Top 10 restaurants in Kelowna
Kelowna is one of the largest and most beautiful cities in the Okanagan Valley, a region with a well-deserved reputation for producing spectacular wines. As they say, fine wine and good food go hand-in-hand and Kelowna’s exceptional culinary scene is testament to that.
From fresh, sustainably-caught fish served al fresco at a table with unbeatable views of the glistening Okanagan Lake to comforting pub grub-style eats with a unique Kelowna twist washed down with a glass of beer from a local microbrewery, here are some of the most dynamic and exciting places to eat in the city.
Where: Four Points By Sheraton Kelowna Airport, 5505 Airport Way
The scene: A relaxing, casual restaurant that offers all the gourmet eats of a fine dining establishment without any of the pretence, Gulfstream serves contemporary international breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes prepared with fresh ingredients every day. With hearty treats like Nutella French toast, spicy chorizo omelettes and pesto prawn eggs benedicts on the breakfast menu, you’re guaranteed to start your day with a smile. And the huge range of lunch and dinner options inspired from far-off destinations all over the world will leave you spoilt for choice. Whether you want to share an Asian-inspired platter of unrolled sushi, tuck into a thin and crispy Italian pizza, indulge in the finest New York strip or opt for the healthy choice and enjoy a seasonal salad, Gulfstream has got just what you’re looking for.
Signature dish: Thyme and pistachio-crusted salmon with a wilted kale salad, parsnip-apple puree, confit baby tomatoes, a saffron and grilled pepper cream, lime leaf yoghurt and seasonal vegetables.
Social 242 Lounge and Grill
Where: 242 Lawrence Avenue
The scene: A hidden gem in the heart of downtown Kelowna, Social 242 is a modern meeting point where foodies gather to eat, drink and socialise. The fun, laid-back atmosphere enhanced by drink specials, DJ sets and neon lights lends itself to everyday casual meetups, but the low moody lighting, intimate booth seating and artistic presentation of the food make it just as ideal for celebrating special occasions or a romantic date night. The main menu focuses on classic Canadian and American dishes, from garden-fresh salads and incredibly tempting appetizers (the dry-rubbed baby back ribs are superb!) to juicy steaks with a great selection of enhancements and generous bowls filled to the brim with everything from pasta to gumbo. To keep everyone well fed, there’s also a remarkable vegan menu brimming with alternative versions of items on the main menu, plus an incredible cheesecake with seasonal berry compote you won’t believe is dairy-free.
Signature dish: Cajun Caesar salad served with baby romaine lettuce, herbed croutons, shaved Garana Padano cheese, double smoked bacon and a creamy lemon caper dressing with optional Cajun seared chicken.
Where: 300-2475 Highway 97
The scene: Committed to making every visit truly unique and memorable, JOEY Kelowna delivers the ultimate in casual dining. Their master chefs travel the world to unearth new, bold flavours and craft them into their incredible signature dishes they create with passion, enthusiasm and love. The grill-style menu kicks off with taste-packed starters designed for sharing, such as lettuce wraps loaded with Asian-inspired goodies and gourmet Canadian sliders made with certified angus beef, before moving onto intriguing sushi specials, like Hawaiian tuna tacos and rainbow rolls with Sriracha aioli. The rest of the enticing menu is dedicated to big salads, robust sandwiches, hand-formed burgers, meat dishes and fish options, all flavoured with a world of herbs and spices. You’ll also find plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian choices available, plus a small selection of seasonal desserts so delicious you won’t be able to turn them down.
Signature dish: Rotisserie chicken brined for 24 hours and spit-roasted to perfection, served with a sun-dried tomato gravy and today’s vegetables.
The Grapevine Restaurant
Where: 1055 Camp Road
The scene: Living up to its name, The Grapevine Restaurant is nestled into the lower level of the Grey Monk Vinery and treats diners to simply stunning views of the surrounding vineyards, rolling green hills and glistening Lake Okanogan from the spacious outdoor terrace. And while it’s tempting to spend your visit gazing across the landscape, you’ll be glad to hear the food is even more beautiful than the view. A tempting range of Canadian starters, such as salmon tartare and bruleed’ brie provide the perfect paving stones to lead to decadent mains like lamb shoulder with an olive and red pepper tapenade or roasted Sterling Springs chicken with sage risotto. But don’t tuck in too eagerly because the daily selection of seasonal desserts prepared in-house is guaranteed to leave you craving pudding. As you’d expect from such a venue, The Grapevine Restaurant takes great pride in its wine list and features many estate-grown labels, plus a selection of wine cocktails.
