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Places to stay or eat up Island


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#1 rjag

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 09:16 AM

Thought I'd start a thread about some places to stay or eat etc within a few hour drive on the Island as it looks like nobodies flying anywhere for 2021.

 

We booked a cottage at Port Renfrew Accommodation - Handsome Dan's Cottages for a few days away over Spring Break. Its about 90 mins drive and self catering

 

At NY we booked a few nights in Parksville here Amazing Cottage On The Ocean ~ Private Oceanside Acreage ~ Miles Of Beach! - Parksville (vrbo.com) Its one of the original estates before Parksville became what it is. Amazing cabin on a great property if you want privacy and just a place to walk on the beach and no crowds

 

While in Parksville do yourself a favor and order dinner from Cuckoo in Coombs | Trattoria and Pizzeria its consistently one of the best restaurants we have ever eaten at. Eat in or take out. 

 

As ASE pointed out, Crow and Gate Pub is a great place to do a little road trip for lunch

 

In warmer weather a great day trip is the Circle route through Jordan River to Lake Cowichan and back. Its a great drive, just make sure you have a full tank of gas and your ride is reliable. Took the toy car on this route last year and experienced 30 celsius down to 15 and fog and back up to 30 all within a 20km range. Views are spectacular.

 

Go for a hike and a swim at Matheson Lake, or top of the Malahat to Spectacle Lake

 

I'll add more as I think of them, but please add your own suggestions


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#2 Sparky

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 09:38 AM

Bridgeman's Bistro in Mill Bay is a great stop for eggs benny on a Sunday day trip.

 

Perched out over the ocean with fantastic views. 

https://www.bridgemans.ca


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#3 AllseeingEye

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 10:44 AM

The Dog House in Duncan right on the main drag is a favorite with our gang for sure; not too many eateries have been in biz for 65+ years and there is a reason why - great food:

 

https://www.doghouserestaurant.com/


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#4 Nparker

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 11:48 AM

The Dog House in Duncan right on the main drag is a favorite with our gang for sure; not too many eateries have been in biz for 65+ years and there is a reason why - great food...

I think I found a pic of your pals during one of your Dog House visits.  ;)

gang33.png


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#5 Matt R.

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 01:26 PM

Point No Point and Fossil Bay Resort just a km down the road have always proven successful for a night or two to decompress. No cell service, you’ve been warned.

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#6 Nparker

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 02:22 PM

...No cell service, you’ve been warned....

:banana:



#7 AllseeingEye

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 03:37 PM

If you're up in Campbell River and want great brekkie/lunch offerings the Ideal Cafe checks all the boxes for me. 

 

Yes its another spot discovered on a fishing trip, perpetually full of locals which is always a good sign, very large portions of tasty food and a total retro-50's / early 60's vibe including a garish blue and yellow checkered floor, old style bar stools at the food counter and those mid century style tables with edges finished in wrap-around aluminum. And (thankfully) only 1 small TV above the cashier station so your attention is rightly on the food and not a dozen flashing over-sized screens.

 

Note this is an old school diner, you won't need or see patrons wearing their Sunday finest here; IMO this comment from their Facbook page says it all -

 

https://www.facebook...266514116702251

 

  1. DISCLAIMER: I have yet to ever see a Porsche in the parking lot. You're much more likely to encounter a 1978 Econoline, an '81 Jeep CJ or 1985 Chevy Cavalier parked out front. Or a motley crew of fishermen from the south island driving an assortment of vehicles, none of them remotely in the "super-car" class. But we know great food when we find it.

 

https://www.facebook...420545201299141


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#8 Matt R.

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 05:41 PM

If you're up in Campbell River and want great brekkie/lunch offerings the Ideal Cafe checks all the boxes for me. 
 
Yes its another spot discovered on a fishing trip, perpetually full of locals which is always a good sign, very large portions of tasty food and a total retro-50's / early 60's vibe including a garish blue and yellow checkered floor, old style bar stools at the food counter and those mid century style tables with edges finished in wrap-around aluminum. And (thankfully) only 1 small TV above the cashier station so your attention is rightly on the food and not a dozen flashing over-sized screens.
 
Note this is an old school diner, you won't need or see patrons wearing their Sunday finest here; IMO this comment from their Facbook page says it all -
 
https://www.facebook...266514116702251
 

  • DISCLAIMER: I have yet to ever see a Porsche in the parking lot. You're much more likely to encounter a 1978 Econoline, an '81 Jeep CJ or 1985 Chevy Cavalier parked out front. Or a motley crew of fishermen from the south island driving an assortment of vehicles, none of them remotely in the "super-car" class. But we know great food when we find it.
 
https://www.facebook...420545201299141

As old school as it gets. Popular spot on the annual “swimming with the salmon” trips in the fall up to Painters Lodge.

Matt.
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#9 Mike K.

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 06:08 PM

The Dog House in Duncan right on the main drag is a favorite with our gang for sure; not too many eateries have been in biz for 65+ years and there is a reason why - great food:

https://www.doghouserestaurant.com/


Not a trip up-island is complete without a stop at the Doghouse. It’s such a treat, for sure.

