If you’ve never visited Fisherman’s Wharf just outside of downtown Victoria, I highly recommend you do at least once.
Whether you walk the 10 minutes from downtown or take a Harbour Ferry, either way your visit will be worth it.
When I first visited Fisherman’s Wharf, I had no idea Victoria had this vibrant, floating community.
On my most recent visit, I got the chance to get some lunch at Barb’s Place Fish & Chips, a resident of the Wharf since 1984.
Barb’s claim to fame is that it’s Victoria’s only floating seafood restaurant.
It’s also been voted #1 ‘Best Fish and Chips’ for the past 26 years, and when I heard that I knew I had to come try them.
When my friend and I got down to Barb’s, we couldn’t believe how busy it was.
I guess I should have known it would be as it was the middle of summer and right at lunch time.
After we ordered our food, they gave us a pager to let us know when our order was ready.
They have obviously been a happening place for a while to have developed a pager system to handle all the orders.
If you’re super hungry like I was, the half hour wait might have seemed pretty long.
The good news is that at least you’re waiting in a very cool atmosphere, right on the water, with lots of things going on around you to keep you entertained.
There’s the fishing boats, the cute little harbour ferries, the very quaint and artistic houseboats, people coming in and going out on whale watching tours and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the odd harbour seal popping his head up out of the water.
After picking up our order, we sat down at one of the picnic tables next to the water.
I ordered their famous “1 Piece Fish & Chip Dinner” ($9.95) which came with a side of coleslaw, and my friend (who’s not a big seafood fan) ordered the “Bacon Cheese Burger” ($10.95) which came with a side of fries.
The fish was good, and so were the fries and coleslaw.
If I were to compare Barb’s fish to the 1 piece I had at Red Fish Blue Fish, I would say the fish was not quite as good.
Also, the portion was smaller, but then again it was priced slightly lower at Barb’s (by one dollar).
Of course that’s just my opinion about the fish so you will have try them both yourself to compare.
I will say that I preferred Barb’s coleslaw over the one I had at Red Fish Blue Fish though, as it tasted more like a traditional slaw that I’m used to.
One thing I want to mention is that Barb’s Place has many options for the non-seafood lover.
They have six types of non-fish burgers, as well as hot dogs and corn dogs, chicken strips, garlic bread and caesar salad.
My friend said she really loved her Bacon Cheese Burger and was stuffed afterwards so I guess that means the portion size was good too.
While we were eating, I was looking through Barb’s menu and saw they claimed to have “Vancouver Island’s Best Seafood Chowder” ($4.95 for a cup, $6.95 for a bowl).
Well, you know me, if I read something like that, I just have to try it.
After a few more minutes of waiting, I got to try a cup this infamous chowder.
It was pretty tasty, that’s for sure.
I don’t know that I would say it was the best chowder I’ve had on the island though, and I think the chowder at Red Fish Blue Fish is a bit heartier and tastier in my opinion.
Again, the portion size was smaller at Barb’s (about half the size of that at Red Fish Blue Fish), and in this case the price at both places was the same.
Overall, I was pretty happy with my meal at Barb’s Place.
After looking more at the menu, I will definitely be back to try some of her other seafood dinners.
The “Steamed Half Crab” looks pretty good and maybe if I’m hungry enough I will go for the whole crab!
IN A NUTSHELL…
Barb’s Place Fish & Chips
Address: 310 St. Lawrence St., Victoria
Neighbourhood: Fisherman’s Wharf
Phone: (250) 384-6515
Hours: 11 am – Dark, 7 days a week
(March – October)
Price: $$ ($10 – $15 per entree)