Fresh Seafood Restaurants
As Vancouver Island’s Harbour City, Nanaimo life is inspired by the water—and the dining is no exception. Nanaimo is the perfect place to sample wild seafood fresh from the Pacific Ocean, and the city has numerous restaurants that have dedicated a substantial portion of their menus to local Vancouver Island seafood.
50 Anchor Way
Lighthouse Bistro is one of Nanaimo’s most unique restaurants, occupying a lighthouse-shaped building right on the water in the downtown harbour. Lighthouse Bistro has both a restaurant and a pub, ensuring everyone is welcome to enjoy the ambiance.
The restaurant’s “From The Salish Sea” menu offers a collection of seafood entrees that are as fresh as they can get. Salt Spring Island mussels, West Coast Manila clams, Pacific Albacore tuna and Fanny Bay beach oysters are all regulars on the menu. Guests can also enjoy oysters on the half shell at market price.
Lighthouse Bistro has a seasonal patio, open May through September, allowing visitors to enjoy a great meal with a prime view of the bustling harbour.
Troller’s Fish & Chips
H Dock – 10 Wharf Street
Troller’s Fish ‘n’ Chips is a floating fish and chips shop right on the Nanaimo harbour docks. Troller’s is a local favourite because of its delicious fresh fish and seafood items.
In addition to classic cod and halibut fish, Troller’s also serves salmon, Oysters, crabs and clams. Guests are welcome to wander the harbour and listen to the local waterfront buskers while waiting for their orders.
Seadrift Fishmarket & Eatery
7 – 1533 Estevan Road
Seafood doesn’t get any more authentic than this! Seadrift Fishmarket & Eatery is a hidden gem, with a dedicated following of Nanaimo locals. The eatery is highly informal and smells like the fish market it is, but guests who can forgive those quirks are rewarded with the freshest fish dishes in the city.
Seadrift Eatery’s fish and chips menu includes Alaskan cod and local halibut options, as well as local snapper, fresh haddock, and sockeye salmon from the Johnston Strait. The eatery’s menu also includes fish burgers, oyster burgers, popcorn prawns, crab cakes, and fish tacos.
Maggie’s Seafood Market – Fish & Chips
#4 1277 Island highway South
Located in the South Parkway Plaza, Maggie’s Seafood Market is south Nanaimo’s choice restaurant for fresh fish and chips. The restaurant supplements its menu with a few other staple choices, including fish burgers, soups, and a fish quesadilla.
Maggie’s Seafood Market has an extremely casual vibe, perfect for eating in or taking out. Guests can top off their meals with premium Canadian ice cream from Foothills Creamery.
75 Front Street
Pirate Chips is a festive, family-oriented restaurant that is decorated wall-to-wall with pirate flags, skulls, and sea-themed trinkets. Although Pirate Chips is best known for its poutine and deep-fried desserts, the restaurant has several fantastic seafood dishes.
Many of the “appetize-arrs” include locally sourced seafood, including the fried oysters and steamed clams, while the fish and chips menu includes Pacific cod and halibut. Other menu items are as local as possible.
Kids love Pirate Chips’ play area, and wee pirates who finish their meal get to pick a “gem” from the treasure chest. Guests are welcome to sit where they please, with both indoor and outdoor seating options available.
6582 Applecross Road
SIMONHOLT is a respected, upscale restaurant in the north end of Nanaimo, known for its high-quality food and service. SIMONHOLT typically hosts live entertainment on the weekends and has a comfortable sky deck and patio for guests craving sunshine and fresh air.
SIMONHOLT’s chef selects the island’s best seafood available each day and creates phenomenal West Coast-inspired dishes from it. Salmon, halibut, red snapper, tuna, oysters, mussels, and spot prawns can all be on the menu, market permitting. Guests who are exclusively interested in wild Pacific seafood are encouraged to ask their server for the most up to date information.