Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). You can read my full disclosure policy here.
I ate well in Tofino. Really well. Being on the Pacific Ocean, our goal was to eat all the seafood we could. With the exception of one dish (which in hindsight was a bad decision), that’s exactly what we did. In the time since I was last in Tofino, the food scene has completely changed. I remember the town being full of mediocre restaurants serving the typical fish and chips, burger, and pasta dishes. Typical family style places. Decent food, but nothing too spectacular.
Now, the town is full of trendy restaurants, pushing the food scene. For such a small place I was pleasantly surprised by every meal I had:
The Fish Store and Oyster Bar
C really enjoys oysters so I was determined to find us some fresh oysters. I had read that this place did buck a shuck so it was where we headed first. Turns out, they no longer offered that deal, but no problem. We still picked up a couple oysters to taste. Aptly named the Clayoquot Climax, it definitely was a foodgasm worthy bite.
At the time, the waitress told us that the oysters were harvested not 10 minutes from where we were sitting. I thought it was a slight exaggeration, but some research later, she really wasn’t kidding. The oysters came from nearby Lemmens Inlet off of Meares Island. This oyster was so fresh and clean tasting that I had no trouble believing her after I tasted it. I’ve only recently started eating raw oysters and even I could tell the difference. If only they were more affordable. Each one set us back $2.
We also got a platter of their smoked fish. It came absolutely overflowing with a large variety of hot and cold smoked fish served with a tasty spread and crackers. My favourite was the hot smoked salmon belly. It was really tender (aka fatty – yum!) and it just melted in your mouth.
Tue – Sat 12 PM – 10 PM
368 Main St. Tofino, BC
Wolf in the Fog
A friend of mine had high praises about Wolf in the Fog from her time in Tofino earlier this year so I made it a priority to check it out. Before eating here, I had no idea how famous this place was. Turns out, Wolf in the Fog had recently been named one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants according to Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine.
For a restaurant that had been opened for less than 10 months, they sure ran a tight ship! And boy, were they popular. When we arrived at their door shortly after 8pm, we were told that they wouldn’t have a table available until 10 or 10:30. Undeterred we inquired about the bar and was told even for that, it would be a 30 – 45 minute wait. Leaving our names with the host, we headed out the door in search of food elsewhere. It wasn’t even 15 minutes later when I got a call saying they had a spot available for us.
I’m so glad we decided wait it out because the meal was amazing. Building on the fresh and local ideology, Wolf in the Fog takes inspiration from the sea and land surrounding Tofino. The seasonal menu, served family style, is constantly evolving. It changes so quickly that now 3 weeks later as I write this, one of the dishes I had, isn’t even on the menu anymore.
We ordered two half-sized shared plates to share: the French Bombshell (scallops, shellfish ‘bourguignon’, black cod, baguette, endive salad) and the dish that no longer appears on their menu (I forgot it’s name!) made from lamb shanks, pomegranate glaze, merguez, bulgur, and Meyer lemon yogurt.
The French dish was absolutely amazing. It came with a baguette to help you soak up all the liquid. I could have just stuffed myself silly with the broth and bread. The seafood in it was pretty good too. The lamb was okay, but it was definitely overshadowed by the other dish.
The restaurant is split into an upper and lower floor and we were seated at the bar on the lower floor so I didn’t get a chance to see the whole restaurant. Tip for future visitors: make a reservation! It’s so worth it!
Upstairs: Dinner 4pm-12am
150 Fourth St, Tofino, BC
Big Daddy’s Fish Fry
You can’t go to an ocean side town and not have fish and chips. I didn’t want to get the full thing, so I opted for a fish burger which was so good. Fish fried perfectly – crunchy on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside. The fries were really good too. For a random shack that we drove by and decided to eat at, it was a tasty and quick meal.
411 Campbell Street
Tofino Brewing Company
Microbreweries have taken North America by storm and I always like to check out local microbreweries as I travel (really the trend started in Oregon last year and now I just can’t stop. Who can say no to beer?). The Tofino Brewing Company came highly recommended. You can easily pick up a pint or two of their beer at most restaurants in town, but we headed to their tasting room to give everything a try.
Opened in 2011, the brewery sourcing ingredients as locally as possible and uses a water recovery system that allows them to reuse it for subsequent brews. Beer and being sustainable? Yes please! C and I each got a flight and between the two of us tried every beer they had. Before I left, I couldn’t resist picking up a few bottles for home. I’m looking forward to taking a trip back to Tofino via those beers!
Daily 11 AM – 8 PM
681 Industrial Way Tofino, BC
Another new restaurant to Tofino, Kuma (bear in Japanese) brings with it modern Japanese comfort food in the form of ramen, rice bowls and shared plates. Following the trend in Tofino, all the dishes at Kuma are made with local seasonal ingredients. However, unlike other places, you can’t get a reservation in the 28 seat restaurant. We thankfully didn’t have to wait too long for a table.
