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Kelowna, B.C.

I just found out that we will be going to Kelowna is July. I feel totally lost about dining, accomadations ect. So I thought I'd check in here. Looking for local faire, good food, good prices. My hubby is a meat and potatoes guy and I'm into more light food. Checking out some hotels around the water too. Being from wine country here thought about checking out some wineries, since I see Kelowna is Napa North. I welcome any ideas...

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    1. re: sweeterpea

      +1 for Quail's Gate. Love the food, the wine and the view. By the time you're there in July you'll be able to enjoy their patio too. :)

    2. Michael Allemeyer (sp?) is at Mission Hill and their dining room is reputed to be the best. It's a bit of a Disneyland but good fun.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sarah galvin

        Just was wondering what you meant by "a bit of Disneyland?"

      2. "Being from wine country here thought about checking out some wineries, since I see Kelowna is Napa North."

        LOL! Don't say that to an Okanaganer - they'll tell you that Napa is Okanagan South :)

        1. Currently in Kelowna now, a Las Vegas chowhound on his 29th trip (a fun contrast that helps to keep a border-crossing relationship working) to the Okanagan over the last seven years. You may be pleasantly surprised at what is available here - over the years as the quality of wines grows, along with the population, there is an interesting food scene developing in the valley. This is an outstanding agricultural region, and that gives some talented chefs a lot to work with.

          Some of the wineries have excellent options, like Quails Gate and Mission Hill mentioned in this thread. We have also enjoyed dining in town at Waterfront Wines; Fresco's; the Grand Bay Cafe (looks like just an ordinary coffee shop at the Grand Hotel, but they do a real nice job of accenting local ingredients); Wild Apple Grill (Manteo Hotel) and the Lakeside Dining Room (Eldorado Hotel). There are also the usual assortment of steakhouse options, and Bouchon's for traditional French, but we have tended to frequent the places that really celebrate the region.

          10 Replies
          1. re: QAW

            29 trips in 7 years? Do you ever go anywhere else :)

            1. re: sarah galvin

              Here are a few more Okanagan suggestions if you head south of Kelowna:
              The Vanilla Pod restaurant in Summerland...good wine bar / tapas type of place. www.thevanillapod.ca

              Bistro Amante in Penticton is also really great. They have a well-chosen local wine list of mostly "boutique" wines that are hard to find, or ones that most have never even heard of. I love the chickpea pate appetizer. Try it. no website, but it's at 483 Main Street Penticton.

              Also in the "deep South," there's Passatempo at Spirit Ridge Resort and Spa in Osoyoos, and the same owner / operator, Brad Lazarenko, is going to open his latest restaurant called BiBO in early May. I believe this will be on Main Street in Osoyoos so it won't be hard to find.

              Any further south and you're in the US at this point.

            2. re: QAW

              Are there any Italian restaurants? We are staying a week. It's nice to hear this is such a popular place. I had never heard of it before this. Is it also sort of remote of other cities? Need some site seeing too.

              1. re: LMarella

                Kelowna gives you easy access to several other places in the region - Summerland, Penticton, Oliver, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Osoyoos, to name a few, are all an easy drive. For "old school" Italian you can try Riccardo's Mediterranean Kitchen, in the Lake Country, just a short drive from Kelowna (a little past the airport, a couple of blocks off of highway 97). A nice comfy atmosphere, but best to have reservations because the setting is rather small.

                1. re: QAW

                  I was just looking on the Kelowna web page and I saw Memphis BBQ and Ric's Grill. Has anyone tried either of these? "Old School" Italian sounds yummie!

                  1. re: LMarella

                    Kelowna is home for me. Skip Memphis BBQ -- both visits were disappointing. Ric's Grill does a great steak but if what you're looking for is high-end steakhouse experience, give Sal's a try (on Bernard).

                    For Italian, my recommendation is La Bussola but I've also heard that Riccardo's is great (as mentioned by in a previous post). Of course, there are SO many wonderful wineries to enjoy dining, and that should be a part of anyone's visit to the Okanagan. However, hands down, my favourite place to enjoy dinner is a tie between Buchon's Bistro and Fresco's (the only 4 Diamond restaurant in the area).

                    Enjoy your visit!

                    1. re: NerdGirl

                      Thanks for all the suggestions. What I see as a big difference here wineries do not serve food. Just a tiny few offer sandwiches to picnic on their grounds.
                      Not looking for "high end," though it's nice to know we might try a few. Just was looking for good food at a good price.
                      I know this is a food board, but NerdGirl, if you have any other suggestions as to what to do there. I'd appreciated it. I can't wait to visit!!

                      1. re: LMarella

                        Not sure how I missed this thread... I am usually quick to respond to Kelowna based questions.

                        As I have mentioned in other threads, my favourite place to dine in Kelowna is at Waterfront Wines. It is a great bistro/wine bar with very good food and great service. I would describe it as "comfort food with a fresh, upscale twist" They have a great wine list as well, including local and international wines.

                        Bear in mind that it is bistro/winebar in the sense that the atmosphere can be livelier than Bouchons or Fresco, which are also good restaurants.

                        I will also second the recommendations for both La Bussola and Riccardo's for good quality Italian food.

