Off The Eaten Track Blog


Blogging never tasted so delicious

Railtown is a neighbourhood unlike any other in downtown Vancouver. All brick and wood, it’s the ‘hood that time forgot and most of the area still resembles the early 1900’s when the Japanese community that settled here thrived. But like other neighbourhoods before it (Gastown and Yaletown come to mind) this slice of history is changing as new development moves in and the focus moves east of Main Street. Here are our top 5 food destinations in this hidden gem of a neighbourhood.

  1. St. Lawrence – 269 Powell Street

Photo Credit: @stlawrencerestaurant

Located in the historic Komura Building and taking over Big Lou’s Butcher Shop, this establishment has been voted one of the top new restaurants in the city. Co-owner and chef, J.C Poirier is going back to his Quebec roots and is serving up delicious French inspired cuisine including tradition tourtiere and sugar pie. Poirier sister restaurant Ask For Luigi is just a stone’s throw away, another great addition to Railtown.

2. The Uncommon Cafe – 477 Powell Street

Lisa & Luc are a husband-and-wife duo that opened this quaint cafe, cooking school, and commissary kitchen over 2 years ago. A must try here are the house-made meatballs, a pork and beef combo packed with tons of fresh herbs like mint and stuffed with gooey brie cheese. Also a great place to pick up local products that are made in the commissary like coffee, hot sauce, and shrubs. 

3. Dosanko – 566 Powell

Photo Credit: @offtheeatentrack

The newest restaurant to open and a new tour partner on our Railtown Urban Eats Food Tour, we love this throwback to the Japanese heritage of the neighbourhood. Railtown, once known by it’s Japanese name Nihonmachi, was home to thousands of Japanese Canadians until the outbreak of World War II. The room is sophisticated and the food is modern and delicious! 

4. The Mackenzie Room – 415 Powell Street

Photo Credit: @themackenzieroom

Recently listed as one of Vancouver Best Restaurants, this trendy space across from Oppenheimer Park has beautiful seasonal dishes. Want to try everything on their menu? Well if you have 4 friends you can go ahead and order the I Want It All menu where you get every dish they have to share. Yes please! 

5. The Settlement Building – 55 Dunlevy Ave

Located in a converted steel factory, the Settlement Building is a 3-in-1 business venture including Vancouver Urban Winery, Postmark Brewing, and The Belgard Kitchen. An amazing space and the best place in the city to get BC Wine, seasonal craft beer, and a nice meal. We use this stop on two of our food tours, the Railtown Urban Eats tour and our Gourmet Ice Cream & Pizza Tour!

Join our Railtown Urban Eats Tour Monday-Saturday 1;30-3:30 where we will explore 5 small businesses including Dosanko, The Uncommon Cafe, The Settlement Building and more. Learn more about the Japanese history, see some of the oldest buildings in the city, and get to know the best kept secret of Vancouver!

Click HERE for tickets and more info on our Railtown Urban Eats Tour.

The farm-to-table movement has been gaining popularity in the past 15 years in Victoria and now you would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that isn’t capitalizing on our local farms. amazing seafood, and access to locally made beer, wine, and spirits. Here are our top 5 picks for restaurants that practice farm-to-table cooking. For us, farm-to-table means sourcing local, using ingredients that are in season, and promoting a local food culture.

1. 10 Acres Group (611 Courtney Street)

What they don’t grow on their 10 acre farm in North Saanich they source from like-minded farmers, fishermen, and food providers. Plus they have a killer happy hour menu!

Photo Credit: Instagram @10acresgroup










2. Charlotte and the Quail (505 Quail Road)

This charming cafe (their sister restaurant is the equally cute Nourish Kitchen & Cafe in James Bay) has a small but delicious ever-changing menu depending on what’s in season. Best patio in the “city” as you look out at beautiful gardens that belong to the Pacific Horticultural College.

