With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it prudent to round up a few of the best restaurants across Vancouver Island. While many of them are on the list because they are wonderfully romantic, a few of the ones mentioned below also offer something incredibly unique. No matter which option you choose, expect to have a fantastic date night with your loved one.

The list is based on both personal experiences, as well as those trending on outside sources (OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Google reviews, etc.). With that in mind, few could argue that this list also represents the very BEST restaurants found on Vancouver Island!

Updates:

This article was fully updated: Feb 2, 2021.

If your favourite date night restaurant isn’t mentioned, we’d love to hear from you. In the comments below please share with us what you feel is the best date night restaurant in your neighbourhood. Please note, however, that many previously loved restaurants may be closed due to the current pandemic and travel restrictions, which is why they haven’t been mentioned.

In accordance with new safety protocols, each restaurant mentioned has taken measures to ensure they are following all current guidelines.

As restaurants have limited capacity at this time, reservations are highly recommended, if not mandatory.

gourmet food at one of Vancouver Island's best restaurants

Greater Victoria

Saveur Restaurant

Cuisine: Contemporary French

Dining Style: Upscale casual – newly implemented a la carte selections with a balance of casual fare and gourmet dining

Location: 658 Herald Street, Victoria

Saveur offers fine dining food in a casual urban setting. Award-winning chef, Robert Cassels, delivers French-inspired contemporary cuisine through playful and elegant tasting menus, using local ingredients wherever possible. Chef Cassels works closely with the farmers, foragers, and fisheries of Vancouver Island to create an unforgettable dining experience. Sit outside on the new beautiful outdoor patio (seats 20) and sip on one of their fun and innovative patio cocktails.

10 Acres

Cuisine: Canadian – Vegetarian friendly

Locations:

  • Bistro – 611 Courtney Street (Open for brunch, lunch & dinner – times vary)
  • Commons – 620 Humboldt Street (Open for lunch and dinner)
  • Pier – 2538 Beacon Ave, Sidney – located in the Sidney Pier Hotel (Open lunch and dinner and weekend brunch)

Three restaurant choices, all with their own flare, that share a common theme of serving dishes made mostly from their 10-acre farm. Each one delicious! And what they don’t grow or ethically raise on their own fields, they source locally from other like-minded farmers and fishermen.

Their commitment to providing a local and seasonally inspired menu guarantees the freshest ingredients are used to prepare your meal no matter which location you choose.

IL Terrazzo

Cuisine: Northern Italian

Dining Style: Casual elegance

In 2020, Il Terrazzo was crowned as the fourth-best restaurant in Canada (according to Yelp’s ‘top 100 places to eat in Canada’). This Italian restaurant offers candlelight dining, wood-oven roasted meals, fresh West Coast seafood, and an in-house certified sommelier. 

Currently open 7 days per week from 4:00 – 10:00 pm. They have a new take-out menu available as well.

Alpina at Villa Eyrie Resort

Cuisine: European inspired West Coast dining

Dining Style: Elegant Dining with a business casual dress code

Location: 600 Ebadora Lane, Malahat

Alpina sits atop the Malahat ridge and offers stunning views of the Saanich Inlet.  Menus are created by European trained chefs, who infuse traditional ingredients with preparation styles and methods found in Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland.

Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.


Best Date Night Restaurants in Nanaimo

The Mahle House

Cuisine: Canadian, International

Dining Style: Fine dining

Location: 2104 Hemer Road, Nanaimo

Set in a historic home featuring an English-style ornamental garden, this upscale eatery offers farm-fresh European plates in an elegant setting. It’s a second-generation, family-owned and operated restaurant that has been a fixture in the Cedar community since 1983. They serve flavourful, unique food in a welcoming environment with relaxed, yet professional service.

The Mahle House currently offers a wonderful take-out menu.

Asteras Greek Taverna

Cuisine: Greek

Dining Style: Upscale casual

Location: 347 Wesley Street, Nanaimo

Located in the heart of the old city quarter of downtown Nanaimo, Asteras is an authentic Greek restaurant known for it’s traditional, delicious foods. Everything is made in-house daily, from whole foods and high-quality ingredients. The beautiful ambience is set in a heritage home that is over 100 years old, and the service is second to none.

Asteras also has a great take-out menu.

