For what I can only attribute to loyalty to my favourite places in Vancouver (I moved from there a few years ago), I have not explored enough Indian, Chinese, Greek, Thai, sushi or other international restaurants in Victoria.
Once you find your favourite curry or sushi place it’s hard to want to look for more I’ve always found.
Friends have suggested Varsha Indian Kitchen a few times, so I’m glad I got there recently.
It was a sunny Sunday; I ordered a glass of sparkling Bella Wines, and started reading the menu. An Indian inspired menu of west coast staples, Varsha has the Indian dishes you’d expect — butter chicken, aloo gobi (both personal favourites), with tandoori fish tacos, butter chicken poutine, grilled kale salad, a Moroccan-spiced chickpea quinoa veggie burger, and a battered cauliflower dished called 250 — all with Indian influence.
The drink menu features a small but solid mostly BC wine list (Bella bubbles were great with all three dishes I ordered), craft beer on tap from Driftwood, Hoyne, Phillips and other local breweries, cocktails, Faustino and Merridale craft ciders, and happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.
The corner location means the room is bright with windows on both sides, and the bold-coloured interior gives off a great modern Indian vibe. Have a glass of wine in the lounge chairs, or cozy up in a booth with friends — Varsha Indian Kitchen is great spot before a show, or for happy hour. Open for lunch and dinner.
Nearby Bao opened in June in the old Noodle Box location on Fisgard, and the husband and wife team behind the counter are serving up Asian dishes and craft beer. Locally sourced meats, a few vegan options, and one gluten-free ramen give the small menu something for most diets. With just under 30 seats, you can sit at the bar or a table along the two banquettes, after you order at the counter.
I had a red Vienna Lager from Hoyne, two of the Bao buns, and a giant Katsu chicken ramen that had a great broth, a perfectly cooked egg, and heaping pile of noodles. A great new spot to check out, I see many ramen bowls in my future.
J & J Wonton Noodle House on Fort Street is a classic Chinese restaurant where you can order lots of dishes with friends and spin them around on the lazy Susan to share. They specialize in Cantonese and Szechuan dishes, and include local ingredients, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Lots of fresh sheet specials, open for lunch and dinner until 8:30 p.m., closed Sundays and Mondays.
Where’s your favourite Greek place? Send me a tweet and give some suggestions at @chantalireland.
Try it you’ll like it:
• King Tide Saison collaboration from Persephone Brewing and Driftwood Brewery at craft focused private liquor stores around town.
• Painted Rock Winery’s 2015 Chardonnay; check paintedrock.com for store locators.
• Cafe Mexico Grill & Cantina just reopened after being destroyed by fire in January 2015, with Brad & Helga (the 31-year owners) bringing on local barman Shaun Soole to build one of the biggest mezcal bars in BC, and create a new bar program for the launch.