Written By Gary Hynes Exceptional Eats! Awards / Folks Apr 29, 2011 Exceptional Eats! Reader’ Choice Awards 2011 SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter PinterestBEST DELI: Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen Pictured: Melanie Lonsdale, Monica Pozzolo, Andrew Moyer, Maylia Janzen, Emilie Day, Sarah MacDonald, Piper Phillips, Riley Coxford, Christine Mulhall, Shinji Nagata, Derek Laframboise, Denise Jones, Natalie Peacock, Drew Pollhammer.You voted for your favourites—the best places to eat, dine, and shop for food and wine on Vancouver Island—and here are your results to all thirty-two questions. Taken together, they make a delicious snapshot of a moment in our culinary times. There are no losers; we all win by shining the spotlight on a robust and healthy food scene on the Island. Our neighbours can only drool with envy. Not only do we get the mildest climate in the country but we also have some of the best food products around for our chefs, vintners and brewers to create with.In looking over the tally of votes it’s immediately clear that ours is a not food scene controlled by big corporate enterprise with profits sent to head offices in far away places, but, like peas in a spring risotto, it’s a food scene where small, independent, local businesses dot our communities and neighbourhoods, satisfying our appetit e for eating and drinking local.We’ve organized the results into four groups: eating in, eating out, drinking and finally, giving credit to those who inspire us. You’ll find some of the questions are different this time around—because isn’t this year different from the last?These are our food and drink heroes. Thank them, support them, and enjoy them— indeed, we are all very lucky to live on this island.—Prepared Gary Hynes with assistance from Gillie Easdon and the EAT contributors. let’s eat inYou are totally transfixed by the wall of olive oil selections. What store are you in?Specialty Food Shop or DeliOttavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen (GOLD)Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen (SILVER) Blair Mart (BRONZE) 924 Pandora Avenue, Victoria HONOURABLE MENTIONS• The Market on Yates & Millstream • Mediterranean Speciality Foods (Lakehill Grocery) 3949 Quadra Street, Saanich,• Italian Food Import 1114 Blanshard Street, Victoria• Plenty Epicurean Pantry bsp; A dear friend is in the area for the first time. What local food or local ingredient from our Islands do you have on hand to tempt them.Best Take-Out/DeliveryPizzeria Prima Strada (GOLD)Foo (SILVER)Little Thai Place (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Noodle Box • Baan Thai • Fujiya’s Japanese Foods • Cooks Day Off On Saturdays, you like to drive to the farm stand. Which one has your loyalty and respect?Local Farm ProduceMoss Street Market (GOLD) Root Cellar (SILVER)Red Barn Market (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Sun Wing Greenhouse• Madrona Farm • Michell Brothers Farm• Dan’s Farm “MsoNormal”>Artisan butchers are in a renaissance period. Where do you go for that unique cut of rarebreeds pork or the finest quality charcuterie?Butcher ShopSlater’s First Class (GOLD) 2577 Cadboro Bay Road, VictoriaThe Village Butcher (SILVER) 2250 Oak Bay Ave, Oak BayIsland Meat & Seafood (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Choux Choux Charcuterie • Glenwood Meats • Ronald Orr & Son Family Butcher • Quadra Village Halal Butcher Shop 2618 Quadra Street, Victoria You’re not a fan of big-box shopping. Pick a store that deserves merit.Grocery StoreSMALLThe Root Cellar (GOLD) Red Barn Market (SILVER)Niagara Grocery (BRONZE) LARGEMarket on Yates/Millstream (GOLD)Thrifty Foods (SILVER) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Plenty Epicurean Pantry • Ambrosio Markets 1503 Wilmot Place, Victoria• Peppers Foods • Fairway Market let’s eat out Consistently excellent food, fantastic service, welcoming and wonderful ambience. What restaurant can you always say that about?Restaurant of the YearBrasserie L’ecole (GOLD)Zambri’s (SILVER)Cafe Brio (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Markus’ Wharfside• Stage Small Plates Wine Bar • Bistro 28 < /a>• Ulla • Camille’s • The Superior Pleasure for the taste buds, easy on the wallet, where are you going for lunch these days?Place for LunchRelish Food and Coffee (GOLD) Hernande’z Cocina (SILVER)Pig BBQ Joint (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Zambri’s• Pagliacci’s • Foo • Pizzeria Prima Strada • EdGe You go to this restaurant because they cook with local seasonal ingredients very very well. Which one is it?Restaurant Cooking LocalCafe Brio (GOLD) Markus’ Wharfside (SILVER) Devour (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Brasserie L’ecole • Zambri’s • Rebar Modern Food• Spinnaker’s Gastro Brewpub • Stage Wine Bar • Bistro 28 Table for one? Stool at the bar? What restaurant do you go to when dining alone?Place for Solo DiningPig BBQ Joint (GOLD) Stage Wine Bar (SILVER) Hernande’z Cocina (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Brasserie L’ecole • Foo• Relish • Zambri’s • Pizzeria Prima Strada What is your favourite restaurant that’s within walking distance in your own neighbourhood?Neighbourhood RestoStage Wine Bar (GOLD)Pizzeria Prima Strada (SILVER)5th Street Bar and Grill (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Fernwood Inn • Heron Rock Bistro • Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub• Bistro 28 You have kids. You want to eat out with them because this should be a beautiful thing. What restaurant “gets” it?Place to Feed a KidPizzeria Prima Strada (GOLD) White Spot (SILVER)Crumsby’s Cupcake Café (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• 5th Street Bar and Grill• Ferris’ Oyster Bar & Grill • Pagliacci’s Sweet! Tell us at which restaurant you had an ending to a meal that rocked your socks. And what was the dessert?Restaurant DessertGoat cheese cake with preserved sour cherries, fennel biscotti– Stage Wine Bar (GOLD)Chocolate truffles – Cafe Brio (SILVER)Crème brûlée – Brasserie L’ecole (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Chocolate cake, rice crispy crunch, hazelnut cream and brittle – Ulla • Maple tart, pecan crust, whipped cream – Bistro 28• Warm ginger cake –The Marina Restaurant The best bite of the year. What restaurant dish made such a lasting impression that you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to your B.F.F.? Name the dish and the restaurant, please.Best Plate of the YearSteak Frites, red wine & shallot sauce, Roquefort butter – Brasserie l’école (GOLD)Spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino – Zambri’s (SILVER)Preserved lemon risotto, pan seared West Coast scallop – Stage Wine Bar (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONSCrispy chicken roll, Israeli couscous, carrots, bacon, chanterelles, chicken jus – UllaLocal mussels, caramelized onion & fennel, maple chipotle cream sauce – Bistro 28 Brio Family Meal – Cafe Brio http://www.cafe-brio.com/Margherita pizza, Fairburn Farms mozzarella di bufula, fresh basil – Pizzeria Prima Strada You’ve got a ten-spot. What’s your best bet for a bite? Where and what?Dish Under $10Tacos de Pollo – Hernande’z Cocina (GOLD)Pulled Pork Sandwich – Pig (SILVER)Vietnamese Ginger Caramel Chicken – Foo (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• BBQ Wild Salmon Tacones –Red Fish Blue Fish • #20 or #34 – Pho Vy 772 Fort Street, Victoria• Chicken Club with Brie – Relish Food & Coffee Just a drink and nibblies. Or maybe two drinks. And a few more nibblies. You don’t want to leave yet. Where are you?Place for Appetizers and DrinksStage Wine Bar (GOLD)The Tapa Bar >(SILVER) Veneto Tapa Lounge (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Clive’s Classic Lounge • Ferris’ Upstairs • The Mint• Bengal Lounge • The Oyster • Cactus Club Food carts are here. Which one tops your list?Best Mobile EateryPuerto Vallarta Amigos (GOLD)La Taquisa (SILVER)Mr Tube Steak (BRONZE) Outside Capital Iron HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Galloping Goose. Sausage at Moss St. Market• Pizzeria Pr ima Strada mobile oven Hankering for that naughty perfect pastry, gelato or other delight? Where will you go? What will you have there?Place for a Snack AttackPain au Chocolat – Fol Epi Bakery (GOLD) 398 Harbour Road, VictoriaCinnamon Bun – Bubby Rose’s Bakery (SILVER)Lemon Tart – Pure Vanilla Bakery & Cafe (BRONZE) 2590 Cadboro Bay Road, Oak Bay HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Gelato – Ottavio Italian Bakery • The Elvis – Pink Sugar Cupcakes • Almond Croissant – Patisserie Daniel 1729 Cook Street, Victoria• Fruit Tart – Wildfire Organic Bakery