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Greater Victoria’s Fox and Monocle Cafe named ninth best new restaurant in Canada

Doubling down on passions pays off for North Saanich chefs
Locally sourced menu items – such as this Sunwing Farms tomato salad with Haltwhistle Cheese Company chevre, black olive puree, Saanichton Farms puffed wheat berries and garden herbs, is among the reasons the North Saanich eatery made the top 10 in Canada list for En Route. (Fox and Monocle/Facebook)

An unassuming eatery tucked away in North Saanich is among the Top 10 new restaurants in Canada according to enRoute magazine.

Named for its street address, Restaurant 20 Victoria in Toronto, Ont. claimed the top spot. Fox and Monocle Cafe, the only B.C. eatery to make the list, finished ninth on the magazine’s Canada’s Best New Restaurants list.

For two decades the Air Canada magazine has embarked on a mission to put newcomers on the map. This year, the organization flew one undercover writer all over the country in search of those “reshaping Canada’s diverse culinary landscape.”

The anonymous aspect of the judging is a source of pride for chef and co-owner Ross Bowles. “That makes it feel special because it means we’re doing our day-to-day to a high standard,” he told the Peninsula News Review.

The new restaurant is a result of reflection during the early days of the pandemic for husband-and-wife team Bowles and Tracie Zahvich.

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Finding themselves without work for a short time, they started contemplating the future, which already included restaurant ownership, but perhaps sooner than later. They’d been hopping back and forth between Calgary and the U.K. each working on a variety of award-wining projects and Michelin Star restaurants. But when they started thinking about where they wanted to live, Vancouver Island topped the list.

It featured great farms, produce, people and rural nature, Bowles said. They scouted and landed on the North Saanich restaurant.

A bakery by day and restaurant by night, Fox & Monocle offers European comfort food classics and familiar flavours with a strong focus on local farms, producers and sustainable cooking. The business model is a reflection of its owners.

Pastry chef Tracy Zahavich shares her passion during the day with a modest cafe flair and Bowles takes up that same passion for the evening with refined dining.

“We wanted to be able to showcase what we’re passionate about each of us,” Bowles said. “We reach two very different audiences, through our food we can tap into different groups that are looking for different things.”

Find Fox & Monocle Cafe at 2300 Canoe Cove Rd. or online at

They will take a much-needed break each year, closing up shop for about six weeks starting in January.


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