We’re back with Restaurant Roundup for 2015! This year’s theme: Where To Eat This Weekend. Every other week we’ll be profiling a different city in Canada with a list of great dining recommendations for you to check out – from fancy to hole in the wall and everything in between! Today Gwen Wright of Devour and Conquer guides us on a tour of Central Vancouver Island restaurants to choose from this weekend!
At the western edge of Canada, the Oceanside area of Central Vancouver Island is 20 minutes north of Nanaimo and includes the cities of Parksville and Qualicum Beach, along with the nearby quaint towns of Errington and Coombs.
Brunch and Lunch in Central Vancouver Island
Radius Food Co.
Radius Food Co. opened in early 2015, and they’ve already become a wildly popular brunch spot as locals and visitors flock to their Qualicum Beach seaside location for seasonal dishes, local ingredients and Vancouver Island coffees and teas.
Radius has a dedicated all-day brunch menu on Sundays with West Coast-inspired Eggs Benedict, breakfast tacos and brunch hash featuring local eggs, vegetables and cheeses. Try the Hemlock Eggs Benedict, with local Sloping Hill braised pork, house-made salsa verde and Radius’s addictive signature Hollandaise.
Read Devour & Conquer’s review of Radius Food Co. here.
Address: 3298 Island Highway W, Qualicum Beach, BC, 250-738-1158
Between the cities of Parksville and Qualicum Beach, French Creek is a great place to visit for some ocean exploring at the French Creek Marina. Right across the street from the marina, Sam’s Sushi is my go-to lunch spot for hand-crafted local sushi.
Sam’s Bento Box is one of my all-time favourite local lunches, with a choice of sushi roll, tempura vegetable appetizer, choice of salad, chicken or salmon teriyaki, edamame beans and a bowl of steaming miso soup (I order it extra spicy). Great for eating in Sam’s bright and friendly dining room with friends and family, I also often grab a bento to-go to eat at one of the many beaches nearby. For something different, try Sam’s signature French Creek Roll with seared tuna, tobiko and a tempura-fried prawn, topped with smelt roe.
Address: 890 Wembly Road at Highway 19A, Parksville (French Creek), BC, 250-954-2373
Taste Café & Bistro
Located in Parksville’s resort area, Taste Café & Bistro is an adorable little lunch spot with an ever-changing selection of locally-inspired modern comfort food.
I’m always impressed by the sheer number of things that are made from-scratch at Taste Café – daily soups, salads, sauces, fresh baking, desserts, hand-crafted cocktails and infused lemonades are all made in-house. The Cheddar Waffle BLT with crispy bacon and avocado cream is a must-have.
Address: 101-B, 1080 Resort Drive, Parksville, BC, 250-586-8676
Dinner on Central Vancouver Island
Amrikko’s Fine Indian Cuisine
Amrikko’s has been part of Parksville’s restaurant scene for almost ten years now, and guests return again and again for their authentic flavours and welcoming atmosphere. I love seeing families bring their children in for the first time to introduce them to Indian cuisine, and we often meet friends for dinner here to sample each other’s dishes and learn more about Indian spice combinations.
Amrikko’s menu has a great selection of pakora appetizers, tandoori oven-cooked dishes and fresh-baked naan, along with all the classics Indian curries and kormas. The Lamb Biryani with succulent, tender meat and saucy, spiced rice is my go-to menu selection, and everyone loves their Butter Chicken. Ask for spice level HOT if you like bringing the heat to your plate.
Address: 487 East Island Highway, Parksville, BC, 250-951-7148
Cuckoos Trattoria and Pizzeria
Located behind the famous ‘Goats on the Roof’ at Coombs Country Market, Cuckoos is an Italian-inspired trattoria with a gorgeous outdoor patio that wraps around the building. The homemade specialty pastas, many featuring west coast seafood, are served with scratch-made sauces, while the hand-stretched thin crust pizzas come in a variety of classic and unique topping combinations.
