The place are the very best locations to eat in Kelowna?

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Linda Barnard takes a culinary tour that will help you determine

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When Atsawin Sumpantarat moved to Kelowna from Thailand together with his household on the age 17 in 2003, it was inconceivable to seek out pad thai that wasn’t made with ketchup.

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“I used to be, wow, I’d by no means go to a Thai restaurant right here,” stated Sumpantarat, now 36.

As chef and co-owner of Thai Terrace within the metropolis’s historic downtown, Sumpantarat makes true Thai dishes, a part of a various and altering meals scene within the largest metropolis within the Okanagan Valley. 

Whether or not Kelowna cooks are sharing delicacies impressed by their household’s kitchen, or constructing menus on the bounty of native farms and vineyards, authenticity is the main target, Sumpantarat stated. It’s a giant change from a decade in the past, he identified.

He and his spouse Atchara (Ess) make vibrant dishes emblematic of Thai delicacies’s balanced salt-spicy-sweet-sour signature flavours. Ess is the one one capable of deftly tie blanched scallion lengths across the prime of the restaurant’s standard Cash Luggage fried appetizer, a wrapper full of fragrant minced rooster, greens, recent herbs and vermicelli. She manages the difficult process whereas watching Thai cleaning soap operas, stated Sumpantarat, admiration in his voice.

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Nancy of Okanagan Foodie Tours.
Nancy of Okanagan Foodie Excursions. Photograph by Kirsten Wilkinson

Thai Terrace is among the many eating places on Nancy Quinton’s Okanagan Foodie Tours, strolling excursions which are an introduction to the depth of culinary variety and expertise right here.

Quinton began the enterprise in 2015 after she moved to Kelowna and couldn’t discover a meals tour. Whereas guests usually come to Kelowna for vineyard excursions and experiences, Quinton wished to supply individuals one thing past the vines.

“I believed it was such a good way to study this metropolis, attempt new meals, new eating places,” she stated. “We’re seeing a variety of that big-city really feel coming into Kelowna with the restaurant scene.”

She has partnered with a dozen downtown eateries, together with a nosh at 5 eating places, on the three-hour tour.

Our tour kicked off at chef Rod Butters’ spectacular The Okanagan Table, which opened in 2019 as a commissary kitchen for the three downtown Kelowna eating places he owns with wine skilled Audrey Surrao. 

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Chefs Kelsey Oudendag and Jason Whitfield at the Okanagan Kitchen.
Cooks Kelsey Oudendag and Jason Whitfield on the Okanagan Kitchen. Photograph by Okanagan Foodie Excursions

It’s expanded into an occasion house for long-table dinners in addition to a educating kitchen, the place curious meals lovers take cooking lessons to excellent their risotto or steakhouse abilities with culinary teacher Kelsey Oudendag.

Butters, who introduced superb eating to Tofino as founding chef on the Wickaninnish Inn’s Pointe Restaurant, has been a culinary power in and round Kelowna since transferring to the Okanagan greater than twenty years in the past.

He and Surrao opened upscale Fresco Restaurant & Lounge in 2001. In addition they personal RauDZ Regional Desk (previously Fresco), micro bar & bites tapas bar and Sunny’s Fashionable Diner. 

A bijoux provisions store simply inside The Okanagan Desk entrance has a stack of Butters’ 2017 cookbook The Okanagan Desk: The Artwork of On a regular basis House Cooking“I assure it’s the world’s smallest storefront,” Butters stated. “However with over 160 gadgets, it’s essentially the most unique retailer associates of meals have ever seen.”

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Rod Butters was thefounding chef at the Wickaninnish Inn’s Pointe Restaurant, before moving to the Okanagan.
Rod Butters was thefounding chef on the Wickaninnish Inn’s Pointe Restaurant, earlier than transferring to the Okanagan. Photograph by Kristen Wilkinson

The spacious predominant room is anchored by a protracted counter dealing with the open kitchen. I took a seat and watched Butters and his group plate milk-poached halibut topped with an edible flower, thin-sliced charred broccoli and a mousse-like lemony hollandaise. Surrao paired it with Fritzi’s Winery Riesling from native vineyard Martin’s Lane Wine. Scrumptious.

