Side Dish - Find your flavour.

Tourists are here, the sun is shining and the patios are full.

It’s great to have a place for a snack or meal you can duck into, or send visiting family and friends that you know will delight and surprise. Finding new places that aren’t always top of mind is always fun.

Nourish Kitchen & Cafe (a hidden gem at 505 Quayle Rd, now Charlotte and The Quayle) has opened Nourish in the Harbour at 225 Quebec St in James Bay. They’ve been hard at work converting an old building into a bright space for dining, gathering and raising a glass to all things local. Both are amazing spots for brunch, lunch and coffee. Everything is made from scratch with whole ingredients. Try the Benny’s Gone Nuts. It’s vegetarian, but your meat eating friends can add bacon.

Northern Quarter Kitchen & Stage at 1724 Douglas St opened to showcase local performers, wines by the glass, craft beer, cocktails, and seasonal food items.

On Pender Island, a new resort and kitchen has opened, WOODS on Pender. Think island rosé and local food on a patio in the woods. Enjoy the company of fellow city folks in search of nature’s respite, with a weekend in a refurbished Airstream. The Marina Cafe in Oak Bay, 1327 Beach Dr, has become Marina Dockside Eatery, with a renovation, new patio furniture and menu items, they now serve local Caffe Fantastico coffee and Silk Road Teas. Oceanfront, casual, and one of the best hidden patios in the city.

While hardly anyone would call Zambri’s, 820 Yates St, a hidden gem, their brunch seems to be a bit of a secret. Most dishes $12 - $14, the meatballs on polenta is my favourite. Crispy polenta and house-made meatballs, topped with poached eggs and tomato sauce, have a glass of prosecco for a great Sunday morning. Brunch is served inside and out, Sundays 10:30am - 2:30pm.

Ça Va Bistro Moderne in Fernwood is tucked into a romantic French-inspired space with a kitchen that focuses on affordable fine dining paired with a BC and international wine list. Dinner $13 - $28 is served 5pm - 9pm Tuesday - Sunday. In View Royal, Crooked Goose Bistro at 4136 Wilkinson Rd (sister restaurant to Heron Rock Bistro in James Bay), offers brunch, daily features, live music, and works with local purveyors of food and drink you don’t have to head downtown for. Fresh Coast Health Food Bar in Saanich has smoothies, cold pressed juices, salads and wraps in their 202 - 3749 Shelbourne Street location, and their new food truck usually found in the Capital Iron Parking lot. Check Twitter for current locations.

Try it you’ll like it:

-Buttermilk marinated Down South Fried Chicken at Fernwood Inn, $13.50
-Postmark Brewing’s Blonde Ale, available at Spinnakers Spirit Merchants and other private stores around town, 12 pack $26.35.
-be love restaurant’s vegetarian green curry bowl, $14.

Originally written for and published in Monday Magazine, July 2015.