Autumn is for blankets and layering up your clothing in Victoria, but it’s also all about the comfort food.
The words ‘comfort food’ are going to mean something completely different to everyone because everyone has something different in mind.
Maybe their favourite comfort meal comes from a distant memory that warms the heart and fills the stomach — you know, like that one scene in Ratatouille — or maybe it is something more instinctual than that, everyone is different.
Greater Victoria has plenty of comfort meals for everyone and now that it’s autumn, we thought we’d tell you some of the best and brightest at making a meal worthy of curing a bit of the looming seasonal depression.
Here are 13 places to find the best comfort food Victoria has to offer:
When you think of comfort food, one of the first things that comes to mind is pasta, and the folks at Pagliacci’s know how to do it well, cheap and leaving you wanting to roll yourself home rather than walk.
The ‘Dempsy’s Lasagna’ is a particularly great comfort meal to ring in the fall this year.
- Where: 1011 Broad Street
The best comfort food is the kind you can make at home and wear your ugliest, holiest pyjamas while you devour it, but sometimes, you just don’t have the energy to make these meals yourself.
That’s where Refire Kitchen comes in to save the day. They specialize in comfort meals and all you have to do is turn on the oven and follow their easy instructions before you are in comfort food heaven!
Try the shepard’s pie or mama’s meatloaf for a good time. Just prepare yourself for wanting seconds…
- Where: 843 Fort street in Victoria and 100 Aldersmith Place in View Royal
There is something special about this little ‘hole in the wall’ nestled in the heart of Esquimalt.
They serve $2 ‘Steamies,’ which are steamed hot dogs with all the fixin’s. Any normal sized human can easily crush three or four of these bad boys.
Meanwhile, the real treat of La Belle Patate is the poutine.
There’s no bells or whistles, just solid, good ingredients with fresh potatoes, hearty gravy and some of the finest Quebec curds!
Don’t you want to eat that?
- Where: 1215 Esquimalt Road
Thinking about soup and comfort food is like thinking about the ocean and sand, they just go together.
But Kizuna Ramen isn’t just any ol’ “soup,” it’s some of the best ramen that one can find in this city.
The recipe was meticulously created and is handcrafted in a commissary kitchen in Esquimalt five days a week.
They have dumplings (another great comfort food we’ll talk about later), a pork ramen and a vegan ramen that are all mouth watering in their own delicious way.
Once you try Kizuna Ramen, everything else will taste like Mr. Noodles by comparison.
- Where: 776 Fairfield Road
Indian food has got to be one of the all-time champs of the comfort food world.
There are plenty of amazing spots to get your fix but there is something special — and extra spicy — about Spice Valley.
They will let you go as spicy as you want with all menu items and when they say “extra spicy,” they mean it.
Get whatever your heart desires, it’s all fantastic, but make sure to grab yourself an order of pakora to go with it!
- Where: 910 Esquimalt Road
Like Indian food, there are around 1,000 pizza spots to choose from, but not all of them come with a deal.
Romeo’s sets themselves apart by not only doing pizza well, but doing a two-for-one deal on all pizzas and pastas!
Also, they do delivery so you can get those ugly pyjamas back on for this one.
Shoutout to the classic pepperoni and the cheeseburger pizzas for a taste of something you know and a walk on the wild side.
- Where: Check the website for their various locations and their hours
Wheelies is a staple of Victoria at this point for many reasons.
They are a venue in a region that over the years has seen several venues crumble, they sell vintage and motorcycle-wear in the retail shop, they have one of the best cookies in Victoria, maybe the world, and their sandwiches are simply heaven.
However, they didn’t make this list in particular for any of that… This time, it’s all about their mac and cheese.
It’s a perfect baked mac and cheese with a bechamel blend and they even throw in some kale so you can feel like a healthy person and tell your doctor you have indeed been eating leafy greens.
- Where: 2620 Rock Bay Avenue
Nothing hits the spot more than a bowl full of hot dumplings and Dumpling Drop are the kings/queens of the artistry behind crafting the perfect little wrapped up morsel.
Pick-up, delivery, eat in, whatever you feel like, they can accommodate.
You simply must get one or two orders of dumplings, but if you’re going to get something to go with it, get the cucumber salad or the yuzu brussel sprouts.
- Where: 556A Pandora Avenue
Proving to the world that mall food isn’t just A&W and Subway, Totchos sets themselves apart and they are a locally owned business.
Nestled inside Westshore Town Centre, they serve tater tots loaded up however you want them with a plethora of dips and accoutrements, but the real specialty here is the vibe.
At every table they have a vintage game system, a Sega Genesis or a Super Nintendo with all the games you could ever need.
Sit down, grab some tots and stay a while.
- Where: 2945 Jacklin Road
One of the most sought out and successful of any Victoria eatery, Big Wheel Burger has expanded the way it has for good reason.
Their burgers are nothing groundbreaking, but when a Victorian thinks of what a comfort meal burger means to them, they are most likely thinking of Big Wheel Burger, especially those who are allergic to peanuts and can’t have Burger Crush.
Do yourself a favour and ‘add a wheel’ by making your burger a double cheese. You will never regret it.
- Where: Check the website for their various locations and their hours
Surf and turf heaven lives at Nautical Nellies.
They have food that is so magnificently well done and prices that are accessible to all with several worldly influences.
What’s their specialty though? The steak.
Steak is 100%, absolutely a comfort meal to many and instead of spending money at a chain restaurant for a sub-par hunk of red meat, people should go to Nautical Nellies and indulge themselves a bit.
- Where: 1001 Wharf Street
If you’ve ever cried until you have no more tears, you know how ice cream can act as a Band-Aid for those kinds of feelings.
Parachute are masters at the craft and are consistently making flavours that will give you a warm hug in your heart while giving you brain freeze at the same time.
They also do several dairy-free flavours with just as much creativity as their full-on dairy choices, so you don’t need to worry about where the closest bathroom is while you get back to crying.
- Where: 2626 Bridge Street in Victoria or 735 Goldstream Avenue in Langford
If this list didn’t have donuts or (doughnuts), then it wouldn’t really be doing comfort food any justice.
Doughnut Vault is the new kid on the donut block in Victoria, but they are already leaving a lasting impression.
This business was started by a welder turned pastry chef who’s perfectionism led him to crafting the perfect donut recipe.
With that in his pocket along with pure hope, he moved to Victoria and started slinging donuts out of the Public Market.
He sells out frequently, so make sure to order ahead.
- Where: Check out how to order curbside style on their Instagram
Where did we miss? What is your go-to comfort food spot in the city? Let us know in the comments section below.