                        Memphis Blues churns out solid BBQ as has been mentioned above, though 1 poster did not seem to enjoy it as much as I do.

                        I have had nothing but great Thai dishes at Bai Tong. It is on Water St, next to Fresco. Really nice family that runs the place.

                        For Breakfast / Brunch, the Bohemian Cafe on Bernard Ave is great.

                        As for other activities, there are of course numerous wineries to visit. There is also an orchard tour company which has a cidery and restaurant.

                        More info at http://www.k-l-o.com/

                        A great way to spend the evening is on a boat cruise. There are several of these in town, they all depart from the Wharf at the foot of Bernard Ave downtown.

                        Two of them are large 75 foot houseboats

                        There is also the Fintry Queen renovated paddlewheeler that used to ferry people across the lake before there was a bridge. It is a landmark/icon in this city


                        Enjoy your stay here. If you have any other questions, post them, I will be checking the board regularly

                        1. re: newJJD

                          newJJD Thanks for the suggestions and help!
                          The orchard tour looks like fun and so do the boat trips. Thinking maybe the executive or the paddlewheeler for lunch or dinner. Looks like you've had quite the weather up there...severe thunderstorms, but it seems it will pass by the time we get there. What I can see from this thread and the other thread for the Okanagan Valley that shows websites with menus is, it seems that dinners can range from the high twenty range and up. Is that true from most dinning? And also, is the dress for these restaurants usually casual, dressy casual..ect Thanks

                          1. re: LMarella

                            Mid $20's and up for dinner entrees is pretty standard for non-ethnic restaurants. You pay a little less at chains like Moxie's, Kelsey's, Cactus Club, Milestone's... but not much.
                            Dress in Kelowna is fairly casual in the summer (shorts, collared shirt and sandals are what you typically find) a little dressier in places like Bouchons, Fresco and the Vintage Room.

                            The "Severe Thunderstorms" that the Okanagan gets are pretty tame compared to the rest of the world. They generally don't last more than 15 minutes in one area.

            3. In Kelowna now as part of an annual summer trek (a native Las Vegas chowhound), and to add to some of the earlier suggestions there have been a couple of top-notch evenings at the Sunset Bistro at Summerhill Winery. Jesse Croy is doing some awfully good things since they switched to an all-organic theme earlier this year. A nice very expression of the Okanagan Valley, both in terms of the ingredients (most of the herbs, and a lot of the produce, is grown on site) and the ambiance.

              1. Now back from Kelowna....What a beautiful place. But, Wow what a wind storm when we were there! We ate at Riccardos. I didn't feel it was really Italian. Also someone said it was "old school" really don't know what that meant since there wasn't many pasta dishes, no minestroni soup, ect. We had lunch at Ric's grill, I had the flaming chicken ceaser salad, and dh had a large scrimp platter. It was good. Memphis BBQ was very dissapointing.. I got the pulled pork which needed the bbq sauce and all the sides were horrible.... potato salad, beans, cold slaw and cornbread. Also went to Salty's had the jerked chicken. They forgot the jerk spices, but had a nice grilled taste. We had the best at the El Dorado. First time trying yam fries and loved them. We visited a few wineries. Quails Gate was so crowded we didn't even taste, but seemed very nice. Most wineries were small and very fun to visit. Bought a few home including the Apple Ice Wine from Raven Ridge. Thanks for all your suggestions again.

                2 Replies
                1. re: LMarella

                  LMarella, thanks for posting about your experience. It often takes an outsider to remind us how nice a place the Okanagan is - I know I sometimes take it for granted.

                  Funny how I posted that storms here are usually nothing that bad, then we have the worst windstorm we have had since the mid '90s!!!

                  Did you find the food good at Riccardo's, even though not by definition Italian, but more Pan-Mediterranean. I did post that it was Italian so sorry for sounding misleading. Like you, I am puzzled by the term "old school". That makes me think of places like Patsy's and Carmine's in NYC. For pasta and minestrone in this town, I would head to La Bussola or Mama Rosa.

                  That's really too about Memphis Blues. I was just there today and had some pulled pork, it was quite good. I've found lately that it is best to hit them when they are busy, food tastes fresher then!

                  Did you get out on the lake at all?

                  1. re: newJJD

                    Hello new......no we didn't get out on the lake. Thought if we had some more time we would have rented a boat. Looked at the Paddlewheeler, but didn't book....really don't know why???

                    Yes we did like Riccardo's and if it wasn't for this board would have never found it. I had the duck and my hubby had the dry rubbed ribs. Very good. I noticed that they had won awards for "the best" We got there a little early so we had no trouble getting a table. One with the nice soft chairs.

                    Again, we really thought the area was beautiful. Very impressed by the parks along side the lake. They where so green and well kept up.

                    We were wondering why the cherry trees hadn't been picked, they looked so ripe.
                    I hope the area doesn't loose all the apple and cherry orchards to grapevines. It's nice to see that the wineries are still in the minority. I wish we still had some of the old apple and prune orchards here.
                    I'm so glad that my husband had a class there. It was funny when we got back I heard someone from Victoria talking to a radio food guy about their wine and the guy here mentioned the Okanagan wine area! Small world.
                    Thanks again.