The Nest Bistro

Cuisine: Canadian with a French or Italian influence

Dining Style: Upscale casual

Location: 77 Skinner Street, Nanaimo

Enjoy an extensive menu of handcrafted, locally sourced food, full bar, signature cocktails and an alfresco patio. The menu items are made from scratch by the chef/owners and their dedicated culinary team. Local fresh and organic ingredients are used whenever possible to create dishes that you just can’t find anywhere else in Nanaimo.

The Discovery Room

Cuisine: Contemporary French/American

Dining Style: Casual elegant (business casual dress style)

Location: Building 300 (at the side of the cafeteria)

By dining here you are not only helping the culinary students of Vancouver Island University but you get their very best creations at a fraction of the cost of other fine dining restaurants. Due to the learning environment, the students are extremely eager to please in not only food preparation but in presentation and service as well.

The Discovery Room now also offers takeaway breakfasts.


Gourmet cuisine and dining on Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island View

Top Date Night Restaurants in Oceanside

Kalvas

Cuisine: Pacific Northwest with a German influence

Dining Style: Upscale casual

Location: 180 Moilliet St, Parksville

Kalvas is situated in a classy, upscale log cabin with dark wood tables and a warm atmosphere. The semi-circular building offers almost every table a view from the large windows. Specializing in great seafood and premium meats, Kalvas offers a high-quality dining experience at a reasonable price. Chef Adel mixes classic dishes with fusion. He likes to take old recipes and change them into something new by adding unique ingredients.

Kalvas has implemented a new (and extensive) take-out menu.

Cuckoo Trattoria

Cuisine: Italian

Dining Style: Upscale casual

Location: Coombs Old Country Market (2310 Alberni Hwy)

UPDATE: Cuckoos is currently closed, but is set to reopen by late-February. (Which is why I left it on this list)

Cuckoo Trattoria has a great atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. Since opening in 2011, it has become a destination for delicious and authentic Italian food. If you are there during the warmer Spring and Summer months, the outdoor patio is lovely. Complimentary blankets are offered if you find it chilly. Their thin crust pizza’s get rave reviews from many!

Giovanni’s Ristorante

Cuisine: Italian

Dining Style: Upscale casual/casual

Location: 4-180 Second Avenue West, Qualicum Beach

Giovanni’s is a classy yet laid-back go-to restaurant for Italian favourites, from pizza and pasta to steak and seafood. While the cozy restaurant side is perfect for date night, if you are looking for something a little more casual, the lounge is a great spot to stop in for a pint and their excellent pizza.

Currently, the same menus are being offered for both sides of the restaurant, and most items are available for take-out as well.

Bistro 694

Cuisine: Seafood / Canadian

Dining Style: Casual Fine Dining

Location: 694 Memorial Ave, Qualicum Beach

Bistro 694 combines global flavours with fresh local ingredients. Out of the many great restaurants in Qualicum Beach, they are voted as #1 on TripAdvisor – so that absolutely says something about their dishes, service, value and setting! Reserve a table at this cozy little restaurant for your next date night and I doubt you will be disappointed!

Currently open weekends only (Friday – Sunday) from 4:00 – 9:00(ish).


Best Comox Valley Restaurants

Martine’s Bistro

Cuisine: Gourmet bistro (Canadian)

Dining Style: Upscale casual

Location: 1754 Beaufort Avenue, Comox

Rated as one of the best in the Comox Valley, Martine’s Bistro has a continually revolving menu incorporating fresh, local, in-season ingredients. Their professional chefs are well known and garner rave reviews as some of Vancouver Island’s finest. During the warmer months, head to the patio for stunning marina views!

Open Thursday – Monday from 5:00 pm to Close

Locals Restaurant

Cuisine: Seafood / Canadian

Dining Style: Casual elegance

Location: 1760 Riverside Ln, Courtenay

Chef Ronald St. Pierre was recently inducted into the CCFCC Honour Society, so you know his tried and true menu items are delicious! He has a passion for using fresh, in-season, high-quality ingredients that speak for themselves to make his incredible dishes. The fact that Locals is also located in a remodelled Comox Valley Heritage building, only adds to the elegance of this restaurant.

