Bakeries are back in a big way as the city’s sweetest spots for meetups — for business or for pleasure.
By Cinda Chavich
Ottavio Italian Bakery. PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF OTTAVIO ITALIAN BAKERY.
The tradition of bakers offering their pastries and confections alongside coffee and conversation has deep roots in this city. And whether you opt for a downtown patisserie or a neighbourhood haunt, you can actually try a different bakery café — with a different specialty — every day of the week, and come home with dessert for dinner too.
Must-Visit Bakery Cafés in the City Core
La Roux Patisserie
If you’re looking for pretty French pastries, La Roux Patisserie in Chinatown is a sweet destination. Emily Hatelid and Rebecca Godin have fashioned their menu and space after the Paris cafés where Hatelid honed her baking skills. Whether it’s buttery croissants, lemony tarte citron, macaron or Paris-Brest pastries filled with praline cream, it’s an elegant little spot to indulge.
Ruth & Dean
YAM loves the ginger and black pepper layer cake from Ruth & Dean. PHOTOGRAPH: JEFFREY BOSDET.
For a beautiful slice of old-fashioned layer cake, Ruth & Dean café on Douglas Street near Yates is a popular spot. Baker Susannah Ruth Bryan creates spectacular celebration cakes, and there’s a different cake every day on the counter of her little luncheonette, along with other baked treats like Nanaimo bars, cupcakes, rustic deep-dish pies and big savoury breakfast scones filled with chimichurri, avocado, egg and cheese.
The Dutch Bakery
Another classic downtown bakery café is The Dutch Bakery, run by the Schaddelee family since the 1950s. At this nostalgic little cake and coffee shop, take a trip down memory lane with the old-fashioned goodies on offer in the bakery, or stop in at the lunch counter for a burger and a piece of their famed vanilla slice.
Bubby Rose’s Bakery Café
Bubby Rose’s Bakery Café on Cook Street draws regulars for hearty lunches, fresh breads, carrot cake muffins, flaky fruit pies and giant cinnamon rolls.
Fol Epi Patisserie and Wildfire Bakery
Some bakery cafés, like Fol Epi Patisserie and Wildfire Bakery, are connected with some of the city’s best artisan bread bakers. Both are famed for their house-milled flour and rustic loaves, but you can also sit down for a pain au chocolat or slice of seasonal fruit pastry or pie.
Popular Bakery Cafés In Victoria’s Neighbourhoods
DeLish is a tiny neighbourhood haunt worth visiting. Located just a block from the ocean on a residential street in Oak Bay, this bakery and catering kitchen has a few tables inside and more on the leafy patio. There are sweets and savouries in the case, fresh breads, muffins, scones, squares and breakfast frittatas — it’s a destination for locals hungry for mini pavlovas, chocolate hazelnut macaroons, take-out meals and party food.
Another busy community bakery café is Pure Vanilla near Estevan Village. It’s a neighbourhood gathering place, whether you come for lunch, order a cake, or grab a coffee and one of their legendary muffins.
Ottavio Italian Bakery, Delicatessen & Cafe
It’s a similar scene at Ottavio Italian Bakery, Delicatessen & Cafe on Oak Bay Avenue, where you can pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread or have a panini for lunch, with great coffee and house-made Italian pastries and gelato on the patio.
Mosi Bakery and Gelateria
If you’re travelling farther afield, you’ll find rural bakery cafés like Mosi Bakery and Gelateria on West Saanich Road, with its popular panini, pizzas, croissants and chunky “compost cookies.”
It’s all part of Victoria’s lively artisan food scene and casual café culture, where the bakers behind the counter deliver your daily bread, cakes and pastries, fresh from their ovens.
This article is from the May/June 2018 issue of YAM.