128-560 Johnson St
Phone: (250) 590-2648
The difference between the different types of pizza available out there — Neapolitan, Sicilian and traditional American — is distinguished by what type of flour is used for the dough and what ingredients are used. For Neapolitan, San Marzano tomatoes must be used, and the Market Square based operation is Famoso for it. Okay, bad pun, but when this establishment is technically a franchise, neither James or I were quick or that highly interested in checking this place out when it came into business years ago. Now that I’m seeing this place is a permanent fixture, perhaps it’s finally time to check this place out and give a very late answer if Prima Strada should worry about their competition.
I say there’s none to be found. Very little overlap really exists. The Strada offers wood fired (and wonderfully scented) tastes whereas Famoso only reveals the fact their product is baked in a clay-shaped oven. I didn’t ask but I’d be curious in learning what form of heat is used. In a decades old building, I do not think allowing age-old techniques would be allowed by the fire marshal so adapting the space was important. When considering the Mexican place next door had a fire and closed down as a result, I’m sure safety is a huge concern.
622 Fisgard St
Phone: (250) 590-7687
E: Who would have thought Victoria, BC’s Chinatown is fully multi-cultural? By the Gate of Harmony, I can find French, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese dining options, and I’d be hard pressed to say which is better. In a warm summer night around the town, and both James and my hunger were unabated, I let my buddy choose where to go dine.
Enter Pho Vuong, a nice cozy little operation located at the basement floor of a building and it was right next to a Pokéstop! Yes, I’m still playing the mobile game Pokémon GO, but I’m not as hardcore. If there’s opportunities to eat and spin, why not?
J: I was entranced by the traditional Chinese music being played out of speakers attached to the Friendship Gate. It was my first time hearing it and it somehow added to the atmosphere of its location. But for fine dining, there wasn’t much in the way of choice late night. What was comforting to see was families who owned the restaurants or families and their employees sitting down for a good meal. This night had some magic in the air.
1122 Blanshard St
Phone: (778) 430-4444
Not too many dessert type shops exist in Downtown Victoria proper. While plenty of chocolatiers are sprinkled around the touristy areas, namely Roger’s, Oh Sugar and Empire Doughnuts, these companies fills a gap. There’s other operations I’ve walked by, but am I being picky? I’ve often wondered if other delectable confectioneries will set up shop to sate my sweet tooth.
The Cookie Guy fills in a much needed gap which certainly satisfies my inner cookie monster when that craving comes. Best of all, they make them just like grandma! Even better, they are warm, soft and oh so gooey. Their turnaround is very fast since it is all baked in-store; Honestly, you can not get any fresher than this!
Ox King Noodles
780 Fisgard St
Phone: (778) 967-1022
J: After what was a great night on the town thanks in part to Capital 6 (now risen from the cinematic grave) and Starbucks on the corner of Fort and Blanshard, I was in a particular mood. As a single man would ask his date in for a nightcap I was looking to do the same with the food scene. There is a place I would walk by but would miss opportunities to investigate, Ox King Noodles.
Why it’s called that, I don’t know but I’m going to take a guess it has something to do with an astrological sign. But with Ox King Noodles one doesn’t need to see a sign to eat it, the smells should be enough.
E: I have often walked by this operation during my visits to the Victoria Public Market, and no, I was not James’ date. We both were craving Asian style noodles. Whether as pho’ or as ramen, the ox certainly delivers! I loved the noodles offered in their Vietnamese dishes. The kansui gave it a great chewy texture, and the meat slices had all the right notes for me to moo over.
Songhees Seafood & Steam
Victoria Clipper Terminal
254 Belleville St
Visitors arriving at Victoria, BC via The Clipper will be in for a treat! Not only are they arriving in a city originally occupied by this First Nation, but also they have an opportunity to partake in this culture’s yummy in my tummy traditions. From fried bread (I love this over Naan) to salmon, their selection is delectable. Their homemade jam (usually made from blackberries) makes for a perfect dip with the bread they offer. At the end of the day, they may give away the leftover supply so a fresh batch can be made for the next. For this dough, it’s best experienced warm than cold. With my extra piece which I could not finish, I got to try both extremes.
In what this place supplies is basically comfort food. You’ll find french fries too (I don’t believe this is a cultural product, but that’s okay), and I had their version of poutine and it was very filling. The fries were very good, and the paprika mayo dipping sauce certainly helped make this dish over the top!
Next time, though, I will have to try one of their burger combinations. There’s the choice between salmon and portabella as the main source of protein, and both sound good. My money is on the latter on my next visit. As much as I love bison, I find it hard to believe that some of these creatures roamed to this land during the last Ice Age to settle here. They may have but I find prairie type of oxen better tasting!
3½ Blokes out of 5
723 Pandora Ave.
[This guest review is by Naomi DeBruyn of Void Girl. She was the former editor of Linear Reflections E-Magazine. In her last visit to Victoria, BC, sometimes visiting old establishments is not perfect. She was with friends in this outing ….]
Touted as ‘The place to eat in Victoria!’ I found this dining experience to one of the most pathetic I’ve ever endured. Yes, endured. It was more than an experience, it was an agonizing waste of time.
Having only two hours before our movie started, we decided on ‘John’s Place’ for our dinner. It was virtually empty, even with the addition of the three of us, the customers were still under ten in number. We were awaiting a fourth, but decided to order anyhow. A good thing we did, believe me!
There were multiple staff and the place was decorated with ‘star personalities’ who had eaten there, and old time sports memorabilia. Well, lucky those stars were who they are as I’m betting it influenced the service.