Signature dish: Bombay blackened duck duo – duck confit and duck breast served with a couscous-stuffed pepper, apple chutney and seasonal vegetables.
West Coast Grill & Oyster Bar
Where: 1675 Abbott Street
The scene: Influenced by their roots on Vancouver Island, West Coast Grill & Oyster Bar serves locally-sourced modern cuisine with a distinctive flair for fresh fish and seafood. Marine delicacies are served at the sophisticated eatery all day long, from smoked salmon eggs benedict in the morning to whole Dungeness crab with hot drawn butter in the evening. For a real treat, indulge in a plate of fresh oysters on the half shell sourced that very morning or the cold seafood platter loaded with the finest ingredients you can find beneath the water’s surface. Although freshly-caught fish and seafood takes centre stage, carnivores certainly aren’t left out, with a fantastic range of farm-to-table offerings, including short rib sandwiches with balsamic onions and braised lamb shanks with fingerling potatoes.
Signature dish: Fisherman’s Bowl – West Coast mussels, clams, prawns, crab claws, scallops, chorizo and mascarpone with a white wine sauce on a bed of orzo with an artisan crisp garnish.
Old Vines Restaurant
Where: 3303 Boucherie Road
The scene: Highly regarded as one of the finest restaurants in Canada, Old Vines Restaurant is a seasonally-inspired farm-to-table culinary hotspot. The incredibly talented kitchen team work hard behind the scenes to create spectacular dishes which highlight the freshest local ingredients available, rewarding diners with a true taste of the Okanagan. Because the food is so focused on what’s at the optimum quality each season, the menu changes frequently. However, it always features a wonderful, if relatively limited, selection of classic starters (think seared scallops with crispy pork belly and oysters on the half shell with fresh horseradish) followed by fish- and meat-centric mains, such as Cornish game hen with herb gnocchi and wild BC Coho Salmon with side stripe prawns. Thanks to its beautiful vineyard setting, Old Vines Restaurant boasts a truly decadent choice of award-winning wines, with at least one bottle to complement every dish offered.
Signature dish: 30-day dry-aged Cache Creek beef ribeye served with red peppers, crispy potatoes, capers, chimichurri sauce and rocket.
Where: 1180 Sunset Drive
The scene: An elegant French bistro set in the heart of Kelowna’s cultural district, Bouchons Bistro serves gourmet Parisian cuisine inspired by nature. The moment you step foot inside the restaurant you’re instantly transported to France, thanks to the thoughtfully-curated décor, including classic red leather booth seating, delicately pressed white linen tablecloths and charming blackboards offering the day’s specials. The menu enhances the Paris illusion even further, with a wealth of indulgent French favourites, plus a handful of more unusual plates you rarely see outside France. For the ultimate foodie experience, begin with a sharing platter of chicken liver terrine, wild boar rillettes, saucisson and duck prosciutto before moving onto the duck cassoulet (one of the restaurant’s speciality dishes) or moules marinieres. For the perfect end to your dining experience, round the evening off with a decadent crème brulee flight made up of three unique flavours and a glass of sweet French dessert wine.
Signature dish: Fresh market seafood bouillabaisse in a spicy saffron broth, served with garlic croutons and rouille dressing.
Waterfront Wines Restaurant & Bar
Where: 104 – 1180 Sunset Drive
The scene: Locally renowned for its award-winning menu, excellent wine list and outstanding cocktails, Waterfront Wines Restaurant & Bar has been named the “Best Okanagan Restaurant” by Vancouver Magazine for a staggering eight years running. The restaurant has achieved such a stellar reputation thanks to its dedication to partner with passionate local producers which showcase the finest ingredients that the area has to offer. Specialising in regional Canadian cuisine, the menu incorporates a huge range of flavours and ingredients, from tapas-style plates of tempura battered prawns and potted foie gras to comforting braised beef cheeks with anise broth and trout fillets with a miso hollandaise sauce. For cheese lovers, there’s also an outstanding selection which changes daily and highlights a wonderful collection of both local and imported cheeses. Providing the perfect accompaniment to the food, the exciting drinks menu is overflowing with more than 300 premium wines, specialist microbrews and ingenious cocktails made with fresh juices, fresh herbs and house-made syrups.