Take-out is available with limited selections. Locals is open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Il Falcone

Cuisine: Italian

Dining Style: Upscale Casual

Location: 536 6th St, Courtenay

For classic Italian cuisine in the Comox Valley, head to Il Falcone. Chef and owner Andrey Durbach brings his many years of experience at some of Vancouver’s best-loved neighbourhood restaurants to Courtenay. Located in a charming yellow house with a beautiful garden, Chef Durbach provides a culinary experience similar to what patrons would find in an Italian villa. And for those who love Italian wine, you will be overly impressed with the selection!

Winter hours of operation: Thursday – Sunday from 5:00 – 9:30. Online reservations are required.


Top-Rated West Coast Restaurants

Wolf in the Fog

Cuisine: Pacific Northwest

Dining Style: Upscale casual

Location: 150 Fourth Street, Tofino

Wolf in the Fog serves fresh seafood right from the ocean, plus much more. Nestled near Tofino’s coastline, the restaurant’s interior is a rustic setting with beautiful wood throughout. The food and drink menus are inspired and influenced by the place, the people and the produce. Whether it’s freshly-landed salmon from local fishermen or chanterelle mushrooms foraged from the forests of Tofino, the dishes are created using seasonal locally-harvested ingredients.

There is also a sizable bar that offers a great selection of wine, beer and cocktails. The outdoor patio offers beautiful, scenic views of the ocean.

Currently open for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Shelter

Cuisine: Canadian/American

Dining Style: Casual

Location: 601 Campbell St, Tofino

Set in a contemporary timber house with a patio, this restaurant serves bistro fare sourced from local farms and waters. They pride themselves on serving ethically and free-range beef and poultry, and using locally sourced vegetables and pork from the valley. All of the herbs and spices used in their dishes are grown on site.

If you are looking for something uber romantic, request to sit upstairs where the only lights are the flickering flames of candles.

Currently open daily from 4:30 – 9:00 pm.

Pluvio

Cuisine: Canadian

Dining Style: Casual elegance

Location: 1714 Peninsula Rd, Ucluelet

Pluvio restaurant offers a unique experience celebrating the best local products and natural elements of Ucluelet, Tofino and the rest of Vancouver Island. Pluvio gets rave reviews from their patrons and was recently awarded several awards. The small restaurant and open kitchen allow for personal and refined service in an environment inspired by their beautiful surroundings.


So, have we paid tribute to your favourite date night restaurant? If we failed to mention one that you feel should be on this list please let us know in the comments below.

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Top restaurants found on Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island View

16 Comments

  1. Suzette Church Reply

    Atlas Restaurant in Courtaney, lovely atmosphere, casual good food

  2. John Polacek Reply

    Kim—-Really appreciate your restaurant list. Hope to see more in the future. We still mourn the closing of Le Cafe Francais in Nanaimo. We think a local gem is the Rocking Horse Pub in Nanoose Bay—wonderful cozy atmosphere inside, beautiful, quiet patio in good weather, good food and great service.

    • Thank you, John. You know, I am ashamed to say I have yet to try the Rocking Horse (even though I live in Nanoose Bay). I will do so soon. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

  3. Great list Kim. Being new to Nanaimo, we are going to try the recommendation of the Mahle House on Valentine’s weekend. We have tried The Modern in downtown Nanaimo. Great food and lovely atmosphere 🙂

  4. Susan Knight Reply

    Zougla’s in Nanaimo has really improved
    And not sure if you only want top end restaurants but for the seniors on a budget the downtown Pantry restaurant in Nanaimo has half price dinners on Mondays that are very generous portions and delicious. Thanks

  5. Ian R Hammocks Reply

    Kim, great list – thank you. I have tried quite a few of the ones on your list and fully agree with them being there. Now more opportunity to go further afield. Ian.

  6. Karen Ronningen Reply

    We find the Driftwood Restaurant good for Chinese.

  7. I agree with the Chinese Restaurants. I feel that we have no good consistent Chinese Food restaurants here in Oceanside. Sushi? Oh yes, so much sushi!! Thanks for doing this!

    • Yes, we have several great sushi places…but definitely not great Chinese. Here’s hoping someone will recommend a good one!

  8. Marcia Hollink Reply

    Nothing north of Qualicum Beach? Would have liked some restaurants to have been named for the rest of the Island.

    • I know, I’m sorry, Marica. I am based out of Nanoose Bay, and find I typically go south or west when travelling the Island. I honestly haven’t been to many restaurants north of Qualicum Beach. I don’t like to recommend something if I haven’t tried it myself. Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear about them.

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