Funny thing. I had to go up-island a couple of months ago and someone paid it forward for my breakfast. What an amazing gesture, I was so grateful for that.
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#10 On the Level

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 09:02 PM

At NY we booked a few nights in Parksville here Amazing Cottage On The Ocean ~ Private Oceanside Acreage ~ Miles Of Beach! - Parksville (vrbo.com) Its one of the original estates before Parksville became what it is. Amazing cabin on a great property if you want privacy and just a place to walk on the beach and no crowds

 

While in Parksville do yourself a favor and order dinner from Cuckoo in Coombs | Trattoria and Pizzeria its consistently one of the best restaurants we have ever eaten at. Eat in or take out. 

 

As ASE pointed out, Crow and Gate Pub is a great place to do a little road trip for lunch

 

Parksville is a great place to go as it isn't too far but far enough to feel like you have gotten away.  We have stayed at a number of places along the strip and Tai Na Mara is still nice but the log feel is dated now.  Some of them seem to get into trouble and the quality goes way down then they go back up again after some investment happens.  Pacific Shores seems to be on the upswing and appeared to be back to it's former glory.

 

Thumbs up for Cuckoo!

 

When passing Nanaimo, Pipers Lagoon is a pretty amazing hike when it's not too windy out.


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#11 sukika

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 09:16 AM

While in Parksville do yourself a favor and order dinner from Cuckoo in Coombs | Trattoria and Pizzeria its consistently one of the best restaurants we have ever eaten at. Eat in or take out. 

 

The food there is great, but service not so much.  We've only been once, and I found a hair in my side salad so I pointed it out to the waitress and they took my plate away.  After they brought it back, I noticed that it was the exact same plate (the dressing was smeared and had the same drops on the same spot).  

 

Not sure if they just put fresh salad on, or just took it away and brought the same food back. I'm non-confrontational so I just avoided the salad and finished the rest of my meal.  Put a damper on what was otherwise a very lovely meal.

 

I'll give them another try, but will take photos and inspect my food before I dig in. 


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#12 rjag

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 10:00 AM

The food there is great, but service not so much.  We've only been once, and I found a hair in my side salad so I pointed it out to the waitress and they took my plate away.  After they brought it back, I noticed that it was the exact same plate (the dressing was smeared and had the same drops on the same spot).  

 

Not sure if they just put fresh salad on, or just took it away and brought the same food back. I'm non-confrontational so I just avoided the salad and finished the rest of my meal.  Put a damper on what was otherwise a very lovely meal.

 

I'll give them another try, but will take photos and inspect my food before I dig in. 

 

Sorry to hear that. We have gone there about 1/2 dozen times and have always had great food and good service. I hope you give it another try.



#13 Rob Randall

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 12:55 PM

This may be an extremely unpopular opinion but a hair in a meal to me is not the crime against humanity it is to some folks.


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#14 Rob Randall

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 12:56 PM

Victoria Watcher says if it was a really hot chick some guys would pay extra for that hair but I do not go that far.


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#15 sukika

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 01:36 PM

This may be an extremely unpopular opinion but a hair in a meal to me is not the crime against humanity it is to some folks.

 

It isn't to me either, it was just more that they didn't bother putting it on a different plate to give the illusion of fixing the issue.  

 

They were closed the last time we were in Coombs, otherwise we would have dined there again.  



#16 Rob Randall

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 01:59 PM

Yeah, I think it's standard in the business that anything sent back for any reason gets replated. Or it should be. Matt will back me up on this.


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#17 Brantastic

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 03:39 PM

Being from Port Alberni I guess I can make a few recommendations from there.

The Clam Bucket is a pretty good casual seafood spot. Massive portions. And I mean massive. Robin Williams and Al Pacino have eaten there, back in 2001 when they were filming Insomnia in town.

Boomerang Cafe is a pretty popular Australian restaurant. Nothing too fancy, but great burgers. I think they even have emu burgers (and maybe kangaroo?).

The J&L Drive-In, I believe the only remaining drive-in on Vancouver Island, is a Port Alberni classic.  

Drinkwater Social House is probably Port's fanciest restaurant. It's out at Sproat Lake, along the highway to Tofino, and you can get a spot on the patio overlooking the lake.

"The Donut Shop" at the Harbour Quay claims to have the best donuts on the Island. I'm not a big donut guy so I can't attest to its greatness, but it's really popular with locals. It's worth a visit anyways, since the Harbour Quay is probably the most beautiful spot in the city.

The Swale Rock, a decades-old seafood restaurant near the Harbour Quay makes "fisherman's bread", which is quite possibly one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. It's literally just frybread (fried dough) served with jam, but I crave it every time I go back, and I've never had it better anywhere else.

Twin City Brewing is excellent. It's a new brewpub, 1 block off of Johnston Street (the road through Port Alberni on the way to Tofino). A second brewpub just opened up, and a third is on its way.

