With all the local artisans, cocktail revolutionaries and new chefs creating new restaurants arriving almost monthly, Kelowna has become a place to eat, drink and be merry. Recently, Expedia.ca approached me asking for my own suggestions on where a local would eat in the heart of Kelowna.
I’ve thought about doing a blog post like this before – a food tour of Kelowna with all my favourite spots, things to eat and hangout with friends but frankly the food scene changes so often there was always something new I was adding to the list. But finally I have come to a conclusion (for now). With that being said this roundup of favourites is tried, tested and true by a local of ten years – just last month in fact!
Since my arrival in November of 2005 I have seen Kelowna’s food scene grow into one of Canada’s top culinary cities. In fact a local favourite, RauDZ restaurant, was just named number five in a list of Canada’s top 10 restaurants by Trip Advisor.
Other than RauDZ there are plenty of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even icewine so let me take you through the must-eats of my adopted hometown.
Breakfast at The Curious Café
Hands down one of the best breakfasts in town is served up by one of Kelowna’s newest restaurants, The Curious Café. It’s a popular spot any time of day but after a night out The Curious serves up big mugs of hot coffee and plates of breakfast appealing to the peckish or the famished. With dishes like Steak and Eggs, S’more Waffles, Duck Confit Hash and Eggs Benedict with feta cream you may take a while to decide.
Lunch at The Salted Brick
Nothing is more satisfying than a well curated charcuterie board and The Salted Brick not only specializes in doing so but they also make their own cured meats. Paired with Okanagan made cheese and the wines of the valley with a few craft beers it’s a perfect place to try a bit of everything that makes the Okanagan great.
Cocktails at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery
The Okanagan is home to North America’s only world class rated distillery. Taking the fallen tree fruits from the apple, cherry and other orchards, Okanagan Distillery creates fruit liqueurs, eau de vie as well as gin, vodka, absinthe, whiskey and other spirits. You can book a tour and explore the facility, which includes a tasting experience, or you can pop in to try a cocktail before hitting a movie or dinner in downtown Kelowna.
Small Bites & Brews at Micro Bar Bites
Opened by the owners of RauDZ, it’s conveniently located next door to the top Canadian restaurant. RauDZ does not accept reservations so the line up can begin at 4:30. Luckily Micro Bar Bites is open at 3:00 and offers small share plates from the same kitchen as RauDZ. Try an expertly concocted cocktail or an Okanagan wine. I like to go for the delicious duck fat popcorn paired with an Okanagan sparkling wine.
Dine at Waterfront Wines
You may have been expecting me to recommend RauDZ (which is a solid choice) but locals equally love Waterfront Wines. An institution in the valley and beloved by wineries and foodies alike, Chef Mark Filatow creates uniquely Okanagan dishes in his small restaurant fitted with only ten or so tables and bar seating – reservations are highly recommended. Celebrate the Okanagan with the Tantalus winery’s sold out Riesling sparkling wine and order the foie gras with icewine gelée – the best pairing in Kelowna in my mind. If you time it right, at certain times of the year, Waterfront Wines features their fantastic pork roast with a crisp exterior and succulent herbed centre. P.S. Never skip dessert with their ever-changing menu of sweet treats. But their liquid dessert, the “How You Doin’?” iced espresso with baileys and espresso liqueur is a favourite of mine in the winter months.
*Bonus Dinner Option: BNA
Right now I am in love with Kelowna’s newest brewery with a gastropub menu. Once home to Kelowna’s cigar rolling factory in 1912, the new change has Kelowna’s food scene abuzz. Bearded hipsters, beer nerds, the culinary curious and friends looking to play the in-house bocce or shuffle board all gather here any night of the week. The steamed pork buns with smoked porchetta and Vietnamese-style chicken wings are two current favourite appetizers of mine. But if you’re looking for a heartier meal, try their take on fried chicken served with the best cheddar biscuits and shitake gravy you’ve ever had.
Order a tall boy of their Earl Pale Ale brewed with Earl Grey tea or the Don’t Lose Your Dinosaur IPA are both winners but if you are new to the world of beer, and in particular BNA beer, order a flight and try them all!
To check out more food, wine and winter options visit Expedia.ca’s Okanagan guide page. The featured Quail’s Gate Estate winery has one of the best wine/restaurant combinations in the valley and the winter views will get you in the festive mood.
Thank you Expedia.ca for helping me to keep affording to eat and write! I am fully passionate about all the listed restaurants above and visit them frequently.