If you know me personally, it is no secret that Victoria, BC has a little piece of my heart. Some days I just long to be ocean-side, sipping a coffee from Hey Happy, enjoying the spectacular views and breathing in the fresh salty air. Luckily, we try to make it out to the island at least once every year for a taste of all that Victoria is known for – namely for me, all of the amazing gluten-free eats to be had. As a self-proclaimed foodie, landing in Victoria always means seeking out the best coffee, the best brunch, the best seafood and of course, the best treats. Every time I have been pleasantly surprised, finding delicious and healthy meals every where I went in the city. I decided to put together a little guide of my favourite places that I have come across in Victoria in hopes that other Celiacs or folks with a gluten-intolerance will enjoy these incredible spots as much as I do!
The Fish Store: If you love fish & chips, The Fish Store is an absolute must-stop. Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, The Fish Store is a completely Oceanwise joint serving up piping hot trays of gluten-free fish & chips. As expected with any Oceanwise product (hello – we are saving the world here!) it is on the more expensive side of the scale, but honestly it is so worth it. And you’ll be so full that you can probably skip your next meal. It is worth noting that The Fish Store is also a fishmonger, selling fresh fish and seafood. So if you are staying in an AirBnB or with friends and want to cook your own meal, this is a great place to pick up dinner.
Origin Bakery: I almost don’t want to tell anyone about Origin Bakery because I want it to be my own little secret. Origin Bakery is a completely 100% gluten-free bakery and let me tell you, it is home to some of the best gluten-free baked goods I’ve ever put in my mouth! This photo for example is of our picnic lunch that we had last summer: a ham + brie baguette sandwich, a blueberry lemon tart and a strawberry danish – oh and a gluten-free ginger ale from Phillips Brewery. Seriously, when was the last time you had anything gluten-free that looked that good? Anyways, you’ll want to get here early in the day and just buy everything because they definitely sell out of everything. Their breads are incredible, the cheese buns delicious and pretty much anything in their baked goods counter is delectable. Just check it out – and bring me back something tasty.
Tacofino Victoria: If you’ve heard of Tofino, BC you’ve probably heard of Tacofino – the surf town’s infamous taco joint. Well, Victoria has a location now too and it is delicious. While not everything on their menu is gluten-free, they are super helpful in letting you know exactly what you can get off the current offering. It is tasty, quick and has a really cool vibe in their hole-in-the-wall eaterie.
Cafe Bliss: This vegan restaurant came highly recommended to us and it did not disappoint. Cafe Bliss is a one-stop destination for incredibly fresh, gluten-free, sugar-free and raw dining. Each dish is exquisitely presented and is absolutely delicious. Their menu often changes and always features nutrient-rich ingredients that are in season.
Cowichan Bay Seafood: If you are hanging out in downtown Victoria, Cowichan Bay Seafood is where you should go for more delicious fish & chips. Located in the Victoria Public Market, this is another great place to pick up the ingredients for homemade seafood feast. Their coleslaw was delightful and they also carried that delicious Phillips ginger ale!
Hey Happy Coffee: This is one of my absolute favourite spots in Victoria. Everything about Hey Happy totally makes me happy. Especially the iced coconut milk lattes and gluten-free cookies! Looking forward to returning here this summer and caffeinating.
Catalano Restaurant: Last year we stayed in the lovely Magnolia Hotel which is home to Catalano Restaurant. While we only ended up here for breakfasts, we were pleasantly surprised to find that they had gluten-free bread and buns on their breakfast menu. They also ensured that any other ingredients used were gluten-free. All in all, a great place to have breakfast if you are staying at the Magnolia or nearby.
Fernwood Coffee: I’ve been a longtime fan of Fernwood coffee – so much so that I always bring back bags of espresso in my suitcase so that I can keep the Fernwood experience going at home. Fernwood also has gluten-free bread on their menu and will make you the most delicious sandwiches that are perfect for breakfast and lunch. Delicious with an Americano or soy latte.
The Docks: This is probably the most touristy spot on the list as it is located right in the Inner Harbour but the food is just as fresh and tasty as any of the locals-preferred joints listed above. The Docks was really great for eating gluten-free – not only do they have many menu items that are naturally gluten-free but they are also very accommodating for helping you make your choices. They have a great happy hour special too so be sure to get there on time to take advantage of it!