Residents of British Columbia’s capital have long been fans of leisurely weekend brunches. But recently, several new spots have opened and existing spots have retooled, taking these morning meals beyond basic bacon and eggs.
We’ve rounded up some ideas for kicking off a delicious weekend in the island city of Victoria.
If your party can’t decide between breakfast classics or more contemporary midday options, book a brunch reservation in this chic, art-nouveau-inspired restaurant. Launched in 2018, the dining room at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Magnolia Hotel & Spa serves a hybrid breakfast-lunch menu on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For breakfast purists, there are a range of eggs Benedict options, omelets and French toast, while lunch lovers can select from plates like steelhead trout with sunflower seed risotto; roasted scallops with tempura cauliflower and fermented black bean sauce; or a grain bowl topped with avocado, local greens, pickled vegetables and crispy rice. Now, everyone’s happy.
Four-Star Fairmont Empress is best known for its elegant afternoon tea that draws thousands of sippers to its grand salon every year. If you’d prefer something more substantial than finger sandwiches and bonbons, though, book a table for brunch at the hotel’s stylishly revamped dining room.
In these polished surroundings, where fanciful portraits of Queen Victoria decorate the walls, you might kick off your day with a strawberry-banana smoothie bowl served with a watermelon popsicle, shakshouka (baked eggs in tomato sauce) with sprouted chickpeas and wilted spinach in harissa-tomato ragu, or a lamb burger slathered with red onion jam.
The Q Signature Mimosa adds island-grown gooseberries and lemon verbena from the hotel’s rooftop herb garden to the classic morning cocktail. And in a spot that’s known for tea, you can choose to pair your brunch with a spot of your favorite brew, too.
Stroll about 15 minutes north of Inner Harbour to find this sunny local hangout that takes you from morning coffee to happy hour cocktails with freshly made pastries, “Dutch Babies” and locally sourced breakfast plates in between.
Here, grazers might opt for the Sherwood Board with smoked salmon, sliced ham, a boiled egg and creamy ricotta; it also comes in a vegetarian version with avocado, greens, toast and fruit. Other brunch ideas include a breakfast sandwich with locally cured bacon, eggs and arugula on brioche or Mexican-inspired migas with poached eggs, chorizo, kale and fried ciabatta.
Drinking options include the House Radler, which mixes pilsner and rhubarb shrub, or the Shangri La, blending Aperol, fresh orange juice, lambrusco (a sparkling red wine) and soda.
Oh, and those Dutch Babies? Pancakes will seem pedestrian after you devour this fluffy, savory-sweet crepe, piled with berries and whipped crème fraîche.
In an old-school Victoria motel, new owners have converted a classic 1950s hash house into a just-hip-enough brunch scene.
Park yourself in a red vinyl booth or along the buffed metal counter, where you can choose between old-fashioned favorites — from traditional eggs any style to Reuben sandwiches and even liver and onions — or go more modern, with a mushroom- and kale-topped variation of eggs Benedict; brown butter crepes with berries; or a cauliflower, tempeh and quinoa bowl. Either way, the mile-high lemon meringue pie is a sweet way to wrap up your meal.
For brunch by the water, make your way across Johnson Street Bridge to the harbor’s west shore, where this trendy newcomer is serving up casual west coast fare with seaside views.
Relax into your weekend morning with a creative cocktail, like a blackberry bourbon iced tea or the locally inspired “Orca Song,” blending island-made Sheringham gin with sake, kombu (dried kelp) and Hibiki Harmony, a Japanese whisky.
To eat, there are breakfast pizzas, biscuits with baked eggs and sausage gravy, and a vegan-friendly salad of avocado, pickled beets and cashew cheese. Finish with a pastry or two, and you may find yourself lingering over your espresso till happy hour.
This narrow storefront on the edge of Chinatown isn’t new, but until recently, it’s been something of a Victoria secret.
Chef Robert Cassels takes inspiration from Vancouver Island’s local products to craft inventive menus that evolve with the seasons. That means at brunch you might find tacos of locally caught fish sauced with lemon-caper aioli; risotto seasoned with chutney, maple crème fraîche and crispy coffee quinoa; or a soba noodle salad with island-raised chicken and an assortment of Asian-style vegetables. A local favorite is the Egg “McDuckin,” a breakfast sandwich matching duck bacon and duck confit with an egg and pickled fennel-orange slaw.
Brunch is served Wednesday through Saturday only, and reservations are recommended.