherd’s pie or satisfying Irish stew. For crunchy tempura and very fresh sushi, then Nubo Kitchen and Bar is the place to be. Or, how about some authentic schnitzel, red cabbage and roasted potato squares? You can find this at Eva Schnitzelhaus.
Irish Shepherd's Pie @ Irish Times Pub (photo: Maria Filosa)
Or, maybe drinks and appetizers are more your vibe? Then, Vista 18 Restaurant and Lounge is for you. Enjoy a vast list of refreshing cocktails and bites as you marvel at the harbour views on the rooftop floor. Vista 18 also features a new breakfast buffet in addition to a la carte favourites like smoked pork belly hash and Belgian waffles with fruit compote and whipped cream.
Finally, if you are looking for a casual place to enjoy exquisite teas, a variety of coffees, scones, pastries and savoury items, then a visit to Murchie’s is must.
Irresistable scones @ Murchie's (photo: Maria Filosa)
This brand was established in 1894 by John Murchie, an immigrant from Scotland who served tea to Queen Victoria during her stays at Balmoral Castle. It is truly a special place with fine quality teas and baked goods. Of course, sampling a black current scone with jam and crème fraiche goes without saying but, try the turkey roll too. It’s similar to a sausage roll but tastier. Before you leave, don’t forget to visit the shop on the premises where you can purchase from over 100 tea varieties.