The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia is a region with a well-deserved reputation for producing some spectacular wines. So it only follows that the fine dining scene near one of its most beautiful and largest cities, Kelowna, is just as spectacular. Fine wine and exquisite cuisine go hand in hand, and no other Canadian region does this better than Okanagan.
The food is all local with lots of produce and herbs straight from the backyards of local growers or the restaurateurs themselves. This coupled with incredible views of the vineyards make for an extraordinary culinary experience. Here is the best of the best.
The Grapevine Restaurant at Grey Monk Winery
Nestled in the lower confines of the Grey Monk Winery, foodies are treated to spectacular views of the surrounding vineyards, rolling hills and sparkling Lake Okanogan. But the food is even more wonderful than the view. Starters such as salmon tartare and bruleed’ brie offer the perfect prerequisite to decadent mains such as lamb shoulder with red pepper and olive tapenade, or Bombay blackened duck confit and breast with couscous-stuffed pepper and apple chutney. The Grapevine prides itself in its wine list with estate-grown labels and a selection of delicious wine cocktails.
Waterfront Wines Restaurant & Bar
With an excellent wine list and an award-winning menu, the “Waterfront” has been named “Best Okanagan Restaurant” by Vancouver Magazine for eight years running. Executive Chef Mark Filatow partners with passionate local producers offering the finest ingredients in this fertile area, and the menu incorporates a staggering range of flavours. From tapas-style plates of potted fois gras to comforting braised beef cheeks with anise broth to trout filets with a miso hollandaise sauce, you will have a hard time choosing.
Cheese lovers will delight in their outstanding selection of both local and imported cheeses that provide the perfect pairing with whatever you decide. All this with a menu of more than 300 premium wines, specialist microbrews and exciting cocktails made with fresh juices, herbs and house-made syrups.
Block One at 50th Parallel
This restaurant offers a gorgeous setting within a glass and wood structure providing the stunning architectural backdrop to this 50th Parallel estate winery and restaurant, not to mention a jaw-dropping view of the lake. Chef Kai Korroll chooses only the freshest produce to whip up his amazing creations straight from the property gardens.
Fresh veggies from the estate’s grounds are paired delightfully with such mains as pan-seared wild salmon with a corn and leek ravioli topped with basil pistou, or fried and braised leeks over a corn velouté. Without a doubt the suggested pairing for this exquisite dish is a 2016 rosé.
The Bistro at Hillside Winery
Voted ‘Top Outdoor Restaurant in Canada’ in 2017 (although the indoor seating is very nice, as well) this restaurant’s focus is on local produce with a firm commitment to supporting ethical and sustainable practices in every single item on its incredible menu. While not extensive, The Bistro’s menu offers perfectly chosen dishes that compliments the wines with ease. Their open-air patio offers breathtaking views of Lake Okanagan.
Open seasonally from March through October, repeat patrons are continually surprised by their frequent rotating menu, which speaks to the chefs’ culinary finesse in creating unique dishes centered entirely on what is freshest and most available on a weekly basis.
Vanilla Pod at Poplar Grove
Another award-winning winery restaurant, including Okanagan Life Magazine’s ‘Best of the Best in Okanagan’. The views of the gigantic patio are as amazing as is the food. Presented Mediterranean style, the chef’s Portuguese roots are perfectly reflected in their rotating pasta dish that changes frequently with the seasons. Or try their famous paella, the fresh British Columbia salmon, or their other mouth-watering delights. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner year-round.
Red Fox Club at Indigenous World Winery
Chef Andrea Callan creates a menu of “native influenced” dishes at this Indigenous World Winery restaurant. Her Caesar salad incorporates the most decadent of candied salmon and bannock croutons. Venison and beef are combined in an exquisite burger patty, and the Haida smoked sablefish is accompanied by fingerling potatoes and turnip cream. Pair any of these with a sparkling pinot noir and you have yourself a meal for the ages. Or if that doesn’t tempt your palate, how about Callan’s smoky bison back ribs paired with a glass of the winery’s sauvignon-cabernet franc-merlot blend called Simo.
Bench 1775 Bistro & Winery
Keeping their menu simple and casual, they take roasted dishes to the next level in a wood fired oven with mouthwatering flatbreads (go for the Wagyu!) and seasonal salads. Their famous sashimi salad with line-caught salmon is a popular choice, although may not always be on the menu, as the chef follows his inspiration, as well as what is fresh and in season. Everything is locally sourced and pairs magnificently with Bench wines. On pleasant days, take advantage of their patio seating with glorious views of the vineyards and Lake Okanagan.
Home Block at Cedar Creek Estate Winery
After a massive renovation, this Kelowna gem is back better than ever with a massive dining room taking advantage of sweeping views of the vineyards and the lake with large windows, tall ceilings, and a patio built to impress. Their fire pit is a wonderful spot to sit near and enjoy a glass of wine before your meal. A limited but finely tuned menu from Executive Chef Neil Taylor indicates they prepare every single dish to perfection. Taylor serves up bold Italian and Spanish-focused flavours with gorgeous Okanagan produce.
Try the burrata served with prosciutto and toasted focaccia, fried chicken burger, and sticky toffee pudding to round it all out. A trés impressive venue perfect for date night or any celebratory meal.
When planning a trip to Kelowna with TripSupport, be sure to stop at several (or all!) of these amazing wineries and their restaurants for lunch or dinner.