Hometown hero Kristian Eligh returns to Vancouver Island

Cafe & Raw Bar - Douglas Magazine Aug/Sept 2023
    Photo Supplied.

    Where to take a colleague, client or boss someplace fresh in downtown Victoria? Toptable Group, owner of 12 restaurants in Vancouver, Whistler and New York, has opened Marilena, their first in Victoria, with Kristian Eligh as executive chef. 

    An avid free diver and fisherman, Eligh has created an eclectic, seafood-y menu that delivers raw and chilled options (oysters on the half shell, yellowfin tuna tartare); assorted nigiri, sashimi and sushi; and a variety of small plates. Then there are larger entrees such as grilled Nova Scotia lobster, Hecate Strait halibut and  Parmesan-crusted chicken. The dessert menu, by pastry chef Dominique Laurencelle, formerly of Boom + Batten, includes chocolate molten cake, vanilla bean cheesecake and key lime curd. 

    Bar manager Jayce Kadyschuk has curated a unique gin and tonic program and the expansive wine list includes Island wines as well as global varieties. 

    Its location at 1525 Douglas Street is a stunning new LEED Platinum building, and Marilena itself is a contemporary but warm room anchored by an open kitchen. Guests can also sit at an authentic Japanese raw bar.

    Says Eligh, with no trace of immodesty, “Simply, we want to be the best restaurant in Victoria.”