Mission Hill Winery in West Kelowna boasts incredible architecture, fantastic views, great wines and a fantastic restaurant.
The Terrace Restaurant opened in 2002 and overlooks rows of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and Lake Okanagan. There are only 60 seats, and every table has a view.
Staff are friendly and attentive without being overbearing, and they are highly knowledgeable about the estate's wines. While pairings are suggested with each menu item, our server was able to point out some attractive alternatives too.
In 2008 this restaurant was named by Travel + Leisure magazine as "one of the top five winery restaurants in the world... one of the most glorious dining experiences around." Wow.
Well, it was spectacular in every way. We were here for lunch and as it was after Labour Day, we were able to arrive and be seated without a reservation. I started with a roasted Haida Gwaii octopus dish that included a chick pea fritter, yogurt and mint. It was outstanding.
Sherry had a main course of seared scallops, with summer squash, tomato jam and pork belly. The flavours were wonderful.
My main dish was a burger and the photo doesn't do it justice. It was smoky beef with appropriate garnishes, including a delightful local bacon, all done to perfection. It was quite possibly the best "burger" I've had since visiting Argentina (home to the best hamburgers in the world, which always include a slice of ham and a fried egg) with a nice medium rare quality that has all but disappeared from burgers in this country. The frites were hand-cut and impeccably seasoned.
Coffee and a pear tart dessert, with little meringue things, followed and both were excellent.
Prices are what you might expect, though hardly inflated; the quality, flavours and portions go beyond expectations. The professional yet casual nature of the service, the quality and presentation of the meal, and the outstanding views, make this restaurant a destination all by itself.
While the restaurant was busy, we never felt an urgency to leave. We could have lingered over wine all afternoon, only to have dinner later. It's that kind of place.
Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2015 by Jim Murray.