New fine dining restaurant opening in Victoria

For a city of its size, Victoria punches above its weight when it comes to culinary pursuits.

That streak continues with a new fine dining restaurant opening along Douglas Street in downtown Victoria, which has peripheral ties to the Vancouver Canucks.

Renovations to the space at the Rotunda building at 1525 Douglas Street have long piqued the curiosity of people walking by.

Now, after four years in the making, Marilena Cafe and Raw Bar is set to open at the end of June.

“[It was] 2019 when we embarked on the project,” said Marilena executive chef Kristian Eligh.

The eatery will be operated by Toptable Group, the restaurant group owned by Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini.

Aquilini thinks Marilena will be a fine dining hit in Victoria, especially in the hands of Eligh, who went to culinary school and finished his apprenticeship in BC’s capital.

“I grew up in this great city,” he said Thursday.

Eligh was also culinary director for the Hawksworth Restaurant Group in Vancouver.

The executive chef says that Marilena Cafe and Raw Bar is designed for Victoria, however.

“We’re a seafood-centric restaurant highlighting local and imported sustainable seafood,” he said.

“We’re catering to Victoria. It’s very important that everyone feels comfortable in this space,” he added. “The hospitality and food will exude that.”

While the Canucks may have ties to the restaurant, don’t expect to find any TVs at Marilena,

You can expect there to be a team dinner, however, when the Canucks hold a training camp in Victoria in September.

And like any good team, it’s all about putting on a show at home.

“Simply, we want to be the best restaurant in Victoria,” said Eligh.

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