El Taquero Tacos & Tequila gave us a style the scrumptious outcomes of Mexico Metropolis native Israel “Izzy” Camarillo’s aim to convey genuine Mexican road meals to Kelowna.

He and his spouse Marnie Burnett met in Vancouver, moved to Kelowna and opened the small restaurant in 2015, serving house-made tortillas, pozole and tortas. The menu options recipes Izzy realized from his mother.

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It took a while to encourage locals to suppose exterior the roadhouse-style burrito field however not solely is El Taquero busy, so is the catering aspect of the enterprise, Camarillo stated.

Izzy Camarillo at El Taquero Tacos & Tequila.
Izzy Camarillo at El Taquero Tacos & Tequila. Photograph by Kirsten Wilkinson

Camarillo made us citrusy and spicy B.C. halibut and salmon ceviche tostadas. The off-menu merchandise was a homage to his first recollections of arriving in Canada in 2009 and seeing enormous shows of smoked salmon on the market in YVR outlets.

We sipped Honey-Habanero margaritas made with scorching pepper-infused honey, smoky mezcal, lemon juice and a splash of limoncello.

The large two-level brick and beam house, The previous British North American Tobacco Firm warehouse within the downtown cultural district, was reborn as BNA Brewing & Eatery in 2015, a craft brewery, tasting room, restaurant and big-kid playground with an indoor bocce court docket, Airstream trailer bar and 10-pin bowling lanes.

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Along with burgers and fish tacos, The Eatery menu contains Filipino fried rice with pork stomach adobo, beef rendang, cauliflower korma and spicy kung pao road fries.

A plate of sautéed mushrooms on toast with walnut pesto, tarragon cream and pungent melted taleggio cheese was simply the factor to have with a tasting flight of three of BNA’s dozen or so house-brewed beers.

BNA Brewing Co. includes a brewery, tasting room, restaurant, 10-pin bowling lane and more.
BNA Brewing Co. features a brewery, tasting room, restaurant, 10-pin bowling lane and extra. Photograph by Tourism Kelowna

Not on the meals tour but in addition value a go to is Frankie We Salute You within the multi-restaurant Landmark District Market eating vacation spot at 1717 Harvey St., a brief stroll from the Hyatt Place Resort.

On the new Home Block Restaurant at CedarCreek Property Vineyard, a 20-minute drive from downtown in East Kelowna, chef Neil Taylor’s makes wine a key a part of domestically sourced delicacies. My lunch featured a candy potato roasted within the eating room’s open-fire grill, with pea puree, wild spring onions and a splat of tangy tartar sauce. And you’ll’t beat the view throughout the vines. A two-course lunch with wine pairings is $65.

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at Home Block Restaurant at CedarCreek Estate Winery.
at House Block Restaurant at CedarCreek Property Vineyard. Photograph by Tourism Kelowna

Additionally don’t miss The Modest Butcher eating room opened in 2020 by Mount Boucherie Property Vineyard in West Kelowna as a part of the Wine Expertise Centre enlargement. Eat within the main-level eating room, lounge, patio, or e-book a non-public long-table dinner within the lower-level Summit Room. Our four-course Epic Set menu ($155 per particular person) lived as much as its title and included filet with béarnaise sauce, crab and lobster.


Linda Barnard was hosted by Tourism Kelowna and Hyatt Place Kelowna, which didn’t preview this story.

For those who go 

The Okanagan Foodie Tours is $125 per particular person, or $95 for meals solely with out alcohol.


Hyatt Place Kelowna, 1915 Enterprise Method, opened in 2020 and has an indoor pool and free self-serve breakfast in The Placery foyer restaurant. Company have free use of e-bikes. There’s a complimentary shuttle to Kelowna Worldwide Airport 12 km away. A 3rd-floor terrace bar is deliberate for the summer season.

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