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The Empress Room at the Fairmont Empress
For the epitome of refinement

The pastry chef at Victoria’s Empress Room arrives at 3 a.m. to begin baking enough homemade scones, banana bread and granola to feed the crowds who come for brunch or the legendary afternoon tea service. Original to the iconic hotel (constructed in 1908), the Empress Room features carved wooden beams and Downton Abbeyesque furnishings. Let chef Morgan Wilson build you a dream omelette from Cowichan Valley eggs and a slew of fresh vegetables or consult the Morning Indulgence section of the menu for seasonal choices, like sweet and savoury maple bacon and roasted apple flapjacks. (Verdict: sinful.) The hotel’s own Empress blend tea – a low-tannin black infusion – pairs with most menu items, especially when sweetened with honey from the hotel’s own rooftop beehive.
721 Government St., 250-384-8111, fairmont.com/empress-victoria

Post-brunch activity After loading up on calories, hit the road on two wheels. The Pedaler offers a daily 1:30 p.m. Hoppy Hour Ride that provides a glimpse into Victoria’s blossoming microbrew culture.


Jam Café VictoriaJam Café (Photo: Helen Cyr)

Jam Café
For the drool-inducing bacon

One of Victoria’s newer breakfast bistros, the rustic Jam Café sets a high standard for weekend brunch fare. Thick sugar-cured bacon accompanies many of the comfort-food-themed menu items, including the Bloody Caesars. If you’re up for a challenge, go for the gargantuan “green eggs and ham” (scrambled eggs with spinach and pesto), served with a dollop of goat cheese on a buttermilk biscuit. Most menu items are accompanied by the restaurant’s eponymous jam.
542 Herald St., 778-440-4489, jamcafevictoria.com

Post-brunch activity For a selection of locally produced collectibles, head to the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson. A jar of blackberry jelly is a great gift for mom, but be sure to grab a small tub of Ruckles (soft goat milk cheese tinged with herbs) from Salt Spring Island Cheese for yourself.


Mo:Lé brunch VictoriaMo:Lé (Photo: Andrey & Lili)

Mo:Lé
For the inclusive menu options

“We want to take care of you!” proclaims the all-day breakfast menu at this Victoria institution. Judging by the warm exposed brick walls, the scent of espresso and the dulcet strains of Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” it’s not an empty boast. Mo:Lé is the go-to brunch destination of retired college professors and young professionals sporting Cowichan sweaters. First-timers should opt for the Mo’s Biscuit; the fluffy cream cheese omelette is served with bacon and havarti on a buttermilk biscuit and sided with a heaping pile of pesto hash browns. For lighter fare, select one of many vegan, raw or gluten-free options. The chi chi cocktail, made with coconut milk, pineapple and vodka, is an excellent way to accent your brunch.
554 Pandora Ave., 250-385-6653, molerestaurant.ca

Post-brunch activity Two doors down from Mo:Lé is a short corridor with a long history. Shrinking to as little as 90 centimetres in width, Fan-Tan Alley is officially the narrowest street in Canada. In the early 1900s, the passageway led to a warren of opium dens, but these days you’ll find a barbershop, an art gallery, a record shop and other souvenir-rich boutiques. 


 

Tre Fantastico VictoriaTre Fantastico (Photo: Peter Bagi)

Tre Fantastico
For the shareable plates

The newly developed Parkside Victoria Resort and Spa offers a litany of premium amenities: a private penthouse lounge, a rentable 30-seat movie theatre and a creek running through the lobby. With its reclaimed wood tables and abundance of natural light, the Tre Fantastico coffee shop is perhaps the most humble of the hotel’s features. It offers six surprisingly affordable and delectable options. We achieved a higher state when the poached egg yolks burst over braised baby kale drizzled with orange cardamom vinaigrette. Share the plates tapas style, and gaze out the floor-to-ceiling windows for an impressive view of St. Anne’s, a former convent whose inhabitants were integral to creating British Columbia’s education and health-care systems.
810 Humboldt St., 250-590-8014, caffefantastico.com

Post-brunch activity You might recognize the namesake of Munro’s Books, founded by Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro and her husband. Enter through the neoclassical pillars, wander the aisles and then, to show your support for independent bookstores, buy a book as a souvenir.


Shine Café VictoriaShine (Photo: Form Creative)

Shine
For the travelling family

Shine is a no-fuss, family-owned Victoria institution with sunshine-yellow walls, bottomless cups of coffee and an attentive team. Order a round of the fluffy Shine pancakes for the kids and a Nemo Benedict for yourself (smoked salmon, avocado and hollandaise).
1320 Blanshard St., 250-595-2134, shinecafe.ca

Post-brunch activity Stroll through Beacon Hill Park to find the famous statue of Terry Fox (at the location where he would have concluded his cross-Canada journey). If the kids are in tow, don’t miss the daily Running of the Goats at the Children’s Farm – an adorable local version of Pamplona’s annual event.


