Field Trip to Nanaimo

“FieldTrips” is either a day trip or a few days where I visit food areas of interest which may include farm visits, producers, wineries, restaurants and/or other places that people can visit. This is about offering Vancouver Foodster readers a chance to get out of town and take a “Field Trip” for the day or a few days to explore, learn, taste and experience.

Field Trip to Nanaimo

Over the years I had briefly stopped or driven through Nanaimo on roadtrips to Vancouver Island. Changed that this summer with a visit to Nanaimo, stayed downtown near the harbour at The Coast Bastion Inn for a couple of days.

Once I had discovered Gabriel’s Cafe, I then enjoyed a couple of breakfasts and a lunch trying all sorts of delicious dishes. It is all local with ingredients sourced from farmers and producers in the area. Open daily serving breakfast and lunch from 8am – 3pm.

Some of the delicious dishes I had:

Tofu, 3 bean Scramble

Tofu, 3 bean Scramble, corn and potato scramble with cilantro, roasted tomato salsa and avocado

Coconut milk pancake

Coconut milk pancake with maple syrup

Friday Morning Hash

Friday Morning Hash with snap peas, chard, kale, pesto, green beans. Zucchini, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, tofu & potatoes, topped with salsa, avocado & pea shoots

Wild Salmon Burger

For Lunch I had the Wild Salmon Burger with siracha Mayo, and pickled vegetables  with a side of the Apple, red cabbage, raisin and pecan coleslaw

The Nanaimo Bar originated here and they have a Nanaimo bar trail devoted to this sweet treat. It is not actually a trail, it is more of a promotion that features variations of the nanaimo bar at over 50 locations in the area. Each restaurant, bakery and café features their own incarnation of the Nanaimo Bar. I indulged in a couple, enjoying a Classic Nanaimo Bar at Mon Petit Choux Bakery.

Classic Nanaimo Bar

Nanaimo Bar with a rice crisp toasted nuts base, caramel rum butter cream filling and a chocolate ganache topping, its #glutenfree and yummy

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

The other treat that I had was the Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake at Minnoz Restaurant & Lounge which was located in my hotel (Coast Bastion Inn).

In addition to the food and drink Nanaimo Bar offerings, I noticed the city even has a run devoted to it.

Fish Tacos

For dinner, Pennys Palapa features a large menu specializing in Mexican food. Located on Nanaimo’s beautiful harbour front, they also offered tacos for take-out which is what I did, having a couple of fish tacos where I could then enjoy in the comfort of my hotel room across the street.

Downtown Nanaimo

Nanaimo is located on Vancouver Island, easily accessible by car taking BC Ferries from Horsehoe bay which takes 1 hour and 40 minutes; or take a float plane from downtown Vancouver harbour which takes approx. 20 minutes; or take HeliJet also from downtown Vancouver which is only an 18 minutes trip.

Schedule and information for BC Ferries is here

Gabriel’s Café – 39 Commercial Street, Nanaimo

Instagram @gabrielscafe

Mon Petit Choux Bakery, 120 Commercial Street, Nanaimo

Instagram @MonPetitChouxbakery

Pennys Palapa -Inner Harbour, Nanaimo


Minnoz Restaurant & Lounge – 11 Bastion St, Nanaimo

Instagram @minnoznanaimo

Stay tuned for my next Field Trip outside of Vancouver.

By: Richard Wolak

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