Photo Credit: Instagram @charlotteandthequail











3. Roost Farm Centre (9100 E Saanich Road)

An interesting mix of farm, bistro, bakery, and vineyard, this family-run North Saanich hot spot grows a lot of their ingredients right there on the farm including their grapes that make their wines. Go for the Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie but stay for the Siegerrebe! 

Photo Credit: Instagram @theroostfarm










4. Part & Parcel (2656 Quadra Street)

Another beautiful casual cafe with a daily(!) changing menu depending on what’s in season. Follow them on social media to find out what their menu for the day will be but know that you will always be getting orginal, fresh, and delicous dishes.

Photo Credit: Instagram @partandparcelvictoria










5. Olo Restaurant (509 Fisgard Street)

This very popular restaurant is part of the new Chinatown revitalization and has been one of the leading figures in the F-2-T movement. Order from their a-la carte menu or a better option is to go with their tasting menu with wine pairing. 

Photo Credit: Instagram @olorestaurant


What better way to enjoy the last days of summer than by joining a fun and tasty food tour. Book by September 10th, 2017 and receive 15% off all our 2017 food tours in Vancouver & Victoria. Use promo code: ENDOFSUMMER

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Our food tours are much more than just food. On each tour we offer history, stories, and an opportunity to meet the local business owners. We take our guests off the “beaten’ track and in to tasty hidden gems.


Offer expires September 10, 2017 at 11:59pm PST. Offer cannot be applied retroactively to existing bookings or applied to gift certificates. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with other discounts or gift certificates.

To book click HERE

The Fort & Blanshard area of Victoria is becoming one of the coolest foodie hubs in the city and here are top 5 reasons why you need to visit:

1. Fort Street Common (1017 Blanshard)
This cool outside public space is a great spot to eat your lunch, meet friends, or even rent out for special events.
Fort Common Pic
2. Biophila Collective (813 Fort Street)
The prettiest flower shop in town and the most calming space in the city. Pick up a lovely air plant or just zen out in the beautiful space.
3. Tulip Cafe & Rice Bar (1108 Blanshard)
One of the newest kids on the block, this lovely global-inspired cuisine is a family run business with a passion for sharing their Persian influence to Victoria. The Italian Piadinas are a must try!
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4. Terroir Tea Salon (832 Fort Street)
Clean lines and minimal decor make this tea shop a calm oasis. Plus they recently opened their secret back patio and were awarded a liquor license! Try a flight of carefully curated teas or join one of their amazing tea & chocolate tastings with the Chocolate Project.
5. La Taquisa (1017 Blanshard)
This area was once known as Antique Row, now it is commonly refered to as Taco Alley thanks to the recent opening of Tacofino and La Taquria. But the most local and truly authentic tacos can be found at the original taco shop La Taquisa. For something different try the veggie mole taco, you won’t be dissapointed.

Want to see all 5 of these stops? Then join us on our Knife & Fort Street Culinary Tour (Thursday-Saturday 2.30-4.30pm). This guided food tour is two hours of eating, drinking, and learning about the history and culture of the amazing Victoria culinary scene.

What do Poutine, Nanaimo Bars, and a Caesar cocktail all have in common? They are all Canadian dishes invented in Canada, consumed in Canada, but virtually unheard of outside of our borders. In celebration of the 150th year of Confederation, here are our top 5 Canadian foods and where to find them in Victoria, BC


What’s the story: Invented in Quebec in the 1950’s and now mostly consumed late at night by drunk college kids. 
What is it? Fries, gravy, and cheese curds. 
Fun Fact: In 2007 CBC declared it one of the top 10 Canadian inventions of all time!
Best places to score a Poutine in Victoria: 1. Smoke & Anchor (Fisherman’s Wharf) 2.  La Belle Patate (Esquimalt) 3,  North 48 Restaurant (Downtown).

