A GottaCon Diner’s Guide to the Inner Harbour (Part One)

With Gottacon, the ultimate gamer’s convention, about to happen this coming weekend, every gamer may well stick with what the Fairmont Empress has to offer (at the Ivy Ballroom) or dine out just for a change of scenery.

Sadly, due to contractual obligations, no outside food is allowed to be taken into the conference center, but that should not stop people from looking outside for something different to eat. No matter where one goes to dine, the prices will vary and the type of the food will be based on what a person likes.

If what the hotel is selling seems limited, presented here (in no particular order) is a guide to the local eateries within a one block walking distance from the Victoria Conference Centre that the Two Hungry Blokes have sought out for the discriminating eater. Yes, even foodie gamer nerds can be picky too.

Cora Breakfast and Lunch
#150 – 850 Douglas Street
(250) 381-2672

E: Haven’t been here and nor do I really have an interest. Cora is basically a Denny’s in disguise. Food prices are in the $8-15 range, and unless I really want a tired benny, my better bet is to at least go Bagels on Broad, which is further away.

J: Personally I prefer Smitty’s when it comes to franchise breakfast eateries.Cora was founded in Montreal and as a Canadian, I’d be willing to try this place out just once to see if it suits my taste buds.Website
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Le Petit Dakar
711 Douglas Street
(250) 380-3705

E: James and I discovered this place one night, and a full review can be found here. I highly recommend this shop for their soothing energy drinks, and the bites come reasonably fast too.

J: I love the hostess, she has such a wonderful personality. The food served here was decent.

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Liberty Cafe and Deli
708 Douglas Street
(250) 383-2213

J: My first and only experience with Liberty was ordering a egg breakfast wrap that wasn’t thoroughly heated (nothing worse than cold runny scrambled eggs). And did I mention the girl behind the counter didn’t know proper customer service. The upside is the business is close by and it has a relaxed interior.

E: The Liberty is a place I won’t visit unless friends drag me in. The variety of coffee and tea are good, and I like the London Fog, but all the stuff made are prepackaged and off the shelf. Prices are a touch on the high side and this place is more suited for the bibliophile since it has quite the number of book displays.If I had to make a choice, I’d rather walk across the street to Awesome Coffee, its direct competitor … (to be continued in next entry).

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Awesome Coffee
717 Douglas Street
(250) 475-2739

E: … and discover that most of the food and drink items are naturally sourced.

I’d walk the extra couple of meters to Awesome and I feel it’s worth it for the variety of take-out treats here. Most of what I’d get would be gone before I return to the Bus Station (or the Conference Centre). When I’ve been in here to get a caffeine rush early in the morning to get to Vancouver on a weekday, they are open promptly at 7am! On weekends, it’ll be 8am, and that should be okay.


Mirage Coffee
817 Government Street
(250) 384-4982
E: Distance-wise for the lazy traveller, I’d stick with Awesome instead of wandering two sides of a block to hit a Mirage.

J: I’ve never been here (I’m not a coffee drinker) but the interior looks inviting. It is probably a great place to sit in and watch the tourists walk by.

The Noodle Box
818 Douglas Street
(250) 384-1314

E: At the Noodle Box, the music always plays louder than it should and I’ll never understand why. Is it to drive away customers? When considering that their meals are designed to go than stay in, that makes sense. I like to call this place “The Dungeon” for that reason. The noise from all those woks being worked on plus the cranked up radio makes me feel like I’m being tortured.

But when the craving strikes, a healthy meal can be bought at less than $10 with a great selection favourite spicy toppings to pile on top. I’ve had good and bad take-out from this place over the years, so this place is a buyer’s beware.

When this franchise operation actually varies their menu from time to time, it’s a place I’ll still come back to. But I’d rather hit other franchise addresses more than others. This Douglas Street location has something wrong going for it which makes me wary.

J: The price is right and so is the food. Is it any wonder the franchise grew so quickly from one small cart operation in downtown Victoria. For customers like Ed, your solution is to order takeaway.

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The Old Spaghetti Factory
703 Douglas Street
(250) 381-8444

E: This old mainstay of Victoria has never moved or will go away. For people fresh off the Clipper or PCL, it’s the first diner they’ll see leaving the bus depot and I suspect that’s where most of their customers come from.I don’t see the Spaghetti Factory as anything special. I have friends from out of town who seem to like it, but for locals I’m one who will avoid it. The food is nothing to rave about. Their desserts are a step better than the usual, and price-wise, cheaper and tastier can be found elsewhere.I was a visitor coming into town for the first time and I was stopped by a Stormtrooper, yes there is nothing to see here and I’ll gladly move along.

J: If pasta is your game (besides whatever you play at GottaCon) then you can’t get much better than the Spaghetti Factory. It’s the perfect location (across the street), the prices are reasonable and Spaghetti Factory has a menu for large parties to help make the cost that much more appetizing.

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The Oyster Bar
614 Humboldt Street
(250) 385-4512

E: If you have a lot of money to spend and love oysters, this place (along with Ferris) is the place to go for fresh mollusks from the sea. A full review can be found here.

I really like the selection of food, and the meals can be served quickly if customers ask them to. However, as a bar, it’s meant as a place to keep people in to chat away than as a place to get a quick bite.

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Pescatores Seafood and Grill
614 Humboldt Street
(250) 385-4512

E: Pescatores is one of the best places to go for seafood when you are not being served a meal from a chef-in-training. I had the misfortune of that happening on one of my visits. The meal took longer than it should to get out and the meat was overcooked.

That has not deterred me from coming back since timing is everything here. The prices are on the mid to high side, on par with what The Oyster Bar’s rates are, but as for getting a filling meal, it’s worth every penny.

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