One of the pleasures of visiting a wine region is that wine country is farm country. Farm-to-table eating is the norm and there is always a good array of choices ready to provide the very best that the season has to offer. British Columbia’s wine country is no different. From high end winery restaurants to casual lunch spots, we found something to please every palate, all paired with a stunning view of the Okanagan Valley.
1. Miradoro Restaurant – Tinhorn Creek Winery
There’s a reason Miradoro Restaurant consistently ranks as one of the best places to dine in the Okanagan Valley. Sitting atop a hill slope in the town of Oliver, its views are enough to draw anyone for a glass of wine and a bite. But it’s the menu that will make you return again and again.
Chef Jeff Van Geest is passionate about the local produce and delivers a menu that is hard to beat not only in the South Okanagan but anywhere in British Columbia. It’s also a legitimately seasonal one that is revised every 2 months. A BC Restaurant Hall of Famer, Van Geest is Canada’s version of a ‘celebrity chef’. But in true Canadian style that doesn’t mean pretentious; rather quite the opposite. The dining experience is casual and approachable with a focus that is clearly on the food; just as it should be.
Miradoro offers dine-in and takeout 7 days a week 1130am to 9pm.
Reservations: (250) 498-3742 or via OpenTable
537 Tinhorn Creek Road
Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
2. Masala Bistro – Kismet Wines
If you’ve ever faced the challenge of what wine to pair with Indian food, Kismet Wines has you covered.
The winery launched Masala Bistro three years ago and it’s an absolute must-stop for us not only for the food, but for the wines and exceptional views of the Black Sage Bench.
Authentic Indian dishes are served up with a wine lineup that pairs perfectly depending on your order.
There are few spots we’d rather spend an afternoon than on Masala’s outdoor deck, surrounded by vineyards sipping a glass of their Moksha (a Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre blend) while enjoying their divine lamb tandoori.
Masala Bistro is open every day except the last Tuesday of the month from 12pm-7pm
Reservations: (205) 495-4462 or via OpenTable
316 Road 20
Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
3. The Restaurant at Poplar Grove Winery
Chef Rob Ratcliff is no stranger to BC foodies having previously been the Sous Chef at Hawksworth, arguably Vancouver’s top restaurant. Originally from London, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t grown up in the Okanagan Valley given his talent with combining the local ingredients.
The menu while relatively smaller than most, is varied and inventive. Our lunch choices included everything from a Thai seafood curry to a beef burger to tuna tataki…and all of them were excellent.
The building housing the restaurant and tasting room is an architectural stunner with elegant, clean lines and floor to ceiling windows that take full advantage of the spectacular view of Okanagan Lake. Surrounded by the estate vineyard and paired with Poplar Grove’s terrific wine offerings, it’s the perfect recipe for success.
The Restaurant at Poplar Grove is open for lunch Thursday through Monday 12pm-3pm
Dinner: Sunday/Monday 5pm-8pm & Thursday-Saturday 5pm-9pm
*Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Reservations can be booked online
425 Middle Bench Road North
Penticton, BC V2A 8S5
4. Terrafina Restaurant – Hester Creek Winery
If you didn’t know better, stepping into Terrafina might make think you had stumbled upon a local village restaurant in Tuscany. The setting and ambiance are truly unique, particularly if you manage to get a table outside under the canopy of vines. The restaurant is very much influenced by all things Mediterranean, an homage to Italian immigrant Joe Busnardo who planted some of the first vines on the property more than 50 years ago.
The vines are the story at this property, and they are what form the view for your dining al fresco experience. The menu is locally sourced and made classically rustic Italian. The portions are sizeable, even the “lighter bites”, but easy to share. A perfect choice for a romantic date night.
Terrafina is open seven days a week 11:30am-8pm*
*Closed daily from 3pm-4pm for a daily deep cleaning
Reservations: (250) 498-2229 or via OpenTable
887 Road 8
Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
5. Sonora Room – Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
The common denominator of our restaurant choices, aside from the food, is finding a great view. As you can see, not difficult to do in the Okanagan and the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is among the best in that department.
Located along Black Sage Road in Oliver, the restaurant’s particular viewpoint takes full advantage of the expansive estate.
With its own vineyards in the foreground and panoramic views of the Okanagan Valley’s tenderloin district, they provide a great experience for food and wine lovers alike.
Local, seasonal and farm-to-table ingredients are the focus, coupled with an exclusive wine list that incorporates Burrowing Owl library wines that are no longer otherwise available.
Burrowing Owl is BC’s version of a classic destination winery. With a solid reputation for wine, a restaurant with a view, plus a guesthouse, it’s no surprise it sees over 100,000 visitors every year.
Getting a table on the deck is coveted with good reason. It’s first-come first-served for those with a reservation, so choose a less popular time if you don’t want to be disappointed.
The Sonora Room is open 7 days a week, though hours change seasonally
Reservations: 1-877-498-0620 x 2 or can be made online via OpenTable
Current schedule July 1 – October 18
Lunch: Mon–Fri: 12 pm–3 pm/Sat & Sun: 11 am–3 pm
Closed daily: 3 pm–5pm
500 Burrowing Owl Place (off Black Sage Road)
Oliver, BC, V0H 1T1, Canada 1-877-498-0620
6. Play Estate Winery & Bistro
A new discovery for us, Play, the Bistro at the winery of the same name, was initially recommended by friends who were visiting the Valley around the same time we were. Our hosts also recommended it and that’s where we ended up on our last evening (or as Play would say the ‘final act’ of our trip!).
Overlooking Skaha Lake, the 40-seat bistro is clearly a local favourite. We suspect that has a lot to do with General Manager Gordon Ritchie who seemingly knew every one of the patrons by name and ensured each were looked after throughout the evening.
The locally sourced menu is the creation of Chef Dominic DiBartolomeo who is well experienced with winery restaurants in the region with previous stints at both Quails’ Gate winery’s Old Vines Restaurant and the Terrace Restaurant at Mission Hill Family Estate.
The Bistro at Play is open Wednesday-Saturday 12pm-8pm & Sundays 12pm-3pm
Reservations: (250) 422-2675 or can be booked online via Yelp
507 Skaha Hills Dr.
Penticton, BC V2A 0A9
7. The Bistro at Hillside Winery
We didn’t get a chance to eat at this restaurant as it’s currently only open for dinner. But we had to add it to the list as we passed by it while biking the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. If the food is anything like the views, we expect you’d be in for a treat.
The menu features lots of share plate options and this spot would easily make for the perfect stop on way back down the KVR trail. A shame they’re not open before 5pm but that’s likely to change as we get closer to Spring and COVID has subsided.
The Bistro is open Wednesday-Sunday 5:30pm-8pm
Reservations can be made online via ExploreTock
1350 Naramata Road
Penticton, BC V2A 8T6