Where to find Pacific Northwest cuisine in Victoria
A unique taste of local ingredients, from land to sea
Whether you’re a tourist or born-and-bred Victorian, it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly constitutes Pacific Northwest cuisine.
Well, seafood of course—that’s a no brainer. As an island enveloped by the never-ending depths of the Pacific ocean, Victoria arguably offers some of the best fresh seafood in Canada (and indeed, the world). From succulent, meaty Dungeness crabs soaked in butter, to tender lingcod and salmon fillets, there’s nothing else quite as satisfying as eating the freshest catch with a dazzling view of water around you.
And not only is Victoria surrounded by water, its particular geography also makes it home to some of the most rich and diverse ecosystems within British Columbia. Lush with vibrant green rainforests and mountains, it’s become a popular stomping ground for gourmands and adventurers thanks to the rising popularity of foraging; many are searching for new flavours and possibilities within the already rich and vibrant cooking world.
Here are some restaurants that continuously seek out the island’s flavours, combining traditional cooking techniques with new, untapped flavours for a truly unique culinary experience.
Located just a couple blocks away from the Inner Harbour, The Courtney Room has long been cherished for bringing an elevated dining experience that pays homage to the Pacific Northwest. Menu items like freshly shucked oysters, crispy ling cod brandade and wild caviar all speak for themselves.
Address: 619 Courtney Street, Victoria
Another essential seafood stop is Finn’s, a modern, bustling restaurant serving a wide variety of dishes sourced from nearby waters. We’d suggest starting with their steamed mussels or prawn tacos, then to finish, their local Dungeness crab stewed in butter and charred lemon. Perfect to share with a large group of friends (though no judgement if sharing is off the table, it’s that good).
Address: 1208 Wharf Street, Victoria
The deeper you dive into the sea, the more interesting things get. At Fathom, same goes with flavour—the deeper you go, the better the experience. Executive chef Peter Kim combines his Korean heritage and local Vancouver Island ingredients to create unique dishes that pay homage to the wild and rugged west coast. Think mahi mahi with sea asparagus, and sable fish with nori sand and kabayaki butter.
Address: 463 Belleville Street, Victoria
This chic, colourful Pacific Northwest restaurant sits right on Victoria’s waterfront, offering great views and ambience year-round. On the menu, naturally, an abundance of ocean delicacies—tuna tartare, thai curry mussels and miso halibut, to name a few—as well as a generous selection of appetizers and casual fare like house-made mozzarella and forno pizzas.
Address: 2 Paul Kane Place, Victoria
In the heart of downtown Victoria you might stumble upon Vista 18, though it’s unlikely you’ll think much of it (or notice it at all!). That’s because this luxurious restaurant sits on the 18th floor of Chateau Victoria, offering dazzling views of the city down below. The food is just as exceptional—executive chef and fourth-generation Esquimalt local Mike Dunlop is highly attuned to the island’s rich bounty of ingredients on both land and sea.
Address: 740 Burdett Avenue, Victoria