Patio season couldn’t come soon enough this year, and the only thing better than enjoying food and drink outdoors is doing so with a water view. Here are five B.C. marina-view restaurants that serve it up.
By Gail Johnson
Everything seems to taste better set next to a shimmering lake or sea. Marina restaurants have the added appeal of being able to watch so many boats come and go, making for a quintessential West Coast backdrop to an al fresco meal. Here’s a handful of waterfront spots throughout B.C. Be sure to check websites for safety-related dining updates, and note that these all offer take-out, whether you’re floating, driving or on foot.
BRIDGEMANS BISTRO, MILL BAY
Every table at this Mill Bay Marina venue has a view of the Saanich Inlet and mighty Mount Baker; you might even spot some whales. In tribute to hard-working bridge workers, the menu offers weekly highlights like steak and lobster on Thursdays and roast beef dinner on Sundays, while signature West Coast dishes include Bridgemans Seafood Chowder, cajun salmon salad and fish tacos. The wine list favours the Cowichan Valley, and local beers are on tap. Blue Dog Kayaking calls the marina home, so you can pop in for a pre- or post-paddle bite. The Bridgemans family of restaurants also has bistro locations on Pender Island and in Port Renfrew. bridgemans.ca
BAYSIDE MARINA & GRILL, BLIND BAY
Locals love this welcoming destination on Shuswap Lake’s Blind Bay near Salmon Arm. You can rent boats and Sea-Dos at the marina, while the restaurant is proud of its burger, which has a following all its own. “They are done just right–juicy and great flavour, char-broiled and all the fixings on a toasted sesame seed bun,” says owner Jim Morrison. “We add our own spices to the meat that makes it the best-tasting burger anywhere.” He says a “loaded” burger (sautéed mushrooms, bacon and cheese) is enough for two people with fries or salad. To pair with it, try the Bayside Bulldog: a lime, strawberry, coconut, mango, peach or mojito-flavoured cocktail with an upside-down bottle of Corona as garnish, with a tequila, rum or vodka base. baysidemarina.ca
OUTBOARD WATERFRONT PUB, VERNON
Overlooking Beachcomber Bay near Paddlewheel Park and Beach, the waterfront pub at the northern end of Okanagan Lake is a relaxing place to watch the boats go by. Standout dishes include a roasted purple and golden beet salad with goat cheese, a quinoa-based Buddha bowl with roasted yam and five types of prime rib burgers. You’ll find B.C. craft beers by the likes of Parallel 49 Brewing and Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. on tap, Kelowna’s Cherry Hill Coffee Roaster certified-organic coffee beans used for espresso-based drinks and cocktails such as sangria, bellinis and mojitos to sip under the sun. outboardpub.com
PAINTED BOAT RESORT, SPA & MARINA, MADEIRA PARK
The Sunshine Coast is where you’ll find this villa-style resort overlooking Gerrans Bay. Lagoon Restaurant offers complimentary moorage for those wanting to “dock ‘n dine” after time on the water. European-inspired dishes with West Coast flare are the menu’s focus, with dishes like a duck duo of braised leg and roasted breast in preserved cherry jus with pommes dauphine, herb-and-Dijon-crusted rack of lamb, Salt Spring Island mussels, soy-ginger-marinated wild sockeye salmon, and a catch of the day. We love local selections on the drinks list like craft beer from Persephone Brewing Company and Townsite Brewing plus Steller’s Jay Brut sparkling wine. paintedboat.com
PORT701 MARINASIDE, NELSON
Outdoors enthusiasts love visiting Nelson on the West arm of Kootenay Lake in the Selkirk Mountains. The restaurant at Prestige Lakeside Resort is situated right on the pristine glacial-fed water, by a dock from which you can kayak or paddleboard. The restaurant puts seafood front and centre with dishes like spicy tuna poké, seared scallops, blackened salmon, Haida Gwaii halibut plus squid ink pasta with shellfish. There’s a lot of local liquid love: beer on tap by the like of Nelson, Torchlight, and Backroads Brewing; java from Kootenay Coffee Company; and a 100 per cent B.C. wine list. port701.com