This article originally appeared on the Hello BC website.
A visit to a winery usually includes a requisite swirl and sip, but few destinations — including those just south of the border — are able to serve restaurant meals with your glass of Chardonnay. Winery restaurants paired with local menus, stellar reds and whites, and unique winery events are a feast for all the senses, right here in British Columbia. Here are five to try.
West Kelowna: Red Fox Club, Indigenous World Winery
Making soup doesn't usually entail foraging for watercress on Okanagan Lake’s shoreline or for wild mushrooms and horseradish in nearby forests — but it’s all in a day’s work for Red Fox Club’s chef de cuisine, Andrea Callan. “We emphasize indigenous food with respect for Aboriginal history,” she explains.
The winery was established in 2012 by former Chief Robert Louie and his wife, Bernice Louie, both descendants of the Syilx First Nation. Hee-Hee-Tel-Kin White and Red Blend are paired with many dishes. “We do a modern take on pemmican, using ground beef jerky, forest berries, and herbs, and for desserts, a syrup made from wild violets,” says Callan.
Kelowna: Terrace Restaurant, Mission Hill Family Estate
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Mission Hill Family Estate on their recent tour of British Columbia — and there’s little wonder why.
Named one of the Top 5 winery restaurants in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine, the alfresco Terrace Restaurant is at the forefront of the local Cuisine de Terroir movement. Executive winery chef Bradley Floehlich and executive sous chef Patrick Gayler visit local farmers for the freshest produce and foraged ingredients, supplemented by the restaurant’s herb and vegetable garden.
Meats like ash-coated speck, cappicolo, and prosciutto are cured in-house with ponderosa pine tips, and the estate’s five beehives produce 90 litres of fragrant wildflower honey that’s incorporated into desserts. And, of course, every dining experience is enhanced with Mission Hill’s award-winning wines.
Okanagan Falls: Liquidity Bistro, Liquidity
Art, food, and wine mesh in BC’s Okanagan Falls. At Liquidity Bistro, executive chef Simon Bouchard cooks fresh, rustic fare, from albacore tuna confit, to pan-seared coho salmon and braised lamb pappardelle in red wine jus.
Here, the restaurant’s patio overlooks Vaseux Lake alongside vineyards of many varietals including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Viognier. Modern sculptural installations are everywhere, including in the chef’s garden where a towering Mountain Dandelion by sculptors Mark Baltes and Ken McCall whirls in the wind.
Pentiction: Vanilla Pod Restaurant, Poplar Grove Winery
Executive chef Bruno Terroso incorporates his native Portugal into all his Mediterranean-style dishes at this Penticton restaurant. “We focus on big flavours with fresh herbs and spices,” says Terroso.
The Vanilla Pod Restaurant’s menu showcases local ingredients in its sharing-plate offerings — like potato cakes and flatbreads — and main dishes that include paella with prawns, scallops, chicken, and chorizo. All pair perfectly with Poplar Grove Winery wines.
Oliver: Miradoro Restaurant, Tinhorn Creek Winery
Miradoro’s executive chef, Jeff Van Geest, pays homage to fresh, locally sourced ingredients with a rustic-meets-elegant approach, complete with a Mediterranean twist. Expect plenty of options, from classic Neapolitan-style pizzas baked in the forno oven to Ras el Hanout Beef Crudo, a Moroccan-spiced raw beef with slow-cooked egg yolk, preserved lemon, cilantro, potato crisp, and yogurt. (Tip: pair this with a 2013 Pinot Noir.)
Visitors to the winery’s 21st annual Canadian Concert Series that runs May to September in the amphitheater can sample Miradoro’s fare in the restaurant or—for better sound quality—on the patio. For stargazers, Tinhorn Creek’s Starlit Supper, also set in the amphitheater, features culinary and wine pairings from the restaurant followed by astronomer-guided tours of the night sky (telescopes provided).
Now that you know the top spots to visit, it's time to plan your trip at the Hello BC website.