On a trip to Tofino on West Vancouver Island, you might be tempted to create one of your fabulous dishes in the galley and enjoy it aboard, but you’d be missing out, for this laid-back surfer town has a fantastic food scene. Many cafes and restaurants in Tofino are close enough to walk to and use locally sourced ingredients from greens to meats, which means you are getting the best of the best.
On a recent trip, I had the pleasure of tasting my way around town and found plenty of places within walking distance of Tofino Harbour Authority and Tofino Resort & Marina. Here are my five recommendations of cafes and restaurants in Tofino.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Photo by Lorena and Leonard Landon
5 Cafes & Restaurants in Tofino Within Walking Distance of the Docks
1 – Wolf in the Fog
The Wolf in the Fog turned out to be one of my favorite restaurants as they make an avocado toast with red pepper chutney that blew me away. I also ordered maple bacon and the Yolo Yogi, a non-alcoholic drink with coconut and almond milk, chai and nutmeg. All three I’d recommend. If that doesn’t tempt you, their creative menu surely will. You’ll find many local and fresh seafood items like oysters, halibut, cod, and octopus on the menu, and more traditional fare like house-made pasta, burgers, and short rib. In the busy season, make a reservation.
Where: 150 Fourth St. (On the corner of Fourth St. and Campbell Street). It is a 4 to 7-minute walk depending on where you choose to dock.
Hours: Lunch is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is 5 p.m. to late. Saturday brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday champagne brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
2 – Rhino Coffee House
I’ll admit, I’m more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker so I can’t comment on the coffee at Rhino Coffee House. But I can say they have amazing donuts and the line I encountered each morning let me know this cafe in Tofino is a local favorite. For breakfast, they have bagels, homemade granola, French toast made with their donuts as well as sandwiches, and salads. At night they switch gears to pizza. I stopped in for their beer donuts. That’s right beer donuts. I had the cinnamon sugar and maple bacon; both worth every calorie.
Where: 430 Campbell St. (Kitty-corner from the Wolf in the Fog). It is a 4 to 7-minute walk depending on where you choose to dock.
Hours: Every day from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pizza starts at 5 p.m.
3 – SoBo
I stopped by SoBo after a local told me they had the best margarita in town. Of course, I had to see if that was true. They are made with top-shelf liquor, very good and very strong. So potent, that customers are limited two. While enjoying my drink, I perused through The Sobo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road.
Their story is very compelling. The owners met while working on a 70-foot yacht in Florida. Their love for travel and food has taken them all over including working at a destination ranch in Texas and an inn in upstate New York. After a trip to Sooke Harbour House, they visited Tofino and decided to put down roots and start their own business. First, they started with a catering truck and then moved into a restaurant space. I had a reservation at Shelter Restaurant (next on my list) and didn’t have time to dine here, but the menu is full of delicious sounding items made with British Columbia produce and products. In the busy season, make a reservation.
Where: 311 Neil Street. It is a 10-15-minute walk depending on where you are docked.
Hours: Lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dinner is from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
4- Shelter Restaurant
Out of all the restaurants on the list, Shelter Restaurant is the closest to Tofino Resort and Marina. This restaurant is also dedicated to locally sourced ingredients and even go so far as to grow their own herbs in the backyard garden. They have a large bar area with an inviting enclosed outdoor patio as well as seating for dinner inside and an open outdoor patio with heaters. Since I’d been eating a lot of donuts and fish, I opted for the warm chevre salad and the roasted Peace Country lamb sirloin. Both I would recommend. If you order a salad, plan to split it. In the busy season, make a reservation.
Where: 601 Campbell St. It is a 4 to 7-minute walk depending on where you are docked.
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight.
5 – Kuma Tofino
I didn’t make it to Kuma Tofino, but it made it on this list because so many locals recommended this restaurant in Tofino. If you like Asian food, particularly Japanese food, this is your place. The menu items are made from old family recipes with a Northwest twist. Just one look at their gallery and you’ll see their dishes are elegant and beautiful. They also serve sake and local beer from Tofino Brewing Company. A nice feature for those who make last-minute dining decisions is that all of the tables are for walk-ins only!
Photo credit: Kuma Tofino
Where: 101 Fourth St.(Across the street from the Wolf in the Fog.) It is a 3 to 7-minute walk depending on where you are docked.
Hours: Daily from 4 to 9:30 p.m.
Want More? Consider a Tofino Food Tour
I’m a huge fan of food tours as you get to taste local foods, hear stories about the owners and learn about foods specific to the region. If you like food tours as well, you’ll want to check out Tofino Food Tours. One of the nice things about the tour is that it will take you to some of the cafes and restaurants in Tofino I mentioned above, and locations that are a little harder for boaters to get to like Chocolate Tofino.
To find out about more cafes and restaurants in Tofino visit their website.
~ By Lara Dunning
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with some meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.