39 Commercial Street
Gabriel’s Café is one of downtown Nanaimo’s most popular restaurants, transforming local farm to fork ingredients into some of the island’s best breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. The casual eatery accommodates most dietary restrictions without compromising on flavour. Gabriel’s Café has one long table that encourages community and conversation between strangers, as well as numerous private table options.
221 Commercial Street
The Modern Café is a staple in downtown Nanaimo and has been serving guests burgers, mac n cheese, and other comfort foods since 1946. The Modern Café serves every meal of the day using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. During the summer months, Modern Café’s outdoor patio provides the perfect vantage point for people-watching in the open air.
Top Notch Burgers
70 Church Street
Located inside the Best Western Dorchester, Top Notch Burgers is a must-taste for any burger enthusiast—but that’s not all they do! Try their Braised Short Rib Poutine, an upscale twist of a Canadian classic, or choose from over 10 unique burger combinations.
Asteras Greek Taverna
347 Wesley Street
Asteras Greek Taverna is an award-winning Greek restaurant that’s highly recommended by most Nanaimo locals. The menu of traditional Greek favourites includes moussaka, lamb and seafood dishes, and is rounded off with ample appies, desserts, and drinks. Asteras is known for its exceptional hospitality and the owner is often on-site to ensure guests are enjoying their experience. Asteras is the perfect downtown spot for a romantic night out or a celebration with dear friends.
#101 – 223 Commercial Street
Melange Restaurants offers an interesting menu that’s rich with local ingredients, flavour, and creativity. The menu is very vegetarian and vegan friendly—while still offering ample meat and seafood plates—and has numerous gluten free options. Melange has two primary dining areas and an ambience well suited for date nights and gatherings with friends.
123 Commercial Street
SukkhoThai Restaurant is Nanaimo’s best-known destination for Thai food, include soup, noodle, and curry dishes. The restaurant is located in the heart of downtown, right in the middle of Commercial Street. SukkhoThai is casual, affordable, and delicious, and has a loyal following of repeat customers.
7 Victoria Road
Firehouse Grill is a grill and sushi restaurant that offers casual dining in an upscale yet affordable atmosphere. The restaurant has a creative fusion sushi menu that includes generous portions of sushi pizza and flash-fried rolls. Firehouse Grill also serves sandwiches, burgers, pasta, jambalaya, and cajun food, ensuring there’s something for everyone.
Minnoz Restaurant & Lounge
11 Bastion Street
Minnoz Restaurant & Lounge is located inside the Coast Bastion Hotel and is the perfect place to kick back and relax for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The seafood-inspired menu is full of comfort foods, including burgers and grilled cheese, as well as more elevated pasta, fish, and steak dishes. The bar at Minnoz is great for a quick drink before going to The Port Theatre or spending a night on the town.
La Stella Trattoria
#1-321 Wesley Street
La Stella Trattoria is an Italian restaurant that’s known for its handmade pasta and wood-fried pizza. La Stella’s arancini and meatballs are also popular favourites. The romantic trattoria has become a popular date night choice due to the high-quality food and intimate ambience, and many locals visit La Stella on a regular basis. Reservations are recommended in the evenings.
#2 – 321 Wesley Street
Bistro Taiyo is an authentic Japanese restaurant, owned and managed by a family from Saitama, Japan. Located in the Old City Quarter, Bistro Taiyo serves Japanese favourites including sushi, sashimi, tempura, rice bowls, and ramen. Bistro Taiyo is named after the sun, based on the owners’ desire to bring light to the world.
Gina’s Mexican Café
47 Skinner Street
Gina’s Mexican Café serves handcrafted Mexican food within a colourful pink house on a hill. The restaurant describes itself as “a tacky but friendly place” and starts every table off with complimentary chips and salsa. The extensive and satisfying menu includes classic favourites, including tacos, enchiladas, and chimichangas, as well as generously sized combination platters.
31-75 Front Street
Pirate Chips is a family-oriented theme restaurant that is best known for its poutine and deep-fried desserts. Pirate Chips got its start as a small take-out shop and expanded into a full diner, offering an array of delicious comfort foods made from scratch. The restaurant is bursting with pirate décor, and is popular with people of all ages.
Float H – 10 Wharf Street
Penny’s Palapa Restaurant is a seasonal Mexican food restaurant that’s best known for its delicious tacos, refreshing margaritas, and unbeatable summer patio. Penny’s floats on a dock within the Nanaimo Harbour and offers a festive, cheerful place to spend time with family or friends. Penny’s Palapa is open from April 1 through to Thanksgiving.
Troller’s Fish & Chips
Float H – 10 Wharf Street
Troller’s Fish & Chips is a seasonal restaurant serving classic fish and chips, including ling cod, sockeye salmon, and halibut. This highly casual restaurant is located along the H Dock in Nanaimo harbour, and serves fresh, local seafood. Troller’s Fish & Chips is typically open April through October.
The Nest Bistro
77 Skinner Street
The Nest Bistro takes delicious Italian and French dishes and elevates them with flavourful, local ingredients and culinary artistry. Many of the menu items consistently receive rave reviews, including the forest mushroom and brie tarte, handmade gnocchi, and the chicken or seafood risotto. The Nest is a popular location for date night, special occasions, or group outings, and is run by a husband and wife team.
Zalathai Thai Restaurant
22 Victoria Crescent
Zalathai Thai Restaurant is one of Nanaimo’s hidden gems, offering flavourful Thai dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. The family-owned restaurant is dedicated to serving authentic food, including pad thai, fried rice, curry, soup, and seafood dishes. Zalathai tops off every guest experience with excellent service.
14 Victoria Crescent
Nana Sushi is a sushi and ramen restaurant conveniently located at the corner of Victoria Crescent and Albert Street. It is one of the most affordable downtown restaurants, and its bento boxes, sushi rolls, ramen, and noodle dishes are all popular options. Nana Sushi is laid back and always welcoming.
489 Wallace Street
Tandoori Junction offers authentic Indian cuisine in a casual environment. The massive menu is jam-packed with traditional Indian dishes and popular Canadian favourites. In addition to their regular menu, Tandoor Junction has a lunch buffet on most days of the week.
238 Wesley Street
Delicado’s is a casual, funky restaurant that’s locally famous for its roll-up wraps, salsa, homemade tortillas, and other southwestern fare. Indoor seating is limited but Delicado’s downtown location has a great patio for the summer. Guests who are limited on time are encouraged to phone-In their order in advance.
Mrs. Riches Restaurant
199 Fraser Street
Mrs. Riches Restaurant is a family restaurant that has an extensive menu with foods from around the world. Soups, sandwiches, chicken, seafood, pasta, and ribs are available, but Mrs. Riches is most famous for one particular dish: the K2 Mountain Burger. This monster of a burger includes 2 pounds of beef, ham, cheese, bacon, two eggs, veggies and condiments on a gigantic bun. Guests who can eat the entire burger plus a side of fries in under 30 minutes gets their meal free and their photo added to the wall of fame.
The Pantry Restaurant
101-648 Terminal Avenue
The Pantry Restaurant is a franchise chain that’s only found in western Canada. This casual, family-friendly breakfast and lunch restaurant is located within the Port Place plaza. The Pantry Restaurant serves home-style cooked meals including omelettes, eggs benedicts, sandwiches, salads, pasta, rice bowls, and burgers.