For patrons bound for Steeples Bar and Grill, the experience begins before the restaurant comes into view. A scenic drive over the Malahat and through Goldstream Provincial Park offers a feast of vistas, and then the restaurant's steeple—an artifact of the restored church where it has taken up residence—peaks through the trees like a giant toddler playing hide-and-seek.
Beneath it, beams that were hand-hewn generations ago hint at present-day staff members' attention to detail. Amid casual, cozy surroundings including shuttered windows, guests dine on upscale dishes such as steak encrusted with black peppercorns, seared tuna, and creamy tarragon fettuccine replete with king prawns. The drink menu complements meals with daiquiris, martinis, and draft beers.
Distinguished by a colourful history and a litany of awards from publications such as Fodor's, Zagat, and Condé Nast Traveler, Hastings House is a luxury resort anchored by a Tudor-style manor on 22 waterfront acres. Seven hillside suites wrap barn details such as batten siding and shake roofs around modern comforts including heated slate floors, ready-laid fireplaces, and bathrooms stocked with plush robes, towels, and large soaking tubs perfect for relaxing or brewing moonshine. For nature engagement, private balconies and wide picture windows capture tree-framed views of Ganges Harbour. Guests slumber on king-size beds lavished with eiderdown duvets and pillows (synthetic options available) and high-thread-count linens, which invite napping or quick conversion into high-end blanket forts. A hamper of freshly baked muffins and coffee or tea arrives each morning, after which heartier appetites find satiety in an English-style breakfast held in the manor house, also the site for afternoon tea.
The tranquil waters of scenic Cooper?s Cove lap against the outdoor patio at Stickleback West Coast Eatery, allowing diners to take in their surroundings as they chow down on artisan burgers, seafood, and sandwiches. Inside, a natural-cedar bar covers one side of the dining room, while at the opposite end broad windows let in warming sunlight. Against this nature-tinged backdrop, servers tote menu items such as bowls of red thai curry, texan burgers topped with pulled pork, and pan-seared halibut crusted with dried mushrooms. Located next to Rush Kayak Adventures, the eatery also gives patrons the opportunity to grab a burger before taking a paddle downstream to see what it?s like to be a tuna.
Nautical Nellies Restaurant, celebrating its 17th anniversary in 2014, is no stranger to recognition. The eatery, which overlooks the city's inner harbour, has garnered multiple Open Table Diners' Choice awards in categories including Best Food, Best Seafood, and Best Overall. Fillets of wild Pacific halibut or Vancouver Island ling cod flake beneath forks, and shellfish, lobster, and Dungeness crab claws teeter on multi-tiered seafood towers. Diners can sample 10 varieties of oysters and rolls of fusion sushi. Grass-fed Angus steaks, aged for 35 days, are cooked to any specification, from well done to what chefs term ?blue?? seared on the outside, with a cool centre and a scrawled-on frowny face.
Thanks to the work of wine director Betty Furneaux, Nautical Nellies' beverage programs are just as thoughtfully designed as its dining menus. Wine Spectator honoured the eatery's wine list with an Award of Excellence in 2011, 2013, and 2014. Cocktails range from beachy mojitos to the savoury double-prawn caesar with vodka, Clamato juice, and two black tiger prawns. The restaurant also dedicates a section of the menu exclusively to scotch.
Cabin 12 satisfies breakfasting, brunching, and lunching palates with creatively spun dishes stamped with equally whimsical monikers. Eight eggs-benedict-based "Benny" creations highlight the breakfast menu, including traditional takes such as the Canadian, dressed with tender back bacon and mounted atop a horse ($10.50), alongside adventurous interpretations such as the Kobayashi Maru, a steak Benny with mushrooms and onions ($13.50). All come topped with homemade hollandaise and saddled with hash browns. For a hair of the scurvy-immune dog, add a taste-bud-rousing mimosa ($3.50).
Brannigans Restaurant quells the growls of hungry stomachs with breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus featuring traditional comfort fare crafted with locally sourced produce and no preservatives. The all-day breakfast menu lets munchers experience morningtime magic without the hassles of herding counted sheep back into their pens, treating taste buds to an array of sweet and savoury eats including a fluffy trio of berry pancakes ($9.29) and the ham and cheese omelet ($11.99). A hearty European Farmer’s breakfast ($12.99) keeps diners fuelled up for afternoon cubicle-tipping sessions with a continental spread of seasoned European sausage, potato cheddar perogies, a pair of farm-fresh eggs, and toaster-fresh toast. Noontime nibbling kicks off with Brannigans poutine ($8.99) that haberdashes yam fries with a crown of smoked cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and chipotle sauce, and Brannigans signature prime-rib burger ($12.99) soothes hungry mouths with flourishes of spiced cheese and caramelized onions. Thank tummies for their continued abdominal support with a turkey dinner ($14.99) that hoists hand-carved roasted turkey onto a bed of homemade cranberry-apple stuffing lovingly encircled by mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and gravy.