‘Tis the season for travelling Nerdie Foodies! This week we’re taking a look back on our trip to Vancouver Island, along the Pacific Rim and all the wonderful eats that we discovered along the way! Let’s go catch some waves!
Ironworks Café and Crêperie
This crêperie is in the heart of the downtown harbour city of Nanaimo, BC! One of four locations on the entire island, Ironworks is a small, yet cozy café that serves delicious housemade crêpes with both savoury and sweet fillings! They ran out of the savoury crêpe feature for the day, so we ended up getting the Breakfast, Mexican Breakfast, and Seafood crêpes. All were super filling! Out of all three, we loved the Breakfast crêpe the most. It had the right balance of each flavour without over-masking each other! We ran out of stomach room to try any of the dessert crêpes, but if we’re back on the island, we will try a dessert crêpe next! Check them out here!
Harbour Scoops Ice Cream Shop
Need to soothe that sweet tooth while on the road? Why not make a pitstop to Harbour Scoops Ice Cream in Port Alberni! Right in the Harbour Quay, this seasonal walk-up mom n’ pop shop is the place to be on a warm summer day! With a rotating menu of Island Farms ice cream flavours, you can’t go wrong with a scoop in a waffle cone! Tried the Rocky Mountain Raspberry ice cream for the first time and boy do I have a new favourite flavour! It’s got the tangy-ness from the raspberries, sweetness from the vanilla, and top it off with the chocolate chunks mixed right in! Can’t go wrong! Check them out here!
Big Beach Lounge
Sometimes you’ll find surprises at the place that you’re staying. We ended up having to head back to the resort for dinner on our first night and the only spot open just happened to be the lounge. Big Beach Lounge did not disappoint. With food options similar to a Cactus Club, Joey’s, or Earls (take your pick), this upscale bar doles out filling portions and gorgeously delicious drinks! I ended up ordering the cocktail of the day – vodka, Galliano, lemon juice, and pea flower sugar! Gorgeous yet simply decorated and delicious! For mains we had the tuna poke, the chicken sandwich, and the pulled pork sandwich. Everything was tasty and more than enough to fill our stomachs! You can check them out here!
Right across the street from Jamie’s Whaling Station in Tolfino is Shelter Restaurant. It’s got the aesthetics of a log cabin, but the foodie vibes of farm-to-table! Fresh seafood and delicious aromas all wafting in the air as you experience your time here! We ordered the daily soup which happened to be corn and basil, Salt Spring Island Mussels, and the Baja fish tacos. Everything was super flavourful and delicious. But, if you’re lucky, order the mussels if they’re not sold out for the day! And you definitely want to get an extra side of focaccia bread to mop up all the delicious chimichurri broth! If you’re in the area, definitely go for a meal! Check them out here!
THE place to check out if you ever find yourself in Ucluelet, BC. Right in the heart of town, this restaurant has a nightly line up that is definitely worth the wait. Bonus, you get to sit on the porch with a drink in hand while you’re waiting for a table! The food is freshly prepared with local ingredients and while the dishes created aren’t super heavy, it is enough to fill you right up with some room left for baked oysters to start; beef tenderloin, risotto, and the rigatoni for our mains, and the daily special dessert which was a rhubarb raspberry pavlova that was topped with rhubarb slices, raspberry purée, blueberries, and crushed hazelnuts! We shared everything and did not leave hungry. Favourite item? Every dish! If you’re in the area, definitely go for a visit! You can find them here.
We had one dinner at the resort’s restaurant, Currents. Rich flavours and super filling, this is definitely a wear-your-stretchy-pants place and go hungry. The portion sizes are individually portioned, but you will not leave this place hungry. We were still able to share each dish we ordered, but definitely noted the portion sizes. We ordered the seafood chowder to start; the Catch of the Day which was a pan-seared halibut with sunchoke purée, maitake mushrooms, asparagus, and a lemon beurre blanc sauce; the duck; the lamb; and the salted butter caramel and chocolate tart for dessert. My favourite – the seafood chowder. Seafood aplenty and the kind of chowder that sticks to your ribs! Check them out here!
BC Ferries Coastal Café
One of the more popular ways to get to and from Vancouver Island for us city-slickers is by ferry. Which means meal choices onboard would be limited to what is available in the cafeteria area. In this case, the ferries we took to get to and from the island had local chain, White Spot, available. And there is just something about a White Spot Legendary burger to get you through the one hour and forty minute ferry ride to stave off the hunger pangs. It might not be fine dining, but you definitely get the childhood nostalgia feels. You can check out their menu selection here!
‘Til next time,
You need to visit the capital (Victoria) too! Based on this post’s particular tastes and as a local foodie, I highly recommend Parachute Ice Cream and Cold Comfort for ice cream. There’s no definitive hamburger place as half the operations shut down over time, though I do recommend Yukatsu&Uburger which recently opened. As for rice balls and Asian nerdy wares to be found, Oni Oni must be visited! I highly recommend going in the morning for the best variety as they are made in small batches every day.