Kelowna – Nine top spots for food and wine

image of the town of KelownaKelowna skyline including Okanagan Lake.

A four-hour drive inland from Canada’s mountainous west coast, in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, is Kelowna, an energetic city known for its stunning landscapes, sprawling vineyards and flourishing culinary scene.

Okanagan Lake is undoubtedly the city’s show stopper, as Kelowna sits on its right bank, at the approximate halfway point of the massive 135-kilometre (84-mile) north-south body of water. This picturesque destination offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and, most notably, a thriving wine and food culture.

Kelowna’s wineries produce some of Canada’s finest wines, benefiting from the region’s ideal grape-growing conditions – warm summers, cool nights and fertile soil. However, the city’s appeal extends beyond its vineyards; it’s bursting with top-tier restaurants and wine bars, making it a must-visit for gastronomes and oenophiles.

View of vineyards and Okanagan Lake in Kelowna BC.

View of vineyards and Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, BC. Credit: Eduardo Fonseca Arraes / Moment via Getty Images

Tourism in Kelowna peaks during the summer when visitors flock to its beaches, hiking trails and wine tours. However, recent years have seen challenges that impact the flow of tourists. Seasonal wildfires have become an increasingly pressing issue, casting a pall of smoke over the otherwise clear skies and occasionally threatening the region’s vineyards and tourism infrastructure. These natural disasters have led to periods of uncertainty and required significant recovery efforts from the local community.

Additionally, Kelowna’s location, while idyllic, poses a logistical challenge for some international travellers. The city is served by a quaint international airport (YLW), which, despite being one of the busiest airports in British Columbia, offers limited global connections compared to its closest major hubs like Vancouver or Calgary.

Despite these challenges, Kelowna remains a premier destination for those seeking an immersive wine and dining experience. The local restaurateurs and vintners have cultivated a resilient spirit, continuously enhancing the quality by building a solid and passionate community that thrives on collaborating with local farmers and ranchers.

Kelowna’s top spots for food and wine

Waterfront Wines
Often hailed as one of Okanagan’s best, Waterfront Wines blends fine dining with a relaxed vibe. Chef Mark Filatow, also a skilled sommelier, crafts a menu highlighting local producers and showcasing the best the valley offers. Everything has an Okanagan connection, from house-made charcuterie to locally sourced produce and potatoes. His expert wine pairings, featuring primarily local selections, take each dish to new levels. This restaurant is consistently recognised in national culinary awards and illustrates the region’s top-notch dining.
Address: #104 – 1180 Sunset Drive

The bustling Waterfront Wines in Kelowna. Credit: Waterfront Wines.

Bouchons Bistro
Bouchons Bistro brings a taste of France to Canadian wine country. Known for its classic French cuisine with a modern twist, this charming spot features French favourites like escargots, bœuf bourguignon, and bouillabaisse, all crafted with traditional techniques and local organic ingredients. The pièce de résistance? An extensive wine list with French and local Okanagan Valley selections. The cosy, rustic interior feels like a Parisian bistro, offering an inviting ambience that makes it a beloved choice for an authentic French dining experience.
Address: #1180 Sunset Drive

Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery
On the west side of Okanagan Lake along the Westside Wine Trail, Old Vines Restaurant offers breathtaking vineyard views and a contemporary menu celebrating seasonal, local ingredients. Dishes like spring harvest salad, mushroom farro and Rossdown Farm cornish game hen showcase the Okanagan Valley’s flavours, using produce from the winery’s gardens and partner farms….

Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine/kelowna-nine-top-spots-for-food-and-wine-531476/