Ask a foodie on Vancouver Island where to visit and they’ll tell you the sun-drenched vineyards and farm stands of Cowichan and the Comox Valley or the hip restaurant scenes of Victoria and Tofino. And they wouldn’t be wrong.
But the latest culinary revival to take hold is happening in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
The last few years along this scenic (and perhaps once sleepy) stretch of coastline has given rise to an exciting and burgeoning food scene. With restaurants such as Bread and Honey, Realm Food Co, and Island SodaWorks Bistro turning out new dishes using local ingredients, and breweries like Mount Arrowsmith and LoveShack Libations that are offering their take on classic brews, Central Vancouver Island is quickly making a culinary name for itself.
And with easy access to the rest of the aforementioned spots, exploring Vancouver Island’s food scene has never been easier—or tastier.
Looking for an insider’s guide of where to visit? Check out Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism’s list of top eats.
New Restaurants In Parksville Qualicum Beach
Bread and Honey, in Parksville, makes nearly everything from scratch. Their mission is simple: to offer their friends, family and neighbours a comfortable place to dine. As it turns out, they’ve hosted more than just locals. The restaurant was recently named to “Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in Canada” list for 2018. Try their Little Qualicum Grilled Cheese Sandwich, made with local fromage blanc, white cheddar, and raclette cheese.
Post-meal, you can visit where it all came from at Morningstar Farm’s Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. Sample their Bleu Claire, Island Brie, or Qualicum Spice cheese, take a self-guided tour of the farm, shop at the Farmgate Store, or sample wines from on-site Moobery Winery. The store also features a fresh milk dispenser that’s one of the first of its kind in BC. When their “Calfe” is open, they boast what may be the freshest lattes you’ll find anywhere.
SodaWorks in Qualicum Beach is a small soda distillery that specializes in delicious and inventive drinks. Using natural fermentation to create their signature bubbles, the sodas here are made using seasonal and organic ingredients that are harvested from the owner’s farm north of town. You’ll find drinks like Probiotic Woodland Root Ale, or bergamot with lavender, purple yam and violets.
If relaxation—and food—is what you’re after, Tigh-Na- Mara Resort’s Grotto Spa is home to Treetop Tapas & Grill. Relax at the spa—named Canada’s best by Spas of America in 2018—before sitting down to a meal in your robe. Enjoy a progression-style tapas dining menu and sample the chef specialities like elk and bison sausage, local sockeye salmon, and duck with Comox Camembert polenta.
For wine enthusiasts, The Beach Club Resorts’ Pacific Prime Restaurant & Lounge has an impressive list of wine from British Columbia, winning a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2018. Here you can sip on wine and dine on West Coast cuisine while sitting on a spectacular beachfront patio. For an intimate and globally-inspired dinner in Qualicum Beach, don’t miss out on Bistro 694, one of the Island’s most top-rated restaurants. This restaurant supports local food producers and offers a menu created from the recipes Chef Tony has collected from his travels around the world.
Parksville Qualicum Beach Breweries
Along Vancouver Island’s BC Ale Trail you’ll find Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Co. and LoveShack Libations. These two local breweries add their own unique flavour to the Island’s craft beer scene. Winning “Brewery of the Year” at the BC Awards in 2017, Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Co. has been turning heads since opening day. Make sure to taste their Arrowsmith Blonde, which won Best Golden Ale in the 2018 World Beer Awards.
In Qualicum Beach, you’ll find LoveShack Libations. Mingle with other patrons in this intimate brewery and tasting room, where you’ll also have the chance to chat with owner and brewer, Dave Paul. Try a flight of beer, or opt for the German pilsner, which was awarded third place at the BC Beer Awards in 2018.
Getting To Parksville Qualicum Beach
Farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, brewers and vintners in Parksville Qualicum Beach are working together to cultivate a vibrant culinary destination. Combine this with a visit to Cowichan, the Comox Valley, or the cities of Victoria, Tofino, and Nanaimo to indulge your palate in a distinctly Vancouver Island way.
Parksville Qualicum Beach sits 90-minutes north of Victoria and 25-minutes north of Nanaimo. The area is accessed from Vancouver via BC Ferries, which departs from both Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen. There are also direct flights to Nanaimo via major cities, including Vancouver and Calgary, as well as by floatplane with Harbour Air from Richmond or downtown Vancouver.