let’s drink What shop has the most comprehensive wine selection and has the most knowledgeable staff and best customer service?Best Wine StorePRIVATEEverything Wine (GOLD)Cascadia Liquor (SILVER) Spinnakers Spirit Merchants (BRONZE) GOVERNMENTFort & Foul Bay (GOLD) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Hillside Liquor Store • Cook St Village Liquor • The Wine Barrel • Vintage Spirits• Victoria Westshore • Blanshard Square A true foodie knows craft beer. What store knows theirs?Place to Buy BeerSpinnakers Spirit Merchants (GOLD)Cascadia Liquor (SILVER) Cook St. Village Liquor (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Phillips Brewery• Hillside Liquor Store • Swans Beer & Wine Shoppe • The Strath Ale, Wine & Spirit Merchants Drinking beer is a highly social activity—and pubs come in all shapes and sizes. Which one do you like best when you want to hoist a pint or two?PubSpinnakers Gastro Brewpub (GOLD)Canoe Brewpub (SILVER)Fernwood Inn (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Bard & Banker• Swans Brewpub • Irish Times • Penny Farthing• The Beagle Was there a local wine, beer, cider, tea or any other drink you tried this year that surprised you with its originality? Tell us what it was and which company made it.Innovative BeverageHeatherdale Ale – Salt Spring Island Ales (GOLD)Victoria Gin – Victoria Spirits (SILVER)24-Mile Blueberry Pail Ale – Phillips Brewing (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Rumrunner – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse • Belle Royale – Driftwood Brewery • Oolong Tea with Fresh Grand Fir Needles – Silk Road Coffee. Coffee. Island owned and operated—where do you go to buy, and drink, that sublime nectar?CaféDiscovery Coffee (GOLD)Habit Coffee (SILVER) Caffe Fantastico (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Serious Coffee • Bean Around The World• Street Level Espresso 714 Fort Street, Victoria• Black Stilt • The Stick Coffee House You’re heading out of the country (or to another province) and want to take a local wine to impress your hosts. What do you bring?Local WineBrandenburg No.3 – Venturi Schulze (GOLD) ;Célébration Brut – Starling Lane Winery (SILVER)Damasco – Zanatta Winery (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Cowichan Blackberry – Cherry Point Vineyards • Pinot Noir – Averill Creek Vineyard • Pinot Noir – Alderlea Vineyards• Ortega – Blue Grouse Vineyards let’s give credit | people | groups | food heroes | trends So many events, festivals, classes and seminars on food and drink—which one really did it for you?Food/Drink Experience of the YearFeast of Fields (GOLD)The Great Canadian Beer Festival (SILVER)Defending Our Backyard (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Chef Heidi Fink cooking classes• The London Chef cooking classes• Fernwood Bites • Victoria Tea Festival Who raised your awareness and gave you a deeper appreciation of food issues in your community?Group, Association, Business or GangEAT Magazine [aw shucks. thx- editor.] (GOLD)Island Chefs Collaborative (SILVER)Lifecycle Project Society (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Victoria Downtown Public Market Society • Farm Folk City Folk • CAMRA • Food Roots • Slow Food What was your favourite local food trend?Top Trend of 2010Eating local food (GOLD)Cocktails (SILVER)Small plates/half portions (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS< /p>• Food carts• Charcuterie• Downtown farmers markets• Traditional, simple food• Eating less meat, more vegetables• local, free-range meat• Vancouver Island salt• Sustainable fish• Chocolate-covered bacon What was your least favourite local food trend this year? (feel free to rant)Worst Trend of 2010Pork belly, pulled pork (GOLD)Cupcakes (SILVER)Sliders (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Foam on food• Small portions• HST• No reservations policies• Cilantro• Lame food words – gastro, deconstruct• Being asked “Are ya still workin’ in it?” at restaurants• Nutraceuticals/Bio Yogurt/ Engineered Foods• Chocolate-covered bacon class=”MsoNormal”>Who, in the food and beverage industry, do you turn to for advice (on food and beverage, people). A stalwart. Let’s fete him/her now!The Foodie’s Foodie AwardHeidi Fink (GOLD)Gary Hynes (SILVER)Shawn Soole (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Andrew Moyer• Dan