We opted to skip ramen in favour of all seafood based dishes. There are so many delicious ramen places in Vancouver so it seemed silly to eat it here when there was so much fresh seafood. Especially since our failed ordering of the lamb the night before, we wanted to stick with the sea. In the end, we picked up a spicy salmon bowl, tako (octopus) tataki and the “bear” tuna which is local caught tuna in a tamari and truffle vinaigrette served with toast – essentially a fusion version of a tuna tartare.
My favourite of the three was the last one. Everything just melded so well together.
I’ve never really been a big fan of octopus as I find it to be really chewy and have a strange texture. This version was sous-vide (cooked at a low temperature for a long time under water), so it came out really tender and I didn’t mind it.
The spicy salmon bowl was typical of what you would find in most places. However, in all three dishes you could definitely taste the freshness of the seafood. So good!
Wed – Sun: 4 PM – Close
KUMA (Happy) Hour: 4 – 5pm
100-120 4 St Tofino, BC
Tofino was the place for me to recharge, but it was just as an amazing place to go if you love to eat! Throughout the town, there are so many amazing restaurants and such variety to chose from. There are a lot more delicious places to discover that we weren’t able to try, but if they are anything like the places we did go to, then you’ll definitely be in good hands.
Has a town surprisingly completely blown you away in terms of food? What is the best unsuspecting meal you’ve had?
If you’re new to Pack Me To, welcome! Stay on top of my adventures on Facebook and follow me on Twitter & Instagram.
Great recommendations, Adelina. If I travel to Tofino I’ll know where to eat. I love sea food, but finding really good sea food restaurants is not an easy task. From my experience, the good ones are usually very expensive. That smoked salmon looks absolutely delicious.
Very true – seafood anywhere is expensive. Prices here weren’t too bad. Our most expensive meal was at Wolf in the Fog, but everything else was very reasonably priced. The quality of the food at Wolf in the Fog was amazing so I didn’t mind paying more for it.
Mei and Kerstin (from OpenUpNow.net) says
Mmmmhhh… Now we’re really hungry! Thanks for your advices! Will definitely check out these restaurants when we travel to Torino one day! Cheers 😉
Kiara Gallop says
Mmmmm that so looks like my kind of place….all that fresh seafood, and ale 🙂
Yesssss gotta remember the ale 🙂
Katrina Elisabet says
Ahhhhhh, once again your post is making me hungry!!! Everything looks so good!
Ohh, so many choices! I would be completely happy in here. I will eat all those salmon dishes. My husband would be more than happy with those fresh oysters.
I love salmon! I wish I had more of it though, but definitely can’t complain.
Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats says
Yum, looks like you had some great food in Tofino – a great place for seafood!
You had me at the oysters…they look so fresh and delicious!
They were SO good!
Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says
Oh my word, living here in England, I absolutely love fish and chips but that fish burger sounds absolutely delicious! It’s so easy for them to get too soggy and nit have a nice crisp batter but the one you’re describing sounds perfect ☺
Yes! It was the perfect crisp to soft factor. I wonder what their actual fish and chips would have been like…
Upasna | Life On My Plate says
I just finished with lunch, but your post STILL made me hungry!
And oh my goodness, that Fish Burger and Spicy Salmon Bowl …! Sigh
I wouldn’t mind sinking my teeth into that fish burger again. It was so good!
Mama Herself says
My husband has so far been disappointed that whenever we go to the seaside in Britain, fresh fish does not seem to be that much of a thing. We are probably looking in the wrong places, but then perhaps what we need to do is go here. Food looks great! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Really?? In my head I’ve always imagined the coastal towns of Britain having amazing seafood. That really surprises me! Regardless, yes, go to Tofino to eat well 🙂
I’ve been to BC countless times but never been to Tofino. Looks like I’ll have to change that soon! I love eating, and I LOVE seafood. I live in a landlocked city so the seafood isn’t ever that fresh, so Tofino seems right up my alley!
Yes! Come for a visit 😀
Laia | colibrist says
Ohhh I like so much fish and seafood, specially shrimps and smoked salmon! I cannot eat raw oysters though….
I really liked the food in Penang, Malaysia. And Kep, a small coast village in Cambodia is known for its seafood, specially for its crab 🙂
Smoked salmon is the BEST. SO good 🙂 I’ve heard great things about food in Penang and would love to go just to eat too.
Anna | slightly astray says
Wow, you guys are adventurous eaters!! I’m not that much of a seafood fan (I LOVE fish and chips though… who doesn’t?!). I don’t think I could eat raw oysters even if you paid me. I did have oyster (steam cooked, I think) for the first time a few days ago. Maybe it wasn’t that fresh or something because I violently threw up a few hours later :/.
It’s not too adventurous. No weird bugs or animal parts. That’s just too crazy for me. And boo to your oyster experience! They’re super tasty when cooked properly.