9 Best Cowichan Valley Restaurants

Kevlynn LoubierFood & Dining, Okanagan Wine, Victoria

9 best Cowichan Valley Restaurants

Looking for the top dining options on your next trip? Welcome to our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley Restaurants for 2024! Located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the Cowichan Valley is a region known for its natural beauty and mild climate. 

Visitors from across the province and country come to enjoy its diverse offerings.  A perfect destination for those seeking the great outdoors, activities include hiking, cycling and water sports.   Meanwhile, a vibrant arts and culture scene is reflected in its multitude of art galleries, studios, and theatres showcasing the work of local artists and performers. 

Botanists will enjoy immersing themselves in the many lavender farms, a unique feature of the region particularly beautiful during the blooming season.  Wine enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice with the abundance of top notch wineries worth exploring throughout the region. 

Food lovers will quickly realize the thriving culinary scene that is the Cowichan Valley, with endless restaurants, cafes, and farm-to-table dining experiences abounding.  With local produce, artisan cheeses, fresh seafood often featured in the region’s cuisine, food lovers rejoice!  Bursting with an array of options, we’re here to help guide you towards the top culinary experiences. Let’s get started with our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants!

Bridgemans Waterfront Bistro

Starting off our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants is Bridgemans Waterfront Bistro. Located at the beautiful Mill Bay Marina, guests will enjoy breathtaking views of the Saanich Inlet and Mt Baker, and those who are lucky enough may spot a local swans or even a whale frolicking about during their stay!

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Bridgemans Waterfront Bistro offer dishes that are imaginative yet grounded in the unique and hard working communities that they serve.  Through their culinary offerings, they seek to pay homage to the blue collar sensibility of the bridge worker and those who appreciate a full belly and a good drink.  Based on the notion of building bridges one customer at a time, Bridgemans recognizes the bonding power of food (we highly agree).

Offering thoughtfully crafted West Coast inspired menus, guests can count on locally sourced ingredients and house made items. Classic comforts like mile-high piled burgers, fish and chips and meat loaf sandwiches are a few of the items worth swooning over. 

Their local clams and mussels are a favourite for seafood lovers.  With a variety of pastas, soups and salads also on offer, Bridgemans is sure to please any palette.  Weekend brunch and prime rib Sundays are also worth checking out.  A true slice of the West Coast located in an idyllic setting, Bridgemans Waterfront Bistro easily earns a spot on our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants.

The Vine

A cosy, intimate restaurant tucked away in the Cowichan Bay, the Vine welcomes you with an unparalleled level of attention and care.  Belgian inspired, the Vine Restaurant offers a delicious assortment of crepes and classic brunch items by day, and heartier fare by night. Offering culinary options unlike others, The Vine is a welcome addition to our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants.

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Overlooking the Cowichan Bay, you’ll want to cozy up and tuck right into one of their sumptuous crepes.   With endless offerings to choose from including chicken and mushroom, pear and prosciutto, caramelized apple, Nutella, and cinnamon sugar, to name a few. 

Frittatas, eggs benedict, salads and burgers round out the brunch menu.  Their dinner menu boasts entrees like beef bourguignon, Cowichan Bay seafood pie, and Saltspring Island Mussels, alongside a Belgian style poutine.  All of the beers come from locally based Red Arrow Brewing Company.  Loved for their delicious food, impeccable service and attention to detail, consider the Vine for your next meal out!

The Rock Cod

Craving fish and chips? A list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants wouldn’t be complete without a dedicated seafood offering! 

The Rock Cod West Coast Fish Fry and Bar is the number one destination for fresh seafood in the Cowichan Valley.  Featuring fresh seafood, fish and chips served grilled on their flat top or fried in their famous crispy fish batter, guests will be blown away by the amazing food and stunning ocean views. 

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Fish tacos and a whole host of other incredible options are complimented perfectly with any number of their locally sourced beverages, including local beer from Phillips Brewery or Red Arrow Brewery, local cider from Merridale Cidery, and local wines from Unsworth Vineyards and Alderlea Vineyards.

Featured on the Food Network show, “You Gotta Eat Here”, seafood entrees include halibut, salmon, shrimp, Thetis Island oysters, calamari, and of course, their famous award-winning rock cod, after which the restaurant is named.  As their slogan says, “Just one meal and you’ll be hooked for life!”

The Masthead Restaurant

Next on our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants is the Masthead Restaurant. Elegant service, outstanding cuisine and a world-class view are what you can expect on a visit to the Masthead Restaurant in the historic Cowichan Bay.  Their extensive bar is a showstopper on arrival, and the perfect venue to enjoy a classic cocktail, award-winning beer on tap, or wine from one of the local vineyards.

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Dining seaside at the Masthead Restaurant is truly a special occasion.  Their menu reflects local seasonality, and as such is subject to availability with rotating nightly features.  Over the weekend, 3 course dinners are available with optional wine pairings. 

