Favourite Food Spots

Okay, so yesterday I promised you guys a list of my favourite restaurants in Victoria. However, I’ve decided to expand that idea, and instead share with you a Top 20 list of my best restaurant experiences of all time, from all three of my hometowns – Vancouver, Toronto, AND Victoria, a couple from Calgary, and a few from my trip to Australia! These are listed in no particular order, because they’re all my equal favourites.

Jenn’s Top 20: Restaurants & Cafes

1. Stage Small Plates and Wine Bar (Victoria): Seriously, every time I go here, I’m just blown away. The food is some of the best, freshest, locally-sourced goodness I have ever eaten in my life. One of the best desserts I have ever had (pictured below) is their Pumpkin Langos: doughnut puffs, dusted in cinnamon sugar with creme fraiche and caramel sauce for dipping. Mmmm, my mouth waters just thinking about it right now!

2. Pagliacci’s (Victoria): This place seriously serves the BEST focaccia bread I’ve ever had. And they refill the bread basket endlessly, like it’s their job (probably because it is…). I asked to take home the last few pieces remaining at the end of my meal once and they came back with a big brown bag full of them for me. I was so pleased. I cut them up and used them the next night, dipped in chocolate fondue! Om nom!

3. The Naam (Vancouver): This place is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and are only closed on Christmas day! It is the cities oldest natural foods restaurant and it is absolutely amazing, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. The serving sizes are enormous. It’s comfort food at it’s finest. A couple of my faves (pictured below): Pad Thai, Veggie Enchiladas, and the Apple Crisp, which they’ve been serving since The Naam opened over 30 years ago!

4. Fresh (Toronto): One of my favourite things on earth is, honestly, the chocolate fudge cake from this spectacular restaurant. They also have some of the absolute best sweet potato fries and some of the most amazing dipping sauces I’ve ever had. The veggie burgers are also to-die-for, as is pretty much everything else on the menu! There are three locations. I love them all, but my favourite is the one on Crawford.

5. Sadie’s Diner (Toronto): Om nom nom brekky!! This place is an adorable, all-day vegetarian brunch spot. The pancakes are my favo dish that I’ve tried so far, but I’ve been quite pleased with all the dishes I’ve tried! BTW, don’t be alarmed by the slab of bacon, it’s only made of tempeh! đŸ˜›

6. Green Mango (Toronto): THE Best peanut sauce I have ever eaten comes from this place. If I could, I would buy it from them by the bucketful and put it on EVERYTHING. Favourite dishes: Sticky Rice with Peanut Sauce, Veggie Fresh Rolls and the Green Mango Salad. Their selection of Pad Thai dishes is awesome too. This restaurant is also spectacular because it is located in one of my favourite Toronto neighbourhoods – Bloor West Village!

7. Prima Strada Pizzaria (Victoria): Best authentic Italian pizza I’ve ever had. Seriously. Wood-fired, thin crust, topped with simple, delicious local ingredients! Yum in my tum!

8. Aphrodite’s Pies (Vancouver): Not only does this place have some of the best, freshest, organic, and delicious pie I have ever eaten in my lifetime, it also serves a stupendous brunch, and fantastically scrumptious lunch and dinner. I seriously dig this cafe. It’s just so lovely and quaint! I can’t even tell you which flavor of pie is my favourite. For one, I have yet to try them all, and secondly, the ones I have tried are all just so delicious! I once flew from Van to TO with an entire Raspberry Rubarb pie from Aphrodite’s in my carry on. That’s how much I love this place.

9. Iki Japanese Bistro (Vancouver): I’ve been to COUNTLESS Japanese and sushi restaurants over the years. I am obsessed with sushi, and I always like the places that offer brown rice the best. It tastes no different from the white stuff, but it has SO much more nutrition, making an already healthy meal an even healthier one! Yay! Anyways, this place serves the best brown rice sushi on earth. And they have a huge assortment of special rolls with all sorts of interesting ingredients! It’s so much fun!

10. Fressen (Toronto): One of my favourite things in life: tapas style restaurants, where you get to sample a large variety of yummy little dishes that tickle your taste buds until you’re stuffed! Mmmmmm! This place is a vegan tapas restaurant and it is absolutely amazing! Their brunch is also deadly deelish!

