Two days in Tofino isn’t enough time to see and experience everything I wanted to see, but it is enough time for me to gain five pounds eating my way through town. OMG, I had no idea that Tofino had such a great food scene. I squeezed a visit to five great restaurants during my stay, but there are easily another three to five restaurants that I missed that I need to check out when I come back for Winter Storm Season chillaxation. My list of places to eat in Tofino includes award-winning restaurants, a roadside stand serving poutine and fish tacos, and the best place to watch the surf while eating Bacon and eggs. Let’s begin my culinary adventure in Tofino.
#1 Shelter Restaurant – Probably my best overall dining experience of the trip. Shelter is located at 601 Campbell Street right beside my favourite coffee shop, Tofino Coffee. The atmosphere is relaxed; the service is uber friendly, and the food is bloody good. You have your choice of sitting inside in the main floor lounge or the upstairs dining room, or you can dine on the patio. Chef completely spoiled me with a sample tasting menu which included Sakamoto Tuna Tataki, Cortes Island Mussels & Frites, Red Thai Coconut Curry Bowl, and Roasted Peace Country Lamb Sirloin. Each dish was paired perfectly with a beverage and when it was time to leave I left full and happy. The tasting menu I enjoyed is not on the menu, but each dish is. I can guarantee you will enjoy yourself at Shelter, alone or with a group of friends.
#2 Wolf In The Fog – Celebrated as Enroute Canada’s Best New Restaurant in 2014 I was pretty stoked to make a reservation to dine here. If you want to get a table, make a reservation. Maybe it comes with such a prestigious award, but there is a hint of attitude at Wolf In The Fog. It’s not Tofino surf culture here; it’s fine dining. As a solo diner, my table was at the Bar, and my server was Bar Manager Hailey Pasemko. Get her to make you a cocktail; they are as good as any I’ve had before. Hailey made me a Cedar Sour that evokes scents and flavours of the rainforest. Chef Nicolas Nutting does an equally impressive job with the menu. I had the Potato Crusted Oyster, followed by Foie Gras & Chicken Liver Parfait, and completed my meal with the Rare Albacore Tuna with confit pork. Absolutely delicious. If I could have the Foie Gras Parfait every day, I would die a happy man.
#3 The Pointe Restaurant – Located in the “At-the-Pointe” building at the Wickaninnish Inn. The Pointe offers fine dining right on the edge of the surf. It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining, or a raging storm is happening outside the view is spectacular and protected. Of course, if you stay at The Wick the commute to the restaurant is pretty easy, just a short walk from your room. Once inside The Pointe you know they picked this location for a reason. I enjoyed lunch and breakfast here. Both were superb, and Chef does a fine job matching the spectacular view with a spectacular menu. For lunch, I enjoyed a Summer Stone Fruit Salad followed by Chuck Steak and Roasted Tomato and finished with a delicate and creamy Cheesecake. For breakfast I brought my laptop enjoyed a coffee and feasted on The Pointe Breakfast, which includes eggs, potato cake, tomato jam, and house made bacon (4 strips) and house made bread. What a great way to start my day.
#4 SOBO – When one of your favourite Vancouver Chef’s (Ned Bell of the Four Seasons Vancouver) tells me to visit a restaurant, I do as he says, and I’ve never been disappointed. SOBO is no exception to the rule. Chef/Owner Lisa Ahier has created a place that locals and tourist adore. Her food is so well respected she even has a cookbook so you can recreate her dishes at home. Tucked up a few blocks from Main Street at 311 Neill Street, SOBO is completely casual and relaxed dining. I visited for lunch and had one of the best Roasted Corn and Pepper soups ever, followed by a Veggie Burger with fresh avocados and a side of Kale Chips. Simply delicious and I can’t wait to come back for dinner on my next trip. Even though I’m not big on Seafood, that is where Chef Lisa excels. I’ve been told her Seafood Chowder and Fish Tacos are to die for.
#5 Wildside Grill – Last but certainly not least I visited Wildside Grill. Known for having the best Fish & Chips in Tofino I left this dining spot for last. Located at 1180 Pacific Rim Highway it has 150 sq ft kitchen, but Chef Jessie Blake and Fisherman Jeff Mikus served over 400 to 500 people a day. I think it is closer to 1000, but suffice it to say Wildside Grill is a popular joint and they don’t really have any proper seating. Under a wooden hut, you’ll find some picnic tables, and that’s about it. The fish here is as fresh as you will find anywhere. It helps that co-owner Jeff is a commercial fisherman and supplies most of the Seafood served on their menu. I opted to go a different path than the expected Fish & Chips; I ordered Poutine and Ling Cod Tacos. This little roadside grill went through 48,000 lbs of potatoes last year, so I guess I’m not the only one ordering Poutine. High on my list of favourites and a place I now must visit at least once when I’m in Tofino. Wildside Grill is the place for Fish in Tofino.
So there you have five amazing places to eat in Tofino. Aren’t you hungry now? I certainly am. Do you agree or disagree with my choices? What are the places I missed? I will be going back to Tofino, so I want to check out your favourites.
***UPDATE*** read here about a recent visit to Kuma Tofino, Japanese Comfort Food.
Happy eating in Tofino