Vancouver Island has a cool Mediterranean climate and plenty of rain. There is an abundance of rivers that have created rich farmland, as a result of the deposition of silt on their flood plains. This means that plenty can grow on the island and for centuries the local people have dined well on what is grown locally. The waters both within the surrounding and within the island are home to some of the biggest fish in the world. From such a rich agricultural base the region is seen as a “foodies heaven” and many top-class restaurants have emerged all over the island.
Due to the ethnic varieties among the population of Canada the taste in food is wide and varied. This is a nation that sees the traditional Sunday Lunch as its national dish. One of the best restaurants in Victoria is the redfish bluefish restaurant. It is a fish and chips eatery located on a wooden pier in Victoria’s inner harbor. The fish is fresh and caught in a sustainable manner. The choices include salmon, cod, halibut and oyster with the fish being fried in a tempura batter. They follow Ocean Wise, an aquarium conservation program that helps restaurants make the correct sustainable seafood choices.
Another eatery with a sustainable conscience is the 10 acres bistro which is found in North Saanich. Any of the ingredients that are not grown on the organic farm are sourced from neighbors who farm in a sustainable manner. The food on the menu tends to reflect the season as it is locally collected. There are a number of fish dishes such as Oysters squid and salmon and they also follow Ocean Wise in order to provide fish sourced from a sustainable manner. The meats come from the chickens, pigs, cattle and lambs that are reared on the farm. The vegetables are grown in the gardens and the idea is that the restaurant is providing local meals made from the most local of produce.
One of the richest agricultural areas of the island is the Cowichan Valley. One of the most unusual restaurants is the stone soup kitchen. It is quite isolated but the quality of its locally sourced food attracts many customers. From Thursday to Sunday it has a five course menu and this is accompanied by wine pairings. A lot of the food products are foraged from the wild and the natural wilderness of the island means that many of the best eateries are found on farms.
The Snook Harbor House certainly isn’t a farm and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is actually a hotel that has its own art gallery. There are a variety of menus from fine dining to casual dining with even afternoon tea. However, all produce that is used in the restaurant is locally sourced and it has successfully been in operation since 1979. The Comox valley is another rich agricultural area and it is found in the centre of Vancouver Island. Locals restaurant specializes in producing game menus with bison, rabbit, venison and duck plus seasonally grown vegetables. It is one of the warmest areas on the island and this is reflected by some of the produce that it is able to put on the menu.
The food on the island is simple fare but it is of such good quality, and so well prepared, that it is some of the best cuisine in the world. With many of the restaurateur’s having a social conscience the food is produced in a sustainable manner insuring the reliability of the food sources for years to come.