This is the best kept secret of Victoria. Its slogan should be "Eat where and what your representatives eat". Is there a better exercise of democracy that this? Like Ali-Baba, you need to know how and when to utter the magic "Open, Simsim" to get in. At some point you need to exchange an identification for a badge that will make you feel important (or an alien in the building, depending on the type of person you are). You will be given a map to follow your lunch adventure, and some hints on how to unlock the secret passages.
You will pass by the tourist who are touring the building, pass by security guards who are going to keep an eye on you from the distance, but finally, you will get to the Dinning Room.
This is a quaint restaurant, that probably hasn't change much in generations. It has the feeling of an old British restaurant. You will be assigned a table, that has been set for dinner service, and an older lady will be your server, and she will make sure you feel special.
The food is good, the prices are good too (some claim they are subsidized, but I can't attest to that). I was treated to lunch by my friend MZ, so I don't really know much my meal was, but it was in the 10-12 dollars range.
Our waitress is probably used to conversation with the frequent visitors. She told us that right there is where the MPs and their staff eat when they want to eat, and it is the same food.
Frankly, even though I enjoyed my lunch, the food is secondary. Coming here is a demonstration of the greatness of BC and Canada. I, one of its citizen, is allowed to visit and eat at the restaurant few meters from the people who represent me. They, my representatives, see me as one of their constituents, not as a threat, and don't mind my proximity. How many governments in the world would allow this? It makes feel proud of being Canadian.
Everybody should try to have lunch here at least once. It will allow you to see the inside of our Parliament a little beyond the tours. Be a tourist for one day! Or, the next time you have visitors, give them a totally unexpected lunch treat that they will probably not forget for many years to come. I know I won't.
Verdict: A must for any British Columbian, Highly recommended.
Paid: below 15, but not sure exactly how much.