Poutine at Smoke & Anchor

Poutine at Smoke & Anchor

Nanaimo Bar

What’s the story: Claims to have been invented in Nanaimo BC in the late 1950s but this is debatable.
What is it? A sweet no-baked bar with a coconut base, a custard filling, and a chocolate ganache top.
Fun Fact: The town of Nanaimo has a Nanaimo bar trail with 39 stops! That’s a lot of Nanaimo Bars!
Best places to score a Nanaimo Bar in Victoria: 1.  Courtyard Cafe (Grand Pacific Hotel) 2.  La Roux Patisserie (Chinatown) 3. Roger’s Chocolate (Government Street).

Nanaimo Bar from Courtyard Cafe

Nanaimo Bar from Courtyard Cafe

Caesar Cocktail

What’s the story: Invented by Walter Chell in Calgary in 1969.
What is it? A cocktail with Clamato (a mix of tomato juice and clam nectar), vodka, worcester sauce, tobasco, and a celery salt rim.
Fun Fact: Canadian consume more than 1 million Caesars a day. We REALLY love this cocktail
Best places to score a Caesar cocktail in Victoria: 1. The Blue Crab (Coast Hotel) 2. Hawk & Hen (Yates Street) 3, Jam Cafe (Downtown).

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Maple Syrup

What’s the story: First Nations people have been tapping maple trees in Eastern Canada for 1000’s of years. 
What’s in it? Maple sap. That’s it. Just pure delicious maple sap.
Fun Fact: 80% of the world’s maple syrup is produced in Canada, mostly in Quebec. 
Best place to score some maple syrup in Victoria: 1. Olive This and More (Broughton) 2. Any brunch restaurant that has pancakes on the menu 3. Whole foods Victoria (Uptown). Seriously, they have a great selection!

Maple Syrup infused balsamic vinegar at Olive This and More

Maple Syrup infused balsamic vinegar at Olive This and More


What’s the story: Invented in Ontario in the late 1970’s by a husband and wife duo.
What’s in it: Whole wheat pastry deep fried then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and sometimes a slice of lemon. It’s called a beavertail because of it’s shape.
Fun Fact: When Obama visited Ottawa in the 2000’s he stopped at the original Beavertail booth. They named a tail after him.
Best place to score a beavertail in Victoria: There is only one place…Beavertails owned by Mark on Broughton Street!

Beavertails on Broughton

Beavertails on Broughton

Canada 150 Food Tour

Want to eat like a Canadian and try all of these dishes? Join our Canada 150 Food Tour running Monday-Saturday from 3-5.30pm to experience the food & culture of the true north strong and free! Click HERE for more details!





The fun-tastic gourmet ice cream trend is still going strong in Vancouver despite a few ice cream parlour closures (we will miss you UYU and Fluffy Kittens). Here are our top 5 downtown locations to get the best stuff:

1. Cadeaux Bakery (172 Powell Street)
Pastry chef extraordinaire Eleanor Chow and her talented team are making one of the best ice cream sandwiches in the city! Giant slabs of homemade ice cream bookended by a salted chocolate shortbread that is basically the size of a book! Yes please.

2. Railtown Cafe (397 Railway Street)
Pasty chef Alex Abley consistantly churns out delicious cold gold in a variety of flavours and textures. From local fruit to classic flavours, a great place to purchase a cheap pint! Plus, bring in your old container to get 10% off your next purchase.
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3. Virtuous Pie (583 Main Street)
Yes this is a vegan plant based pizza shop. Are they making ice cream as well? You bet they are. We were bummed to hear Nice Vice had closed but happy to know you can still get delicious plant-based ice cream downtown. Our favorite flavour? Tumeric and black pepper! It’s basically health food.

4. Mister (1141 Mainland Street)
Fresh off of celebrating their one year anniversary, this uber-hip ice cream joint is making delcious ice cream with a very modern twist. Think funky flavour combos, fun collaboration with other businesses (recently Fife Bakery), and of course liquid nitrogen. Hipster hot spot in upscale Yaletown.