11. Burgoo (Vancouver): Best Ratatouille dish ever is found here! And it was just as good as leftovers the next day… The serving sizes at Burgoo are GINORMOUS. Be prepared to either eat for two, or take home an extra meal! I never complain when this is the case at restaurants, because, 1. I often can eat the entire thing, and 2. If for some strange reason I can’t, gourmet leftovers are one of my favourite things on earth. I’ve heard they have a phenomenal mac’n’cheese and super yummy ooey gooey fondue! I gotta get back here sometime soon!

12. The Coup (Calgary): I don’t know which one came first, but this place is almost an exact replica of Fresh Restaurant in Toronto (mentioned above). No complaints there, though, because that just means twice as much delicious modern vegetarian yumminess for me to enjoy! The sweet potato wedges at The Coup are out of this world, and (like Fresh), the dipping sauce is unbelievable. Everything I’ve ever eaten here has knocked my socks off (as with Fresh).

13. Crave Cookies and Cupcakes (Calgary): I’ve eaten a LOT of cupcakes – many, many different kinds from many, many different places. There have been some really very spectacular ones along the way, but nothing compares to Crave. Their cupcakes reach a whole other level. Honestly, these are the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. Favourite flavor: Coconut, but hey, they’re all excellent!

14. Rebar Modern Food (Victoria): For brunch, lunch and dinner, I absolutely adore this restaurant. And the desserts (supplied by their sister bakery, Cascadia – also located in Victoria – are to-die-for! The menu is constantly changing to reflect the seasons and local ingredients. Love it! Everything on the menu is my favourite dish! Pictured below: Monk’s Curry and Carrot Coconut Cake!

15. Mures Upper Deck (Hobart, Australia): Located in the inner harbour of, where I like to call, the “Victoria” of Australia, is this delicious dining destination. I ate here just one time, but it seriously was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.. EVER. The Riesling (my absolute favourite type of wine), was freakin’ amazing. I really really wish I’d written down the name of the winery where it came from, because it was probably the best Riesling I’ve ever had – so crisp and fresh! I had a vegetarian risotto for my main, and dessert was (if I remember correctly) a lemon ricotta cake! Mmmm. Drooling.

16. Edge of the Bay (Coles Bay, Australia): I had a killer vegetarian risotto at this resort restaurant. But, honestly, the food was only a partial component to this exceptional experience. Located in the little town of Coles Bay, on the gorgeous Freycinet Peninsula of Tasmania, this dinner was one of the most unreal experiences I’ve ever had. I’m telling you, this was absolutely the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. The restaurant was a part of a secluded resort, surrounded by white sand beaches and clear blue water. Not gonna lie, seems like a dream when I look back at it now… The pictures definitely don’t do justice, but check out that view! And the food was exquisite.

In this next photo you can see the resort, looking out onto the water:

17. Stillwater (Launceston, Australia): This was the most elegant, charming little spot with the friendliest staff, gorgeous views of the Tamar river, and was located just down the street from the Seaport where our lovely waterfront accommodation was located. My pops and I enjoyed a wonderful post-run lunch here, and savored every last moment of it!

18. Il Lido Italian Canteen (Perth, Australia): I had two mind-blowing meals at this fantastic, authentic Italian canteen. Pictured below: Fresh, Hand-made Tortellini and Double Cream Triple Chocolate Torta with Pistachio Cotton Candy!!!!! Need I say more?

19. Urban by day, Bang Thai by Night (Bangalow, Australia): I had such an unusually scrumptious Thai noodle salad at this joint. It was located in the cutest little town, called Bangalow, just outside of the surfers’ town of Byron Bay.

20. Live Organic Food Bar (Toronto): There are a few really great Raw Food Restaurant’s that I absolutely adore. A close second to Live is Cafe Bliss in Victoria (where I used to work!). I always feel so GOOD after eating here – rejuvenated and energized and healthy! But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel as though I’m indulging at the same time, because the food is decadent and delicious all the same! The exposed brick walls are brilliant and there is a back patio that I love love love to sit out on in the summer time! Below are photos of a couple of my fave dishes: the Sample Plate (salad, with raw sushi, buckwheat pizza, veggie lasagna and zucchini alfredo pasta); and Raw Vegan Tiramisu with Chocolate Cashew Ice Cream! Death by deliciously nutritious food!

And that, unfortunately, brings us to the end. I really really enjoyed creating this post – I love to relive delicious meals and warm memories! But, it has made me ravenous for some dinner, so I’m off to whip up a quick stir-fry! I hope you enjoyed the post and perhaps I’ve inspired you to give one a try sometime soon?!