A Hand-Written Patio Prescription

Where to go the day after… you know.

Victoria is a patio town: great weather, a robust craft beer industry, and oceanside views. The catch is, everyone else is thinking the same thing.

If your patio session is mostly a prequel to an evening of barhopping, the Irish Times Pub with its Sunday Phillips Pints specials, Darcy’s Pub and their Roo Burger (not kidding), and The Local are easy picks. They’re all in Bastion Square and impossible to miss on a stroll through the city. There’s plenty of people watching, everyone else is getting loud and has a tolerance for your exuberance.

This list is for the day after the pub-crawl. It’s where to go on those bleary-eyed afternoons where all you want is some hair of the dog, something medicinally deep-fried, and a huge pair of sunglasses.

If you woke up before noon (gulp) and have a hollandaise-shaped hole in your belly, start with new, farm-to-table bistro 10 Acres. I can’t promise waterfront views, but there’s plenty of greenery, and it’s location on quiet Courtney Street makes it convenient but peaceful. Their benedicts come on house-made cheddar biscuits or croissants, and everything else on the menu is really good for you.

Bent Mast
Canoe Club

Maybe the friendly prices, comforting dishes, and ’50s diner atmosphere of Floyd’s is more your speed? Everyone has heard about this sassy spot and the rep is well deserved—but it often means standing in line on the corner of a busy intersection. If you can summon the strength to walk another 4.2 million km (AKA two blocks), you’ll find an excellent substitute in Pluto’s Diner. This spot is a little older, having been around since 1988, and it lives inside an awesome converted gas station. The whole menu is available anytime; so yes, you can have the weekly poutine special for breakfast.

On the other hand, salt air might do you some good. The Flying Otter Grill (http://www.flyingottergrill.com) gets you the biggest dose, floating as it does inside the seaplane terminal in the harbor. Benny options include avocado and crab cakes (yes please), and draught beers can be had for $3.69 on Sundays. Marina traffic a little too much to handle? Catch a harbour ferry to the Songhees stop, a short walk from Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub. Their Pulled Pork Benny or Sandwich will put you back together, and their seasonal Dragonfly Rye Spring Saison takes the edge off smoothly.


If the concept of eggs is a little unsettling, plan for a late lunch. Canoe Brewpub boasts a lavish patio tucked in across from the shipyards north of downtown. Canoe keeps it classy with locally sourced and organic ingredients from spots like Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef, and Choux Choux Charcuterie, though you can still get away with sandals. Their Bavarian Copper Bock and Summer Honey Wheat Ales make great accompaniments, too.

Heading south is another sound plan. The Bent Mast holds court in James Bay, serving up Vancouver Island High Trail Honey Ale, plates of Loaded Perogies and some ghost stories to boot. The Breakwater Café & Bistro at Ogden Point is a calm and comforting haven when there’s no cruise ship in town; plenty of daily specials, live tunes on Wednesdays, plus $5 burgers and $5 pints every Friday.

So Ya Izakaya

By now you’ve had all day to recover. Go home, shower (again), and change into something a little more presentable. The subdued lighting and exquisite appies at the Tapa Bar in Trounce Alley make for great dates, but don’t overthink it—just get the platter for two. Their new neighbours, So Ya Izakaya (Check out EAT’s first look on them here) are delighted to be opening their own patio as well; show you know Japanese cuisine is deeper than sushi and win some brownie points from your date.

If words like unpretentious, rustic, and Italian float your boat, try Fiamo. Though they sit next to Lucky Bar, plenty of plants flank the outside tables, providing sound dampening, while the hanging lights add a lot of atmosphere. Talk to the bartender for great classic cocktail suggestions. Last but not least, there’s Victoria patio favourite Glo Restaurant & Lounge up near the Selkirk Trestle. If you want a glorious sunset, there’s no better spot; their wraparound patio makes for amazing views of the Gorge Waterway, and new head chef Ryan Hayter recently revamped much of the menu.


Did I miss your favourite joint? Nobody’s perfect. Sound off on EAT’s Facebook page or chirp at us on Twitter and tell me where I went wrong.

Written By:

Vancouver-born photographer, writer and designer Sol Kauffman has had his hands dirty in restaurant kitchens for years, washing dishes and slinging pizzas. In 2008 he moved to Victoria to pursue a BFA in Creative Writing at UVic ...

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