Smoked halibut and potato croquette followed by pork tenderloin with pan roasted Brussels sprouts are just a few of the entrees that will tantalize your tastebuds.  Honouring regionally sourced ingredients, expect items like grilled Humboldt squid, pan seared scallops, and Lois Lake steelhead trout.  Come for the food, stay for the view, and enjoy a spectacular night of dining at the Masthead Restaurant.

Pizzeria Prima Strada

The top pizza destination for our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants is Pizzeria Prima Strada. If authentic, Neapolitan style pizza is what you’re seeking, then Pizzeria Prima Strada is the place for you. 

Sure to make all of your pizza dreams come true, the folks at Prima Strada realize that there are many delicious styles of pizza.  They have chosen to focus on the Neapolitan style, however, using the same centuries-old techniques that masters use to create a truly authentic pizza.  Simply and deliciously prepared in the Italian way, Prima Strada utilizes the world’s finest tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and hand rolled dough.  To finish, the pizza is fired in a wood-burning oven at a blistering 900 degrees.

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Prima Strada nods to their dough as the foundation of their pizzas and what really sets them apart.  Flour, water, salt and yeast — that’s it.  After fermentation, dough is shaped by hand before undergoing a second rise.  The dough is then stretched by hand to allow a puffy, voluptuous crust to form.  Expect all of the classics like Margherita, diavola, pepperoni, funghi, and carne.  Mamma mia, that’s a tasty pizza!

The Restaurant at Unsworth 

The top winery dining option on our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants, Unsworth Restaurant packs a tasty punch!

Enchantingly tucked away into a restored early 1900s farmhouse, vineyard views, delectable menus, and award-winning wines are just a few of the reasons to visit the Restaurant at Unsworth.  Ooozing with charm and heritage, here you’ll find a true culinary celebration of all things Vancouver Island. 

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Fresh, local and sustainable ingredients define their farm-to-table concept.  The folks at Unsworth have fostered relationships with many neighbouring farmers and producers over the years, as evidenced in their menu as well as their Community Supported Restaurant program.

Their dining room, sun room, and outdoor patio (complete with an authentic forno pizza oven), overlook 12 stunning acres of vineyards, an ancient apple and walnut orchard, and their very own organic herb and vegetable garden. 

Small plates are available for those who wish to share, while large plate bistro classics are also on offer.  Changing with the seasons, their menu lends itself perfectly to their evolving list of Unsworth wines.  Without a doubt, there is no better spot to celebrate the bounty of Vancouver Island than the Restaurant at Unsworth!

The Lakehouse at Shawnigan

Offering on of the top patio experiences on our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants is the Lakehouse at Shawnigan! Located at the end of the western tip of Shawigan Lake encompassing expansive water views, a large dock and three lovely patios, welcome to Cowichan Valley’s most exciting new dining venue!

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Proprietor Jill Tulloch along with her culinary team created a menu that will delight everyone, which they describe as casual but with a sophisticated touch.  Most of the food and beverage offerings are regionally sourced. 

Rigorously supporting the local distilleries, cideries, breweries, wineries, and of course, the local farms, a meal at the Lakehouse ensures you’re supporting the local community.  Whether you arrive by foot, bicycle, boat or car, you’ll want to secure a seat at the Lakehouse during your visit to the Cowichan Valley, to enjoy lakeside dining at its very best.

Brunch On 3rd

Our top breakfast / brunch spot on the list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants, Brunch on 3rd rocks it! Located in the heart of downtown Duncan is a place where traditional breakfast and elevated lunch take centre stage. 

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Set in a warm and cozy environment, we can think of no better way to kickstart the day than tucking into a heaping plate of their fluffy pancakes.  In more of a savoury mood?  Then surely one of their benedicts will satisfy your craving. 

Built on house made buttermilk biscuits and topped with silky house made hollandaise, Brunch On 3rd almost certainly offers the best eggs benedict in town.  If breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, then you’ll want to start your day here before heading out to explore the island!

Sawmill TapHouse & Grill

Rounding out our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants is the Sawmill Taphouse & Grill. A cutting edge eatery and gastropub, Sawmill TapHouse & Grill seeks to offer the best Pacific Northwest craft beers and forno oven pizzas. 

With 10 different beer taps to choose from and a dozen different pizzas on offer, we can think of no better place to enjoy a crisp local lager and hand crafted, wood fired pizza. Located in Chemainus Village Square, Sawmill Taphouse is fairly unassuming from the outside, but blends an urban vibe with the Chemainus town history to offer a vibrant dining experience and quality, made-from-scratch food.

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There you have it foodies, our list of the 9 best Cowichan Valley restaurants for 2024! Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, looking to kick back with friends in a casual setting, or seeking to take in the splendour of Vancouver Island in the ultimate farm-to-table experience, one thing is certain — Cowichan Valley’s dining scene has never been more exciting.

From Neapolitan pizzerias and Belgian influenced bistros to vineyard views or waterfront dining and whale watching, you’ll be spoiled for choice on your next visit to the Cowichan Valley!

For more information on the top experiences in the area, please check out our Cowichan Valley Wine Tours.

9 Best Cowichan Valley Restaurants