Even though the Province has allowed restaurants to welcome indoor diners again, there are still plenty of places that haven’t quite made the transition back yet. No matter, as it allows us to try more Nanaimo takeout options! here are a few we recently tried. (Be sure to check out the spots we visited in March and December too!)
Here’s an old favourite of ours! The original Nanaimo Baby Salsa location has been at Harew… ahem University Village Mall for a number of years now. Even though the restaurant is small and maybe not as flamboyant as its obvious comparison, Gina’s, we think the food really gives the latter a run for its money.
We have to admit, even though we’ve been a number of times over the years, we haven’t really explored a ton of the menu. That’s because one of us insists on having the same thing every time – the La Doña burrito. This thing is crammed with rice, chorizo, avocado and cheese and is absolutely delicious, with just the right amount of heat. Baby Salsa’s other offerings have been great too, but this thing is why we keep coming back.
Well, it ain’t cheap. Each of those burritos is around $15. So, with just the two burritos, tax, and a small takeout tip, we were still around $33. It’s great food, but a bit pricy for takeout.
Baby Salsa is our favourite Mexican restaurant in Nanaimo. A lot of people love Gina’s and a lot of people swear by Jalapeno’s, but for our money, the taste of La Doña burrito and the other great meals has us coming back over and over again. P.S. You can also try out their quick-service restaurant on Terminal Ave (in the old KFC).
After near-constant recommendations from the folks over on Eat Local Nanaimo, we were looking forward to finally trying Coco Café. As you might know, this place is part business, part social service. Part of its mission is to employ locals with developmental disabilities. This is great and we are thrilled to be able to support it.
We were also really looking forward to trying the café’s breakfast bowl, recently highlighted as its Signature Dish by the local news.
As we mentioned, Coco Café is a noble endeavour. One might expect some compromises to be made in order to achieve their social goals, but to our delight, the product that came out of the kitchen was quite delicious! No delays, no compromises, just awesome food prepared promptly. Really, we look forward to coming back when dine in is open.
Cedar might be a bit out of the way for breakfast or a donut for many in Nanaimo. There’s also not a ton of outdoor seating right now, so it’s probably best to plan on takeaway. Also, a small issue, but the garbage cans in the outdoor seating area were really in need of attention. Once the wasps find that place it will not be fun to eat there.
Coco Café is charming and pleasant and served up some really great food. We really look forward to visiting again after restrictions have totally lifted. In the meantime, we already want another one of those takeaway breakfast bowls… Maybe this weekend…
Poké Page 1
Lastly this month we found ourselves at the North end of town and hungry for lunch. We knew we wanted to try Poké Page 1 due to the glowing recommendations, but we were apprehensive. The only poké we’d ever had previously was fresh off the dock in Kona (very fresh and delicious) and gas-station quality prepackaged stuff (vile beyond comprehension).
Well, it’s poké! If you’ve never had it, it’s like a fully loaded sashimi salad, usually using ahi tuna (the really red and tender type of tuna). We love it. PP1 lets you build a bowl from the ground up, but as this was our first time we opted for a couple of “signature” bowls. Each was a hearty serving of rice, greens, and a variety of toppings. There was no skimping on the meat either. Even the regular size bowls were ample meals and we left quite satisfied. We should also note the service was very quick and we were in and out in only a few minutes.
Price could be a bit of a turn off for some. Signature bowls are around $15+ and large build-your-own-bowls are even more. While it’s a hearty meal and the value is fine, some might not really want to buy that much food in the first place.
We can always use more quick-service restaurants serving up reasonably healthy foods. Poké Page 1 steps confidently into that arena with Subway, Bar Burrito, and their ilk. We liked our meals and would definitely revisit to try other bowls (and bubble teas) but at the existing price point and meal size we will need to be feeling really hungry first.