Best of the City 2017

Results of our online reader survey to determine Nanaimo’s favourites

Now’s the time to start throwing around superlatives.

We at the Nanaimo News Bulletin are excited to present our annual Best of the City magazine. It’s based on a survey that we conducted this spring, asking readers to tell us what they like best about Nanaimo. What shops have the best products? Who offers service with a smile? What restaurants do people simply need to visit? Where can we go for recreation? Relaxation?

We’ve tabulated the responses and packaged them into a publication that we feel can be a worthwhile read even for those who think they know Nanaimo’s every nook and cranny. We’ve included some ideas about things to see and do over the next couple months – the best of the summer, if you will.

It’s fun to see who wins the various categories each year and which businesses have really raised the bar, and we’re happy to highlight their blue-ribbon showings.

And it’s a good feeling to know that in Nanaimo, maybe the best is still yet to come.

Best of the City survey, 2017:

Best Place to Shop

1. Woodgrove Centre

2. Downtown Nanaimo

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Store for Men’s Wear

1. NYLA

2. Tip Top Tailors

3. Moores

Best Beauty Salon or Spa

1. Maffeo Salon and Day Spa

2. Breze Salon and Day Spa

3. Nanaimo Elements Holistic Centre and Spa

Best Jewelry Store

1. Peoples Jewellers

2. Keller’s Jewellers

3. Bastion Jewellers

Best Shoe Store

1. A Step Ahead

2. Hudson’s Bay

3. Payless Shoes

Best Massages

1. Nanaimo Elements Holistic Centre and Spa

2. Island Optimal Health and Performance

3. Knead It Or Not

Best Consignment or Thrift Store

1. Salvation Army

2. Funk Your Fashion

2. Nanaimo Hospice Shoppe

3. Value Village

Best Daycare Centre

1. Jolly Giant Childcare

2. Kidz Kompany Children’s Centre

3. Boys and Girls Club

3. Katie’s Korner

Best Estheticians

1. Nanaimo Elements Holistic Centre and Spa

2. Maffeo Salon and Day Spa

3. Breze Salon and Day Spa

Best Financial Planner

1. Investors Group

2. Sun Life Financial

3. Coastal Community Credit Union

Best Retirement Community

1. Berwick on the Lake

2. Origin Longwood

3. Kiwanis Village

3. Nanaimo Seniors Village

Best Fitness Centre

1. Fit4Less

2. Driven Performance Fitness

3. VI Fitness

Best Personal Trainer

1. Miguel Diaz, Driven Performance

2. Curtis Vizza, Island Optimal

3. Kolbi Wingenbach, Northridge Health Performance Centre

Best Sewing Notions Store

1. Fabricland

2. My Favourite Fabric Store

3. Snip and Stitch

Best Lingerie Shop

1. La Senza

2. My Undies

3. La Vie en Rose

Best Hair Salon

1. Maffeo Salon and Day Spa

2. Violet Hair Lounge

3. Kiyo Salon and Day Spa

Best Optical Store

1. Highview Optical

2. Costco Wholesale

3. Iris

Best Kids’ Clothing Store

1. Old Navy

2. Pumpkin Pie Kids

3. Carter’s

Best Customer Service

1. KC’s Boutique

2. Nanaimo Elements Holistic Centre and Spa

3. Home Hardware

Best Store for Ladies’ Wear

1. KC’s Boutique

2. Quintessential

3. Hudson’s Bay

Best Moving Company

1. Take a Load Off Moving

2. 2 Burley Men Moving

3. Clydesdale Moving and Hauling

Best Electrical Contractor

1. DenMar Electric

2. Mazzei Electric

3. Wenner Electric

Best Floor Covering Store

1. United Floors

2. Home Depot

3. End of the Roll

Best Landscaper

1. Acer Landscape Maintenance

2. Bully’s Landscaping

2. Neat N Tidy Landscaping

3. VI Outdoor Maintenance

