Friday, April 19, 2024

These four Vancouver Island restaurants have been named best for outdoor dining


With sunshine in the forecast this Victoria Day long weekend, what better way to soak up some rays than by enjoying food and drink on an outdoor patio.

Across Greater Victoria, restaurant patios abound, with three in and around the region earning a spot on OpenTable’s annual Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining list, released Monday.

Highlighted eateries include Victoria-based Finn’s Seafood on Wharf Street and Fireside Grill on Saanich Road, as well as The Dining Room at Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay and further up island, Unsworth Restaurant in Mill Bay.

OpenTable is a restaurant reservation service where users can make a reservation online, read restaurant reviews from other diners and earn points for free meals.

The company says the latest rankings stem from diner reviews collected between early March 2021 and late February 2022, with all restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews included for consideration. 

Rankings also follow a winter of lockdowns, with in-person dining reservations nationwide up 61% this month compared to pre-pandemic 2019, according to OpenTable.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants across BC’s capital have expanded their patios to encourage physical distancing and maintain service. 

These temporary expanded service areas (TESAs) have helped local restaurants and pubs during a difficult time, while also emphasizing the city’s love for outdoor dining options.

BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association president Ian Tostenson applauds TESAs, saying many BC restaurants and bars have innovated over the past two years.

“As they plan for the future, they can continue to welcome their customers in expanded service areas and benefit from the resulting revenue,” said Tostenson.

After enjoying pre-existing patios and new TESAs, Vancouver Island residents have had their say on their favourite outdoor dining spots.

Here’s a look at four island restaurants to make OpenTable’s ‘100 Best’ list:

Finn’s Seafood, Chops and Cocktails

Fireside Grill

The Dining Room at Butchart Gardens

Unsworth Restaurant

Find the complete list here.

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