5. Soft Peaks (25 Alexander Street)
Like your ice cream on the soft side? Then you need to head to Gastown and visit this beautiful shop serving organic locally-sourced soft serve & ice cream bars. Unique toppings include Australian Tim Tams, local honey-comb, and Himalayan pink salt. Oh, they also do pretty amazing milk-shakes!SofPeaks

Oh, by the way, we have a Gourmet Ice Cream Tour that runs from June – September. Tour runs every Thursday evening (5pm-7pm) or Sunday afternoon (3pm-5pm). Two hours of pure bliss with 4 stops and 6 ice cream samples. Click HERE for more info on the tour and tickets. Warning!! This tour sells out every year.

It’s our first year participating in Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown in Victoria this weekend! We are offering 50% off our newest tour: Historic Downtown Culinary Tour. Tour runs from 10.30am-12.30pm. How to book?
1. Visit our website at:
2. Click Buy Ticket widget. Use Promo Code: Victoria2017 to get the discount
3. Choose the right date: Feb 23, 24, or 25th
4. Enjoy a lovely morning of food & beverages with a local guide!

Here is just a taste of what to expect on the tour:
1. Locally roasted coffee from 2% Jazz

2. Bao Buns from Bao Victoria:

3. Unique Poutine from Vij’s Sutra:

4. French Macarons from La Roux Patisserie:

5. Local craft beer from Hawk & Hen:

Plus a guided tour of the historic Hudson Bay Building, Chinatown, and newly renovated Market Square! For more info on Be A tourist visit:

It’s time again for Dine-Out Vancouver, Canada’s largest food festival running Jan 20-Feb 05, 2017. Off The Eaten Track will be offering 3 unique and tasty events for the festival. Visit the Dine-Out website for more info and ticket sales:

1. Discover Railtown Culinary Tour
Never heard of Railtown before? Well you soon will. Once the industrial center of the city and the heart of historic Japantown, this neighbourhood just East of Gastown is quickly becoming a hot spot for small businesses, social enterprises, and great food!

We start the tour at the Uncommon Café, a new business that is part lunch cafe, part commissary kitchen, and part cooking school. Here we will learn how to make fool proof pizza dough and have a fun create-your-own pizza party.
Next, we head to Cadeaux bakery for some amazing baked treats. As we wander through one of the oldest areas in Vancouver we will point out century old architecture and tell stories of the Japanese families that once thrived in this area. We get a delicious meal at the very trendy Railtown Café, and we end the tour at The Settlement building, once an industrial steel factory, for 2 craft beer samples from Postmark Brewery and a wine sample from Vancouver Urban Winery to end the tour. 5% of ticket sales are donated to the HAVE Café, a culinary training society located in the neighbourhood.

2. Sip, Savour and Shop on Main
Main street is full of funky cafes, boutique shops, and cool street art. On this 3-hour guided tour we will sip, savour, and shop our way along Main Street at 8 local shops in the Riley Park neighbourhood. Once known as “Antique Way”, this section of Main is now teeming with delicious hidden gems and amazing small businesses.
Meet the owners, learn about the history, and sample delicious food & drinks with an opportunity to pick up some great local products!

We start the tour at The Honey Shoppe for a tasting of local and international honey. Next, we get a knife skills lesson from Knife Wear, a Canadian shop with an impressive collection of hand crafted Japanese knives. We then sample a hand blended tea at Balance Botanicals, a beautiful modern apothecary that carries spices, herbs, teas, and organic candies. Our next stop is at The Juicery Co for some healthy west coast juices and a locally sourced salad. Very Vancouver! Next, a quick stop at Windsor Quality Meats to sample some handmade smoked salami & pepperoni and then to August Market for some locally make kombucha and ginger beer (bring your growler for a fill up). After a quick button making lesson from The Regional Assembly of Text, we end the tour at The Fish Counter for a locally sourced fish taco.

