During the annual Fall Wine Festival, Villa Rosa Ristorante Italiano hosts exclusive dinners paired with offerings from top Okanagan wineries. Luckily, Villa Rosa's Italian feasts aren't just available at these autumn events?the eatery's cooks use Okanagan Valley ingredients in their Italian-inspired dishes year-round.
Garlicky lemon-cream sauce coats tiger prawn appetizers, while marsala wine reductions flavour cuts of Villa Rosa's signature grilled lamb chops. Pasta-wise, cooks toss baby Caribbean lobster with linguini and saut? fusilli with blends of basil pesto and white wine; they even whip up gluten-free versions of every pasta dish. To complement meals, bartenders supply a steady stream of reds and whites sourced from Italy and local wineries.
Though the Local Lounge • Grille’s 120-seat patio hovers over Lake Okanagan, the cuisine is close to the soil. Chef Paul Cecconi draws on locally grown ingredients for his menu of burgers, steaks, pastas, and seafood, which helped crown him the winner of the 2011 Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Chowdown. Complex flourishes elevate classic dishes; Chef Cecconi adds a lavender glaze to beets and forms crispy falafel with chickpeas and Dungeness crab. Additionally, the eatery offers local craft beers and cocktails infused with Okanagan-made spirits.
Copper Mug Pub has been plating up belt-loosening eats since 1974, making Okanagan Life Magazine's top three pubs in 2011. Copper Mug claims to be among the oldest pubs in British Columbia, competing with younger pubs by sporting an 80-inch LCD TV, hosting stand up comedians, and never accepting help when crossing a busy street. The menu's over-the-top Mug burger entertains and satisfies with an outlandish combination of fried mushrooms, bacon, and a fried egg. Fridays at the pub feature music games, and on Monday nights, guests gather with their clubs and ketchup-stained plaid pants for the golf league.
Sweeping up accolades across Okanagan Life's Readers' Choice Awards, Victoria Rd Deli & Bistro bolsters its Mediterranean flourishes with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. Ease into a lunchtime reprieve from high-noon showdowns by perusing the menu for appetizers such as the house-made frites, a potato, yam, and parsnip triad complemented by house-made ketchup ($8). Herd taste buds towards paninis stuffed with such gourmet fillings as the house-smoked duck ham, portobello mushrooms, and aged Balderson cheddar ($12). More robust entrees include the 6-ounce sirloin-steak sandwich on garlic toast ($13.50) or the classic duck confit, bedecked with local organic greens and Okanagan-cherry chutney ($12.50).
On the way back from a trip to Las Vegas, Burger 55's co-owners Chris Boehm and Steve Jones cooked up an idea. Spurred by the belief that "burgers had become far too normal," Chris and Steve decided to open their own joint, a place where diners could create their dream burgers from handmade patties and fresh toppings. Their vision resulted in Burger 55, which makes its home in a renovated 1946 garage. Skilled burgersmiths guide patrons through the appetizing menu, which allows meal-seekers to choose one of the venue's signature creations, craft their own from premium ingredients, or provide guidance to staffers who “freestyle” a unique culinary creation based on the customer's tastes or astrological sign.
Six patty options—Angus beef, turkey, portabella mushroom, pork, wild British Columbian salmon, or the market-price burger of the month—form the base of savoury feasts, with eight cheeses and a selection of house-made sauces enhancing flavours. More than 20 available toppings, including roasted garlic, pancetta, and grilled peaches, add to each burger's already staggering height, which is rivaled only by a Tower of Pisa built from gingerbread.