• REFUSING TO EMBRACE SPACE-AGED FOODS ENGINEERED TO MIMIC FRESHNESS, REBAR HAS ALWAYS CELEBRATED REAL, LOCAL FLAVOUR.

    At Rebar, eating modern means being aware: aware of where your food comes from and preparing and serving food responsibly, from seed to table.

    Rebar proves that exotic flavours don’t need to traverse the globe to reach your plate, especially since there is a wealth of culinary treasures in our own backyards.

    At Rebar Modern Food, we prepare food for our customers just as we would cook for ourselves at home: carefully and conscientiously. Food is meant to nourish and Rebar focuses on serving food and juices that maintain as many nutrients as possible. Steaming and roasting vegetables, toasting and grinding spices, using fresh, hand-cut herbs in our dishes and fresh juice from our own juicers to enhance stocks, sauces and dressings: at Rebar, you enjoy real, gourmet food because we never fake it.

    Fresh, authentic, nourishing food.
    That is what matters most to us.

  • WE PURCHASE FROM LOCAL SOURCES WHENEVER AVAILABLE, WHICH MEANS THAT SUMMERTIME IS WHEN WE FEATURE THE MOST LOCALLY GROWN AND ORGANIC PRODUCE–OFTEN PICKED JUST HOURS BEFORE YOU EAT IT!

    During the off-seasons, we source from local greenhouses and will choose West Coast over East Coast when ordering items not available locally.

    We are very fortunate to partner with the following local friends and suppliers:

    • Saanich Organics: Feisty Field Farm,  Northbrook Farm & Three Oak Farm 
    • Haliburton Farm 
    • Westwind Farm 
    • Saltspring Island Exotic Mushrooms & Sprouts 
    • Mystic Ridge Farm 
    • Finest at Sea Seafood 
    • Hilary’s Artisan Cheese
    • Little Qualicum Cheeseworks 
    • Caffe Umbria Coffee Roasting Co.
    • Silk Road Tea Co.
    • Cascadia Bakery
    • Pure Vanilla Bakery & Cafe
    • Mt. Royal Bagel Factory
    • Rising Star Bakery
    • Bagga Pasta
    • Islands West Produce
    • Lekker Foods
    • PSC Natural Foods
    • Sysco
    • Snowcap
    • Trigo Foods
    • Driftwood Brewery
    • Hoyne Brewery
    • Lighthouse Brewing Co.
    • Phillips Brewery
    • Vancouver Island Brewing Co.
    • Merridale Estate Cidery
    • Mt. Boucherie Winery
    • Mission Hill Winery
    • Nutrifaster Juice for Life
    • Russell Food Equipment

  • Our Food
  • Our Food
  • Our Food
Our Food
  • Our Story
  • Our Story
  • Our Story
Our Story
  • Hailing from the mecca of progressive dining that is Portland, OR, Audrey Alsterberg arrived in Victoria in the mid-1980s to be greeted by a culinary draught. She immediately threw herself into the local food scene, working alongside other pioneering chefs to change the way Victoria dines. Inspired by her talented and fearless peers, Audrey soon caught the entrepreneurial spirit and decided to plant her own vibrant roots in the downtown core.

    Audrey often frequented an avant garde juice bar in Seattle. The Gravity Bar, located in historic Pike Place, literally buzzed with energy, giving birth to a culture of its very own.

    FUSING HIPPY-CHIC NEO-NOIR RETRO-FITTED COOLNESS, THIS PLACE BROUGHT TOGETHER THE BEST OF THE BEST: HEALTHY, DELICIOUS FOOD IN A TRENDSETTING ATMOSPHERE.

    Audrey was smitten with the concept and she wanted to be the one to bring it to Victoria.

    Working with friends in the restaurant business, making decisions that helped those businesses flourish, Audrey saw her seed of an idea start to sprout. When she spotted an empty storefront on Lower Johnson St., she immediately thought, “A little Gravity Bar!”

  • Hust as industrial rebar gives support and strength to structures, tasty, nutritious food provides valuable support for the body and mind. With this philosophy, Audrey set to work, transforming the 550 sq. ft space into Rebar Modern Food.

    Very much a labour of love, audrey spent hours precariously perched on scaffolding, applying a most likely toxic silver boat paint and corrugated metal siding to the walls. 

    She accented the space with an ethereal touch of femininity (twinkly lights and plastic roses) and even brought in the electric stove from her very own kitchen.

    Rebar opened its doors to the public in February 1988. During a blizzard. That first day proved to be a model for what Rebar would become—the little restaurant that could.

    Even in the blinding snow, Rebar took in $400 that day and enchanted a steady stream of regulars to keep coming back for more. Like the juices they were serving, everything about Rebar was new and fresh and people wanted to be a part of it. Growth was organic and, as demand for Rebar’s wares increased, so did Audrey’s staff, bringing with them ideas for menu items that are still customer favourites to this day.

    But before her team could get too comfortable, trouble came knocking in the form of a fire inspector.

  • Harely a year in, a fire inspector determined Audrey would need to install a ventilation system in order to continue cooking at Rebar. Since the architecture of the building made this impossible, Audrey only had two options: close the doors or break the lease and re-locate.

