beer in the sun with grass in the background

Enjoy the Sunshine! Best Patios North of Victoria

We all know that for a small city, there are an incredible amount of high-quality, award-winning restaurants in Victoria – but the great dining doesn’t end in Victoria! All over Vancouver Island, there are incredible restaurants that are focused on serving thoughtful food, made with fresh, local ingredients, in a beautiful atmosphere. North of Victoria, in the Cowichan Valley and beyond, there is an abundance of farms that offer the local restaurants access to incredible, fresh, high-quality foods all year. With summer just around the corner, there’s nothing quite like having a great meal on a beautiful patio where you can enjoy the West Coast views and relaxed vibe of Central Vancouver Island. Whether you’re staying in the stunning Cowichan Valley, near beautiful Nanaimo or in peaceful Parksville and Qualicum Beach, there are lots of gorgeous patios to enjoy alfresco dining! 

Cowichan Valley

Known as The Warm Land because of the microclimate that is created by the combination of ocean, valley and rolling hills, the Cowichan Valley is the hub of the vineyards on Vancouver Island and a gorgeous place to visit if you’re coming to the Island. Whether you’re staying in one of the properties in the Cowichan Valley or if you are staying at any other EMR properties and want to go on a road-trip, you must pop into one of these wonderful restaurants to enjoy some local food and scenery. 

The Masthead

1701 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay, BC

If you’re looking for a great place for a special evening, The Masthead is the place to go in Cowichan Bay. With great food, beautiful cocktails, and gorgeous ocean views from the patio, you’re sure to be impressed. 

The Vine

1765 Cowichan Bay Rd, Duncan, BC 

This unique, Belgian inspired restaurant specializes in creating unique, flavourful crepes and so much more. With a large breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu as well, you’re sure to find something perfect to enjoy on their marvellous patio. 

Genoa Bay Cafe

5000 Genoa Bay Rd #9, Duncan, BC

With a mouth-watering menu, incredible service, and a lovely oceanside patio, the Genoa Bay Cafe is a great option if you’re looking for fresh seafood dishes and great ambience. 

Craig St. Brew Pub

25 Craig St, Duncan, BC

This brewpub is a favourite with the locals for good reason! With incredible in-house made beers, classic casual menu items and a patio where you can do some serious people watching in the heart of heritage Duncan, Craig St. is the perfect place for a bite while you’re visiting!  

Unsworth Vineyards

2915 Cameron Taggart Rd #1, Mill Bay, BC

If you’re looking for a spot to spend a special night, the fine dining restaurant at Unsworth Vineyards is an excellent option. Their seasonally inspired menu and impeccable service are worth a visit any time of year, but in the summer to be able to enjoy your meal on the patio overlooking the vineyard is truly magical. 

Shipyard Restaurant & Pub

6145 Genoa Bay Rd, Duncan, BC

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have dinner in a boat, now you can! This quirky restaurant in the Maple Bay Marina offers their visitors a delicious, easy-going menu in a totally unique atmosphere. In the summer, you can enjoy your meal on the patio overlooking the marina.

Bistro at Cherry Point

840 Cherry Point Rd, Cobble Hill, BC 

With incredible, seasonal dishes made with local ingredients, this is a great spot to pop in to have a bite whether you’re visiting the winery or not! With a lovely patio where you can enjoy your meal in the sun and excellent wine pairings from the vineyard itself, this is a must when you’re in the Cowichan Valley! 


As the second largest city on Vancouver Island, The Harbour City – as Nanaimo is often called – is one of the best places to find incredible alfresco dining. In recent years, there has been an influx of restaurateurs and brewers who have opened some remarkable restaurants, cafes, breweries, and pubs in the Nanaimo area. If you’re looking for delicious dishes and great drinks to enjoy on stunning sunny patios while you’re staying at one of the EMR Nanaimo properties these places are the top spots to go!  

Simonholt Restaurant

6582 Applecross Rd, Nanaimo, BC

If you’re looking for a place with great menus that serves unpretentious but elegant classics, this is a great option. This is the place to spend a summer evening on their extensive patio, sipping your favourite potable and indulging in the incredible menu items!

Modern Cafe

221 Commercial St, Nanaimo, BC 

If you’re looking for a place in beautiful old Nanaimo to enjoy the sun and people watch, the patio at Modern Cafe is the place you’ll want to go! For some of the best burgers, brunches, and modern comfort foods in Nanaimo, nowhere beats Modern Cafe!  

Dinghy Dock Pub

8 Pirates Ln, Nanaimo, BC

If you’re looking for a quirky, family friendly place to dine in Nanaimo, this floating restaurant is it! Since 1989, the Dinghy Dock Pub has been the place to go for a relaxed friendly atmosphere, incredible patio dining and great food!  

Lighthouse Bistro & Pub

50 Anchor Way, Nanaimo, BC

Located right on the edge of the harbour in downtown Nanaimo, this beautiful restaurant offers guests a great menu filled with everyone’s favourites and incredible patio seating. With both a large gazebo that juts out over the water and perimeter patio seating for a more intimate dinner, there is plenty of space to enjoy your meal alfresco. 

Parksville & Qualicum Beach

Just north of Nanaimo there are the beautiful little towns of Parksville and Qualicum Beach. These towns, set on the edge of the water, are quaint and peaceful with stunning beaches, resort amenities, and of course, incredible restaurant patios. It’s easy to see why Vancouver Islanders go to Parksville and Qualicum Beach for their getaways! If you’re looking for a great patio to enjoy your meal while you’re staying in Parksville, we’ve got just the places for you! 


2831 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach, BC 

Right on the water on the east side of Qualicum Beach is Shore: the quintessential place to get incredible, casual food with an unbelievable view. If you’re in the mood for a beach walk and some fish and chips or ice cream, this gorgeous beach hut and patio is the place to go! 

Pacific Prime Restaurant at the Beach Club Resort

181 Beachside Dr, Parksville, BC

If you’re looking for a chic, unique way to spend a special evening, Pacific Prime Restaurant is perfect. With stunning haute cuisine, impeccable service, and gorgeous outdoor dining under individual domes, lit with fairy lights as the sun sets, this is the place to really wow your guests. 

The Black Goose Inn

1051 Resort Dr, Parksville, BC

If you’ve ever been to the UK, you’ll know that there is something wonderful about a British pub. If you’re looking for that feeling on this side of the world, you’ve found it. The Black Goose has all the classic elements of a classic pub: ivy covered entrance, warm wood interiors, great draughts, delicious food, and a sunny beer garden – this is definitely the place to take any homesick Brit!