Over the years I had briefly stopped or driven through Nanaimo on roadtrips to Vancouver Island. Changed that this summer with a visit to Nanaimo, stayed downtown near the harbour at The Coast Bastion Inn for a couple of days.
Once I had discovered Gabriel’s Cafe, I then enjoyed a couple of breakfasts and a lunch trying all sorts of delicious dishes. It is all local with ingredients sourced from farmers and producers in the area. Open daily serving breakfast and lunch from 8am – 3pm.
Some of the delicious dishes I had:
Tofu, 3 bean Scramble, corn and potato scramble with cilantro, roasted tomato salsa and avocado
Coconut milk pancake with maple syrup
Friday Morning Hash with snap peas, chard, kale, pesto, green beans. Zucchini, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, tofu & potatoes, topped with salsa, avocado & pea shoots
For Lunch I had the Wild Salmon Burger with siracha Mayo, and pickled vegetables with a side of the Apple, red cabbage, raisin and pecan coleslaw
The Nanaimo Bar originated here and they have a Nanaimo bar trail devoted to this sweet treat. It is not actually a trail, it is more of a promotion that features variations of the nanaimo bar at over 50 locations in the area. Each restaurant, bakery and café features their own incarnation of the Nanaimo Bar. I indulged in a couple, enjoying a Classic Nanaimo Bar at Mon Petit Choux Bakery.
Nanaimo Bar with a rice crisp toasted nuts base, caramel rum butter cream filling and a chocolate ganache topping, its #glutenfree and yummy
The other treat that I had was the Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake at Minnoz Restaurant & Lounge which was located in my hotel (Coast Bastion Inn).
In addition to the food and drink Nanaimo Bar offerings, I noticed the city even has a run devoted to it.
For dinner, Pennys Palapa features a large menu specializing in Mexican food. Located on Nanaimo’s beautiful harbour front, they also offered tacos for take-out which is what I did, having a couple of fish tacos where I could then enjoy in the comfort of my hotel room across the street.
Nanaimo is located on Vancouver Island, easily accessible by car taking BC Ferries from Horsehoe bay which takes 1 hour and 40 minutes; or take a float plane from downtown Vancouver harbour which takes approx. 20 minutes; or take HeliJet also from downtown Vancouver which is only an 18 minutes trip.
Schedule and information for BC Ferries is here http://www.bcferries.com/
Gabriel’s Café – 39 Commercial Street, Nanaimo
Mon Petit Choux Bakery, 120 Commercial Street, Nanaimo
Pennys Palapa -Inner Harbour, Nanaimo
Minnoz Restaurant & Lounge – 11 Bastion St, Nanaimo
By: Richard Wolak