Victoria’s Award-Winning Ulla Closes, New Crew Prepares To Open “OLO” Tomorrow

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One of my favourite restaurants in Victoria shuttered after Valentine’s Day. Ulla, named by enRoute Magazine as one of the best new restaurants in Canada, was closed by owners Brad Holmes and Sahara Tamarin to ready it for their next project, a more casual, approachable farm to table eatery called OLO.

The new restaurant is set to be unveiled tomorrow – February 20th – in the same Chinatown location (509 Fisgard Street). They have a new team (pictured above on a foraging foray), a new room design, and a completely new menu. Here’s the basic skinny:

OLO is where the community comes together to congregate for camaraderie and the comfort of a good meal. While many restaurants boast about their farm-to-table philosophies, OLO’s chef Brad Holmes knows relationships are forged over food. He fills OLO’s kitchen with quality B.C. ingredients, such as island-raised beef, fish plucked straight from nearby waters, and produce tenderly grown by our local farming friends. Each incorporated ingredient is purchased directly from our hard-working neighbours who produce beautiful food with great care.

OLO, nestled in the heart of Victoria, B.C.’s bustling Chinatown neighbourhood, pays homage to the region’s trade hub roots. The word “Olo” translates to “hungry” in Chinook Jargon, a derivative language of English, French, Chinese and Chinook. Just as the Pacific Northwest was a gathering place for traders hawking their wares in pioneer days, OLO celebrates Cascadia’s role as a cultural melting pot by serving as a hub for neighbours to gather and break bread.

The bar program also highlights the region’s bounties with an impressive list of B.C. distilleries, breweries and wineries. The beer selection includes varieties brewed throughout the province, the Cascades and established Old World master breweries. Three select taps of award-winning Driftwood beer, crafted here in Victoria, are also featured for parched guests. The thoughtfully curated wine list focuses on small-batch producers showcasing the best vintners B.C. has on offer. Perfectly mixed cocktails showcase local producers and ingredients, and boast a variety of whimsical infusions from foraged botanicals, shrubs from house-made vinegars, and healthful tonics from island spring water.

The dining area’s design reflects the agricultural history of Canada with a playful modern twist, cultivating a warm yet lively atmosphere. With farmhouse-inspired elements such as rustic post and beam construction, cedar-clad walls, a wall of preserves, living herbs and wheat grass growing in the dining room, OLO feels familiar while always offering fresh tastes for locals hungry for more than just a meal.

Opening hours will be Sunday through Thursday, from 5pm until midnight, with Friday and Saturday dinner services extending to 1am. Follow them on Twitter.

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