Abkhazi Garden is the "garden that love built"—Prince Nicholas Abkhazi, a Georgian prince from Russia, and his bride Peggy settled in Victoria in 1946 and promptly began construction on the garden that they would refer to as "their child." Likened by Princess Peggy to an unfurling Chinese scroll, the blossom-brimming garden's meandering paths lead visitors around natural rock outcroppings, between sky-stroking garry oaks, and through the hedges where gnomes power photosynthesis with their stationary bikes. Along the banks of the garden's three small ponds, the songs of dozens of bird species cascade over guests and the resident turtles. Views of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains peek through the gardens' perimeter amid azaleas and the Abkhazi's prized rhododendron woodland area. Inside the now-public main house, a restaurant—open from March to November—sends platters of eggs benedict, niçoise salad, and scones with jams and Devon cream to tables nestled in the great room, where cozy seats overlook the garden.
Since Villages Pizza’s launch in 1974, it has expanded to seven locations and an express pizza truck, all purveying the same wholesome pies. The pizzas are topped with fresh produce and lean cuts of meat, and they can start with a whole-wheat or gluten-free crust if desired. People with dietary restrictions can also find comfort in lactose-free cheese and lower-calorie flatbreads, although more classic ingredients comprise the bulk of the menu.
As a second-generation pizza maker, owner John Papaloukas is responsible for the eatery’s traditional Italian recipes, plus some new inventions with Mexican leanings. The pesto perfect pie is topped with roasted chicken breast, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and feta, and baked pasta dishes highlight the flavours of lean meatballs, marinara, and oven.
Within a stately Tudor Revival building, The Fernwood Inn's kitchen sparks with creative energy as a team of chefs dedicated to the pursuit of inventive, locally sourced, and gastropub fare get to work chopping, saut?ing and crisping. As servers glide across the dining room?s fir floors, aromatic tendrils from smoked meats and Asian-influenced seafood and soup dishes announce plates' arrival before they're even set down. As bites disappear between lips, oversized mirrors and wooden casks add a touch of casual elegance, and the outdoor patio enables much-underrated fresh air to get in on alfresco feeding frenzies during the warm-weather months. Gathering the community on select evenings, The Fernwood Inn hosts live musical performances as well as open mic nights frequented by young talent and juke boxes showing up on their reunion tours.
A chain of restaurants founded in 1952, Fatburger’s team of skilled grillsmiths tirelessly bustles about kitchens across the continent whipping up platefuls of fresh, cooked-to-order diner fare. Upon receiving each patron’s order, chefs spring into action meticulously preparing feasts from the finest of ingredients including AAA Alberta beef, hand-picked produce, and cholesterol-free oil. Frozen treat specialists plunge scoops into ice cream containers, extracting creamy orbs to be transformed into milkshakes so old fashioned that they only enter the straw after donning a set of pearls. Fostering an authentic atmosphere, each Fatburger location features retro decor and enforces a strict poodle-skirt-only dress code for all diners.
Powered by the sustainable bounty of local producers, La Piola crafts seasonal menus of rustic Italian dishes brimming with freshness and authentic flavour. Current offerings are neatly printed on paper and colourfully scrawled on chalkboards for the convenience of diners and the withering penmanship critiques of schoolmarms. Galvanize the gastronomical gala with an antipasti plate presenting house-cured salamis, house-pickled veggies, cheese, and crostino ($12, add $5/person for multiplates). The stagionale pizza, meanwhile, lays free-range vegetables to sleep on pillows of steamy crust ($14). The kitchen makes its pastas on-site with eggs from chickens born, bred, and educated locally, and the restaurant's products are imported straight from Italy, providing the base for such dishes as the carbonara ($12) and puttanesca ($11). Drink options afford wines ($8+/glass) and local bottled beers ($4.95+) for toasting friends or roasting derelict crossing guards. Diners can enjoy all tastes on La Piola's outdoor brick patio.
A&W Restaurant, one of the largest burger chains in Canada, has been trapping burgers between buns and filling cups with creamy root beer for generations of famished families. Choose from a brood of belly-busting burgers, such as the Papa Burger, leading the pack with two beef patties (a $4.92 value). The Baby Burger induces burger purists to shed a single tear upon seeing the simple beef patty on a bun salaciously adorned with nothing but A&W seasoning and a dollop of ketchup (a $1.89 value). The beefy Uncle Burger (a $5.70 value, $0.50 extra for cheese) bogarts all the mouth room, sprawling its sirloin patty and lettuce-tomato-onion suit all over tongue sofas. Round out a meaty meal with a medium order of crisp fries (a $2.79 value) and a medium soda (a $2.34 value).