Hayes• David Mincey• Larry Arnold • Denise Marchessault Whose writing makes you sit up and take notice?Local Food WriterEric Akis (GOLD) Pam Grant (SILVER) Elizabeth Smyth (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Heidi Fink • Gillie Easdon • Treve Ring• Don Genova • Elizabeth Levinson • Jeremy Ferguson Best new addition to the food and drink scene on the Island in 2010?Best New Restaurant, Shop, or CaféUlla Restaurant (GOLD)Relish Food & Coffee (SILVER)Zambri’s Atrium (BRONZE) HONOURABLE MENTIONS• Pig BBQ Joint (Atrium)• NOW- Noodles of the World (Duncan) 161 Station St. Duncan• Simon Holt (Nanaimo)• The Moon Under Water Lifetime Achievement Award 2011 (PAST WINNER: David Mincey)Greg Hays Greg Hays has been raising the bar on Victoria’s food and wine scene for close to 30 years. This is the man who started the legendary Herald Street Caffe in 1982, went on to redesign, rebuild and reinvigorate the Marina Restaurant and, most recently, dream and bring to life one of Victoria’s best-loved restaurants, Café Brio. Since its opening in 1997, the restaurant has accumulated a well-deserved collection of accolades, receiving top honours from Zagat, Fodor’s, Frommer’s and Where to Eat in Canada, as well as glowing reviews in Gourmet Magazine and Condé Nast Travel. In 2003, together with his wife and business partner Silvia Marcolini, Greg received the prestigious Provincial Restaurateur of the Year Award for Fine Dining from the BC Restaurant and Food Association. Greg is also known for his wine pricing innovations, first implemented at the Herald Street Caffe. The $10 mark-up on all wines makes higher-end bottles more accessible—definitely a worthwhile and appreciated measure when facing the ever-changing yet always impressive wine list that Café Brio offers. With this award, we honour Greg for his longstanding and ongoing commitment to supporting the region’s ingredients and wines. Bravo! —R.BaugnietThe Winners of the Prize DrawAcer Fine Woodworking – 2 Bamboo TraysWINNER Julie Akeroyd Bubby Rose’s Bakery & Café – Gift CertificateWINNER Karen Cooper Butchart Gardens – Admission & High Tea for 2WINNER Cindy Bendall Carrot on the Run – Gift BasketWINNER Sean Fenzl Cascadia Liquor – An Expert Guided Wine Tasting at Home for 12WINNER Meg Dunning Chef Heidi Fink – Culinary Tour of Chinatown for 3; Cooking ClassWINNER Denise HogueWINNER Brandy Patterson Devour Food – Gift CertificateWINNER Niki Sacoutis Endless Pawsibilities – Gift BasketWINNER Chivonne Graff Fernwood Inn – Gift CertificateWINNER Kasia Waissmann Lifestyle Markets – Gift CertificateWINNER Lani Caldwell Muse Winery & Bistro – Gift CertificateWINNER Karen O’Mahony Ottavio Delicatessen – Ottavio T-shirt & ApronWINNER Kim Smith Rocky Creek Winery – Wine Tasting ExperienceWINNER Catherine Holt Sea Cider Farm & Cider House – Long Flight & Platter for 2WINNER Katie Tomlinson Silk Road – Group Tea TastingWINNER Lon Temereski Sips Artisan Bistro – Dinner for 2WINNER Erin FitzPatrick Sooke Harbour House – 1 Night Stay, Breakfast & Dinner for 2WINNER Kristina van Vloten Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub – Chefs’ Table for 2 w/ Wine/Beer PairingsWINNER Dan Macdonald Stage Wine Bar – Gift CertificateWINNER Danielle Topliss True Grain Bread – Gift CertificateWINNER N. Moen Wickaninnish Inn – 1 Night Stay, Valet Parking & 3-Course Dinner for 2WINNER Bob Tyrrell Victoria Spirits – A Gift BasketWINNER Michelle CowanArtisan ProductsAwardsEat AwardsExceptional Eats Awards SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Gary Hynes ... Read More You may also like Exceptional Eats! Awards / Restaurants April 22, 2015 2015 Exceptional EATS Award Winners Here are the results from the 2015 Exceptional EATs awards. Category: Let’s Eat Out Restaurants | Lounges | Cafes | Bistros | Eateries ... Read More Awards / Chefs / Exceptional Eats! Awards November 10, 2012 Let the Voting Begin. Cast your vote and enter the prize draw. VOTING IS NOW CLOSED Welcome back to the Exceptional Eats! Readers Choice Awards. It has been another year of promising new haunts and ... Read More Chefs / Exceptional Eats! Awards / Reporter August 21, 2012 Hillside Estate Winery & Bistro OKANAGAN The tower at Hillside Estate Winery & Bistro is the first thing you notice as you drive up Naramata Road. It’s a stunning sight, ... Read More Comments are closed.