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Kelowna – Nine top spots for food and wine

Western Canada’s wine-growing capital is a haven for food lovers – if you know where to look. Nicole MacKay highlights nine essential restaurants and wine bars you won’t want to miss.

A four-hour drive inland from Canada’s mountainous west coast, in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, is Kelowna, an energetic city known for its stunning landscapes, sprawling vineyards and flourishing culinary scene.

Okanagan Lake is undoubtedly the city’s show stopper, as Kelowna sits on its right bank, at the approximate halfway point of the massive 135-kilometre (84-mile) north-south body of water. This picturesque destination offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and, most notably, a thriving wine and food culture.

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Kelowna’s wineries produce some of Canada’s finest wines, benefiting from the region’s ideal grape-growing conditions – warm summers, cool nights and fertile soil. However, the city’s appeal extends beyond its vineyards; it’s bursting with top-tier restaurants and wine bars, making it a must-visit for gastronomes and oenophiles.

View of vineyards and Okanagan Lake in Kelowna BC.

View of vineyards and Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, BC. Credit: Eduardo Fonseca Arraes / Moment via Getty Images

Tourism in Kelowna peaks during the summer when visitors flock to its beaches, hiking trails and wine tours. However, recent years have seen challenges that impact the flow of tourists. Seasonal wildfires have become an increasingly pressing issue, casting a pall of smoke over the otherwise clear skies and occasionally threatening the region’s vineyards and tourism infrastructure. These natural disasters have led to periods of uncertainty and required significant recovery efforts from the local community.

Additionally, Kelowna’s location, while idyllic, poses a logistical challenge for some international travellers. The city is served by a quaint international airport (YLW), which, despite being one of the busiest airports in British Columbia, offers limited global connections compared to its closest major hubs like Vancouver or Calgary.

Despite these challenges, Kelowna remains a premier destination for those seeking an immersive wine and dining experience. The local restaurateurs and vintners have cultivated a resilient spirit, continuously enhancing the quality by building a solid and passionate community that thrives on collaborating with local farmers and ranchers.

Kelowna’s top spots for food and wine

Waterfront Wines
Often hailed as one of Okanagan’s best, Waterfront Wines blends fine dining with a relaxed vibe. Chef Mark Filatow, also a skilled sommelier, crafts a menu highlighting local producers and showcasing the best the valley offers. Everything has an Okanagan connection, from house-made charcuterie to locally sourced produce and potatoes. His expert wine pairings, featuring primarily local selections, take each dish to new levels. This restaurant is consistently recognised in national culinary awards and illustrates the region’s top-notch dining.
Address: #104 – 1180 Sunset Drive

The bustling Waterfront Wines in Kelowna. Credit: Waterfront Wines.

Bouchons Bistro
Bouchons Bistro brings a taste of France to Canadian wine country. Known for its classic French cuisine with a modern twist, this charming spot features French favourites like escargots, bœuf bourguignon, and bouillabaisse, all crafted with traditional techniques and local organic ingredients. The pièce de résistance? An extensive wine list with French and local Okanagan Valley selections. The cosy, rustic interior feels like a Parisian bistro, offering an inviting ambience that makes it a beloved choice for an authentic French dining experience.
Address: #1180 Sunset Drive

Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery
On the west side of Okanagan Lake along the Westside Wine Trail, Old Vines Restaurant offers breathtaking vineyard views and a contemporary menu celebrating seasonal, local ingredients. Dishes like spring harvest salad, mushroom farro and Rossdown Farm cornish game hen showcase the Okanagan Valley’s flavours, using produce from the winery’s gardens and partner farms. The elegant dining room and expansive patio provide stunning views. For an immersive treat, book a vineyard dining experience and indulge in a delectable four-course food and wine pairing meal, available on select days through the summer.
Address: 3303 Boucherie Road

Tastings include an incredible view at CedarCreek Winery. Credit: CedarCreek

Home Block at CedarCreek Estate Winery
Set against CedarCreek’s beautiful vineyards, Home Block offers a delightful farm-to-table dining experience in Kelowna. Chef Neil Taylor’s menu features fresh ingredients from the gardens and local farmers, foragers and ranchers embracing the bounty of the Okanagan Valley. He lets the offerings dictate the menu, keeping guests continuously returning for more. With an extensive wine list showcasing CedarCreek’s finest vintages, each dish is paired perfectly for an unforgettable dining experience.
Address: 5445 Lakeshore Road

Salt & Brick
This small-plate restaurant offers a dynamic menu that changes frequently to highlight the freshest local ingredients. Salt & Brick’s innovative approach to dining has earned it a loyal following and critical acclaim. Each dish is crafted with precision and creativity, combining atypical ingredients – like Brussels sprouts, BC cherries, gouda popcorn, and beer cheese – for a memorable flavour experience. The restaurant’s intimate, rustic-chic interior provides guests with a warm and welcoming environment. With an extensive wine list fiercely dedicated to the diversity found among Okanagan wines, every dish finds its perfect pairing.
Address: 243 Bernard Avenue

Nature’s Table at Summerhill
Known for its biodynamic wines and unique pyramid-shaped cellar, Summerhill Pyramid Winery also boasts a restaurant offering organic, farm-to-table cuisine. The stunning views of Okanagan Lake from its patio are a bonus. The menu features dishes that highlight seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, many of which are grown on the winery’s organic farm. The restaurant’s serene setting, combined with its unwavering commitment to sustainability and quality, creates a dining experience that is both relaxing and memorable.
Address: 4870 Chute Lake Road

Maestro’s Mediterranean. Credit: Maestro’s Kelowna

Maestro’s Mediterranean Restaurant and Terrace
On Okanagan Lake’s east side, Maestro’s sits inside the hotel at Manteo, offering a blend of traditional and contemporary Mediterranean flavours. Highlights include Sicilian arancini, Greek moussaka and Genoa-inspired shrimp scampi. It boasts an impressive global wine list, with white wine categories ranging from crisp, dry, and zesty to vibrant, alluring and aromatic, and reds that are light and earthy to deep, bold and intense. The terrace, with its stunning view of Okanagan Lake, is perfect for al fresco dining and is dog-friendly, with a special canine menu to boot.
Address: 3762 Lakeshore Rd

Gather Restaurant
Gather is genuinely one of a kind, infusing Italian and Korean flavours in the heart of Kelowna. The food draws from chef and owner Sung Ji Park’s traditional and not-quite-traditional dishes he grew up eating while also paying homage to his years of culinary experience in fine Italian dining. The wine list features over 180 offerings, focusing on Chardonnay, Champagne and Italian Reds to pair with small, medium and large plates meant for sharing, as is customary in both cultures.
Address: #105 – 460 Doyle Avenue

Basil & Mint
Basil & Mint presents a unique blend of West Coast contemporary cuisine, emphasising simplicity and freshness in every dish. While the choices are abundant, starting with the Caesar salad followed by the truffled mushroom risotto and finishing with apple-spiced sorbet with berries is a sure win. Wine selections are primarily local, with a few outlying international options to satisfy every taste. Ask for a seat outside; the tree-lined patio offers a secluded dining experience away from beach-going pedestrians.
Address: 3799 Lakeshore Road

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