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Aug 12, 2014 06:28 PM

Help! Struggling to find promising options on Salt Spring Island

Howdy All- Headed to SSI for the first time w/my parents this weekend, I'm trying to get meals lined up but struggling to find promising options. It seems like the only places that get rec'd are quite high end (Hastings House, Piccolo...). Are there any chow-worthy mid-range / local / fun / Casual places we can hit on the Island?

There's some history of recs for Market Place Cafe, but they seem to be no more.

Can anyone help out? Is it as dire as it looks?

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  1. I had good F&C @ the cafe next to the ferry landing in Vesuvius.


    Downtown Ganges has the Treehouse Cafe where I've never had a bad meal-unless I was sitting under a tree but no details since this is a family board.

    Also be sure to stop @ The Fishery to see what's on offer

    The Bread Lady is still going strong last I heard

    1. My stays on SSI have been low budget, camping at the walk-in provincial park. It's fun to park in downtown Ganges, and browse the shops. It is easy to check menus. Or get something takeout and eat on the docks.

      Last time (serveral years back) we were happy with our selections at Auntie Pesto's.

      The main grocery in town has good selections, since it caters to sailors as well as locals.

      1. For a place with as much great local food as SSI, the restaurant situation is actually quite dire. It doesn't mean you can't eat really well though. Make sure you go to the market on can easily do brunch or lunch from various stalls on the grass by the water and it's lots of fun. And a trip to the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company's farm is essential. It's a beautiful setting and the tasting room and store are terrific. You can easily get enough there for a picnic if that's your thing. There's also lots of roadside stands with other treats: fresh eggs, produce, locally roasted coffee.

        Agree on the Fishery and Treehouse Cafe which has good food in a lovely setting but it's generally busy. Your best bet is stock up on items you can enjoy where you're staying or in any of the many beautiful outdoor locations on the island.

        1. Ya the restaurant situation is dire.
          Having lived on SSI on and off since the late sixties ashore and full time on various boats I'd suggest you stock up on your classic picnic fare: baguette/cheeses/dried/cured meats/fruits etc at Thrifty Foods. 10/10 for excellent everything.
          Get a map of the island and go visit the sights. Don't make your visit reliant on doing 'foodie' things.
          I'm going to share with you a very secret little public beach you can visit and pretty much have all to your own even during the busy tourist season. Plan a picnic there.
          If you visit the beach just for fun I'd like to know.
          OK, here's how to get there:
          Get onto Eagle Ridge Drive. Ask for directions but a free map is available at the tourist information. Follow ERD until you see a left turn onto Harbourside Pl. Follow the road until you see the Right turn onto Beachside Dr. It's a no exit road. At the end of the road park and follow the trail to the beach. About as 'Salt Spring Island' as you'll find. Only the locals know about the beach and use it to launch dinghies to get to their moored out boats.
          There's a very simple reason why your basic middle of the road restaurants can never survive for long on SSI.
          When the 'tourist season' ends SSI basically shuts down. The 'new-money' locals moved from Calgary are retired and don't tend to be 'foodies' much anymore. They've long ago got that T-shirt. They paid a million bucks for a sea-view property and when they want to eat-out they hop a float plane in Ganges Harbour and in about 20 minutes they are landed in Coal Harbour and a cab takes them to any of a thousand restaurants on the lower the cuisine.
          The rent and property taxes on SSI for small businesses are astronomical. No customers. No revenue for nine months. No thriving year round restaurant scene.

          1. My in-laws live on Salt Spring so my husband and I get over there regularly. I love the Treehouse but don't get to eat there often because the in-laws prefer Seaside and Barb's Bakery & Bistro (also good places). Also, Penny's Pantry makes huge, amazing sandwiches.