Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram might remember a whirlwind trip to Kelowna a couple of weeks ago. I was with a small group of bloggers as a guest of Tourism Kelowna and their mission in our short time together was to show us some of Kelowna’s best eats, drinks and activities. I often find that with a press trip, it leaves me wishing I had more time and Kelowna was no exception. Even though I think we did pretty well and hit many of the “must” eat and drink spots in town, I know there are so many more that we didn’t get to. I’m definitely no restaurant reviewer but I do like to list places on my blog that are worth checking out – I’d recommend any one of these and would go back myself. If you know Kelowna and have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments because I am pretty sure my first trip out there won’t be my last!
Our first meal together was at Salted Brick.
Salted Brick is a new addition to downtown Kelowna. It’s a tiny space all decked out with wooden booths, small tables and just a few stools at the bar. We went for lunch although it’s also open for brunch and dinner. Chef Jason Leizert’s house-cured charcuterie and hand-crafted local cheeses are served along with local wines. We, ahem, ordered one of everything on the menu. They are “small plates” meant for sharing…
A fabulous place to meet for a quick bite to eat over a glass of wine (they also do takeout for a small selection of products) or, you can linger over many sharing plates. Everything was fresh and gorgeous.
We’d barely digested our lunch at Salted Brick and the spoils of our pastry class at Sandrine Pastry when it was time for dinner! We were fortunate enough to be heading to Smack DAB – Crazy Good Food…
Smack DAB is a lively restaurant and bar located at the Manteo Resort beside Okanagan Lake, offering gorgeous views as you dine. Open daily for buffet breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late-night snacks, Smack DAB is a great place for a quick drink after work but you’d be silly not to take advantage of dining on Kelowna’s largest lakeside patio. The main dining area/ bar is designed to take full advantage of the beautiful lakeshore setting.
Smack DAB describes itself as “premium casual dining” and offers fresh, elevated takes on classics (salads, ribs, wings, burgers, pizza, tacos to name but a few). Oh, and dessert. I was informed via the restaurant’s Instagram account as I was eating my prawn tacos (above) and loving them (they are REALLY good – fresh and so flavourful), that I needed to save room for the Smack DAB Sundae. Um yes…
A lot of the plates at Smack DAB were fairly generous portion sizes but the dessert was “just right”. They told us it was “kinda small” to share and they were right. If you go, save room for and order this sundae. And don’t share! Did I mention the beers? Smack DAB has 12 craft beers on tap, “handpicked selections from the Pacific Northwest, some of which you will not see anywhere else in Kelowna.” The selection changes according to popularity and is balanced out with a variety of bottled beers from all around the world. Beer flights are offered and there’s a healthy selection of wine for the non-beer drinkers (including flights). All in all, a lovely casual dining experience with food and drinks to match the glorious views.
Check out my fellow blogger, Sean’s review (with more photos of the other meals) here.
In the heart of downtown Kelowna, you’ll find micro bar • bites. Chef/Owner Rod Butters is proud to call the Okanagan Valley home. He’s a strong proponent of “everything local” and supports many local farmers and food artisans. Chef Butters’ commitment to establishing regional BC cuisine has earned him international respect – he was serving local food long before it became *the* thing to do.
micro is, well, tiny - just 900 square feet of bar and Chef Butters jokes the space is so small they “don’t even capitalize the ‘m’ of micro!” Featuring a pared-down bar and food menu, barrel-aged hi-balls and international beers and wines, micro is the place to meet after work for a quick drink (or two) paired with a simple small bites menu that changes monthly.
Just next door to micro bar • bites, you’ll find RauDZ Regional Table.
Owned and operated by the award-winning team of Chef Rod Butters and Audrey Surrao, RauDZ’s menu takes advantage of the Okanagan Valley, the “ultimate chefs’ playground,” according to Chef Butters, focusing on fresh, regional cuisine. Their philosophy is simple: support local, buy local, eat and drink local. Check out the restaurant’s farm partners here.
RauDZ is the reincarnation of the four diamond, multi award winning fine dining restaurant Fresco. After eight suggessful years, Rod and Audrey decided to realize their dream of opening a new contemporary restaurant featuring fresh local dishes in a comfortable relaxed space. The casual setting makes for a fun meal between friends (the night we were there it was very lively) but the food is definitely not “casual” dining food.
The menu is divided into Coastal, Interior, Classics Re-inspired and Sharing (or not!) Plates. The food here was again, generous servings and excellent quality – go with a crowd so you can taste a little bit of everything. You’ll be hard pressed to choose just one item from the menu!
I think perhaps the most surpising “find” for me during my time in Kelowna was Hillcrest Farm Market. Over one hundred years ago Bhagu Singh walked from Vancouver to Kelowna to find a piece of land to call his own. A century later, that orchard and farm is still in the family name and 100% family-owned and operated. The Market boasts spectacular views of the city and now offers a large selection of farm fresh fruits and vegetables, exceptional Indian cuisine and luxurious bed and breakfast accommodation suites.
Hillcrest also operates a packinghouse on site, shipping cherries from their orchard all over the world. The market operates during the summer as produce from the farm is available (we didn’t get to see this but I’d love to return and check out their offerings!). The farm also operates a seasonal restaurant which is quickly becoming a local favourite for its Butter Chicken Pizza, Pakoras, and other Indian-inspired dishes.
This food was exceptionally good. Served in a modest cafeteria-style room, it’s authentic Indian, made (and served!) with love. If you’re in Kelowna with a craving for Indian food (or even if you’re not!), you should definitely check this place out. I can imagine at the height of summer with the market, the café, the orchard and the B&B running, it’s quite the happening corner of Kelowna!
Again, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of where to eat in Kelowna but I think it’s a pretty good start!
Disclosure: I was a guest of Tourism Kelowna and my transportation, accommodation and all meals were covered. I am not being further compensated for writing about my experiences and all opinions are 100% my own. Neither Tourism Kelowna nor the businesses mentioned reviewed this post before publication.
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