If you have a sweet tooth, Coombs Country Candy at the entrance of Port Alberni is a classic place to stop on road trips for ice cream, cotton candy, fresh fudge, etc.

And for coffee, either Steampunk Cafe, which has a cozy room with big comfy chairs and couches, surrounded by a wall of books, or Burde's Beans, one of the weirdest coffee shops I've ever been inside. It kind of feels like having coffee in someone's wood shed, with classic video games, board games, nerd memorabilia everywhere, a piano, and a funny little kitchen. The first time I was there, the barista was just in his bath robe. He promised me the "greatest f***ing mocha you'll ever have" and it really was fantastic.


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#18 Mike K.

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 03:52 PM

Nicely done, Bran. I have a friend who recently moved there and I’ll pass this on to him.

Last time I was there, which was in the summer and while the forest fire smoke was at its worst, we stopped at the Smitty’s for breakfast not really know where else to go. Your list will be helpful for my next trip there.

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#19 SimonH

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 05:09 PM

Being from Port Alberni I guess I can make a few recommendations from there.

The Clam Bucket is a pretty good casual seafood spot. Massive portions. And I mean massive. Robin Williams and Al Pacino have eaten there, back in 2001 when they were filming Insomnia in town.

Boomerang Cafe is a pretty popular Australian restaurant. Nothing too fancy, but great burgers. I think they even have emu burgers (and maybe kangaroo?).

The J&L Drive-In, I believe the only remaining drive-in on Vancouver Island, is a Port Alberni classic.  

Drinkwater Social House is probably Port's fanciest restaurant. It's out at Sproat Lake, along the highway to Tofino, and you can get a spot on the patio overlooking the lake.

"The Donut Shop" at the Harbour Quay claims to have the best donuts on the Island. I'm not a big donut guy so I can't attest to its greatness, but it's really popular with locals. It's worth a visit anyways, since the Harbour Quay is probably the most beautiful spot in the city.

The Swale Rock, a decades-old seafood restaurant near the Harbour Quay makes "fisherman's bread", which is quite possibly one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. It's literally just frybread (fried dough) served with jam, but I crave it every time I go back, and I've never had it better anywhere else.

Twin City Brewing is excellent. It's a new brewpub, 1 block off of Johnston Street (the road through Port Alberni on the way to Tofino). A second brewpub just opened up, and a third is on its way.

If you have a sweet tooth, Coombs Country Candy at the entrance of Port Alberni is a classic place to stop on road trips for ice cream, cotton candy, fresh fudge, etc.

And for coffee, either Steampunk Cafe, which has a cozy room with big comfy chairs and couches, surrounded by a wall of books, or Burde's Beans, one of the weirdest coffee shops I've ever been inside. It kind of feels like having coffee in someone's wood shed, with classic video games, board games, nerd memorabilia everywhere, a piano, and a funny little kitchen. The first time I was there, the barista was just in his bath robe. He promised me the "greatest f***ing mocha you'll ever have" and it really was fantastic.

The donut shop is excellent.



#20 AllseeingEye

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 07:57 PM

Being from Port Alberni I guess I can make a few recommendations from there.

The Clam Bucket is a pretty good casual seafood spot. Massive portions. And I mean massive. Robin Williams and Al Pacino have eaten there, back in 2001 when they were filming Insomnia in town.

Boomerang Cafe is a pretty popular Australian restaurant. Nothing too fancy, but great burgers. I think they even have emu burgers (and maybe kangaroo?).

The J&L Drive-In, I believe the only remaining drive-in on Vancouver Island, is a Port Alberni classic.  

Drinkwater Social House is probably Port's fanciest restaurant. It's out at Sproat Lake, along the highway to Tofino, and you can get a spot on the patio overlooking the lake.

"The Donut Shop" at the Harbour Quay claims to have the best donuts on the Island. I'm not a big donut guy so I can't attest to its greatness, but it's really popular with locals. It's worth a visit anyways, since the Harbour Quay is probably the most beautiful spot in the city.

The Swale Rock, a decades-old seafood restaurant near the Harbour Quay makes "fisherman's bread", which is quite possibly one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. It's literally just frybread (fried dough) served with jam, but I crave it every time I go back, and I've never had it better anywhere else.

Twin City Brewing is excellent. It's a new brewpub, 1 block off of Johnston Street (the road through Port Alberni on the way to Tofino). A second brewpub just opened up, and a third is on its way.

If you have a sweet tooth, Coombs Country Candy at the entrance of Port Alberni is a classic place to stop on road trips for ice cream, cotton candy, fresh fudge, etc.

And for coffee, either Steampunk Cafe, which has a cozy room with big comfy chairs and couches, surrounded by a wall of books, or Burde's Beans, one of the weirdest coffee shops I've ever been inside. It kind of feels like having coffee in someone's wood shed, with classic video games, board games, nerd memorabilia everywhere, a piano, and a funny little kitchen. The first time I was there, the barista was just in his bath robe. He promised me the "greatest f***ing mocha you'll ever have" and it really was fantastic.

 

I would add Pescadores Bistro to that list; great food and really outstanding brekkies.....



 



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