To finish off summer 2018 with a bang, my boyfriend and I drove out to Kelowna, BC for a few days to soak up the last of the seasonal heat. This was our fourth summer in a row visiting old favourites and discovering new hot spots. I find it difficult to go through summer without visiting the Okanagan, it’s just too picturesque. Luckily this year, we arrived just as the wildfires had ceased and weren’t subject to any of the smog. If you live in British Columbia, you know how horrible the wildfires can be, and this year was no different. I’d like to extend a big thank you to all the firefighters and first responders for your continued hard work and service!
This year, Marc and I ate and drank our way through the downtown Kelowna core, all the while discovering new eateries and breweries. If we could be professional food and/or drink reviewers, trust me, we would! Haha. This mini vacation was definitely fit for a foodie or two. As I uncovered these awesome new places to visit, I decided to create a Kelowna travel guide for you guys to use while exploring BC’s lake and wine country. Below, you’ll find my personal recommendations on which restaurants, breweries, and wineries are best to visit and where you’ll have the most fun. Enjoy!
Location: CRAFT Beer Market
257 Bernard Ave
CRAFT is known for its mass selection of craft beers and delicious food in Vancouver, so seeing that Kelowna now has one, we had to check it out. The entire upper floor is a beautiful open patio with a stellar view of downtown and the lake and rolling hills. If you fancy this type of view while enjoying a beverage or a bite, this is the restaurant and bar for you! All I can say is, WOW. Downstairs is very sleek, modern and stylish with large booths and several TV’s, as well as large, open bay windows looking out on Bernard Ave. The place is truly massive and if you find yourself a spot on the rooftop patio, you won’t want to leave. See below. Like any CRAFT Beer Market, the tap list is extremely impressive and the food never disappoints. We enjoyed the space so much, we visited twice in 3 days! My favourite item on the menu is their CRAFT House Soup and their BBQ Beer Can Chicken Sliders. The rooftop patio even has a game section for everyone to enjoy. Play shuffleboard and/or bean bag toss while enjoying a cold beer with friends and/or family! We would also recommend the asking for the Barrel Nachos with BBQ Beer Can Chicken, too good!
LOCATION: Laneway Canteen
Similar to CRAFT, this little Kelowna spot recently opened in the Laneway and it’s bumpin’. What is it? It’s a food truck situated in a laneway with the cutest patio attached. If you’re a fan of fresh taco’s with fresh ingredients, you can’t skip Laneway. If you’re also a sushi fan, try the raw Mahi tuna taco with cucumber, fresh pico de gallo, crispy nori, diced pineapple, and spicy mayo. It’s life-changing. They are fully licensed and also have a margarita menu, (the Sriracha Pineapple is definitely worth the money!) and the margs are always a double. See below.
Location: Krafty Kitchen + Bar
281 Lawrence Ave
Krafty Kitchen + Bar was definitely my favourite find this trip because I was graced with the best brunch of my life. See below. You’re looking at smoked salmon, hollandaise sauce, pickled onions, delicately poached eggs and capers with crispy breakfast potatoes underneath. Hands down delicious! They also have a great cocktail menu with delectable drinks! Marc had the Cucumber Gimlet and it was fantastic.
Also, some of the best service we had all trip was at Krafty. We had tried Krafty Kitchen + Bar the evening before for a nightcap and we had mentioned to the server that we would be returning the next morning for brunch. When we arrived the next morning, our server had the same little table by the window ready for us with menu’s open, ready to take our order. I was very impressed. I’ll definitely be returning next year with my stretchy pants on! Hehe. 😉
LOCATION: Micro Bar & Bites
1500 Water St
Location: Tree Brewing
1083 Richter Street
I’ve been visiting Tree Brewing every year since I’ve been coming to Kelowna. This brewery has a fabulous location by the Kelowna harbour and a lovely patio to enjoy those hot Okanagan summers. If you’re looking for a seat on the patio, I would suggest visiting during the week as weekends can get very busy. As far as drinks, I recommend trying the Hefeweizen and Grapefruit Radler for easy summer drinking! See below.
Location: Vice & Virtue Brewing Co.
1033 Richter St
Vice & Virtue Brewing Co. is the newest brewery to hit the scene in Kelowna and it’s a little stunner. The aesthetic and style in this place is very cool! See below. They brew absolutely fantastic beer and I “loved” one in particular. I recommend trying The Love Potion Raspberry ‘BerlinerVice’ which is a Berliner style beer, fruity and tart. We enjoyed this crushable summer brew so much, Marc and I both bought growlers to fill and take home. I wish there was a Vice & Virtue in Vancouver! I would definitely be hanging out there all the time if I lived in Kelowna. Did I mention they have the prettiest glass growlers?
Location: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
4870 Chute Lake Road
Sunset Organic Bistro
This year was my second time visiting Summerhill Pyramid Winery and I already want to return. In my opinion, this winery has it all! Great wine, great views and of course a great restaurant. We started with a complimentary wine tasting, usually taste tasting is free with 4-5 wines allowed per person. Sitting on the patio at Sunset Organic Bistro is sometimes so rare because of how popular this winery is, but this year we did! I would highly recommend enjoying their charcuterie & cheese board with a glass of one of their delicious red’s, white’s or rose’s. See below. If you’re a fan of pickled vegetables, grilled bread, local honey & fruit preserves, olives, nuts, and meats, then you can’t pass up on the charcuterie. All in all this place is stunning and truly picture perfect for a seasonal wedding, engagement or anniversary party. I would suggest making a reservation prior to visiting, as weekends can get very busy. If a winery tour is in the books for your next trip to Kelowna, be sure not to miss Summerhill Pyramid!
Jean Jacket: Anthropologie
Location: CedarCreek Estate Winery
5445 Lakeshore Rd
Where to Stay
Our first two trips to Kelowna, Marc and I stayed in two different hotels, recently we have been staying in Airbnb’s to save a bit of cash. I would recommend staying in an AirBnB as it’s cost effective and there are some pretty great hosts located throughout Kelowna, especially downtown, for your convenience. I’m very happy to pass on information of past hosts we’ve stayed with, please feel free to inquire! As Kelowna can get very busy during the summer months, I recommend booking either a hotel or an AirBnB well in advance, I would suggest 2-3 months prior. Kelowna has many events, trade-shows and festivals during the summer, two most notable being the Okanagan Tattoo Show & the Okanagan Beer Fest which attract a lot more people than you would think and both eat up a lot of hotel space in June and July.
If looking to stay in a hotel, I would recommend staying at the Prestige Beach House. It’s located downtown right beside the Kelowna park/beach. Honestly, you couldn’t ask for a better location. It’s a lovely, clean hotel with a great restaurant attached, perfect for brunch!
I hope this guide is helpful and you too are able to enjoy everything that the wonderful city of Kelowna has to offer.
If you’ve ever visited Kelowna or the Okanagan, let me know some of your trip highlights below.
Until next time,