Typically known for its old-growth forests, high mountain peaks, and fantastic fishing opportunities, you might be surprised to discover that Port Alberni has something else to offer that’s equally tantalizing.
Whether looking for a freshly brewed and artistically prepared hot beverage to start your day off right or fine dining options that rival any big city, Port Alberni’s budding food scene has something for everyone.
I recently teamed up with ZenSeekers and a few new friends to #ExplorePortAlberni and, along the way, discovered some fantastic restaurants I’m eager to share.
Wildflower Bakeshop & Cafe
There’s no better way to start a winter morning than with a cozy drink and a freshly made decadent pastry. The Wildflower Bakeshop & Cafe is the perfect place to find both. Take it to go, or dine in the bright, beautiful space to enjoy a hot breakfast or other delicious menu offerings. Everything is made in-house, using organic and/or high-quality ingredients. While you are there, check out the cute merchandise for sale too!
Currently on the menu and must tries: The warm Winter Salad or Bacon Pizza; both offer a tasty mouthful of unique flavours using roasted root vegetables.
Located on Argyle Street, Wildflower Bakeshop & Cafe is open seven days a week from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm (4:00 pm Fridays to Sundays).
Bare Bones Fish House & Smokery
If you are hankering for the best fried fish in town, there’s no better place than Bare Bones Fish House & Smokery. And this is not just because it’s one of the crispiest and tastiest fish I’ve had, but also because the restaurant is 100% gluten-free and celiac approved! Say what!?!? I had no idea gluten-free food could taste this good.
With a diverse range of fish and in-house smoked meat options, the menu includes some of the best classic comfort foods around.
Currently on the menu and must-tries: The Cod Tacos and/or Kale Carrot Ginger Salad. The in-house-made roasted carrot dressing is beyond delicious.
Bare Bones Fish House & Smokery is conveniently located on Johnston Road and is open daily from 11:30 am – 8:30 pm.
The Starboard Grill
For some of the best inlet views, head to Port Alberni’s only on-the-water restaurant, The Starboard Grill.
Owner and chef, Brad DeClerq, has over 25 years of experience in the industry, and his passion shows through the food he creates and the welcoming atmosphere he provides to staff and customers. Whether it’s a Ukrainian Feast, staff burger competition, or seasonal menu options, there is always something new to try at Starboard Grill. Don’t miss this popular on-the-water spot in the Harbour Quay. Open 11:00 am – 7:00 pm daily.
The award-winning Candied Salmon Chowder and/or the Signature Coconut Onion Rings are always on the menu and a must-try!
Cypress Restaurant & Lounge
With a classy rainforest decor, the Cypress Restaurant & Lounge offers an intimate atmosphere worthy of any special occasion. Enjoy food and drinks in their lounge area, equipped with a large fireplace and a self-playing piano, or head into the dining room, where large cozy booths welcome you.
Check for weekly dinner specials and bartender creations that use seasonal ingredients. For a truly decadent outing, indulge in the 6 oz beef tenderloin. The melt-in-your-mouth steak is the star attraction; however, the sides are equally delicious and together create an incredible meal.
Located inside the RimRock Casino, Cypress Restaurant & Lounge is open Tuesday to Saturday until 9:00 pm (10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays).
Brie & Barrel
For a great night out, head to the Brie & Barrel. This elegant restaurant is owned by the current Port Alberni mayor, Sharie Minions, and her husband, Colin. Leading the incredible kitchen team is Chef Brad, who has worked in top restaurants and hotels across the country. Together they create an atmosphere worthy of any big-city dining experience.
To accompany their forever-growing list of wines, the menu continually changes, but always with local ingredients in mind. No matter what you choose off the menu, the food will arrive beautifully plated and full of incredible flavours. However, if you need me to narrow it down, try any of their pasta dishes. The pasta is always hand-made and fresh!
Brie & Barrel is currently open Tuesday – Saturday from 4:00 – 8:30 pm (9:00 on Fridays and Saturdays). Reservations are highly recommended.
For the full story about my experience exploring these fantastic restaurants in Port, plus a video clip to tempt all of your senses, head to ZenSeekers!
While in the Area
As mentioned, Port Alberni has some incredible natural sights as well. Make sure to check out a few of these spots while in the area.
*This article was a paid partnership with ZenSeekers. Opinions are my own.