Maps

Locally Made, Locally Enjoyed: Farm to Table on Vancouver Island

Share  Facebook Twitter PinterestPinterest | Print Your browser does not support SVG.
Inn at Laurel Point | Hubert Kang

It’s easy to support local on Vancouver Island. From north to south, east to west, the Island’s restaurants and small businesses offer an array of hyper-local products. In Victoria, look for produce from nearby Sidney or backyard urban farms. In Tofino, freshly caught fish dominates menus from fine dining establishments to food trucks. In Nanaimo, restaurants feature produce from a smattering of nearby farms.

Learn more about some of the Island’s farmers and their connection to nearby restaurants to get a sense of just how local dining on Vancouver Island can be.

South Island

The Roost Farm Bakery & Vineyard Bistro in North Saanich

Located in North Saanich, The Roost is a family-operated, farm-to-table gathering spot. They make fresh bread, raise chickens, and grow berries and veggies on the farm; they are home to an on-site winery, and they offer a stunning event space.

Founder Hamish Crawford still farms the land, working hard to put healthy, locally grown food on the table. The Roost is owned and operated by Tara and Robert McMullen, along with Sarah Bohl and family, and they’ve expanded the property to include a garden market, a cafe, and an outdoor bistro.

10 Acres in Victoria | @melaniewonder

10 Acres Restaurant Group in Victoria

With their own farm located in North Saanich, 10 Acres provides their three restaurant spaces and market with as much as they can from the farm. What they can’t grow, they source from other local growers, fishers, and food suppliers who share their ethos of a farm-to-table experience.

The farm boasts an extensive orchard where they grow a wide variety of fruits and nuts, and they have onsite bees that pollinate their orchard, gathering nectar as they go. In addition, their farm has a plethora of livestock, from turkeys to Kunekune pigs, that are all grass-pastured, supplemented with non-GMO feed.

Cowichan

Alderlea Farm & Cafe in Duncan

This multi-generational family farm has operated for over two decades in the Cowichan Valley, believing that good, healthy food is the answer to healthy communities. Farmers John and Katy live by their mantra, “Love well, live well, and eat well.” A certified organic/biodynamic farm, Alderlea provides organic vegetables to a growing community of more than 200 families through their box program.

In addition, they operate a seasonal farm-to-table restaurant, Alderlea Cafe, where you can taste local in every single bite. Passionate about providing food that both satisfies the senses and puts local first, the cafe is a celebration of the harvest. Want to continue the experience from home? Try their online shop for handmade soaps, teas, and preserves from the farm.

Ma Maison Cafe in Chemainus | Tourism Vancouver Island/Jordan Dyck

Ma Maison in Saltair

This locally minded cafe and restaurant, owned and operated by Lauren Cartmel and her talented team, serves a selection of delectable baked goods and a to-die-for lunch menu. After more than a decade of high-profile experience in Los Angeles and a stint under Gordon Ramsey in London, Lauren set her sights back home on Vancouver Island, where she opened Ma Maison.

Sourcing ingredients from the Cowichan Valley’s finest growers and food producers, from Holy Stick Farms in Cobble Hill to Wicklow Farm in Mill Bay, Lauren brings local to every dish at Ma Maison. A stop at this Saltair institution is a must on any road trip through the Cowichan Valley.

SOUTHERN GULF ISLANDS

Galiano Island | Ben Giesbrecht

Pilgrimme Restaurant on Galiano Island

With a perfect blend of coast, forest, and farm-to-table excellence on one of BC’s most beautiful islands, Pilgrimme is an experience that is truly unmatched. Along with its sister restaurant, Charmer, Pilgrimme serves an experience of locally sourced and foraged foods inspired by the stunning regional landscape.

The menu here is a celebration of all things local. Quince and figs sourced from Galiano farmers; locally foraged mushrooms; fermentation used to preserve the seasons and celebrate local year-round. Chef Jesse McCleery has honed his skills at some of the world’s best restaurants specializing in local food made well, including the renowned Norma in Denmark.

