With its windswept beaches and welcoming, tranquil vibe, Tofino’s pull extends beyond its loyal community of surfers and artists. This dreamy destination on Vancouver Island attracts folks with an entrepreneurial spirit, including a lineup of talented chefs who use regional ingredients in innovative dishes. Hot spots range from casual, post-surf food trucks to dining rooms where elevated feasts show off the local bounty.
2 Must-try Restaurants
A local culinary anchor, Wolf lives up to its reputation by capturing Tofino’s spirit through its hip-meets-chill vibe. Chef Nicholas Nutting has a simple cooking approach that honours local ingredients from the island’s fishers and farmers, as well as foraged goods from Tofino’s forests and shores. Start with the potato-crusted oysters before moving on to the Green Soul, a seasonally rotating vegetarian dish, or one of the hearty Plates for Two, such as the whole crab or the island chicken with cauliflower, potato and butter chicken sauce.
Guests will delight in memorable meals served in Shelter’s cozy, fireside dining room, elevated loft area or lively patio. Chef Matty Kane prepares dishes accentuating some of the region’s freshest flavours (with free-run poultry from island farms and herbs cut from the restaurant’s backyard garden). Start with the just-baked sourdough, crispy calamari or warm olives, before enjoying the warm chevre or kale Caesar salads. When it comes to mains, think Panko-crusted lingcod burgers and red Thai coconut curry, featuring salmon, cod, clams and mussels.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Breakfast: Rhino Coffee House
Rhino Coffee House’s all-day breakfast includes wraps filled with bacon, scrambled eggs, avocado and more. Try The “Bro” Nut, which brings fried eggs and other fixings to the savoury doughnut.
Tacofino has made waves in other parts of B.C., but the original food truck is still the spot to dive into tacos, burritos and gringas filled with seared albacore, beans, tempura ling cod and pork.
A local favourite since opening in 2014, Kuma serves Japanese-style comfort food, ranging from kimchi stew to salmon bowls and ramen filled with tofu, veggies, braised pork belly and marinated eggs.
3 Beer and Cocktail Stops
Whether you enjoy sipping on handcrafted brews or prefer indulging in a cocktail tasting, there are plenty of places to kick back and indulge in Tofino.
A Tofino institution, this watering hole has evolved over the years yet continues to draw loyal regulars. Its Eastern Promises is a light, uplifting cocktail made from Bombay Sapphire Gin and Pimm’s. Sip one while enjoying a wood-fired pizza from adjoining restaurant 1909.
This friendly space is perfect for enjoying a post-hike, handcrafted brew, or two, such as the Kelp Stout and Tuff Session Ale.
Cocktail tasters showcase flagship spirits, like Jalapeno Vodka, Old Growth Cedar Gin and Psychedelic Jellyfish Absinthe.
At Chocolate Tofino, Kim and Cam Shaw serve treats made from the best ingredients they can source. Try homemade gelato flavours, like Lavender Honey and Maple Pecan Praline, or chocolates incorporating products from local businesses, including Tofino Coffee Company. For more sweet rewards, order a cold brew float from Tofino Licks, or nibble on a chocolate croissant from the Wickaninnish Inn’s artful Driftwood Café.
Tofino Resort + Marina’s Adventure Centre and chef Paul Moran’s 1909 Kitchen’s program, Cook Your Catch, invites guests on a salt and freshwater adventure focused on reeling in halibut, salmon, trout and tuna (along the way, keep your eyes peeled for sea lions, eagles and bears). After your fishing excursion, the talented team at 1909’s will cook your catch in a 1,000-degree, wood-fired Mugnaini oven.