Brunching in Victoria: Part 1
Victorians love “brunching.” It’s trendy. It’s hot. It’s delicious. It’s that lovely in-between of breakfast and lunch. It hits at the perfect time of day – not too early, not too late. There’s never a bad time for breakfast food and this city knows it.
Try to get into a hot spot on a Sunday mid-morning and be prepared to wait in line…but I’m telling you, it’s worth it. It’s all about the experience. Whether it’s rolling out of bed after a fun night to meet up with a group of friends, or after an early morning long run (maybe that’s just me), or just on a weekday because you feel like it – there’s always a good excuse to grab brunch at any one of Victoria’s amazing restaurants.
My sister, who has celiac disease, often comes with me on my food ventures. We’ve found all of the following restaurants to be very accommodating for diners on gluten-free diets. Here are a few of my favourites:
With their quirky menu, listing everything that hits those random cravings (fried chicken French toast? pulled pork pancakes? YES PLEASE), this place is the real deal. The line ups are long if you try to get a table at a peak time, but it is 100% worth it!
They have a great lunch menu too, but my philosophy on brunch is that breakfast always wins when it comes to deciding between the two …but, follow your heart and whatever you pick will most likely be a winner.
My ‘go-to’ is the Green Eggs and Ham (pesto, eggs and all sorts of goodness on some yummy scones) – substituting the ham for their sugar cured bacon because… bacon. Also, ask for their jam. It’s no surprise that a restaurant named Jam makes good jam. Ha! If you’re feeling adventurous, and want to satisfy that sweet tooth, get the red velvet pancakes. It’s like a socially acceptable cake at 11am!
[19+ people, I recommend their Caesar. They even add bacon because… bacon.]
542 Herald St
The Blue Fox is another place that hosts big line ups, but, again, is well worth it. A small, vibrant restaurant that values high quality food and good service, with a menu that is to die for. It is sure to have whatever you’re in the mood for – lunch or breakfast.
They make a killer Eggs Bennie and I’m a big fan of their French toast options. My go-to order here is the Peasant Toast. I get a little bit teary-eyed just thinking about it because it is sooo good. Delicious seedy bread (healthy?!), bananas, caramel, walnuts = heaven on earth. I highly recommend it if you’re feeling like something sweet, but not too overwhelming.
101 – 919 Fort Street
Great atmosphere; delicious food. One thing I especially like about coming here is that if there is a long wait, you are able to put your name down and go into the amazing Habit coffee shop next door to enjoy a pre-brunch coffee while you wait for them to come get you. Better yet, you can bring your coffee into Mole if you haven’t finished it yet.
The menu itself is super interesting – they’ve even named a few of their omelettes after local Victoria sports heroes: The Simon Whitfield, The Silken Laumann and The Ryan Cochrane, all of which are extremely tasty. I even saw Simon in Mo:Lé once, eating his own omelette, which was kind of cool.
I love the “build your own breakfast option” and always go for a side of avocado. The Life of Rhiely Griddle Cakes are also fantastic (banana pancakes are always a good choice).
554 Pandora St.
The Mahoney. I think this says it all – you decide whether you want breakfast or lunch, the kitchen makes you whatever they want (the portions are huge so regardless of the outcome you are getting your money’s worth), and you flip a coin to pay double or nothing (or you can pay the regular price of 14.99 but where’s the fun in that). Nothing like a little gambling on the side of your brunch!
If you’re not into that, they have an awesome big menu with all of your breakfast and lunch needs. The energy of the restaurant is high, your coffee cup is never empty (which is a huge bonus in my mind) and the carefree atmosphere makes for a very comfortable place to go with your friends or family. Very accommodating for big groups.
886 Yates Street (Downtown)
721 Station Ave. (Langford)
They have an amazing menu, with all organic and local products. The food is amazing – I have been impressed every time. They have two locations, one in Oak Bay and one in the Royal Oak area. They have been featured on the Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here” and for good reason!
I love the Benny’s, which can be put on a bagel or a latke. If you’re feeling a little bit sweet, the Challah French Toast is very tasty. Another restaurant where it is hard to go wrong with any pick on the menu.
2518 Estevan Ave (Oak Bay)
4517 Saanich Road (Royal Oak)
Stay tuned for part 2 and let me know some of your favourite places/things to order in the comments below!