The neighborhood of Oak Bay is viewed with disdain by many Victoria locals. It is derided as stuffy, old and boring. I beg to differ. Of late, Oak Bay Avenue has become increasingly fun and, gasp, dare I say it, downright funky! This I attribute to Ottavio's. Ottavio's, in business for over a decade, is the establishment that began the "tweed curtain's" transformation from haute to hip. Other local businesses followed suit. Oak Bay Avenue, once the home of fusty matronly consignment stores and uninspired tea shops is now chock full of bakeries, delis, retail clothing stores, unique gift stores, cafes, even a pub!
Ottavio is a combination bakery, deli, gourmet grocery, and licensed cafe. In the cafe you can enjoy an affordable and tasty lunch. Paninis are made with cheese and charcuterie from the amply stocked deli. There are also salads, soups and a tempting array of mixed plate specials to choose from. Espresso is brewed manually (yes, there IS a difference!). Ottavio’s crafts their own gelato using organic milk and local fruit. If you have never tried gelato before you are in for a treat. The texture is silkier than ice cream and the flavour very grown up.
If you are more in a mood to eat in, browse the vast deli section for Galloping Goose sausage, herbes de Provence, homemade pesto and demi-glace, pasta, gnocchi, lasagne (made in house) and much much more. There are over 240 varieties of handcrafted artisanal cheeses in the deli case. Breads are hand rolled and made with only flour, water, yeast and salt.
Ottavio has a vast selection of quality olive oils for sale and they occasionally host tastings. Ask the friendly and knowledgeable staff for assistance. Ottavio is a great starting point for a wander down Oak Bay Avenue. Check out the new delis, clothing stores, bistros and cafes. See for yourself that change can be good!