Updated: Dec 3, 2018
Happy birthday to me! It was my 26thbirthday this year… but let’s be real, I'm at least 45 years old at heart. I’ve always had an old soul, and I’m okay with that!
Instead of gifts, I prefer a fun night on the town, with amazing food and drink. Luckily we have no shortage of wonderful restaurants, cocktail bars, and eclectic hidden gems in our city. According to Tourism Victoria, we have the 2nd highest number of restaurants per capita in North America, only falling short to San Francisco (https://www.tourismvi.ca/pdf/pressmaterials/Victoria.pdf)!
Our night started at Dobosala. Dobosala is a new (this year) “ride thru” and restaurant consisting of an Indo-Pacific collaboration of South Asian, Latin, Polynesian, and Indigenous dishes. I was a little skeptical of this option because Josh isn’t too adventurous with food, but being my birthday he accepted the challenge and now we can’t wait to go back! Here is what we ordered:
Volcanic Hills Gamay Noir
We were lucky enough to join in on their Happy Hour offering which is PHENOMINAL! They offer $2.00 off selected appetizers (all amazing), $1.00 off Tacones, and $2.00 off all alcoholic drinks. Seriously though, where else in this city can you get a glass of beautiful BC wine for $7?!
Dobosala is known for their “ride thru” option.; which is essentially a “drive thru” but situated on one of Victoria’s busy bike lanes! They offer quick service with tacones, noodle bowls and sopas.
Next we went down the street to the newly opened Sherwood Café and Bar; however there was not an open seat in the house, and a wait at the door! As we wanted to keep the night rolling, we did not wait. They are a bit of a mystery, as their website and social media do not tell much about their offerings.
So off we went to Veneto Kitchen + Bar, in the Hotel Rialto. They were jam-packed in the bar, so we were seated in the dining room, which was bustling, but the perfect Friday night atmosphere! This stop was just going to be a drink, but something on the menu caught Josh’s eye, so we rolled the dice (not really as we know their food is good) and ordered the Korean Barbeque Wings- which yes, were lovely, and huge! Now the real gamble was when I ordered a custom sparkling cocktail from the bar- my only request was make it savory, and make it bubbly. Sadly I did not love my drink, as it turned out to be more “other” alcohol than bubbly, but Josh’s Hotel Rialto Cocktail was delightful, so we traded.
Korean Barbeque Wings
Custom Cocktail *surprise from the bar
Hotel Rialto *gin based
Veneto Kitchen and Bar has a very worldy wine list; with offerings from many different countries. The price points vary, and are not extravagant by any means. I would love to see more BC, or even Washington/Oregon, offerings on their menu in the future though!
Next was Little Jumbo, a cocktail bar tucked away underneath a building at the bottom of Fort St. Keep your eyes open for a purple elephant outside the building, and then head down a tiled hallway to enter the door at the end of the hallway. Here we decided to just share half a dozen oysters and a drink. Instead of our previously planned dinner here, due to how much food we had eaten at the last two stops! There was a small mix up as the waitress missed our oyster order, and forty-five minutes later, when we had finished our drinks, I was able to catch her and ask for the order, she apologized and brought them out quickly.
Oysters on the half shell
2015 Nichol Syrah
Our final stop was to our beloved Fairmont Empress Q Bar! This iconic beauty is a must-see/do when in Victoria; it holds a special place in our hearts. The bartenders are lively, the atmosphere is elegant, but comfortable, and sitting around the U-shaped bar, overlooking the inner harbor, you will find yourself interacting with guests from all over the world, which is both exciting and intriguing.
Charcuterie and Cheese
Meyer Family Pinot Noir
Empress 1908 G&T
From there we went home, where I nursed a small dehydration hang over the following day. It was totally worth it, and I can’t wait to do it all again, but with different stop, for Josh’s birthday in February!