Even though chilly days and nights are still upon us, it shouldn’t stop you from seeking out new culinary experiences. Bundle up and grab your favorite fellow oenophile on a Thirsty Thursday or your next adventurous weekend dining outing and head to some of the most celebrated winery restaurants in British Columbia to bond over exploring new wines and delicious flavors.
British Columbia winemakers are passionate about their wines and their customers, giving this area of Canada a distinctive identity in 60 types of grape varietals grown throughout Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley, Kanagan Valley, Kootenays, Lillooet, Thompson Valley, and Shuswap. According to the British Columbia Wine Institute, as of 2018, four regions were approved as geographical indications including Thompson Valley, Shuswap, Lillooet, and Kootenays. Ranging from crisp reds to creamy whites, playful Rosé and dessert vintages, the food and wine relationship in this diverse region is a dreamy pairing.
And even if you’re not headed to the B.C., OpenTable has you covered with more than 48,000 spots around the globe – including one that’s right for you.
Sunset Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna
As wineries go, guests can usually expect to find elegant surroundings, picturesque views, and sublime tastings. Summerhill Pyramid Winery events has all of that but takes top prize for the most joyous presentation. Events are subject to change, but count on always finding fun in evenings like Thursday night fondue, happy hour, prime rib night with discounted wine specials, and pizza night. A few dishes that have become favorites with regulars include crispy pork belly, Cajun prawns, and lentils Wellington. Make a reservation at Sunset Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery.
Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Oliver
For decades, the Golden Mile Bench sub-appellation has been home to Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. Here among 150 acres of grapes, the Miradoro restaurant serves up panoramic views with dishes like chef’s daily soup, clams, and chorizo in saffron sauce, and venison Bolognese and bucatini, along with other delights from Manuel Ferreira’s Mediterranean-inspired menu. A must-try at Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards is the quattro formaggi, zucchini with white sauce, or pancetta pizzas, prepared in the authentic forno oven. Miradoro is open from March through December. This winery is also popular with dog lovers sniffing out a perfect picnic spot – the grounds are dog-friendly and during summer a bevy of concerts gets toes tapping. Make a reservation at Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.
Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate Vineyards, Oliver
If the views don’t make you swoon at Burrowing Owl Estate Vineyards, the menu at The Sonora Room certainly will: think pea risotto with local goat cheese or smoked octopus with crispy black olives, nasturtium, and sorrel. Located in Oliver in the South Okanagan region of British Columbia, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is home to premium VQA wines. Guests who want to stay overnight have the option of an 11-room guest house. Patio dining is the luxe du jour here, spanning vistas of 140 acres honoring the region’s agricultural past and present. Make a reservation at Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate Vineyards.
Quails’ Gate Estate Winery-Old Vines Restaurant, Kelowna
The ever-changing menu at Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Estate Winery is one reason it consistently makes OpenTable’s 100 best lists. Steamed West Coast clams with chorizo, onion, white wine, and tomato paired with a Chenin Blanc and paté en croute paired with Cailleteau Gamay Nouveau are among the savory dishes gracing the appetizers. Wild Coho salmon and local duck breast with roasted sunchokes and parsnip purée make the cut as entrees. Dishes feature a vast pantry of ingredients from throughout British Columbia, with special attention paid to the valley’s purveyors. The Old Vines patio is a very special spot, inspiring romance or just reflective time taking in the lakeside sunset in view. Make a reservation at Quails’ Gate Estate Winery-Old Vines Restaurant.
BLOCK ONE Restaurant at 50th Parallel Winery, Lake Country
Since diners will only find Oceanwise Certified seafood at BLOCK ONE Restaurant at 50th Parallel Winery, it’s a shame to leave without ordering the signature Dungeness crab cakes – just save room for roasted wild mushrooms with thyme and truffle Gouda custard. The charcuterie board is a local treat garnished with garden pickles, mostarda, port-braised figs, and Arlo’s honey, while the miso-glazed sablefish entrée with forbidden rice and sidestripe dumpling gets all the oohs and ahhs at dinner. This year commemorates a decade since the first vineyard was planted back in 2009. Grab a seat outdoors under the one-of-a-kind cantilever or indoors at this year-round restaurant. Make a reservation at BLOCK ONE Restaurant at 50th Parallel Winery.
Vineyard Kitchen at Black Hills Estate Winery, Oliver
Fans of Black Hills Estate Winery love the Sensory Experience, a fun test of the nose in which guests learn to identify six white and six red wine aromas guided by their own private educator. In the Vineyard Kitchen, the party requires a hearty appetite for pizzas overflowing with nature’s bounty like fresh mushrooms and greens, seasonal salads, and cured meats and cheeses for starters. Make a reservation at Vineyard Kitchen at Black Hills Estate Winery.
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Photo credits: Nora Hamado (Mirado); Lionel Trudel (Tinhorn Creek); Joern Rohde (Vineyard Kitchen).