Incredible Restaurants, Breweries and Cafes
The Nelson and Kootenay Lake region is fast becoming known for incredible culinary diversity—there are more restaurants and cafes per capita here than in Toronto, Manhattan or San Francisco. It doesn't matter which community you visit, you'll have a culinary experience unique to our Kootenay style: Kaslo, Balfour, Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, Crawford Bay, Gray Creek, Riondel and Nelson.
Hyper-Local Fresh Ingredients and Award Winning Restaurants
Many residents in the region are committed to hyper-local, farm-to-table cuisine, and seasonal ingredients are all a part of the increasingly popular 100 Mile Menu. For a mountain region we have a surprisingly large number of nearby farms and fields. We’re also home to a premiere, award-winning cooking school at Selkirk College, and many graduates continue to live and work in our region after graduation.
If you have heard of Whitewater Ski Resort you have probably heard of their famous food and the Whitewater Cooks series of cookbooks crafted by Shelley Adams. You can purchase these online or at a local store in the region.
Local BC Wines and Beers
Nelson has one of the first certified organic breweries in British Columbia, the Nelson Brewing Company. Torchlight Brewing and Backroads Brewing Co in Nelson and Angry Hen Brewing in Kaslo serve up a variety of fresh craft beers. Restaurants in the region serve the local brew as well as many other local BC wines and beers - there are over 100 craft beer taps in the region. Nelson's close proximity to the Okanagan allows for many delicious regional options on the wine menus.
If you are able to visit in November for Burger Month you will be in for a gastronomic adventure. Burger month, hosted by the Nelson Star, gathers over 35 restaurants serving up mouth watering options. If you want to try them all, sharing a burger, or getting takeout for a group are some effective tips used by locals.
14 Days of Poutine
Every April, the local restaurants around Kootenay Lake create incredible takes on this traditional Quebecois dish for 14 Days of Poutine. Taking the classic combination of fries, gravy, and cheese curds to the nth degree, it’s Canada’s favourite cheat meal like you’ve never seen before. Organized by the Nelson Star, join over 27 restaurants in celebrating this classic dish.
Unique and Diverse Culinary Experiences
From fast food to the finest dining, the region caters for all needs. Nelson also features Canada's oldest food co-operative grocery store - Kootenay Co-op, artisan bakeries, a cheese shop, and charcuterie, all within walking distance of dozens of other restaurants. Multiple cafes serve up locally roasted coffee from Oso Negro and No6 Coffee, and patios in the region offer a captivating blend of beautiful outdoor scenery and vibrant mountain life. Come find awesome on a culinary adventure.
Read our visitors guide online or order a copy of the official visitor's guide and map for our region.