Wind Cries Mary
It’s a hard thing to do, to share your favourite secret spot. But selfless Tasting Victoria readers generously stepped up to shine a spotlight on their favourites. These hidden gems are the perfect place to bring a visitor if you want to show off your Victoria bona fides, or to slip into for a a special visit off the beaten track. (Just don’t tell anybody.)
Wind Cries Mary
This subterranean Victoria restaurant is truly a hidden gem you have to try—a tucked-away portal to experience the rustic riches of Vancouver Island, hidden in plain sight in the middle of Victoria’s downtown core. No wonder why it’s the winner in the Hidden Gem category.
Their dynamic food menu has a nose-to-tail approach, utilizing all aspects of the local bounty, and is geared towards sharing. Wind Cries Mary is a fun and exciting space focused on sharing food and social dining. Simple things done well is one of the core concepts of its ever evolving menu. They try to keep things fresh and exciting, and some favourites of the last two years have been the amazing fried chicken, sesame-crusted albacore tuna, and the hand-rolled gnudi. We suggest trying out their cocktails too; you will not be disappointed.
45 Bastion Square, Victoria
Tamara and Braden Parks arrived in Victoria with one dream: to open a vegan café and bakery. In 2018, that dream came true and it is now one of Victoria’s favourite spots, coming in second place in the Hidden Gem category, as well as being nominated for Best Vegan/Vegetarian in town.
Every day for the past three years, Fern Café and Bakery has delighted diners with wonderfully creative plant-based options such as “big bad cinnamon buns,” “crafty” mac and cheese, and fried Buffalo “chickun” burgers. People also go nuts for their oat milk lattés made with Discovery Coffee beans. Their menu is palm-oil free and they offer an assortment of gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free options.
1-1115 N Park St, Victoria
Second runner-up is Bao Restaurant. It made the Tasting Victoria team super happy to see Bao being nominated for this category, and making it to the top three! It is one of our favourite local restaurants and we can’t stop talking about it.
Bao is a cozy 26-seat restaurant, locally owned and operated in Victoria’s Chinatown, and serving a variety of gua bao, ramen, bibimbap, Japanese curry, local beer, wine, and cider. The most popular dishes are the Tan Tan Men, all the bao, chicken bibimbap, and pork belly ramen. If you head down to Bao, we definitely recommend trying their iced Vietnamese coffee—so good!
626 Fisgard St.
We encourage you to support your favourite restaurants by dining in or ordering takeout—and, of course, try new ones! Let us know what you think by emailing email@example.com, or reach out on social media at @tastingvictoria.