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Avalon -You can rely on a tasty breakfast or lunch at this cozy Fort Street cafe. With some of the yummiest homemade toast in town and few tables, you’ll want to get up a bit early to beat the rush. 1075 Fort. 385-2129.

Blue Fox - A Victoria tradition for all sorts of good reasons (yummy soups, sumptuous salads, excellent eggs, bigger better burgers), this is one hot-spot that more than lives up to the lineups. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! 919 Fort. 380-1683.

Cafe Mulatta - For many years, the Banana Belt Cafe was a staple brunch spot for James Bay residents. With Cafe Mulatta’s simple menu, highlighted by banana bread french toast, croissant scrambles, bennys, organic fair trade coffee and a great kids selection, the Menzies at Michigan locale is once again the James Bay brunch place to be. 281 Menzies. 385-9616.

Demitasse-If you’re looking for breakfast without the lineup, this is your place. The fresh new menu has old favourites like the intense banana bread french toast as well as dishes that are sure to be new hits, such as the breakfast tacos and the savoury crepes. All this plus friendly service and Salt Spring Island coffee! 1320 Blanshard. 386-4442.

Lady Marmalade - Fresh flavours and a cozy, fun atmosphere make this breakfast and lunch spot a downtown favourite. Check out the all-day breakfast, and a lunch menu with plenty of dishes under $10. Try the fabulous roasted veggie sandwiches and the eggs benny with lemony hollandaise, or the explosively fresh Thai slaw. 608 Johnson. 381-2872.

Mo:Le - With window seats perfect for a small group to have a not-so-secret meeting, and a tofu scramble to die for, Mo:Le has quickly become a brunch hot spot. It’s quiet enough to hear each other talk and bustling enough to feel like you’re in the midst of something happening. Don’t be afraid to wait. 554 Pandora. 385-6653.

Shine Cafe - A great all-day breakfast spot (plus sandwiches, soups and burgers served after 11 a.m.) at Stadacona Centre. With many benny and omlette choices, banana pancakes and rose hashbrowns, it’s no small wonder folks line up and wait to have their chance to Shine. 1548 Fort. 595-2133.

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Brasserie L’Ecole - Featuring not only some of the freshest local food around that’s innovatively prepared and beautifully served, but it’s also a chic place to get schooled in the fine fare of Vancouver Island. 1715 Government. 475-6260.

Cafe Brio - This unassuming building on Fort is best known as an impress-your-date kind of place. Maybe it’s the ambiance, maybe its the dim lighting, but the European getaway feeling of Cafe Brio makes it a favourite. 944 Fort. 383-0009.

Fuse Waterfront Grill - (See Feature) With a wonderful balance between comfortable and elegance, this seaside eatery is easily worth the trek to Sooke. The menu highlights as much local seafood, chicken and organic produce as possible and dishes range from simple burgers and sandwiches, subtle pastas, to-die-for desserts and all flavour points between. 5449 Sooke. 642-0011.

Matisse Restaurant - Victoria is sadly short on serious French restaurants, and this casually-intimate charmer is one of our best. From slow-roasted duck and medallions of beef tenderloin “au poivre” to scallops finished in a rich lobster sauce, the food here is delicious, lovingly prepared and elegantly presented. The wine list, mostly French and Californian, also impresses. 512 Yates. 480-0883.

Pescatore’s Fish House - Located right by the inner harbour, this is a fine place for drinks, freshly caught seafood, and a jazzy martini list that will have you fishing for olives all night long. 614 Humboldt. 385-4512.

The Tapa Bar - Tucked away in Trounce Alley, this is like a little slice of somewhere else. Imagine yourself in Spain (or at least Seattle) as you enjoy tapas, tasty entrees, and a casual but elegant atmosphere. 620 Trounce Alley. 383-0013.

Wild Saffron Bistro - Next door to Swans Hotel, this upscale bistro offers a classy, casual ambiance with tasty dishes prepared fresh from local produce. Try the romantic fondues for two on a special night out.

1605 Store. 361-3150.

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