Going Downtown with Shauna


When I first moved to Nanaimo, I was eager to try all the restaurants and foodie gems around the city, however being the middle of the pandemic, I was unfortunately limited. So, I am beyond grateful that restaurants are wide open now and I’m having a lot of fun trying them all out. Downtown Nanaimo offers such a great collection of culinary delights.

My first real foray into the downtown food scene was last summer on a Sunday morning. My friend and I ventured downtown to find breakfast. We found several incredible options and settled on one on the heart of downtown with a bustling patio. We enjoyed the incredible cuisine, people (and dog) watching and truly just loved the energy and life in the heart of the city. We wandered to a few shops afterward and then headed home, my idea of a perfect weekend morning.

A couple of weeks ago I was wandering around downtown looking for lunch and I ended up grabbing a delicious burger and brussel sprouts that were so tasty. My server was so great, and we ended up having a laugh, I even went back to the same spot for a drink later that day.

A great food scene really starts with the owners, the chefs, and the staff. The people in these professions deserve awards for what they’ve had to endure in the past couple of years. They don’t want awards though, they just want our business, they want us to come and savour their food and enjoy a meal out.

One thing I have noticed is that the variety of food options in downtown Nanaimo has increased and no matter what your palette you are sure to find something yummy.

I have enjoyed the sweet and savoury crepes, the delicious chimichangas, delectable baked goods and aromatic Thai food all within a few block radius. Recently a friend of mine came to visit from Florida and she was very curious about the local seafood and downtown Nanaimo did not disappoint. We got crab cakes, lobster tail and gigantic prawns and a pint of cider from a local cidery. We then wandered to a local pub and had seriously delicious margaritas, this is what I love about a great food scene, the ability to easily wander from one location to another for additional options.

Taking in the local shops, galleries and other establishments downtown Nanaimo is another great way to enjoy the whole experience. It’s not the same as going to a strip mall restaurant and leaving, in downtown you can extend your time out with some strolling, grab some ice cream of gelato and breath in the beauty of our city. I’m a romantic at heart so I’m sure you can see the picture I’m painting but heading downtown doesn’t have to just be for a date or special dinner. There are some fabulous take-out options, quick lunch spots, and even some fast food. There are also several coffee shops to spend some time visiting with friends.

Here is what I’d like to do, I’d like to issue a challenge to each of you reading this. Try a Downtown Nanaimo dine-around. Go to three different restaurants in one evening or afternoon and at each restaurant eat just one course. Then finish at a brewery or cocktail bar for drinks. This is not only a fun way to spend an evening, and it’s a great way to try a variety of options and support the incredible restaurants downtown.

For a list of restaurants in Downtown Nanaimo
click here

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