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Eat Your Way Through Canada’s Prettiest City: Nelson, B.C.

Nelson, B.C.

If you’re looking for a foodie getaway that allows you to walk from cafe to restaurant to after dinner drinks, you’ll want to put Nelson B.C. on your travel bucket list. The town of about 10,000 boasts more restaurants per capita than San Francisco and offers up everything from Viet Modern to Texas BBQ. We spent a weekend away there and can’t wait to return and spend a week, or more eating our way through town.

5 Restaurants to visit in nelson, B.C.

Nelson B.C. Oso Negro Coffee Cappucino, Cap, and Croissant
Nelson, B.C. Oso Negro Patio

Oso Negro aka Black Bear began roasting coffee and serving customers in their roasting room, which doubled as a cafe back in 1993. Its current flagship cafe in Nelson has the best ambiance of any cafe we’ve ever been in. Works by local artists hang within. Outside, there is a beautiful perennial garden to relax and converse in. 

If you’re a fan of flavor shots, or white mochas (as I am), be prepared — they don’t do those. May I recommend, as the barista did for me, a cappuccino with a bit of honey added in? One sip into mine and I understood why they don’t mess with flavor shots. Their espresso is so divine, adding a flavor shot would be the equivalent of putting ketchup on a perfect steak.  

While there, treat yourself to a baked good like a Cinnamon Bun (Chris’s favorite), or Croissant (my favorite). 

We lunched on delicious Lemongrass Grilled Chicken Banh Mi sandwiches ($16): pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, chili aioli, cilantro, and jalapeno on a Kootenay Bakery Cafe Co-op organic baguette. We also shared a side of waffle fries with chili aioli dip worth writing about. They flavor them with a mix of Pho seasoning, salt, and pepper that tastes pho-nomenal. I know. I know. So punny, right? The waffle fries are not on the menu. According to our server, they’re only available on occasion. If they have them when there, try them! Our meals were  bright and fresh with a spice that tastes part of a whole. 

Also worth a try if, like us, day drinking isn’t your thing is a Dalat Market Soda ($5): strawberry, grapefruit, fresh lime, Thai basil, soda, and crushed ice. They serve it with a stainless steel straw (or two). The drink is refreshing, light, and the just right level of sweet. 

Nelson B.C. Broken Hill Exterior

We knew we were in for an elevated experience in Texas BBQ eating the moment we walked through the door. A deejay spun tunes and a massive chandelier hung from the ceiling. We were seated at a booth with high seat backs – the sort of seating arrangement that gives at least the illusion of seclusion – part of the reason I danced in my seat with abandon throughout our dining experience. Dancing is one of a number of things that I love, but am not all that talented at.

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The ambiance was only the beginning of the wonderful experience we had at Broken Hill. The picklebacks, the margaritas and beer, and the food, oh my goodness the food – it was all sublime. 

Pictured Above: Tommy’s Margarita ($14): Cazadores Blanco Tequila, lime juice, agave nectar, salt rim. Served over a rock and that solid rock of ice makes all the difference if you like to drink slow and savor without your drink’s flavor getting watered down.   

Nelson B.C. Broken Hill Rib Plate
Nelson B.C. Broken Hill Brisket, Greens and Slaw

Chris dined on a 1/2 rack of BBQ pork ribs, mac and cheese and coleslaw ($24).

I had the brisket, southern greens and subbed in coleslaw for the mashed potatoes and gravy ($26.50 + $2 for being extra). I can’t remember if it was exactly $2, but it was close. I’m sure the mashed potatoes and gravy are delicious and the best complement for the meal, but I love eating coleslaw with brisket. I’m glad I tried the coleslaw, because it is the most amazing slaw I’ve ever had in my whole life.

Nelson B.C. Broken Hill Dessert Silky Coconut Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Pudding

For dessert, Chris devoured the Silky Coconut Cheesecake with a Rhubarb Compote, ToastedCoconut, Lime Zest and Oat Crumb ($10). I savored the Peanut Butter Pudding ($9) featuring a Chocolate Ganache and Smoked Peanuts.

