Lunch Pick: Heating Things Up at Hernande’z Cocina

From left to right: Tacos de Pollo: 5 fresh, handmade corn tortillas with seasoned chicken, salsa, chopped onions, cilantro and wedges of lime. $6.00. A view of Hernande'z Cocina inside the atrium of an office building located at 735 Yates. A chef making the Burrito de Puerco: Black beans, seasoned rice, salsa, sour cream, wild greens and slow braised, pork. $8.95. Photos by Ellie Shortt

Fall has arrived in full force, and as the wind and rain rolls in, I find myself craving tropical sun and samba beats. But like many others, I can’t simply jet off to the south whenever my heart desires. My suggestion for getting over the winter-woes without breaking the bank? Try taking a mid-day vacation at Hernande’z Cocina conveniently located in the atrium of a downtown Victoria office building.


With made-to-order huaraches (corn tortillas) and fresh traditional salsa, the menu at Hernande’z is as authentic as stopping for a bite to eat at a family-run restaurant on the side of a rural road in El Salvador. But perhaps that’s because this lively eatery is itself a family-run business that uses traditional El Salvadoran and Mayan recipes passed down through generations. Amongst many other Latin American gastronomic traditions, owners Jerson and Tamara Hernande’z feel strongly about fresh cuisine, and thus won’t always offer everything you might see, or even expect to find on their menu, such as guacamole, which they feel can only be truly enjoyed when the avocados are ripened to perfection.


That being said, their plates are stand-alones without needing spoonfuls of quac, and to aid in the difficult task of picking just one of their many mouth-watering options, Hernande’z offers two separate menus. The Express Menu keeps in mind those on a tighter schedule and suggests quick-picks like the burrito ‘classico’ or the Serena Platter (rice, beans and seasoned chicken on top of fresh greens).  The Slow Food Menu offers items for those who can afford to make the well-worth-it wait for their thick hand-crafted huaraches or the made-to-order soft-shell corn tacos. Not only will this thoughtfully prepared food brighten even the coldest of fall days, but the colourful tablecloths and friendly staff will transport you to a warmer place where you don’t have to be back at your desk by 1:30pm.

– By Ellie Shortt


The time: varies depending on what you order and how long the line is. Roughly 5-10min for Express Menu, 10-20 for Slow Food Menu.

The cost: anywhere from $3.50 for Black Bean Power Bar to $8.95 for huaraches with meat or sautéed vegetables.

Hernande’z Cocina: 735 Yates Street, Victoria BC. (250) 884-5313,



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