GOOD TO KNOW: http://www.varsha.ca/
Specialties: Indian and fusion
Gluten-free: Curries, Indian fare, burgers
Reservations: Required for parties of 6 or more - online reservations
Other: Dine in or take out.
Note: Closed Mondays
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Gluten-free gems in Victoria B.C.'s funky neighborhoods
The sky is blue and the sun is shining - it's a beautiful day in Victoria and it's FINALLY CONCERT NIGHT! When Shawn and I travel our meal schedule gets all mixed up. We usually end up eating a late breakfast/early lunch then start foraging for food again around 3ish. This day was no different. We started the day at West Coast Waffles, did some sightseeing, rested up a bit then headed to Canada's oldest Chinatown which happened to be just a couple blocks away.
Varsha - Spicy and gluten-free
I love international food, especially Chinese, but nine times out of ten Asian restaurants don't list gluten-free items, don't know what gluten is and don't inspire enough confidence for me to explain/modify dishes. Chinatown was filled (all three blocks of it) with dimly lit cafes displaying colorful menus, signs advertising dim sum, and a tantalizing mix of sounds and smells. As expected, none of the aforementioned menus hinted at gluten-free items so we kept walking and shopping our way to Varsha - situated at the entrance to Chinatown like a beacon of gluten-free hope.
Varsha's menu features Indian and fusion fare with a handful of burgers thrown in for good measure. ALL of the curries are gluten-free if served without naan and many other items are clearly marked as gluten-free. If you don't live a high maintenance menu lifestyle you might not understand the joy of having mulitple choices on a menu or ordering straight from the menu without substitutions or modifications. Perhaps Indian food is where the circles overlap on my dietary Ven diagram. After a lot of indecision - cause I'm not used to having choices - I ordered the Daily Chicken Curry (not to be confused with Mom's Chicken Curry) and it was badass. Full of flavor and spices, filling yet not heavy. Varsha also has several clearly marked vegetarian options. Shawn chose the Mom's Aloo Gobi and had I not feared getting stabbed with his fork I would have stolen a cauliflower floret or two.
In hindsight, our mid-afternoon meal at Varsha, in my opinion, was the best meal of the trip. We had a great seat by the window to people watch which added the overall dining experience. The food was a bit slow coming out of the kitchen and we joked that the cook had to run to India for more curry paste but the service was good, our waters were filled, and the food was more than worth our wait.
Cactus Club Cafe and Marianas Trench
With full stomachs and smiles on our faces we headed back to the hotel to change for prefunctioning at Cactus Club Café and the much anticipated Marianas Trench concert.
Interested in gluten-free exotic flavors? Read about Mediterranean Grille in Vancouver B.C.
A note to readers:
I am gluten sensitive/intolerant so I am not overly concerned with possible cross contamination. If you have severe reactions, I recommend taking additional precautions.