Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk – and usually jokes about ‘Hipsters’. For a refresher, a hipster is a person or group of people who are unusually aware of and interested in current trends if only to rebel against them. As such, hisperts are a part of and create a counterculture to what is seen as mainstream or ‘suburban’. While not many of us might identify as hipsters or willing to try to pull off some of their aesthetic practices, I think we can agree that when it comes to dining, the hipsters have got great taste. With exacting execution, adherence to sustainable practices and high standards, dining at ‘hipster’ restaurants is a recipe for a great time and excellent food. From flavourful ethnic dishes and elaborate craft cocktails to time-honoured traditional recipes and a nod to nostalgia, hipsters have changed the way we eat and drink, especially in Victoria.
For over eight years, this incredibly cool speakeasy located downtown in old Victoria has been delighting patrons with out-of-this-world craft cocktails and delicious, fresh, ever changing menu items. Not only are the food and cocktails amazing, but cramming yourself into this tiny dining room is an experience unto itself. With dim, edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling, great music, incredible service and an always packed bar, Little Jumbo should be at the top of your list for hipster dining experiences in Victoria.
For an upscale, French inspired, cuisine in a casual urban setting, Saveur is the place to go. Chef Cassels’ menu is always filled with inventive dishes created to reflect the seasonality of the Island produce while pushing the boundaries of haute cuisine. In addition to the incredible dishes that Saveur offers, guests will find a list of beautifully built cocktails and thoughtfully curated wine lists to compliment any meal.
Right on the edge of downtown on the corner of Broughton St. and Blanshard St. you’ll find this modest ramen restaurant. For the common cold, chicken soup has been usurped by hipsters who swear by ramen instead to cure, or at least provide comfort, when under the weather. Ramen is a popular Japanese dish, most often served as a noodle soup and most often made with either meat or fish-based broth, poured over noodles and is garnished with sliced or shredded pork, scallions, egg and nori (dried seaweed). If you’ve never had ramen, Menbow offers a variety of the delicious, filling soup for every flavour preference.
With a farm in North Saanich and four incredible restaurants in Victoria and Sidney, 10 Acres offers guests the ultimate farm-to-table dining experience. With various crops, an orchard, apiary and livestock, this hard-working farm allows each of their restaurants to showcase the incredible produce that is grown right from the soil on Vancouver Island. You won’t find fresher ingredients than at a 10 Acres establishment. Additionally, you can find locally brewed beer all on tap and they have a great selection of creative cocktails and a wonderful wine list. For the apex of hipster-style sustainability, you’ll want to dine at a 10 Acres restaurant.
This little cafe on the edge of Chinatown serves up delicious all-day breakfasts that are inspired by flavours of the southern US. With home-style recipes that have been lovingly passed down and sustainable, local ingredients used in every dish, it’s no wonder why Jam Café is so popular! With the eclectic decor and funky street-side patio, this urban breakfast joint is a must if you’re looking for hipster breakfast food with soul.
We’ve all heard the jokes about hipster mixologists and their somewhat pretentious view on cocktail making. While most of those jokes are hyperbole, there is some truth to it – and thank goodness there is! Making a great cocktail isn’t about flare and speed, it’s about balancing flavours and elements to ensure that every sip is as amazing as the first. It’s a way to truly enjoy top-shelf spirits as they should be enjoyed. If you love a great cocktail as much as we do, there may be no better place to go than Wind Cries Mary in historic Bastion Square. Their incredible cocktail list is only matched by the friendly, knowledgeable service and incredible food.
Sushi in Victoria is almost always amazing, no matter where you go but for a completely new take on Japanese dining, there’s no better restaurant to visit than Nubo. Combining global cooking techniques and traditional flavours, Nubo has created a unique way to enjoy and discover Japanese food. With classic cocktails with a twist and inventive, new cocktails with Japanese flavours, Nubo is an all around-incredible flavour experience.
While this little eatery isn’t technically a food truck, Red Fish Blue Fish has been successfully using the food truck dining model for over a decade. With fast, fresh, casual and sustainable seafood dishes and a gorgeous setting right on the water, hungry visitors and locals alike have flocked to this little shack in the Inner Harbour. No matter what time of year, a trip to Red Fish Blue Fish and a lunch on the side of the dock is about as Victoria as it gets.
Nothing says ‘hipster’ like a love of craft beer. Victoria’s craft beer parlour, The Drake Eatery is the ultimate place for anyone, hipster or not, who loves craft beer. Here, you can order beer flights allowing you to sample many of their craft beers on tap and finding your favourite. Can’t decide? Ask one of the knowledgeable staff members to help you choose! If you’re hungry, The Drake also has a prodigious menu full of unique, casual favourites, perfect for pairing with a refreshing pint or two!
Since 1999, Zambri’s has been one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Victoria. While it doesn’t have the flair and novelty of some of the other restaurants in this list, Zambri’s has steadfastly held onto their core values of creating and serving traditional Italian dishes using the highest quality ingredients and time-honoured techniques. For years, this little restaurant has been the go-to place for astounding food in a beautiful atmosphere. For a taste of Italy in Victoria, Zambri’s is your go-to.