We love street style tacos and we love eating at places that allow us to order by the taco ($3.95), so that we can mix and match and sample flavors to our heart’s content. 

Nelson B.C. Cantina Del Centro Melissa's Tacos

My Tacos

  • Avocado Frito: panko crusted avocado, house-made kimchi, sesame seeds, chipotle aioli, and cilantro. 
  • The Argentine: red wine braised beef, squash, kale, chimichurri, and cilantro.
  • Achiote Mushroom: achiote garlic mushrooms, cotija cheese, onion, cilantro

Chris's Tacos

  • Al Pastor: achiote spiced pork, pineapple, onion, cilantro
  • Chicken Mole Negro: braised chicken in mole negro sauce, sesame-almond crunch, pickled onion, cilantro 
  • The Argentine: red wine braised beef, squash, kale, chimichurri, cilantro (GF)

Margarita Time!

They have 12 margaritas to choose from. They also offer half margaritas with 10 different recipes to choose from, “Half Size, Half Buzz, Your Choice Of Flavour!” A great option for curious drinkers who prefer to leave restaurants walking upright. 

Here are the three delicious ones we tried (thanks to sipping on one another’s drinks)…

  • Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita ($14): Cazadores Blanco, Triple Sec, Cucumber, Jalapeno, Cilantro & Lime. (my favorite)
  • Coconut Habanero ($14): Cazadores Blanco, Triple Sec, Coconut, Habanero & Lime (Chris’s favorite)
  • Eldeflower ($14): Cazadores Blanco, St-Germain, Lime & Salt

And for chris's, Err... Our Dessert

Churros! We placed one order. Chris thought he’d have five churros and I’d have one. On my first bite, I dipped my churro into their house-made caramel sauce and fell in love. I ate a second and a third. So good!

Nelson B.C. Pitchfork Pre-Brunch

Pitchfork is a farmer-owned restaurant that focuses on fresh, seasonal, and local produce from the Kootenays. We brunched on their charming patio with views of the mountains around us. The service was that perfect combination of attentive, friendly, and laid back. Chris wore the Tool t-shirt he bought bonded with the gentleman who seated us over it. They’ve both been to Tool concerts. I have too, but my enthusiasm for the band does not come close to theirs. 

Nelson B.C. Pitchfork Our Lemonades

We began our meal with lemonade. I had mine with lavender. Chris ordered his regular.

Nelson B.C. Pitchfork Chris's Brunch
Nelson B.C. Pitchfork Melissa's Brunch

Chris’s new favorite burger ever, the tastiest he can remember having, is the Kootenay Burger($20): Kootenay natural beef, bacon, aged cheddar, crispy fermented cucumber, beet pickled onions, cedar-bourbon bbq sauce, wild mushroom aioli, on sourdough from Kootenay Bakery Cafe Co-op.

My Wild Mushroom Eggs Benny ($16) with soft poached eggs, braised greens, with smoked hollandaise was served on a sourdough muffin from Kootenay Bakery Cafe Co-op. The new potatoes and fruit on the side rounded out my meal perfectly. 


Nelson, B.C. Prestige Lakeside Resort

Where to stay while in nelson, B.C.

While in Nelson we stayed at Prestige Lakeside Resort (701 Lakeside Dr.). Next to Kootenay Lake with the Selkirk Mountains rising just beyond it makes for some beautiful, calming, and stunning scenery. Even though we were only on the second level, the views were among the best we’ve ever had from a hotel window and we’ve stayed in some pretty amazing places around the world.

More Traveling to nelson fun:

Our time in Nelson was limited. There are tons more restaurants, stores, and activities we wish we could have explored. Check out our Foodie Fun in Nelson, B.C. for more on the fabulous food to enjoy there. Of course, half the fun of travel is getting there (sometimes). Watch Our Drive Across Southern British Columbia – Taking The Crownsnest Highway Home to see what a gorgeous (and tasty) road trip it is! 

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