The Best Victoria Restaurant is at Butchart Gardens
Thirty-one, that is the number of years I have been coming to Victoria. Sometimes for work but always for pleasure. I’ve had family call Victoria home, friends that grew up here and even been on organized press trips where we uncover the hidden gems of the city. Never in all my thirty-one years of coming to Victoria did I know that Butchart Gardens had a fine dining restaurant and I think it is the best Victoria restaurant we all did not know existed. My embarrassment of not knowing about the Butchart Garden restaurant goes even deeper considering I have been there plenty of times and have even written a couple of stories about the gardens. In fact, one of my original adventures was a whale watching adventure capped by touring Butchart Gardens. It was an epic day that I now know was incomplete. Well, that error has finally been fixed.
A little backstory on how I discovered The Dining Room at Butchart Gardens. I was recently in Victoria attending a travel writers conference and one of our evening activities involved what is called a dine around. Conference attendees are randomly grouped together into groups of 10 with a Victoria ambassador to lead us to one of the cities amazing restaurants. I knew something when we boarded a bus and headed towards Sydney and Schwartz Bay. We were going to Butchart Gardens.
Normally when you arrive at the Gardens you enjoy a few hours to exploring the 55 acres worked over lovingly by 50 full-time gardeners. We did spend some time in the gardens but this time it was just a quick tour. We are here to eat. The Dining Room is the original private residence of Robert and Jennie Butchart. It was Jennie Butchart that had the vision to transfor the former stone quary into one of the world’s most famous gardens.
After our garden tour, we headed into The Dining Room and were greeted with a glass of Blue Mountain Sparkling Rose by Executive Chef Travis Hansen. Let the feast begin.
Five courses paired with spectacular BC wines PLUS a view of the Italian Gardens makes for a perfect evening. When you dine here you will be able to select your own feast from the A La Carte menu that includes many of the dishes we dined on. Here is just a photographic taste of what you are in store for. As I don’t eat much seafood a few dishes were swapped out for me.
Hungry for dessert? How about ordering one of everything and having it served on a platter? Yes, please.
During the feast, I got to spend a lot of time talking with Chef Travis and two things were made very clear, Butchart Gardens is about local and family. Local suppliers, supporting local businesses and being a great member of the Victoria and Vancouver Island community. Suppliers from all over the Island have products on the plate that you will enjoy, from microgreens to the wine and beer in your glass.
As for family, well it is a family business (4th generation with the 5th generation fully involved) and that family extends to the staff. Some of them have worked at the Gardens for well over 30 years. Chef Travis met his wife here and hasn’t looked back.
Now that I know about The Dining Room you can be sure I will be back. Next time it is a light snack and a coffee from the coffee shop and Blue Poppy Restaurant, for when I’m exploring the Sunken Garden. A scoop of Gelato to enjoy while I wander the Rose Garden and a picnic to enjoy on Saturdays to watch the fireworks. Most of all though I will be reserving a table at The Dining Room so I can enjoy more of Chef Travis’s local and seasonal cuisine.
Here’s to finally discovering the Best Victoria Restaurant most of us don’t know exist.