The Dishes is a repeating column that asks Islanders to walk us through a map of their ideal day and night on the town. We’re talking breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night cocktails. Tax and tip included.
For this edition of The Dishes, we tag along with Jayce Kadyschuk, Bar Manager at Victoria’s legendary Clive’s Classic Lounge, for a whirlwind crawl of his favourite food and drink spots in and around the city. Buckle up and bring your appetite!
Good morning! What’s for breakfast/brunch?
A lot of options here in Victoria but…line up, line up, line up…Victoria doesn’t seem to mind waiting outside for an hour for brunch. My go to breakfast spot is Agrius — best brunch in the city if you ask me. Their newest addition to the Fol Epi family – Paul’s Diner – is also a solid breakfast/brunch place and line-ups for some reason are minimal at both places…for now anyway.
Where should we meet for coffee/tea?
Hey Happy is my #1. They know their stuff, bring in a rotating selection of wonderful coffees, and play good music. It’s a great spot to pull out your laptop and get a little work done, too. Oak Bay has its own version of this with Hide & Seek. You also can not go wrong with Discovery Coffee — I like the location on Blanshard Street best.
Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?
Part & Parcel, period. You will understand after your first experience. These people are not trying to be fancy; they do counter service and they are not pretentious or snobby if you do not know what “endive” is. They smile and will walk you through the menu when you have questions. The food here is next level! The wonderful humans who create the menu (which changes often) punch well above their weight class when it comes to the idea of simple yet inspired culinary creations. Victoria is lucky to have a place like this as most big food cities don’t have a place like this. But, if you’re downtown and don’t have time to get over the Quadra Village, Bao is the best spot for ramen — try the Tan Tan Men.
What if we still have an appetite and a thirst around Happy Hour?
Cafe Mexico has a special place in my happy hour heart. Their price-to-quality scale sets the bar for Victoria’s Happy Hour scene. The Courtney Room has a great happy hour food and drink selection as well, although I feel underdressed when I’m in there in jeans and a button-up shirt.
What’s for dinner?
I will shamelessly go back to Agrius or Part & Parcel for dinner but if I’m entertaining a guest from out of town who enjoys good food, wine and a locally-focused cocktail we’re going to Olo. All three of these places have continually changing menus based on the local food that’s being harvested and what is fresh that day. Olo, along with a their creative food menu, offers one of the most diverse wine lists in the city. Their cocktail game is also outstanding, which something you don’t often see in Victoria restaurants.
What’s for dessert?
I am not a big desert person but I do like ice cream. My version of a nice dessert is a walk over to Cold Comfort for one of their ice cream sandwiches. Their non-dairy ice cream selection is amazing, too.
Where are you taking us for late night cocktails?
We will begin the cocktail tour at Veneto. They have a talented team and a creative cocktail menu. They also smile and give great service at the bar. Then we’ll pop down to Cenote. It doesn’t feel like a cocktail bar until you open the drink menu. This place is a hidden little gem in the Victoria cocktail scene. Next up, a short walk down Blanshard takes us to Clarke & Co. — they have a neighbourhood cocktail bar kind of feel that is warm and inviting. You can’t go wrong with one of their nightly cocktails features listed on the chalkboard. We will finish the night at Clive’s Classic Lounge (my spot) with over 30 signature cocktails on the menu but if you’re at the bar and can’t decide on a drink just ask one of us to make you something “Off The Cuff”.