A freshman’s guide to eating cheap in Victoria

Lifestyle Sports | Lifestyle Uncategorized
Image by Cam Welch, Design Director

So, it’s your first week in Victoria and you want to go out and see the sights, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy what your new home has to offer. The only problem is that you don’t know where to look. Never fear — this article will provide you with some tasty restaurant options that won’t break the bank. Here are four local restaurant options for when you need to escape the confines of campus and/or get a break from the monotony of the UVic meal plan.

El Furniture Warehouse (533 Yates Street)

Many of you may be familiar with this chain of restaurants, originally from Vancouver, which has exploded in popularity in recent years and now has locations across Canada. The owners of the Warehouse Group market their establishments as “premium dive bars,” which means that they serve good food for similar prices as what you would find at a less pleasant establishment. What is certain, however, is that when you are looking for a good meal at unbeatable prices (each entrée is only $5.95) then look no further than El Furniture Warehouse. The food mainly consists of the classics, such as burgers and clubhouse sandwiches, while also serving dishes that you wouldn’t normally expect to see such as the Chiang Mai Bowl (noodles and vegetables). The El Furniture Warehouse also has a bar-like atmosphere and should be considered if you are looking for that vibe at a more reasonable price.

Personal recommendations: smokey BBQ burger, grilled cheese, glazed onion rings

Interactivity Board Game Café (723 Yates Street)

Now for those who are looking for a casual place to go to with friends while also grabbing a bite to eat, the Interactivity Board Game Café is your place. As its name implies, this café has a wide selection of board games for customers to choose from, and for five dollars you can stay for as long as you want and play a wide variety of games. To go with your board games, there are plenty of snacks for you to choose from candy, popcorn, or chips ($3.50) to healthier options such as salami and Swiss cheese or veggies and hummus ($9, $7). They also have pizza ($10-$13) and sandwiches ($7-$9) if you are looking for something more filling. The Board Game Café’s bread and butter, however, is their milkshakes, which come in a wide variety of flavors from the classics like vanilla and strawberry to unique options such as maccha and London fog ($6 to $7.5). For those of you that would like something a little stronger, the café also has a completely separate adults-only side where customers can choose from an array of boozy milkshakes ($10.5 – $13), beer, wine, or cider ($6/$7), spirits ($6.5-$7.5), or if you are feeling brave you can roll a 20-sided dice for a random shot.

Personal recommendations: milkshakes, Jack’s cheese, random shot

La Taquisa (1017 Blanshard Street)

La Taquisa is your classic homestyle Mexican restaurant with fresh ingredients and friendly staff. Customers of La Taquisa get to choose how they would like their meal in a three-step process which ensures that your food is prepared to your unique taste. First, you get to choose what your meal is going to be, whether that is a taco, a burrito, or a quesadilla, etc. Second, you have a choice of what you want your filling to be. The options are numerous, from beef or fish al pastor (baked and covered in a chili BBQ sauce known as adobo) to Baja-style fish or shrimp (fried and covered in chipotle mayo). There are also veggie options such as beans and cheese, or mole (poblano sauce with cheese). 

Lastly, customers get to pick their sauce. My personal recommendation is the Picante Salsa (salsa and hot sauce), however, if you really don’t like spice then the Pico de Gallo (tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and cilantro) is for you. On the flip side, if you are brave and/or a spice fiend, then try the Brava Super Spicy sauce (with habanero peppers and lime) — the name of which is actually an understatement. Prices range from $2.60 or $2.85 for an individual taco, to $11-$13 for an el gordo. However, no matter what you get, you are guaranteed amazing authentic Mexican cuisine at a very reasonable price.

Personal recommendations: Baja fish burrito, rotating craft beer selection, picante salsa sauce  

The Grad House Restaurant (3800 Finnerty Road)

Last but certainly not least, the Grad House Restaurant —  because what would a guide for freshmen be without talking about both the best and cheapest food on campus? The Grad House Restaurant, despite the name, is open to all and their six dollar menu is by far the best food and best value on campus. My personal recommendation is either the grilled cheese or perogies with a side salad, as they are both excellent and great value for your money. They also have an amazing selection of craft beers such as Hoyne Dark Matter, which comes in a glass, sleeve, or pint ($4.50, $5.25, $7.25). Lastly, the other half of the Grad House, known as the Side Project Cafe, serves as a relaxing place to study while sipping on a cup of award-winning Sacred Acres coffee. Many of you may be wondering, why would you spend money on campus when you have a meal plan for which you have already paid for? Well, there will come a time when you get tired of the endless nights of poorly-cooked food and minimal options that are provided by the meal plan, at which point I highly recommend you wander over to the Grad House.

Personal recommendations: perogies or grilled cheese with a side salad, Hoyne Dark Matter, Sacred Acre coffee