Best Place to Buy a Used Vehicle

1. Galaxy Motors

2. Nanaimo Toyota

3. Bouman Motors

Best Marine Supplier

1. Harbour Chandler

2. Anchorage Marina

3. Parker Marine

3. Cabela’s

Best Insurance Agency

1. BCAA

2. Hub International

3. Nanaimo Insurance Brokers

Best Auto Detailer

1. Precision Detailing

2. Nanaimo Toyota

3. Laird Wheaton

Best Heating Business

1. Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating

2. Coastal Energy

3. Norm’s Mobile Service

Best Gas Bar

1. Mid Island Co-op

2. Real Canadian Superstore

3. Chevron

Best Carpet Cleaners

1. Classic Care Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

2. Citrus-O

3. Terry’s Carpet Cleaning

Best Lighting Store

1. McLaren Lighting

2. Home Depot

3. Lowe’s

Best Furniture Store

1. The Brick

2. Dodd’s Furniture

3. La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries

Best Home Improvement Store

1. Home Depot

2. Home Hardware

3. Lowe’s

Best Paint Store

1. Home Depot

2. Benjamin Moore Paints

2. Cloverdale Paint

3. Sherwin-Williams Paint Store

Best Roofing Company

1. Erickson Roofing

2. Milne Roofing

3. G & G Roofing

Best Plumbing Business

1. Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating

2. Art’s Plumbing and Heating

3. Norm’s Mobile Service

Best Auto Servicing

1. Supertech Automotive

2. Bavarian Imports

3. Tim’s Automotive Repair

Best Bike Shop

1. Arrowsmith Bikes

2. Rock City Cycle

3. Coal City Cycles

Best Flower Shop

1. Turley’s Florist

2. Thrifty Foods

3. Grower Direct

Best Outdoor Garden Centre

1. Art Knapp Plantland

2. Green Thumb Garden Centre

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Yoga Studio

1. Moksha Yoga Studio

2. Red Door Yoga

3. Om Town Yoga

Best Store to Buy Books

1. Chapters

2. Literacy Central Vancouver Island

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Travel Agency

1. Flight Centre

2. Imagine Cruise and Travel

2. Marlin Travel

3. Around the World Travel

Best Mattress Store

1. Sleep Country Canada

2. John’s Bedrooms

3. The Brick

Best Tile Store

1. City Tile

2. Cornerstone Tile

3. Home Depot

Best Sporting Goods Store

1. Sport Chek

2. Cabela’s

3. Kirby’s Source for Sports

Best Pet Supply Store

1. Bosley’s

2. PetSmart

3. Olivers Pet Supplies

Best Veterinary Clinic

1. Chase River Veterinary Hospital

2. Petroglyph Animal Hospital

3. Island Veterinary Hospital

Best Store to Buy Tools

1. Midland Tools

2. Home Depot

3. Canadian Tire

Best Place to Get a Tattoo

1. Black and Blue Tattoo

2. Tranceformations

3. Relegation Tattoo

Best Banking Institution

1. TD Canada Trust

2. RBC

3. Coastal Community Credit Union

Best Place to Get Tires

1. Cedar Tireland

2. Kal Tire

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Toy Store

1. Kool & Child

2. Toys R Us

3. Children’s Treehouse

Best Housewares and Linens Store

1. HomeSense

2. Flying Fish

3. Home Outfitters

Best Vitamin and Health Food Store

1. Charlie Brown’s Health Foods

2. Pomme Natural Market

3. Popeye’s

Best Pet Grooming Business

1. Dog N Suds

2. Nanaimo Pet Services

3. PetSmart

Best Tanning Salon

1. Divine Glow

2. Body Glo Tanning Salon

2. Solisa Tanning

3. Golden Sands Tanning Studio

Best Barber Shop

1. Sports Barbers

2. That 50s Barbers Shop

3. Shear Agony Barbershop

Best Place for Birthday Parties

1. Airhouse

2. Brechin Lanes

3. Jumping Jiminy’s

Best Performing Arts School

1. Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts

