Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on the fifth of May every year to celebrate Mexico’s independence following victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
In a very ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ fashion, it’s been turned into a day to enjoy the libations and flavours of our neighbours to the far south, but it remains a celebration and that’s what matters.
If there was ever a reason to celebrate, Mexico’s victory in fighting off a colonial oppressor 161 years ago is it.
Now, let’s talk about food and drinks.
Victoria has a vast array of restaurants that celebrate many variations of Mexican cuisine. From Oaxaca and Chiapas to Senora and Chihuahua, there is a ton of variety in dishes and ingredients, but they all equate to a truly delicious part of Mexican culture.
Here are eight places in Victoria to consider grabbing a bite and a drink to toast freedom this Cinco de Mayo:
Certainly the patio-est spot on this list, there is nowhere better in the city to eat street burritos and sip one of a few margarita options.
Boomtown opened up shop last summer and has become known across the city to have some of the best burritos, chicken wings, drinks and even bao in town.
The Birria burrito to hog to yourself with an order of wings and corn salad to share for the table is the way to do Boomtown right if you’ve never been.
If you like beer over margaritas and their many other cocktails, try the 33 Acres Mezal Gose.
And do yourself a favour and ask your server kindly to “make it wet”.
- Where: 950 Yates Street
- When: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every dang day
Come for the tacos, stay for the queso fondues, the elote corn bread and the enchiladas.
La Taqueria is one of the best of the best when it comes to Mexican food and they aren’t afraid to take risks and reap the rewards.
They serve 10 variations of tacos and that’s just the beginning of what they can offer. The ‘Birriamen’ is a mexican take on ramen that is 1,000% worth trying and may be one of the best, most original ramens in the city.
They also have one of the best happy hours in the city from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with $6 draught, $8 margaritas and $24 pitchers.
- Where: 766 Fort Street
- When: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. every dang day
The new kid on the block that took the town by storm. They started out sharing a space in Craigflower Foods in Esquimalt but after a fire put them out they managed to get in with the good folks at Empire Donuts who they now share a space with.
Benjo’s menu is simple and delicious and there is nobody that can beat them at what they do in Victoria — birria tacos.
Birria is a Mexican stew and the meat can be used for almost anything, but the broth or jus is the real star of the show.
Benjo’s takes the meat from their stew, and puts it into fresh tortillas with onions, cilantro and cheese.
Those puppies are fried up on a flattop and served with a side of the birria broth for dipping action.
- Where: #109 230 Cook Street
- When: Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sonora Bar & Grill is a fun, latinx dance club by night and a great spot for a bite and a sip during the evening.
If this Cinco de Mayo has you in a dancey mood, there’s no better spot than Sonora.
They hit all the classics while doing a bit of an american take on Mexican cuisine. This is definitely the only spot in town you’ll be able to get a ‘Taco Burger’.
Dance and eat your way into seis de Mayo this Cinco de Mayo at Sonora.
- Where: 531 Yates Street
- When: Thursday to Sunday, hours vary daily
This is heaven on earth if you can appreciate the foundation for much of what Mexican cuisine has to offer — the tortilla.
Nestled in the heart of Chinatown, MAiiZ Nixamal makes big batches of the most authentic tortillas money can buy and they’ll sell them to you as is, if all you want is their tortillas.
They use Nixtamalized Organic BC Corn and a stone grinding method to hand-make everything they produce.
You can also sit-in and have a bite of some of the best traditional, authentic Mexican food here too.
Their tamales, quesadillas and tacos are out of this world and it’s largely due to their incredible tortillas.
- Where: 540 Fisgard Street
- When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., every dang day
If you’re downtown Victoria, this spot is a must-try.
It’s tucked in on the western facing side of Market Square and they are an especially good choice if a happy hour is what you’re after.
Cervezas are only $6.25, an ice cold Modelo Especial is $6.50 and palomas and margaritas are $3 off. Tacos are also only $4.50 each during happy hour
They’re entirely authentic Mexican menu is vast and patrons get great bang for their buck at Café Mexico.
- Where: 1425 Store Street
- When: Tuesday to Sunday, hours vary daily
Tried and true — nothing really hits the spot for fans of Tacofino except for Tacofino.
Their daily lunchtime and dinner lineups say it all, they are good at what they do. The tacos are on point, their tortillas are perfect, they have tons of options for vegetarians and the folks making the food are genuinely nice people.
No alcohol at this one, but for those who don’t care for the stuff, they have tasty Jarritos that hit the spot just as much as a margarita so you won’t miss out on anything.
- Where: 760 Pandora Avenue
- When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
This spot is tucked in behind Cook Street beside the Cook Street Village food court and it’ll have you feeling like you just walked off the streets of Sayulita for a delicious Mexican snack.
Their menu is simple but everything is done with care and made with love for where the cuisine came from.
Their chorizo, chicken, beef or veggie burritos are especially good if you are feeling especially hungry.
If you are already bopping around in Cook Street Village it’s worth it to grab something from Mexican Village and Benjo’s Tacos. They both offer very different and unique takes on the vast country’s food culture.
- Where: Cook Street Village
- When: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday
It’s patio season again and that is perfect for this little Fernwood gem!
Mesa Familiar is in Fernwood Square right across from the Belfry Theatre and kiddie corner to Little June.
Their food is fantastic, they have delicious drinks with a local take on what a Mexican drink is.
Patrons of Mesa Familiar can grab a cerveza from a selection of Phillips Brewing’s finest, margaritas, shafts and a hidden gem called the ‘Tegroni’ — a classic Negroni but made with tequila reposado instead of gin.
Stop by and feel your hair in the breeze of the always vibrant Fernwood Square, sip a Tegroni and put back a few tacos!
- Where: 1296 Gladstone Avenue
- When: Tuesday to Saturday, hours vary daily
What’s your favourite Mexican Cuisine spot in Victoria? Did we miss anything major? Let us know in the comments!