Bring a group and dive right into the Cuckoos menu with the Paesano Dinner Experience for four or more, with your choices of salads, pizzas, pastas and desserts served family-style.
Address: 2310 Alberni Highway, Coombs, BC, 25-248-6280
The Rod & Gun Bar and Grill
One of the oldest establishments still in operation on Vancouver Island, The Rod & Gun began in 1898 as a fishing and hunting pub and tavern (hence the name). Located in Parksville’s downtown core, the building is split into two sections - the pub and live music side and a family-friendly dining room and outdoor garden patio.
Known for classic pub fare and dinner entrees with an Island twist, The Rod & Gun’s Local Burger remains a long-standing favourite for many (me included!), a satisfyingly juicy and thick burger topped with local cheese and other Vancouver Island ingredients. Poutine lovers will be all over the six different poutine selections, all made with local Little Qualicum Cheeseworks cheese curds [http://www.cheeseworks.ca], Island-grown Kennebec fries, house-made beef gravy and locally-raised meats.
Address: 163 Alberni Highway, Parksville, BC, 250-954-1881
Try Something Different
Island SodaWorks Probiotic Sodas & 100% Local Tacos
Island Sodaworks brews a variety of naturally-fermented, living probiotic sodas handcrafted the old-fashion way in Errington, BC. On weekends, the friendly staff pair these sodas with 100% local tacos, made entirely from ingredients found within a 20-mile radius. Families, couples and wandering travellers come for al fresco dining on rustic picnic tables with views of the surrounding farmland and forests.
While the crowd-pleasing Heritage Chicken Tacos are Island SodaWorks’ most popular item, don’t miss the unique Duck Egg Tacos, topped with a sunny-side up organic duck egg and seasonal vegetables grown around the Oceanside area.
Address: 1430 Errington Road, Errington, BC, 250-203-1072
Farm to Fire Pizza Food Truck
The Oceanside area has embraced good eats on wheels, and in early 2015 a dedicated food truck area was built right beside the shores of Parksville Beach. Here you’ll find a rotating selection of local food trucks including the ever-popular Farm to Fire Pizza Truck, serving artisan neopolitan-style pizzas made with local ingredients from their mobile wood-fire oven.
Farm to Fire makes all their own sauces, cures their own local pepperoni, and supports other Vancouver Island growers by using local produce, herbs and meats throughout their menu to create amazing farm-to-food-truck pizzas on the beach.
Address: Around Oceanside, at Parksville Community Park and at special events year-round.
Coastal Cake Company
Got a craving for something sugary and decadent? Head straight to Coastal Cake Company on the western edge of Parksville to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Famous Island-wide for their award-winning special occasion cakes, Coastal Cake Company also bakes up an eye-catching selection of gourmet cupcakes, macaron and other baked treats. Coastal Cake’s macaron and cupcakes come in a rainbow of cravable flavours, and both feature traditional and gluten-free selections.
Address: #3, 1306 Alberni Highway, Parksville, BC, 250-738-1158
More Great Places To Eat This Weekend
Here are most great places to eat across Canada this weekend! Where will you be eating?
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Vancouver Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Edmonton Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Calgary Edition 1 and Calgary Edition 2
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Toronto Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Montreal Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Winnipeg Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Quebec City Edition
- Where To Eat This Weekend: Cape Breton Edition
If you want more great suggestions on where to eat across Canada, be sure to subscribe to The FBC Food Lovers Newsletter. Twice a month we'll be featuring great posts from FBC members, mouthwatering recipe ideas, delicious places to eat, as well as occasional tasty offers from some of our partners.
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Where to Eat This Weekend: Central Vancouver Island Edition was written by Gwen Wright. Gwen is a freelance writer living in Central Vancouver Island, specializing in unique food and travel stories. When she’s not laptop-deep in a writing project, knee-deep in garden dirt or elbow-deep in bread dough, Gwen can be found hiking around Vancouver Island foraging for wild chanterelle mushrooms, or covered in sand playing beach volleyball on the shores of Parksville, British Columbia. You can also find her at her blog, Devour and Conquer.
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