3. Discover the East Village Culinary Tour
While the debate is still on as to the name of this neighbourhood (some still swear by Hastings Sunrise) what is not debatable is the quality and diversity of food that is located along East Hastings street. Wake up with us on a 2-hour journey along Hastings street where we will visit 5 local businesses and learn more about this historic and multi-cultural street.

We start the tour at Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive for a Southern-style eggs benny and a Caesar cocktail, the perfect way to wake up! We then head to Bianca Maria, an Italian deli that has been in the neighbourhood for over 30 years, for an espresso and biscotti. Next, we visit the decadent Black Rook Bakehouse for some quiche and salad. We then visit a local butcher shop for a charcuterie tasting and we end the tour with a modern tea tasting at Steam, Vancouver’s smallest tea shop!


Chinatown in Victoria may be one of the oldest in North America but it has recently seen an influx of new and modern food establishments opening in the past month. From French pastries to Korean steamed buns, the new Victoria Chinatown is fast turning in to an exciting place to eat in the city!

1. Bao Victoria (626 Fisgard Street) – Opened June 2016

Taking over the old Noodle Box location (the owners worked for the company for years), this new Korean style eatery is serving up all sorts of delicious treats including the mind blowing steamed buns. The flavours are always changing but they always carry a pork based bun and even a vegan version (coming soon).


Bao Victoria

2. La Roux Patisserie (519 Fisgard Street) – Opened June 2016

This place just screams France! From the fancy black and white decor to the delicate pastries in the window. Emily Hatlelid is one of the owners and the head pastry chef. After attending culinary school and getting a work placement at Murchies, she moved to Paris to further her trade before moving back to Victoria to open this lovely patisserie with her business partner Rebecca Godin.




3. Kid Sister Ice Cream (10 Fan Tan Alley) – Opened June 2016

This local boutique ice cream company has been in the game for a few years but they now have a shop in the newly renovated Fan Tan Alley. Serving up ice cream and gourmet popsicles (otherwise known as Paletas – fruit popsicles). I have a feeling this place will do very well this summer!



Dine-Out Collage

 Dine-Out 2016 (January 15-31st)

It’s that time again! Canada’s largest food festival is getting close and we are happy to announce that we will be running three unique tours for the three week festival. Get your tickets here:

1. Let’s Get Baked and Buzzed Tour:


This tour celebrates the two best and legal addictions in Vancouver; coffee & sugar.

Let’s go on a ‘wake-&-bake’ tour of the best coffee and bakeries this city has to offer. You’ll get buzzed off two local coffee stops and baked with three amazing local bakeries including, Cadeaux, Purebread, and Cartems Donuts! This tour is sure to leave you with the perfect sugar and caffeine high. Please note that this tour cannot accommodate for the following allergies: gluten, nuts, dairy, eggs, and caffeine


2. How It’s Made: A Brewery, Distillery, and Winery Tour:


Ever wanted to go behind the scenes at some of your favorite drinking establishments? Well now’s your chance! Join us on a beer, wine, and spirits tour where we will get a unique behind the scenes look at how their products are made.

We venture into the back of Odd Society Spirits, Vancouver Urban Winery, and the Big Rock Urban Eatery to see how it all gets done. Sip on award-winning craft vodka, gin, three BC wines, and two local ales. This tour also includes a bite to eat at the Big Rock Urban Eatery.



3. Food-Tography: A Culinary Photography Tour:


Who doesn’t love to take pictures of their food? On this culinary tour of trendy and modern Yaletown we encourage you to shoot your food and share your pictures with the world. Two local companies, Off the Eaten Track and Vancouver Photowalks, have paired up to create this truly unique tour that combines a photography lesson with a culinary tour.

Tour participants will eat and sip their way through three local eateries while getting tips and lessons from a seasoned photography pro. Bring your camera and your appetite and learn how to properly capture your favorite food moments. Whether you’re new to photography or want to improve on your skills, all levels are welcome.

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