August 27, 2015

Lighthouse Bistro on Nanaimo's waterfront

What is now the city of Nanaimo used to be home to five Coast Salish First Nation villages. That all changed when the Europeans came and especially after the Hudson's Bay Company set up an outpost here over 150 years ago.

Today, Nanaimo is home to over 80,000 and the city's citizens enjoy a lifestyle that balances modern amenities with an attachment to nature and recreation.

The waterfront shopping district is relatively new is well worth the visit. It blends with the Fishermen's Wharf, the old downtown business district, an artsy neighbourhood, and the launching pad for boats and sea planes.

And it is here we found ourselves one beautiful Sunday afternoon for a late lunch, or brunch, or something.

There are a number of eateries along the waterfront but few can boast the view one finds at the Lighthouse Bistro, Pub and Restaurant. Being a wonderful day, we chose the outdoor venue that seemed to be the Lighthouse Bistro portion of the complex.

Service was attentive and friendly. As one tired of looking east towards the roar of the sea planes, there was always the open kitchen to watch as the cooks pondered menu requests.

And menu requests here are simple and pub-inspired. One of our party had a Caesar salad with grilled sockeye, while Jeem opted for the halibut and chips.

The Caesar salad was adequate at best, lacking that extra punch one might expect from a waterfront restaurant on Canada's southwest coast.

Jeem's halibut was fresh and tasty, though not inspired, and still the better of the two dishes. The chips were boring beyond belief, and the portion of fries small by most standards. Not that Jeem needs more fries, but charge an extra toonie and offer hand-cut fries done properly. McCain offers as much in the frozen food section of any Argentinian or Canadian supermarket. In fact, Canada's McCain company is the largest provider of frozen fries on the planet. The chips served here are probably from McCain, so why not offer the better version? But I digress.

All that being said, the location is wonderful. The service was pleasant. The wine selection better than one might expect. And the company was great. Not bad for a summer Sunday afternoon in Nanaimo.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2015 by Jim Murray.

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