Spectacular scenery, awe inspiring wildlife and unparalleled natural surroundings are just a few of the top reasons to spend time on Vancouver Island North. We want to make sure you’re fueled up and ready for all your big adventures once you get here. There are plenty of edible options from food trucks to fine dining and everything in between.
Being a coastal region it’s inevitable that many of our most iconic foods are seafood. Proximity to the ocean means chefs are working their culinary magic using salmon, halibut, mussels, spot prawns and crab. In no particular order and just a slice of what’s available here are just a few of the local cuisine gems worthy of ending up on your holiday to do list.
Burger Barn in Sointula is famous for their halibut burger and homemade french fries. Truly a pants expanding experience !! Sit at one of the oceanfront picnic tables and watch boats cruise in and out of the harbour. Occasionally local musicians provide entertainment with impromptu jam sessions.
If a daily caffeine fix is essential to your day Cafe Guido in Port Hardy is a unique 3-in-1 experience. Order from their full coffee & tea menu and add a panini sandwich, fresh baked scone, or sweet treat. While you’re waiting, browse upstairs at West Coast Community Craft Shop or downstairs at The Book Nook.
Surrounded by original First Nations artwork sample contemporary touches to indigenous food at ha’me’ in Port Hardy. A word used by the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nation people meaning food ha’me’ brings new flavours to traditional foods with their bannock french toast, in house smoked wild salmon and pan seared scallop risotto.
Fresh salty air is the quintessential west coast, best coast way to end the day.
Enjoy dinner and a view just north of Port McNeill at Cluxewe Waterfront Bistro. Located within Cluxewe Resort guest favourites include: delectable chicken and fig linguini, picture worthy Buddha Bowl chock full of fresh veggies and grain, and traditional battered fish and chips with a side of mushy peas. Serving dinner only, reservations are recommended because they fill up fast.
Overlooking the Port McNeill harbour Archipelago Bistro in Port McNeill is a must visit. All you need to know here is home-made pasta. You’re welcome. While you’re trying to decide from the holy grail of pastas and sauce choices share an artisanal meat or cheese plank. Be sure to make room for homemade ice-cream.
Bring your appetite to Duchess’ Bannock and Desserts at the Orca Inn in Alert Bay. For newbies bannock is a flat quick bread that is baked or deep fried and a staple of First Nations Food. An entree or dessert depending on the toppings bannock is delicious and filling.
Seahorse Cafe in Telegraph Cove is a summertime hotspot for locals and visitors. Overlooking the cove this funky outdoor cafe and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner believe us when we say you really should try their amazing and finger licking good fish tacos.
It doesn’t get any fresher than fruit and vegetables from local gardens. Farmer’s Markets in Port McNeill & Port Hardy offers seasonal produce as well as fresh eggs, jams/jellies and home baked goodies. Perfect ingredients for your own alfresco picnic.
Casual attire is suitable at all eateries. Soak in the friendly vibes. Chat with locals. Savour the freshest seafood available. Pull up a seat and experience the incredible coastal cuisine Vancouver Island North has to offer. The full North Island culinary collection can be found HERE.
Karen Stewart – Freelance Writer