    She re-located. Nestled in the heart of Bastion Square, Audrey found an odd-ball half underground empty space for lease that had previously been home to a store that sold military memorabilia. The building was constructed for the Royal Trust bank in the 1930’s and the space that would become the Rebar’s kitchen was the bank’s vault (so you know the food is safe!). With the help of an insightful loan manager, the only one in Victoria who could appreciate Audrey’s passion, Rebar primed to be reborn.

    BUCKETS OF GREEN PAINT, KITSCHY SECOND-HAND ART AND THOSE SIGNATURE MEXICAN-OILCLOTH TABLE COVERINGS WERE JUST A START.

    Soon local artists and artisans were contributing to Rebar’s eclectic feel, creating the iconic pieces, like Ken Banner’s auto-glass Elvis and Sandra Millot’s colourful mosaics, that encapsulate Rebar’s culture to this day.

    A bigger space called for a bigger staff and Audrey began to build a team of family and friends that shared her vision of delivering seasonal, local, organic food and doing it really well.

  • Hver the past twenty-some years, Rebar Modern Food has grown into a downtown Victoria institution. People come from all over the world to munch on the health sustaining, casual decadence that Rebar serves up and bask in the bohemian vibe Audrey and her team created. Rebar has even seen its fair share of celebrity patrons: K.D. Lang was practically a regular for a time, with an obvious penchant for hotcakes, and Olympia Dukakis had a piece of pumpkin pie delivered to her suite at the Empress every day of her stay in Victoria. Rebar even took a role of its own in the original Final Destination film (now a cult classic), receiving a makeover to appear as Le Café Miro, located in France.

    But the reason that Rebar still holds such a prominent position in the Victoria food scene is its people.

    Throughout the years, Audrey and her staff have been through and seen a lot, from flooding and fire, to breakages and no shows, yet there has always been laughter and an overwhelming sense of community.

    THERE HAVE BEEN PARTIES, WEDDINGS, BABIES AND FUNERALS OVER THE YEARS AND STAFF HAVE GONE ON TO CREATE THEIR OWN SUCCESS STORIES.

    Some staff have been with Rebar since its infancy, most notably Billy Hilton, who Audrey muses is loved by all and makes Rebar, well, Rebar. Many staff have come and gone, only to come back again.

  • Gord Martin opened the ‘Bins’ in Vancouver; Rob Bellamy moved on to the ‘French Laundry’ restaurant in California; and local cooking instructor extroardinaire, Heidi Fink, managed the Rebar kitchen for a time. The list goes on.

    There are so many creative and passionate people that contributed, past and present, to what Rebar is today. Rebar is fortunate to boast such a dedicated staff, who have truly become family over the years.

    And now, Audrey’s son Shamus has stepped in as Operations Manager for all 3 of the family businesses: Rebar, Cascadia Bakery and Pure Vanilla Bakery & Cafe, collectively, the Rebar Group.

    Audrey’s vision to nourish body, mind and soul continues to flourish and grow and Rebar continues to let people…

     EAT REALLY WELL

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  • SELF-PUBLISHED IN 2001, THE REBAR COOKBOOK HAS BECOME ALMOST AS ICONIC AS THE RESTAURANT ITSELF.

    Born from the least glamorous chores in the Rebar kitchen-- the countless, mindless hours spent chopping vegetables—head chefs Wanda Urbanowitz and Audrey cooked up the idea for a Rebar cookbook whilst prepping menu specials. Frustrated that people seemed to be stuck on ordering the notorious almond burger, Wanda and Audrey decided to write a cookbook showcasing the amazing heights the kitchen could reach. Armed with notebooks full of recipes that were served in the restaurant as specials, Audrey and Wanda got to work developing even more recipes to showcase the beauty of modern food. Completed manuscript in hand, Audrey and Wanda set off to publish their jewel. Rather than navigate the bureaucratic waters of traditional publishing houses, they chose to keep their labour of love in tact and incorporate a one-off book publishing company, calling it “Big Ideas Publishing.” The book was printed by Hemlock Printers in Burnaby B.C., an award-winning company, recognized for being Western Canada’s leader for carbon neutral, sustainable, green printing practices--a perfect fit for Rebar!
    Hot off the presses, Audrey and Wanda hit the road to market the Rebar Cookbook. The press junket took them from city to city, from cooking classes to book signings, from radio to TV--Audrey and Wanda even did a spot on the Vicki Gabereau Live Show. The Rebar Cookbook was a BC best-seller and went on to win 2 awards: silver award winner for Cuisine Canada’s annual Canadian Culinary Book Awards in 2002 and Rock Award from the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada for Complete Book Design in 2003. From an idea to justify hours of chopping onions to a national best-seller, the success of the Rebar Cookbook has inspired Wanda and Audrey to contemplate a second book, and, while things are still ruminating at the conversation stage, you never know!
  • The Book
  • The Book
  • The Book
The Book
  • Location & Hours
  • Location & Hours
  • Location & Hours
Location & Hours
Push Yer Pedals
  • LOCATION

    50 Bastion Square, Victoria
    (Right downtown, map below)

  • HOURS

    monday to friday 11:30 - 9
    saturday & sunday 8:30 - 9

  • RESERVATIONS

    250 361 9223