Secrets of Victoria: The Holly Edition

There are a lot of great places to eat in Victoria, and we could certainly name a handful of the most popular, or give you a list of the best this or or the best that. And, with our good fortune, you don’t have to go very far to get a decent meal in this city. Yet there are still several unassuming little gems tucked away from the crowds making noteworthy food. The following places I’ve mentioned are not secret, nor should they lack due attention. They are simply a little more obscure and not conducive for large crowds. They are my go-to places when I want an inexpensive and quiet bite to eat without a whole lot of chit-chat.  Here are what I consider to be five of Victoria’s more underground (albeit commendable) treasures in my books.

 Editors Note:

This is the 3rd part in our series of articles where we ask our web contributers to lay out their 5 best “hidden/underated/secret” spots in Victoria. Read part one (Adam’s top 5) here, and part two (Sol’s Secrets) here

Seven Valleys Mediterranean Food and Deli

turkish delight and coffee

2506 Douglas Street. Website

Header picture also from Seven Valleys

At Seven Valleys you can find it all:  a strong cup of Turkish coffee, Turkish delights (in bulk), or a huge  selection of Turkish, Lebanese and Mediterranean deli items —Afghan breads, baklavas, olives, tabbouleh, imported cheeses, and over 300 spices (all alphabetically labeled). An excellent lunch buffet consists of spanokapita’s, falafel and curried potato pies (sold individually). Other noteworthy delights include dolmades, humus, tazatziki, babaganus, pilaki beans, red peppers with feta, stuffed peppers and eggplant, all sold for $1.95 per 100gr. The owner and cook, Gokhan Duman, is friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating.

 

Tartan Toque

Battleship & wings

1507 Pandora Avenue. Website

A neighborhood goody. Tucked into the Stadacona Square, the Tartan Toque is barely noticable from the street. But it hasn’t been a problem so far; it’s a real hot spot for locals and for those that like wings and unpretentious dining. All sauces are made in house and from scratch, with over two dozen to choose from. See the menu here. There are many vegetarian and gluten free options as well (26 out of the 30 sauces are gluten free). Some of my favorite bites are the falafel wrap, the crispy tofu fries (with peanut satay sauce), and the waldorf salad. It’s also one of the only places where you can eat with one hand and play Battleship with the other.

 

Le Petit Dakar

lunch at Le Petit Dakar

711 Douglas Street. Facebook

I’ve been popping into Le Petit Dakar for years.  My daughter would often meet me there after school, prefering the company of the ladies and the vegetarian samosas to the bus stop. There are a few small tables to sit at inside and out. The owner is from Senegal and her food is traditional Dakar cuisine. Daily specials like lamb curry, saka saka (fish in tomato sauce), and the popular yassa au poulet (baked spicy chicken) are offered. The hot buffet includes veggie samosas, rice, roti, black eyed bean ragout, chicken, and curries. A good way to sample things is to make a combo plate for $12.50. The housemade hot sauce is available for purchase $9.75 per jar. Be sure to try the fresh hibiscus juice too. Delicious!

 

Sally Bun

Sally Bun & Salad

1030 Fort Street

Sally Bun is a rare find in Victoria. Step out to their back patio and you’ll forget you’re downtown. Surrounded by trees and greenery, it’s a quiet place to go for a small bite and a break from the day. The stuffed sally buns are filling and inexpensive, but they sell out by the afternoon so it’s best to go early when they’re hot out of the oven. They offer over a dozen varities with fillings including ham, egg and cheddar, curried beef, potato and pea, tomato, or artichoke and feta. At $2.75 each, it’s easy to justify grabbbing one for the road. They also have a make-it-yourself salad menu offering a choice of greens and four toppings with several house made dressings to select.

 

Uchida Eatery

Uchida Specials

633 Courtney Street – Nootka Court. Facebook

Mon-Fri 11:00am – 2:00pm

Uchida is my ultimate hideaway spot for quality and authentic Japanese fare. I consider it a hidden gem merely for it’s whereabouts, not for anonymity. People crowd in to snag what they can of the limited menu items. Open for just three hours a day, it’s a “get it while it lasts” kind of place. The daily specials are incredible, but get there early because they do sell out fast. Just recently, I sampled a salmon chigusayaki: grilled sockeye with a creamy egg sauce placed under the salamander to create a nice light and fluffy texture. It was served with two julienne diced organic salads, consisting of enoki mushrooms, daikon radish, komatsuna, chard and cucumber in a light miso flavored dressing. A perectly balanced meal for only $10.00.

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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  • […] interesting factor, as Holly discussed previously, is the unusual patio in the back. Sitting back there at the long row of tables amid the heavy […]