The Sawmill Taphouse and Grill Is Destined For Greatness

There’s a new restaurant in the Cowichan Valley and word is spreading fast about this cutting edge eatery. A little urban Victoria comes to Chemainus to delight our tastebuds!

Chemainus in the Cowichan Region has a new restaurant destined for greatness.

There’s really nothing quite like The Sawmill Taphouse and Grill in Chemainus, or the Cowichan Valley for that matter.  Unassuming from the outside, The Sawmill starts with an urban vibe and marries that with Chemainus town history to bring a lively, warm and vibrant dining experience with quality made-from-scratch food.

Walking in the door, we noticed the wood-fire/gas brick oven right off the bat. With several fantastic looking pizzas to choose from, you can get your pizza to go or dine in. Either way, it will be wonderful.

From custom-made tables sourced right here on Vancouver Island from Chemainus and Port Alberni (seriously cool textures), to an authentic saw blade hanging on the wall. Everything came together to create just the kind of atmosphere we need to bring diversity to our restaurant scene in the Cowichan Valley.

From the moment we sat down, we could tell this was going to be good.

Word had spread to us about the care taken to create mouth-watering wings at Sawmill Taphouse and Grill, and knew we had to try them.  Jay loves wings. Often though, wings can be dried out and tasteless or covered in so much sauce that you can’t even tell you’re eating chicken.

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At The Sawmill, the wings are marinated overnight and then smoked with cherry, apple, and oak wood and brought to your table in absolute perfection. Beautifully crisp on the outside, tender and flavourful on the inside with a spicy harissa sauce….here, let me me wipe the drool from your mouth….best smoked wings we’ve ever had.

Soups, sauces, breads, and hamburgers all made from scratch in-house, make a difference. Of course it always makes a difference when you eat fresh food….and on Vancouver Island fresh food and drink is a source of pride for serious island restauranteurs.

Everything we tried was wonderful.

From wings and prawns to start with, to chicken and the 50/50 Taphouse Burger and then the creme brûlée and gluten free decadent chocolate cake that tasted like a deep, dark, rich truffle.

Now I gotta say that Jay was a bit unimpressed when his burger arrived at our table. It looked like just the patty and a ciabatta bun. But with each bite, the flavours won him over. It turns out that when you have a quality burger, the fixings just take away from the flavour, not enhance it. So, though the picture doesn’t look impressive, the taste truly is.

It was fantastic and I’m surprised Jay didn’t need to roll me out of the restaurant. So consider yourself warned, the food is really good.

If it’s beer you like, then you’ll love the nearly 30 regional beers on tap to choose from. And if you have a difficult time choosing which one to try, simply get the “taster” and pick 3 to compare with one another. The bar managers work hard to provide a wide array of beers from the island and it shows.

Ciders and even wines are on tap here too, so you’ll definitely need to return several times to pick your favourite. At first I thought it a bit odd to have wines on tap. But I learned that the wine lasts longer because the system they use keeps all air out of the barrel so the wine stays fresh.

Chef Ben works culinary magic in the kitchen and prides himself in making quality dishes you won’t be able to duplicate at home.

The friendly staff, delicious food and  lively atmosphere make for a perfect evening. You might want to make a reservation for your visit. We dined on a Thursday and noticed there wasn’t an empty table in the whole place.

Clearly, the word is getting out about how great The Sawmill Taphouse and Grill really is.

Sawmill Taphouse and Grill


Phone: (250) 324-0222

Hours: 10 am – 11 pm 7 days a week

Tip: If you are looking for a quiet fine dining restaurant atmosphere this isn’t it.

Directions to Sawmill Taphouse and Grill (Google Map Directions)