A ‘Foodie’ Place
Last weekend we spent two nights in Tofino (see previous blog) and had the opportunity to eat at three different locations as well as to scope out a few more for the next trip.  Of course fish and seafood abound; you can even watch it be brought in at the main dock in town.  But there is also a great mix of fresh, local ingredients, culinary talent and casual atmosphere.  The Tourism Tofino website lists 8 fine dining, 15 casual dining and several cafes and quick food restaurants.   There are also numerous events and festivals that also have a food component; the next being the Clayoquot Oyster Festival coming November 19th.  Like the waves, there is no shortage of food.

Our first stop was Shelter Restaurant on Tofino’s main street (Campbell St.).  It was a Saturday night, a Canucks night, and the line was out the door (in the pouring rain) when we arrived.  There was a 30 minute wait for a table on the restaurant side but we wanted to sit in the bar (for the Canucks of course).  The serving staff was very friendly and helpful and served us a drink while we were standing waiting in the small lobby area (where we could also see the TV’s).  We got a seat at the bar in about 10 minutes and moved to a high-top table about 10 minutes after that.  The décor was dark wood and leather chairs and the clientele much younger than our previous night in Nanaimo. The dinner menu was a bit ‘Cactus Club’ with some higher end items mixed in as well as local Dungeness crab.  And while it was tempting we decided to order appys off of the lounge menu instead.  We mixed an order of free run chicken wings with two flavors – honey hot mustard and salt & pepper and added a shelter pizza – provolone, mozza, bacon, chorizo, basil and balsamic.  All of the food was very good.

The Schooner Restaurant
On our second night we had dinner at The Schooner with some friends.  The décor is a bit more upscale than Shelter but still laid back.  Our server was friendly, engaging and knowledgeable.  The wine list was a good portion BC with some great offerings as well as select wines from other prime regions.  Local and fresh seafood is what Schooner is all about and the Halibut Bawden Bay was the perfect example (three out of the four of us ordered it).  The fresh halibut was stuffed with a mixture of Dungeness crab, rock crab, shrimp, brie, scallions and pine nuts and served with rice and vegetables in an apple, brandy, peppercorn sauce.  There is a reason that this has been their signature dish for years. Delicious! Our fourth chose a land-based entrée all of which are 100% organic free range Canadian black angus beef.  With great food and great company it was a great evening.  And the Schooner is definitely a place we will enjoy again.

Long Beach Golf Course
Lunch was served at the Long Beach Golf Course & Campground during our meeting with the West Coast Multiplex Society.  The Lounge Restaurant serves fresh food from the grill with a menu that includes sandwiches and wraps, salads, home-made soups, burgers and other golf course fare.  The staff was friendly and the food service fast.  The Vegetarian Wrap had a surprising variety of vegetables (more than the usual) in a balsamic type dressing and when served with Caesar Salad (or choice of soup or fries) the portion was large.  The Clubhouse sandwich was served with fries that were not quite house-cut but were a very good pre-cut version. With a driving range, mini golf, paint ball and camping just outside the door you do not have to be a golfer to spend the day.

During our two days in Tofino what we remember most was that every business we visited had very friendly staff and great service and that all types of businesses took time to focus on local, fresh, ‘green’ and sustainable practices.  Two great reasons to visit Tofino again and again.

Shelter on Urbanspoon Back Nine Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon The Schooner on Urbanspoon