A great view & a minimal corkage fee – rainy, stormy, grey weather be damned – I had an unbelievably great date night at this restaurant The Starboard Grill in Port Alberni, BC.
As I sit & reminisce about the fabulous service the staff of Starboard Grill provided I am listening to Canadian Milos Raonic championing his best efforts at the Wimbledon semi’s. Nice to see so much young Canadian talent playing so well. I am very excited for powerhouse Eugenie Bouchard to play tomorrow morning. (that’s another post all together)
Last friday, I had the very good fortune to experience a little piece of heaven.. it was nothing short of a blustery fall looking sort of day and what could be better on such a day then a fabulous bottle of wine, great food and really good company!
Chimney Rock, Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
We began the evening with this bottle of Chimney Rock Cab Sauv, it was a rather special bottle as not only has the bottle it self been on quite a journey but that in itself is indicative of what it contains.. echo’s – filled with new beginnings, hope for the future, misguided decisions, corners turned, pasts laid to rest..
All that in a bottle of wine?
Oh yeah & as it should be – drinking wine merely for the experience of flavour is a shame – dig deeper – let the passion in! The sense on the tongue is almost an after effect of the penetration of the grape on the soul.
“WINE comes in at the mouth And love comes in at the eye; That's all we shall know for truth Before we grow old and die. I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and sigh.”
― W.B. Yeats
As you now know, I am celiac – sometimes in less accommodating establishments this can be an inconvenience – however in my experience places that place emphasis on more than the ingredients in their kitchens but cook with vigour and love – are always helpful in creating unique blends of succulence, creative kitchen connoisseurs are just that – creatives that cook for pleasure.
Starboard Grill rose to that highest of admiration.
The Starboard Grill is Port Alberni’s only on-the-water restaurant with a patio overlooking the harbour and down the canal. Enjoy a fresh, west coast style lunch, dinner or snack with a view from every table. Located in the heart of the Harbour Quay, The Starboard Grill will be the place to relax among friends and family with amazing food, service and views.
Chef's special: Fig, Goat Cheese & Pancetta garnished with Gluten free crostini, basil & a balsamic reduction.
This is what sold me – we came in for lunch after a rigorous hike through surrounding PA’s beautiful back country and had this fabulous salad. Shocked by the decadence and the ambience in this little harbour restaurant that we decided on the spot to come back for dinner to sample the mains on the bi monthly, always rotating, proudly fresh and local ingredient menu.
Starboard Salad: Seasonal greens, beets, feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, cucumber, mandarin orange & a kalamata vinaigrette.
Blackberry Lamb Roast: Petite lamb sirloin marinated with rosemary and garlic, roasted to your preference and finished with a local blackberry demi.
Pecan Pesto Chicken and Prawn Charbroiled: Sundried tomato marinated chicken breast finished with black tiger prawns sautéed with pesto, spinach, arugula and a splash of cream.
Starboard Grill Dining Room
As you can see I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to come in between sittings, to style is west coast elegance and beautifully decorated in warm wooden tones, with a jaw dropping view of the canal – I simply can not say enough about the location. I can only imagine what summer sunsets will bring, friends on the patio enjoying all that life has to offer.
Starboard Grill Patio
This is a very desirable open air location, complete with linen & candles on each table – no detail is left with out due attention or care.
& for those of you with luck on your side – it’s not uncommon for a special guest to arrive 🙂
For a bit more information about The Starboard Grill:
Before I wrap up the review – I wanted to highlight a serendipitous little experience I had shortly after, dining at the Starboard. Finishing a beautiful ride through Port Alberni’s famed Log Train Trail – my partner and I came up on this little boutique winery.
Emerald Coast Vineyards. With it’s tasting room directly off the Port Alberni no. 4 Highway, it’s a definite stop for any foodie or wine lover looking for small town charm.
Moving past our initial introductions, a little bit about the winery and it’s tumultuous hard run history, this is a story of toil if I have ever heard one – we made the connection between Emerald Coast & Starboard Grill. Interestingly Emerald Coast supplies Chef Brad DeClercq with their well known and beautiful (I can attest as I tasted them myself that afternoon) dessert wines for his own in-house decidant dessert creations.
I love industry collaborations, local ingredients passionately provided, it’s beautiful.
If ever you needed a reason to make your way into the Alberni Valley beyond its outdoor meca feel – Mountain Biking, Hiking galore, SUP down the canal, a visit Sprout Lake or heading through on your way to the West Coast – be sure to stop and take in this restaurant and all it’s charms.
Come in hungry, leave late.
I live and breathe the patio vibe at this time of year and this one will be on my regular list while I am in town. Regardless of the weather, come into the well lit dinning room on those grey days for a warm charm and a positive atmosphere. It was a perfect date night local.
As you know I don’t rate the restaurants i review but if I did this one would be up near the top of my list!
words by | miss d