Point No Point Resort
For day trippers

With access to a car, a road trip along Highway 14 (toward Port Renfrew) makes a charming Sunday morning adventure. Pull into the Point No Point Resort for brunch, where the high-end pub grub is exceptional – think braised pork with sage-roasted squash or a confit chicken leg – even if it is forced to play second fiddle to the stunning ocean views, best seen through binoculars provided by the resort.
10829 West Coast Rd., 250-646-2020, pointnopointresort.com

Post-brunch activity: Stop at one of the many provincial parks along Highway 14 – we recommend French Beach or Juan de Fuca – for a walk along the rugged coastline and the ultimate West Coast photo op.


CORRECTION: This article originally recommended Lady Marmalade's brunch. Since publication, the Victoria location of Lady Marmalade has closed, however its Toronto outpost remains open in Leslieville.

Tags

BREAKFAST     BRITISH COLUMBIA     BRUNCH     FOOD     FOOD & DRINK     VICTORIA    

Getting There

Air Canada and Air Canada Express offer daily non-stop flights to Victoria from Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. You’ll even earn Aeroplan® Miles on every flight. U.S.: Air Canada and Air Canada Express offer daily non-stop flights to Victoria via Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. You’ll even earn Aeroplan® Miles on every flight.

Comments… or add another

Jim Hamilton

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 05:16
Excellent article on best places for brunch in Victoria.

theja

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 07:55
Canada’s "most elegant city"? At least show pictures to back this up. Plaid shirts and denim don't support this notion. And no, a photo of a Victorian-inspired tea room does not an elegant city make.

Susan

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 11:31
Victoria is Canada's most elegant city? Have you ever travelled here? It has some good things going for it including some of the restaurants you mentioned--but elegant let along most elegant? I don't think so.

Heather Allison

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 12:42
You missed the best of all (after the Empress Hotel, of course). Willies Bakery has breakfasts that are TO DIE FOR! I recommend the Banana Bread French Toast. You get 3 slices of chocolate chip banana bread dipped in egg and fried topped with warm cream cheese icing, slices of banana (half a banana), whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and maraschino cherries and/or chocolate shavings if you wish. I go there and order this meal EVERY time I'm in Victoria!

Eric Nielsen

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 13:26
None of these spots can compare to the the Blue Fox Café, still serving the best breakfast/brunch in town after 15 or more years.
Only drawback is the long lineup at busy times

Eric Nielsen

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 13:27
How do you spell awaiting?

Patricia M. Rankin

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 20:34
Your review of Lady Marmalade is out of date - I read on their website that it closed down on March 28, 2015.

Kenneth Jones

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 21:08
You missed out the very best brunch in Victoria, BC!!
That is at the BLUE FOX CAFE on Fort Street.
The FOX GRILL is the biggest and best tasting brunch for $ 13.95 that you can get anywhere.
They have a full selection of large platter choices in addition to the GRILL.
I brunch there every time I am in Victoria, at least once a year.

Paul Brennan

Wednesday, April 8th 2015 05:22
Thank you for these suggestions. Well written and mouthwatering! Well done.

Michael

Wednesday, April 8th 2015 09:04
The locals would not describe Point No Point Resort as a "brunch" spot, it's a fine dining establishment. Hardly "high-end pub grub"? Seriously?? It doesn't even open for lunch until 11:30 am.

Bernard Leung

Monday, May 18th 2015 01:46
Thanks for the article. Just came back from Victoria and had tried Mo:le and Shine. Both joints offered delicious food. I personally like Shine more due to its more cheerful ambience. Their pork belly benny is to die for. Mo:le felt a tag cold, maybe due to the brick walls. Their in house chilies sauce was scrumptious!
Someone above mentioned Willies banana bread french toast and it was very good, but your heart would not thank you for that.

Brian

Sunday, November 1st 2015 12:36
Can't argue with Blue Fox being the best there is in Victoria but as for Victoria being our most elegant city I think leaves room for challenge.
Running a very close second to the Blue Fox, and way better than the rest, is MyChosin Cafe. You'll need private transport to get there as it's out in Metchosin, but well worth the trip for its ambiance and food.

Bruce

Saturday, November 14th 2015 13:59
I've lived in Victoria for most of the last 31 years, and I am befuddled to hear it described as ' most elegant'. I like it hear, but more for the mild weather and great outdoors.

I've eaten at Blue Fox many a time. It has good food but is a victim of its own success. Lineups on the weekend can be a brutal 45 minutes or more! I usually walk down the block to Floyds Diner and get seated in 5 minutes.
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