Signature dish: Grilled peppercorn-crusted heritage angus flatiron steak with fork-mashed Sweet Life Farms Sieglinde potatoes and Bordelaise sauce.
Basil & Mint
Where: 3799 Lakeshore Road
The scene: Bringing simplicity and freshness to the west coast, Basil & Mint serves a delicious menu inspired by freshly grown and locally sourced ingredients from British Columbia, served in modern, vibrant environs. Designed to do much more than satisfy your appetite, the dishes here will take you on a culinary journey and awaken each of your senses like never before. From locally-caught fish of the day drizzled with scallion oil and free-range chicken roasted to crispy golden perfection to exciting salads that’ll make you want to eat healthy and hand-tossed pizzas topped with epicurean delights, each item on the menu is so exceedingly tempting that you’ll be booking your next visit before your starter arrives. The regionally-influenced cuisine pairs wonderfully with the meticulously selected wines originating from the local area and further afield and the divine selection of desserts will leave you spoilt for choice.
Signature dish: Seafood risotto with prawns, fresh fish of the day, clams and mussels with an oven-roasted tomato broth, basil leaves and Grana Padano cheese.
RauDZ Regional Table
Where: 1560 Water Street
The scene: When it comes to simple, local cuisine that lets the original flavours shine through, nowhere delivers quite like RauDZ Regional Table. Fully devoted to using exclusively top quality ingredients sourced from local farmers, fishermen and wine producers passionate about what they do, this distinguished dining venue is one of the regional leaders in using organic, sustainable and naturally-raised ingredients. Combining fun, artsy presentation with pure, clean flavours, the Pacific Northwest menu serves up an all-encompassing range of enticing goodies you won’t find anywhere else. From the famous frothy crab cappuccino and heavenly bacon-wrapped plums to the deeply rich bison short ribs and daily-changing butcher’s cut specials, there’s absolutely nothing on this menu that won’t leave you drooling. Whatever you do, you’ve got to leave room for dessert. If the RauDZ signature double chocolate mashed potato almond brioche served with a raspberry sorbet doesn’t tempt you, the after dinner cocktails (in particular the peach cobbler cocktail) definitely will.
Signature dish: The RJB – grilled beef tenderloin topped with butter-poached crab, shaved cured bacon and onion jam on a brioche bun served with roasted potatoes and duck fat mayonnaise.
Best of the rest
With so many restaurants offering phenomenal food, a first-rate drink selection and captivating surroundings, it was simply impossible to list the top ten restaurants in Kelowna and no more. So here are an extra four epicurean establishments in the city definitely worth a visit.
La Bussola Restaurant
A family-run business established in 1974, La Bussola Restaurant is a warmly decorated Italian fine dining establishment, specialising in classic antipasti, house-made pasta and meat- and seafood-focused mains, prepared according to the traditional methods used by chefs in the Campagna region of southern Italy.
Serving up a flavour-packed, casually-inspired menu, Smack DAB invites you to say hello to your taste buds one at a time with a fabulous daily breakfast buffet and a huge choice of main courses, from freshly-made pastas and build-your-own pizzas to locally-sourced seafood and internationally-inspired sharing platters.
Overlooking a flourishing vineyard with breath-taking views of Okanagan Lake, Terrace Restaurant showcases refined New Canadian dishes, many of which are made with produce grown on the restaurant’s personal estate, complemented by the world-class wines that the region is revered for.
Mabui Sushi Izakaya
Concentrating on the typical tapas-style dishes that the original Japanese Izakaya establishments are known for, Mabui Sushi Izakaya is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion while digging into small plates of sushi, sashimi, seafood, teriyaki and tempura alongside a wide range of Asian beers, sakes and cocktails.