The following story appeared in the Calgary Herald.
If you’re headed to Tofino, chances are you’ll have plenty of opportunities to build up a great appetite – whether you’re braving the cold waves for a surf session, hiking through abundant west coast rainforest, or beachcombing along the long stretches of pale grey sand.
Over the years Tofino has grown from its quiet fishing town roots, and the culinary scene has become an award-winning force to be reckoned with.
Be sure your next Tofino trip includes a stop at these five gems:
The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn
You haven’t seen Tofino until you’ve had the chance to gaze out at 240-degree unobstructed views of the mighty Pacific ocean from your dining table at The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn.
Whether it’s Sunday brunch in the sunshine or a dramatic evening meal, what stays consistent is the ever-present charge of the waves seen (and sometimes felt!) through the spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows. The Pointe Restaurant recently underwent changes to its entrance and famed On The Rocks bar, and a new underground wine cellar will open later this spring.
For breakfast, try the Tofitian Power Bowl, loaded with Kaffir Lime Yogurt, Detox Berries, Blueberries, Goji, Chia, Shaved Apple, Gluten Free Granola and Honeycomb. For dinner, start with oysters and try the truffle glazed sablefish as a main.
The featured wood-fired oven at 1909 Kitchen. Image: Paula Worthington.
1909 Kitchen at Tofino Resort + Marina
Sometimes you experience food so good that you’re certain you’ll never forget it – in my case, it was sliding my fork into the catch of the day – a cedar-planked, miso marinated black cod filet. The plank still had embers glowing from the 1,000-degree wood-fired oven, and the fish was done perfectly. I merely touched my fork to the side of the filet, and a portion flaked off effortlessly. Gazing out the window to the fishing boats moored below, I knew this was as close to “fresh caught” one could get.
Located on the water at the Tofino Resort + Marina, 1909 Kitchen provides water and mountain views by day, and at night the quiet twilight gives the restaurant a tucked-away, cozy vibe. Chef Paul Moran works hard to source and create inventive dishes with locally foraged ingredients.
The Wolf in the Fog Interior. Image: Courtesy the Wolf and the Fog
Wolf in the Fog
With a definitive west coast vibe, Wolf in the Fog came onto the scene in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. The menu’s inspiration comes from the forests and waters that surround Tofino, with the kitchen team focusing on seasonal items to accompany the menu’s mainstays. Think stripe-side shrimp, Pacific octopus, seaweed salad, chanterelles, and there’s always the option of a traditional burger and fries. Their house cocktails infuse the essence of Tofino’s natural wild west coast.
Try the Cedar Sour, blending cedar infused rye, lemon, thyme and egg white, or the Revenge of the High Seas, made with demerara rum, bourbon, honey, macadamia, coconut water and aged in oak for one month. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t mind being a castaway at this restaurant for an indeterminate length of time.
Tacofino’s truck-side menu will fill any appetite. Image: Paula Worthington
If there’s one thing (and maybe only one thing) that I’m willing to stand in a parking lot in the rain for, it’s the fish taco from the original Tacofino food truck. Those who know, simply go. Tucked in the back of the parking lot at the Live to Surf parking lot, they’ve been serving tacos, burritos and “gringas” out of their signature orange truck since 2009. No meal is complete without a chocolate diablo cookie, washed down with a lime-mint “freshie” – a cool icy slush concoction. In recent years Tacofino has expanded to locations in Vancouver and Victoria too. And if you see a lineup, don’t be scared off, join in on the fun and make a new friend or two.
Evening at Shelter Restaurant. Image: Shelter Restaurant
No matter the Tofino weather, Shelter restaurant’s bustling indoor restaurant and glorious outdoor patio make sure you have all your bases covered. With everything from local waters specialties to casual fare, my go-to for warming up after an outdoor adventure is to start with the Suze Crispy Calamari followed by the Tofino Surf Bowl. With a choice of local wild salmon or marinated free-run chicken, this hearty bowl is filled with steamed vegetables, teriyaki sauce, sesame jasmine rice, spicy yogurt and cilantro.
Special Mentions: RedCan Gourmet and Tofino Brewing Company
Unassuming and oddly located in the industrial district of Tofino, it’s worth turning off the main road to check out RedCan Gourmet and the Tofino Brewing Company. RedCan serves the best takeaway pizza in Tofino, which is made to order. Select your own toppings, place your order, then head up the street to the Tofino Brewing Company for a sample flight and a growler to go while you wait for your pizza to be cooked to perfection. Enjoy a beachside dinner al fresco with your bounty.
Check out more great places to eat in Tofino here.