Old Vines Restaurant at Quail’s Gate

Quail's Gate | Photo: Annie Zed

CORR Star Ratings - 4-5 star - exceptional

On Friday February 21, 2014, Hilarie, Pam and I celebrated one-month-till-spring at the Old Vines Restaurant and Wine Bar. Located on the grounds of the family-owned Quail’s Gate Winery, it sits on the slopes of Mount Boucherie in West Kelowna. Being at a winery, we each thoroughly enjoyed a glass of wine. I rarely drink, so I asked the waitress to recommend a light white wine for me. She suggested the 2012 Chasselas-Pinot Blanc-Pinot Gris. Pam had the 2011 Pinot Noir and Hilarie had the 2011 Chardonnay.

Quail's Gate | Pam, Annie, Hilarie

We sat indoors with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the vineyard and Okanagan Lake.

Quail's Gate | Photo: Annie Zed

The views from the property were gorgeous.

Quail's Gate | Annie Zed

We perused the lunch menu and finally came to these decisions. Pam chose the Grilled Wild BC Salmon with Spanish style faro and chorizo, pea puree and creamy lemon chevre. The spice level was surprisingly modest and the portion was satisfying.

Quail's Gate | Grilled Wild BC Salmon | Photo: Annie Zed

Hilarie chose the Twice Baked Goat Cheese and Rosemary Souffle with lentils, apple, hazelnut, endive and lemon vinaigrette. Admittedly, the souffle was the least favourite among all the choices, but the accompaniments were interestingly delicious.

Quail's Gate | Twice Baked Goat Cheese and Rosemary Souffle | Photo: Annie Zed

I selected the Prosciutto Wrapped Maple Hills Chicken Breast with barley and wild mushroom risotto, sage and pan jus. The chicken was very tender and flavourful. We all loved the creamy yet robust texture of the risotto.

Quail's Gate | Prosciutto Wrapped Maple Hills Chicken Breast | Photo: Annie Zed

The food was amazing with delicate flavours. We all had samples from each other’s plates, of course!

Quail's Gate | Hilarie | Photo: Annie Zed

Afterward, when the waitress described the dessert special, Deconstructed Red Velvet Cake, we could not refuse it. It included a cream cheese parfait with a strawberry centre, chocolate cremaux, pieces of cake, roasted raspberry ice cream and a white chocolate garnish.

Quail's Gate | Deconstructed Red Velvet Cake | Photo: Annie Zed

The restaurant itself had pleasant decor.

Quail's Gate | Photo: Annie Zed

Afterward, we checked out the Wine and Gift Shop.

Quail's Gate | Photo: Annie Zed

In the centre of the shop was a beautiful fireplace. By the far window, some people were wine-tasting.

Quail's Gate | Photo: Annie Zed

As we left, the sky had a lovely light, ever-changing the view across the vineyard.

Quail's Gate | Photo: Annie Zed

The Dining Experience

Quality of Food

The ingredients were fresh, with unique combinations of local and regional ingredients that appeal to a fine palate. Wine pairings were suggested on the menus. While the portions were more akin to what is expected at gourmet restaurants, quantities were more than adequate for lunch.

Service

We arrived early for our 1 p.m. reservation and were seated immediately. There were only a few guests at this time, but two waiting staff among all. Our waitress was very helpful and readily available at every moment we required attention.

Ambiance

Despite the fact that only four or five other tables were occupied, the noise volume was rather high. This was understandable being an open plan area with a long kitchen pass-through. I imagine the floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides also contributed to the sound bouncing. Voices at a table near us were often louder than the company at my own table.

Cleanliness

The restaurant was impeccably clean everywhere, including the washroom.

Value for money

We paid $120 for the three of us. This included 3 lunch main courses, 3 single glasses of wine, 1 shared dessert and 1 coffee. This total included tax (but not tip). While this is quite high in terms of an every day lunchtime meal, it seems reasonable for the quality of fare and venue when there is a special celebratory occasion.

Overall

This is a great restaurant for local people to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or special event. Tourists are likely to appreciate the picturesque location, slightly off the beaten track but worthy of a detour, especially in summertime when the vineyards are in full swing. Best to make a reservation to avoid disappointment, and allow plenty of time to take in the views and tours. Have a designated driver if you intend to do some wine sampling!

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The Chopped Leaf in Kelowna

The Chopped Leaf in Kelowna
CORR Star Ratings - 3 star - yummy

During the June long weekend, my friend Sylvea and I ate at a few places in the Okanagan, not the least of which was The Chopped Leaf on Bernard Avenue near the lake in Kelowna’s downtown. We wanted something quick, fresh, healthy and light for a summery lunch. The “design your own salads and wraps” was a perfect choice. We both chose wraps.

Sylvea and Annie at The Chopped Leaf

You get to choose one protein (I chose chicken), a green (I had spinach), a cheese (I picked cheddar), 3 choppings (mine were mushrooms, chick peas and avocado) and a dressing (caesar). The possibilities are endless!

The Dining Experience

Quality of Food

The food was freshly prepared while we waited. All the ingredients were fresh and of a high standard. The wrap was filled end-to-end.

Service

There are only a few tables at this location and there were few other customers, so the service was very prompt. The staff were friendly and very helpful, telling us how their unique menu worked with the ‘design your own’ feature.