CENTRAL ISLAND

De L’ile Restaurant in Qualicum Beach

De L’île highlights local ingredients grown on and foraged from across Vancouver Island. Their vegetable-focused menu allows veggies to shine, though they occasionally supplement with fresh local seafood to enhance the coastal food experience and reflect the stunning natural landscape.

Don’t arrive at the restaurant expecting to order the same thing twice—their menu’s focus shifts with the seasons, and with the availability of local produce and foraged ingredients. Jars displaying fermented and foraged goods serve as a visual cue of their dedication to finding the beauty and deliciousness in the natural bounty of Vancouver Island.

Qualicum Beach Farmers Market | Parksville Qualicum Beach/Jordan Dyck

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks in Parksville

Started in 2001 by Clarke and Nancy Gourlay, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks was born out of a dream to make Swiss-style artisan cheeses on Vancouver Island. When the couple purchased 88-acre Morningstar Farm, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks found its permanent home in the Comox Valley. Visitors get a taste of farm life as they meet the mixed herd of 45 dairy cows and interact directly with calves and other animals, such as sheep and goats. The farm operates a seasonal cafe and a year-round farmgate store where you can buy cheeses, farm-fresh milk, and other local products.

In 2021, Albert Gorter and Chelsea Ennstook took over the farm, overseeing the tourism and cheesemaking operations along with their little family. One of the best ways to enjoy a true farm-to-table experience on Vancouver Island is to visit Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, grab a charcuterie board from the farm store, and find a quiet spot to relax and connect.

Port Hardy | Nathan Martin

NORTH ISLAND

Macy’s Place in Port Hardy

Offering locally sourced seafood in the heart of Port Hardy, Macy’s Place is a hidden gem and must on any visit to the area. Their menu changes according to what’s fresh, with such offerings as salmon burgers or fish and chips made with just-caught cod and halibut.

With a simple, straightforward menu, Macy’s Place is a great choice for families visiting the north Island and looking to experience the best the local seafood in a no-fuss setting. If you’re lucky, the menu may feature bannock, a delicious Indigenous bread.

Coho Joe Cafe in Sointula

Located on a small island (Malcolm Island) off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, Coho Joe is Sointula institution. With muffins, breads, and scones baked from scratch, the cafe provides a cafe-style menu with a local touch.

Whenever possible, they use fresh local greens and other ingredients, and eating here is a great way to support local. The cafe features espresso from Burly Beans, a new roastery in Port Hardy, so you can both sip and eat with locality in mind.

PACIFIC RIM

Brie & Barrel in Port Alberni

Taking a road trip to Tofino? No trip to the Pacific Rim is complete without stopping to stretch your legs and refuel at Brie & Barrel, an intimate bistro that focuses on all things local. This includes a wide variety of Vancouver Island-based bevvies such as spirits, beers, and wine.

With a dream to create an elegant restaurant that celebrates the coast, owners Sharie and Colin Minions pride themselves on a menu that changes with the seasons and the shifting local bounty. Expect to see Vancouver Island brie, fresh bread from Mountain View Bakery, and free-range chicken from Duncan. Each corner of the island is celebrated at this restaurant in the heart of the Alberni Valley.

Pluvio | Tourism Vancouver Island/Jordan Dyck

Pluvio Restaurant & Rooms in Ucluelet

In Pluvio, Chef Warren and his partner Lily have created an unforgettable experience that celebrates the coast and highlights the freshest ingredients, many of which come from their newly planted rooftop garden. Nestled in the core of Ucluelet, Pluvio offers a menu that changes seasonally, celebrating each new harvest. From foraged spruce tips and mushrooms to greens and more, each element of a Pluvio plate honours the land on which they operate.

What they can’t grow or forage, Pluvio sources from farmers and suppliers across Vancouver Island. Upholding an unsurpassed standard of local cuisine, Warren and Lily have sought out local suppliers for even the most obscure ingredients that you wouldn’t think would grow on the Island—a true celebration of local.