Is it possible to enjoy fine dining with children? We sure found out during our visit to the exquisite Locals Restaurant in the Comox Valley. Truly island fresh!
What was the best dining experience you have ever had?
Do you remember it?
No doubt you found yourself among friends and the food was exceptional. If you closed your eyes with every bite, the food melted in your mouth. The flavours blended with such excellence, you knew there would be no way you could recreate it yourself…no matter how good a cook you think you are.
This is what we experienced as a family at Locals Restaurant located in the heart of beautiful Comox Valley.
Just last year, Locals Restaurant was rated #8 on TripAdvisor for fine dining in all of Canada. We didn’t know this before entering, but after eating, we understood why.
For the first time ever, we took the entire Traveling Islanders family to enjoy some fine dining.
I really wasn’t sure how this would go over with the kids. I mean, when we eat at home there is often only 20 minutes when we’re all sitting down together happily eating, so how would we do with a few hours?
Locals Restaurant is happily situated in Courtenay, right in the middle of Old House Village Hotel and Spa where we were staying.
We felt it as soon as we entered the restaurant; the distinct west coast island warmth surrounded us. No cookie-cutter chain feel here…and we were glad for it.
When we arrived, the children were quite hungry as we had just enjoyed a fun-filled day in the Comox Valley. As we waited for our food to arrive, my children really amazed me with their ability to sit peacefully, colour, and play quiet games.
They were hungry, but with the promise of exceptional food, they knew they could be patient.
And when the food arrived? Oh. My. Goodness. It was so very much worth the wait!
Apples cut artistically with yogurt dip for the kids, a salad for Jay and pork belly on lemongrass and coconut sauce (!) with pickled julienne vegetables, scallions and fresh coriander for me.
Then we were ready for the main course. Oh sweet goodness. This food was exceptional.
Locals Restaurant ingredients come almost 100% from the area’s local farms…seafood from the bay next door, cheeses from nearby cheese works, produce from island growers, local wines, coffee and so much more. All their food is made fresh, in house.
Yes… all of it.
Photo Courtesy Of: bracey photography
Sauces, breads, pastries, soups and every single dessert is made to order and it shows in the richness of flavours that cross the pallet.
When my server placed the scallop and prawn pasta down in front of me, I knew right away by the presentation I made the right choice.
Jay went for the Sterling Silver NY Steak cooked to medium rare perfection and served on a creamed leek and potato timbale, topped with blue claire cheese and Shiraz reduction jus. To be fair, I don’t know what all of that meant, but he raved with every bite about how this was truly the best steak he’d ever eaten.
And the kids? Seriously? They had mini burger bites that were nothing short of gourmet.
I have to say my absolute favourite was when I shared a dessert with my daughter. We are both lactose intolerant and I cannot have gluten either. These two food issues mean dessert for me is often limited to fresh fruit.
But when our server told me about the vegan and gluten free chocolate truffle cake, I almost cried.
I taught my daughter the fine art of taking a bite, closing your eyes, and letting the flavours melt in your mouth. She and I shared a moment over that cake.
Oh. The goodness.
I went in hoping the kids would be able to bear a fine dining experience and came out so pleasantly happy. The 2 1/2 hours for dinner at Locals were spent well. We played tic tac toe, drew pictures, enjoyed exquisite food and truly enjoyed one another…just like fine dinning should be.
Locals Restaurant impressed us so much for dinner, that we had to return the next day to try their lunch menu.
And it did not disappoint.
Kids meeting a real life chef for the first time! Ronald St. Pierre.
It was every bit as good as the dinner and we came away with such happy tummies and tastebuds.
My son’s absolute favourite meal at the moment is a wrap, so I was thrilled that Locals offered a clubhouse wrap complete with fresh, made to order pita bread!
My potato crusted fish fillet served with chili lime aioli and pickled daikon and carrot slaw rounded out my fantastic experience at Locals Restaurant and Jay raved about his grilled snapper and squid ink pasta.
If the kids were writing this, I’m sure they say that though they enjoyed the meals, but their favourite was the desserts. We couldn’t decide on a dessert for all of us to share after lunch, so we tried a little bit of everything with the taster platter.
Soufflé, cake, rhubarb pie, tartelette and a wee bit of créme brulée brought even bigger smiles to all our faces.
Our kids first went after the dessert like a flock of pigeons on a bread loaf… but after being reminded of fine dining manners I can proudly say they could have been mistaken for royalty.
We had two wonderful meals at Locals Restaurant, we met and visited with the owners and chef Ronald St. Pierre, and most of all we enjoyed time together as a family, slowing down to enjoy the finer foods in life.
To learn more about Locals Restaurant visit them online at: www.localscomoxvalley.com