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Where to stay for best Okanagan restaurants?

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I'm planning a trip for later this summer and would like to know which town I would want to be in (or near?) to be able to eat well. If possible, I prefer exploring regional cuisine when I travel, so I'm less interested in sushi. Fancy restaurants are fine, but not necessary. I just don't want a place where the chicken is cooked till it's cardboard (for example.) Farmer's markets? At the moment, I'm looking at a B&B that's between Penicton and Naramata, but I'm worried that all the best food will be in Kelowna.

Also, a good cup of coffee is imperative! I might decide where to stay to be near a good coffee shop. It can make or break your day.

Thanks for any and all answers! Can't wait to visit!

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  1. i live in the okanagan - many of us are commuters to this fine part of BC - it's a lot of driving (relatively speaking) - just make the most of it - ie choose a place and make the most of it.

    for more about Naramata - to get a feel for the little spot that it is - go to www.mynaramata.com

    i am of the old okanagan (our family has been here over 100 yrs) - so Kelowna has changed a lot - some people call it (depends on your sense of humour) - the redneck riviera. being a self-described proud redneck - i think that's very true - and funny.

    naramata offers many options and activities. Not sure which b and b you've found - hopefully it has a decent fridge in your guest premises and so forth - so you can make picnics. I hope they have a small cooler for you to take during the daytimes.

    pls see many other recent threads "okanagan" ---

    I think the best thing is to choose a place and go touring by car from that spot (i mean, you don't really want to be packing up and moving accomm daily


    Nara to YLW - I would allow 2 hours for the one way - you never know what traffic incident and congestion you'll encounter.

    Sumac Ridge is one of the original wineries ... Summerland - one of the founders sells the root stock - and his son/s went in to the business too (the Schmidt family)

    also wine pioneers - Nichol in Naramata

    in Oliver - Gehringer sons went back to germany to learn - they have some of the oldest planted viniferas

    others have gone to or come from UC Davis

    ps - i understand your point re: sushi - why come to the sagebrush semi-desert to eat sushi. Maybe someone else can comment on that. Then again - what aside from tree fruits (soft fruits) and trout would be quintessential Okanagan these days - aside from the wine - but it appears the OP is from the Bay Area - so i hope you do know that all of the wine acreage here in OK is equal to one of the biggest single vineyards in Napa, I am sure. Let's say around 5000 (five thous) acres.

    i'm not sure we can impress you!
    but if you have any questions, post again

    1. I'll be staying in the south Okanagan next week and will post my trip report including mention of any good coffee. I won't be able to comment on Kelowna as I will be traversing between Penticton and Osoyoos but will certainly share my impressions.

      1. Thanks for the info. I expect we'll be doing a lot of exploring, and the driving is going to be part of it. I'm just trying to base us in a location that will give us the most options. About our wineries vs yours, you have lake and mountain views!

        Looking forward to your trip report, anewton.

        1. for coffee - someone asked recently - we prefer tea but for coffee - you can't go wrong with John Anderson's product



          make sure you go to the Landmark location - they have sold or contracted out? the other locations - like downtown - to other people i think - it is confusing - and the service (which upholds the product, after all) is not very knowledgeable and certainly not very polite and welcoming (which is what coffee is about?) in our experience. Even at the quiet times in winter when we venture to "lovely" downtown Kelowna. (ie the service counter people are not under a lot of pressure of line-ups or anything at that time of year


          the decaf "all bark, no bite" is dark, roasty and wonderful hot or iced. we use it at home for those two drinks.

          EDIT - i should clarify - this Bean Scene is in KELOWNA --- a long drive from the rest of the valley (ie Naramata, Penticton, Summerland, Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos etc.) But maybe you can find out who uses the freshly roasted Bean Scene product elsewhere in the valley - if Bean Scene were at a farmer market down the Penticton way - i would buy their bean scene beans for sure.

          (along with Martin of Wine Country Bakery bread and so forth)

          1. ... back with more info - for all the recent Okanagan threads ... i'll post on this one and i'm sure you'll all find it here

            a friend is a long-time diehard coffee person - so he says look for Backyard Beans from Summerland BC at the farmer market in penticton - or here is their website http://www.backyardbeanscoffee.com/

            i don't personally know which cafes use this product - but again - look at their website and give them a call

            Gasthaus in Peachland - good for lunch - outdoor patio - some lake views (nothing is really right ON the lake - there is a street between the lakeshore and the first row of buildings


            vegetarian sandwich at lunch was recommended by my older lady friend who has much wine country experience and is an excellent cook and well travelled


            Zia's in Summerland - the menu rarely seems to change - but maybe that is reassuringly predictable! two sides to that story i am sure. Interesting old building.

            everyone it seems raves about Theo's in Penticton - i could take it or leave it - they really need to clean up the interior decor - it's tired. Food is acceptable.

            see other okanagan thread - "updated okanagan thread" for more info

            i think what happens here is the scenery / setting is supposed to make up for the service that lacks (at one "fancy" winery - with our out-of-town guests - we have had our plates scraped in front of us - as in at the table - as the "server" was clearing them ---- we do not ever do that even at home, ever. That is disgusting to watch. Pile them in a side tray - and do the garbage scraping thing in the server zone.

            well - on that note - hope this info helps.

            1. Thanks Georgia Strait.

              It looks like we should try to center ourselves further south, closer to Penicton, rather than being up in Kelowna. I'm basing this on wineries more than restaurants, as I still don't have a handle on the food scene, aside from orchards and farmer's markets. Any more favorite restaurants? I don't mind the 'redneck' side of Kelowna, but I'm guessing that food is not its strong point!

              1. http://www.lakebreeze.ca/the_patio/ ---- no huge lake views but a very pretty patio - it gets busy - lunch only

                Naramata Heritage Inn - fabulous historic hotel - it is not on the lake so no views but well worth a visit to the little village and there are public parks with lake access ... under new ownership / management ---- i think the new owners are trying to freshen up the entire experience --- have a look at www.mynaramata.com for news about this place


                if you are looking for the laid-back way the okanagan was in the 50's - 70's (pre OK connector hiway 97C) - then Naramata might suit you well - again - check www.mynaramata.com for the various little motels and weekly vacation rentals - Sandy beach Lodge is nice. http://www.sandybeachresort.com/

                1. re: Vanilla Pod restaurant in Penticton

                  if you go to this restaurant up on the bench just EAST of Penticton downtown - great views, modern architecture on the slope of Munson Mtn (it's a bump, not a mtn really) - anyway - i would be interested in your review.

                  we went in October - during wine festival - it's very modern decor which is not my thing really (i know it's kind of trendy to pare things down (and maybe a budget thing too) - but i do not like eating off a concrete table w/ no table linen at relatively pricey (for the area) dinner.

                  anyway - it's very loud and echo-y. The food was fine enuf. There were several of the "see and be seen" BC wine biz royalty also eating there which i thought might be a good sign? one never knows.

                  i think in the summer you can eat outdoors - but take a big hat as it faces pretty much south - you'd burn in a moment!

                  ps - if you look up old reviews - it might get confusing because this place USED to be located in the town called Summerland. It moved last year I believe.


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