Ambiance

A bit dark for a lunch venue, but nonetheless, a natural feel.

Cleanliness

The place was very clean, tidy and organized.

Value for money

You can get cheaper wraps elsewhere, but the choice and opportunity to select as you like it is worth the bit extra. I was also very confident about the freshness and cleanliness since everything is done where you can see it being made, with all the correct hygiene methods strictly in place. My bill came to $12.88 including a bottle of iced tea and tax.

Overall

We both thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and would highly recommend it. Therefore, we gave it 3 stars. I’ve been back since!

Sylvea at The Chopped Leaf in Kelowna

Gasthaus on the Lake in Peachland, BC

Gasthaus on the Lake, Peachland, BC

CORR Star Ratings - 5 star - outstanding!

My sister, nephew and I took a scenic drive to Peachland in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia last Saturday May 5th.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak, Peachland, BC

We were told that there was a good Chinese restaurant there. We couldn’t find it, and when we asked someone local, they said there wasn’t one! Fortunately, we’d already spotted an alternative: Gasthaus on the Lake. It’s a large building split into a pub on the left and a fine dining room on the right.

Gasthaus on the Lake (the pub side), Peachland, BC

The gated entrance was impressive. Directly through was the pub, and the entrance to the restaurant was on the right.

Entrance gate to Gasthaus on the Lake, Peachland, BC

Even though there was a pub menu, we wanted to choose from the wide variety of options that the restaurant menu offered. We started with an appetizer of Sea Scallops. They are fried in butter, but as my nephew has a butter allergy, we asked if they could be cooked in oil. This was no problem.

Csaba with scallops at the Gasthaus

The scallops were 5 of the biggest, most succulent scallops we all agreed that we had ever tasted! It came with triangles of a blended light and dark toast. We were also served a basket of pretzel bread, which was a pleasant alternative to usual dinner rolls. (As for drinks, no alcohol this time; Ella and I stuck with Coke, while Csaba had cranberry juice.)

Ella and Annie with cokes and pretzel rolls at the Gasthaus in Peachland, BC

For entrees, Csaba had the Hunter Schnitzel which was topped with a cognac mushroom sauce.

Hunter Schnitzel at Gasthaus

Ella had the Rinderroulade, also known as Beef Rouladen. It came with potato dumplings, and large portion of red cabbage that was served in a separate bowl. (My mother used to make rouladen and I never cared for it. But this rouladen was amazingly delicious with a tangy pickled filling. I would definitely consider ordering it on a future visit!)

Rinderroulade - Beef Rouladen at the Gasthaus

I ordered the Schnitzel France. It was topped with brie and had a side bowl of (whole cranberries) cranberry sauce. Schnitzels come with vegetables, and you get a choice of roasted potatoes, pan-fried potatoes, spaetzle noodles or french fries. I tried the spaetzle and it was a great complement to the schnitzel.

Schnitzel France at the Gasthaus

Before our meals even arrived, Ella spotted a few fancy desserts being delivered to a nearby table and had to ask the waitress if we could see the dessert menu (so we could ‘plan ahead’!). She brought us a 3D version – a platter of all that was on offer.

3D dessert menu at the Gasthaus

The entrees were so huge, so in order to accommodate dessert, too, we ate half of our dinners (taking the other half home to eat the following day!) and ordered desserts. We got the Mocha Ameretto, Bohemian Hazelnut, and the Chocolate Mousse. All were very light and fluffy, just the right amount of sweetness, and not too rich.

Bohemian Hazelnut, Mocha Ameretto and Chocolate Mousse at the Gasthaus

Inside the restaurant, the ambiance was terrific. The waitress was friendly and had character. She was very helpful and attentive despite how busy the restaurant was. The decor was as you might expect to find an alpine cottage, with lots of old world ornaments. The light fixtures were fascinating, too.

There were two very different old stoves.

There were several cabinets with old doll house furniture, which I was curious to examine in detail.

Every table had a view of the lake and mountains through huge picture windows. We were lucky to be there on the night of the big moon. This picture does not do it justice, but must be included, because it was a beautiful part of our evening.

The Dining Experience

Quality of Food

All of the food was fresh and of a very high standard. All portions were large and gratifying. The meats were very tender. The food was delivered hot.

Service

We did not have a reservation and the restaurant was crowded when we arrived. Despite this, our waitress was very quick to set a table, with every detail clean and perfect.

Ambiance

As you can see from the photos, the place had great character. The objects and ornaments of decor provided visual entertainment. However, the views from the restaurant were utterly flawless and makes the venue perfect for any kind of dining event. Considering the restaurant was very busy, we did not feel crowded, and the noise volume was fine.

Cleanliness

The restaurant was very clean and tidy.

Value for money

Although a bit pricey, it was well worth it for the quality and the experience. Price should not be a deterrent, as there are plenty of options to choose from. We paid $121.35 for the three of us. This included 1 (shared) appetizer, 3 large entrees, 3 desserts, and 3 soft drinks. This included tax (but not tip).

Overall

When assessing this restaurant, there was no doubt it would get full marks from all of us, on all counts. There was absolutely nothing to find fault in! Ella even said she would want to give it a rating of 6 stars if she could! We’ll definitely go back again (and again!).