Fort Street is one of my favorite spots in Victoria. It has distinctive Edwardian and Victorian architecture and some lovely antique shops. In that way it typifies “classic Victoria.” But that’s not the whole story. It’s also dotted with some of the most interesting and diverse eating establishments in town. It truly reflects the energy and vibrancy of Victoria today.
On a recent visit I learned that Victoria has hundreds of restaurants and a thriving tech economy. I met coffee roasters, bakers and chefs from countries all over the world. Victoria is no longer just a sleepy British enclave but surprisingly cosmopolitan and modern for a city with a population of under 100k (the surrounding area is much larger).
I can’t think of a more pleasurable way to spend some time than to meander up and down Fort Street stopping to window shop and have some snacks. Here are some of my top picks for a food crawl.
Choux Choux Charcuterie is a traditional European delicatessen specializing in housemade sausages, pâtés, smoked, cured meats and artisanal cheeses. They also have a limited lunch menu and some cozy window seats where I enjoyed some chorizo, white bean and kale soup. I did buy a few of those sausages which made a perfect inflight snack!
Chorizo & Co is a charming Spanish café run by partners Jonathan Lee and Tomas Dosil. Dosil was born in northern Spain in the Galicia region. He and his family spent time in both Victoria and Spain and he dreamed of creating an authentic Spanish deli and café. The menu with bocadillos, tortillas and churros offers reasonably priced and filling snacks. The Spanish tortilla sandwich is pure comfort food.
Fishhook is a soup and sandwich spot from former “Top Chef Canada” contender and Red Fish Blue Fish restaurateur Kunal Ghose whose Bengali, Scottish, Greek, and Chilean background influences his creative cooking. I had the chowder with coconut milk, halibut and salmon belly bacon and a nibble of the justifiably famous tuna melt with caramelized broccoli smash, smoked local cheddar, cold water albacore tuna crudo topped with a smoked tonnato sauce.
Crust Bakery is the modern boutique bakery and French patisserie from successful Australian chef and restaurateur Tom Moore, who settled in Victoria with his family. Tom told me he doesn’t follow trends but that said, he is currently offering his version of a cronut. Most of the popular fruit and cheese Danish pastries had sold out when I got there but I enjoyed a massive chocolate meringue cookie and would definitely come back for a savory pastry or calzone or a loaf of their fruit and nut bread.