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The Bard & Banker serves up some of Victoria's favourite pub food in the setting of a heritage building
Home > Learn from a Local > Learn from a Local - @Canadianne_eats

Learn from a Local - @Canadianne_eats

When Dianne moved from Vancouver to Victoria in 2017, she discovered a new food scene so exciting and delectable, she couldn’t stop posting mouth-watering photos. Within a few months, her Instagram feed @Canadianne_eats was born. It’s helped her meet local foodies and make some good friends over delicious meals. When she’s not dining out with her husband or friends, Dianne works from home as a copy editor for a Vancouver business news publication and moonlights at a wine store in downtown Victoria. Dianne and her husband live in an old house in James Bay. 

Local influencer Canadianne_eats knows all of Victoria's best spots to dine.

Q: What’s your favourite thing about Victoria?

A: My favourite thing about Victoria is its balance of quiet and liveliness. I love that it rarely feels crowded but still has the amenities and attraction of a big city.

Q: What neighbourhood do you like to hang out in?

A: Downtown Victoria, Cook Street Village, James Bay Village and Oak Bay Village all have great vibes.

Q: Victoria is for brunch lovers. What’s your favourite spot?

A: I discovered that Victoria is the brunch capital of Canada about 10 years ago, when we were still living in Vancouver and visited Victoria on the hunt for good eats. We tried the Blue Fox Cafe, John’s Place and Floyd’s Diner. Having tried more places since becoming locals, my most recommended brunch spot — if you are willing to wait in line — is the Blue Fox. The atmosphere is bustling and cozy and the food is not only consistently good but also plentiful. We like to share the Eggs Blackstone Benny and the Apple Charlotte pancakes to satisfy both savoury and sweet. What is remarkable is they NEVER skimp on their yummy hollandaise, a pet peeve of mine with a few too many brunch places these days.

Q: Let’s go for a walk. Where are you headed?

A: I don't drive, so I walk a lot. My longest walk was a 45-kilometre day to various locations, so I can tell you that Victoria is a truly walkable city. Most days, though, I’m headed downtown for my morning coffee and a bit of exploration before returning to the home office.

Q: Where’s the best place for a great Victoria photo op?

A: I love Victoria Harbour. I’d say the corner of Wharf Street and Government Street is very picturesque for a photo with not only the harbour, but also the magnificent British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel in the background. It is a beautiful spot, day or night.

Q: What’s the most surprising thing about Victoria?

A: For me, the most pleasant surprise about Victoria is the temperate weather, excepting the December Snowmageddon that is! It doesn’t rain nearly as often as in Vancouver. It can be very windy though.

Q: Have you ever ridden in a pickle boat? How was the trip?

A: Yes, I’ve ridden on a pickle boat. When my husband and I were on a house hunt in 2017, we took a ride up the Gorge. We were the only ones on board, so it felt like a chartered tour. We had an interesting chat with the captain about the history of the Gorge and it was neat to see the houses and docks along the waterway. I also remember it being a very warm summer day, so do bring a bottle of water on your hour-plus-long tour.

Q: What’s your favourite place in Victoria to get away from it all?

A: I’m a city gal so I prefer to be close to amenities. I’m usually content as long as I get my morning walk downtown. If getting away from it all means getting away from the travails of life, I’m drawn beyond Victoria to dine at The Lakehouse at Shawnigan. Even more relaxing is a weeklong trip up island to Ucluelet and Tofino.

Q: What’s your top Victoria restaurant?

A: This is a difficult one to answer! We’ve had great experiences at many restaurants for various reasons. I love Aura for the gorgeous view, the consistently high quality of service and amazing desserts. Wind Cries Mary, The Courtney Room and Clives Classic Lounge have delicious cocktails and upscale ambience. Deep Cove Chalet has French fine dining. For afternoon tea, the Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden is a hidden gem. It’s difficult to choose just one!

Q: What’s your favourite Victoria craft brewery, distillery, coffee shop or winery to visit?

A: I don't drink beer often, but Phillips Brewing & Malting and Vancouver Island Brewing are fun to visit. As a gin lover, I really like the offerings at Sheringham Distillery in Sooke. While I find the higher-acid wines of Vancouver Island can be a hit-or-miss, I enjoyed my visits to Church & State Wines. Beyond Victoria, my favourites are Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Unsworth Vineyards for their sparkling wines, along with Averill Creek Vineyard for their Somenos Pinot Noir. As for coffee, I confess that I like my morning Starbucks Pike Place drip, but at home we drink Murchie's.

Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about Victoria?

A: I wish more people knew that Victoria is a really nice place in which to live. I particularly wish that my family and friends would move here from the mainland!

Q: What’s the biggest misconception about Victoria?

A: Just as we were getting ready to move to Victoria in 2017, I happened to be editing an article for work. It was written by a real estate investment trust and it referred to Victoria as “the home of the newly wed and the nearly dead.” I was a newlywed at the time, so I had a good laugh. Five years in, I would say that is definitely a misconception. Victoria is indeed a quieter city compared with Vancouver, but it is vibrant and I’m enjoying watching the city grow.

Q: What would you do you do on an ideal day or evening in Victoria?

A: My ideal day would begin with a beautiful morning walk with my husband. We would check out houseware stores and bakeries, head home to eat lunch and relax, then perhaps out again for happy hour or dinner with friends. For a special occasion, I love staycations, so we’d check in at Oak Bay Beach Hotel or The Inn at Laurel Point and have a soak in the mineral pools or hot tub. We would then either dress for dinner out, or order sushi from Bon Sushi in Oak Bay and enjoy that and some bubbly in our room. This being an ideal getaway, I’d have a relaxing day off work.