Pirate Chips Review

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Yar har fiddle dee dee

We’d been meaning to do this for a while; to visit this famous Nanaimo diner and eat greasy things we normally wouldn’t give ourselves permission to. Yaharrr!

Pirate Chips has been around for almost 20 years and is practically a landmark now. By many accounts, this is THE place to go to get your grease fix, and to try unconventional artery-cloggers like deep fried Nanaimo bars… or deep fried s’mores… or deep fried ice cream… or deep fried cheesecake… and so on. Notice a theme? They also brag about their poutine and so we were eager to get in and try that too. (See our continuing poutine series Part 1 and Part 2.)

Holy mother, look at that mountain!

Our visit this time brought us to Pirate Chips’ patio on a hot summer night. The patio itself is a mixed bag. Some of the seats are pretty uncomfortable and there’s a fair amount of road noise (being between buildings on Front Street). On the other hand, it’s entirely shady in the evening and so quite a good spot to cool down on a hot Summer day or evening.

Our visit this time was for an early dinner. We swear we’re not 75 years old but 5 pm dinners strangely just keep working out for us. We were greeted promptly and asked to sit where we pleased. Dinner tonight would be for him the Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger, and for her the Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork Sandwich (neat!) Naturally, we had to try the poutine so the pork sandwich was paired up that and the burger paired with regular fries.

The pork sandwich was delightful. Packed with flavour and quite large, we quite enjoyed it. We’re not sure the Dr. Pepper flavour ever came to the forefront, but it was still good. Also, props for keeping the sauce under control. A pulled pork sandwich can be a huge mess, but in this case the pork was properly drained and the bun appropriately sturdy to keep it all together. Nice.

Speaking of messes, take a look at that MOUND of poutine. Pirate Chips has great fries so pairing these up with the cheese curds and beefy brown gravy was an exciting prospect and was *mostly* good. However, we commonly gripe about the temperature of poutine and Pirate Chips loses points for this too. While the fries and gravy were no doubt served up hot, the cheese curds were added too cold. The result is a lukewarm gravy, unmelted cheese, and some of the larger curds still being actually cold inside. 😐 Keep those curds out of the fridge!

The burger. Was. Fabulous. Peanut butter and bacon is more and more becoming one of our favourite weird combos (try it on a hot dog at Landlubber!) and this thing really delivered. The beef patty itself was flawless with the right amount of juice and char. It was paired up with crunchy veg and a good sturdy sesame bun to keep it all together. Maybe it’s because it had been a long time since we had a proper beef burger (saving the planet and all that) but this thing was the perfect entrĂ©e at the perfect time and we just LOVED it.

An onion escapee. Notice the PB in the bottom left?

Oh yeah, the epic mound of fries was pretty dang good too. In fact, they’re the best in the city, as voted by the people. All together there was so much food neither of us could finish our dinners, despite being quite hungry.

Service during our visit was fine. Our server was prompt and friendly, but kept interaction to a minimum. We don’t necessarily expect to be wowed with the service at a diner, so we had no complaints.

Our bill for both un-finish-able meals and one beer (he felt like cold water on a hot day instead) plus a modest tip was $67. We find the value to be ok but just barely.


Pirate Chips is a fun little spot if you need a grease fix. To be fair to the restaurant, they do offer some healthier options, like a grilled fish salad, but it’s hard to imagine going there just for that. You go for the deep fried whatever, the fish and chips, or one of their many poutine options. While you get a lot of food with your order, it’s not a cheap place to eat at $30-$40 per person including a drink. Presuming you’re ok with that, get down there and try something bad for you!

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