2. Headliners Productions

2. Tempo Dance Academy

3. Vibrant Studios (VIBE)

Best Open Mike Jam Session

1. The Queen’s

2. The Vault Café

3. The Nanaimo Bar

Best Art Gallery

1. Nanaimo Art Gallery

2. Golden Otter Gallery

3. Vancouver Island University’s The View Gallery

Best Theatre Company

1. Nanaimo Theatre Group

2. Schmooze Productions

3. TheatreOne

Best Place for Live Bands

1. The Queen’s

2. The Nanaimo Bar

3. The Vault Café

Best Place to Buy Produce

1. Thrifty Foods

2. Country Grocer

3. Farmers’ markets

Best Place to Buy Meat

1. Nesvog Meats and Sausage Co.

2. Costco Wholesale

3. Thrifty Foods

Best Place to Buy Seafood

1. Seadrift Fish Market

2. Thrifty Foods

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Wine-Making Store

1. Wine Kitz

2. Urban Wine Cellar

3. Nanaimo Wine Shoppe

Best Martini

1. Cactus Club Café

2. The Nanaimo Bar

3. Modern Café

Best Place for Cocktails and Shots

1. Nanaimo Bar

2. Carlos O’Bryan’s

3. Cactus Club Café

Best Karaoke

1. Oxy Pub

2. Quarterway Pub

3. Wellington Pub

Best Music Trivia

1. Landlubber Pub

2. Dinghy Dock Pub

3. Wellington Pub

Best Place to Dance

1. The Queen’s

2. Level 2

3. The Nanaimo Bar

Best Pub

1. Longwood Brew Pub

2. Carlos O’Bryan’s

3. Crow and Gate Pub

Best Place to Buy Craft Beer

1. Longwood Brew Pub

2. White Sails Brewing

3. Lucky’s Liquor Store

Best Beer Selection

1. Longwood Brew Pub

2. Lucky’s Liquor Store

3. White Sails Brewing

Best Family Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Ricky’s All Day Grill

3. Mrs. Riches

Best Kids’ Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Pirate Chips

3. Mrs. Riches

Best French Fries

1. McDonald’s

2. Pirate Chips

3. New York Fries

Best Pizza

1. Mambo Gourmet Pizza

2. La Stella Trattoria

3. Ali Baba Pizza

Best Nachos

1. Gina’s Mexican Café

2. Baby Salsa

3. Longwood Brew Pub

Best Chicken Wings

1. Oxy Pub

2. Landlubber Pub

3. Quarterway Pub

Best Sports Bar

1. Old City Station

2. Carlos O’Bryan’s

3. Quarterway Pub

Best Breakfasts

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

2. Ricky’s All Day Grill

3. Tania’s Restaurant

Best Lunches

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

2. Delicado’s

3. Dish

3. Mrs. Riches

Best Vegetarian Food

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

2. Power House Living Foods

3. Delicado’s

3. Rawmbas

Best New Restaurant

1. Nana Sushi

2. Fiddlehead Bistro

3. Thai Orchid

Best Restaurant Overall

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. La Stella Trattoria

3. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

3. Gina’s Mexican Café

Best Cinnamon Buns

1. Cobs Bread

2. Cinnamon Joe’s

3. The Bee’s Knees Community Café

Best Steakhouse

1. The Keg

2. The Bold Knight

3. Beefeaters

Best Asian Food

1. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

2. Nori Japanese Restaurant

2. Pho A Dong

3. Saigon Kitchen

Best Deli

1. Nesvog Meats and Sausage Co.

2. Thrifty Foods

3. McLean’s Specialty Foods

Best Place to Meet for Coffee

1. The Buzz

2. Starbucks

3. Tim Hortons

Best Fast Food

1. Wendy’s

2. A&W

3. McDonald’s

Best Romantic Restaurant

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Hilltop Bistro

3. The Nest

Best Fish and Chips

1. Trollers Fish and Chips

2. Pirate Chips

3. Piper’s Pub

Best Mediterranean Food

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Zougla Restaurant

3. Marina’s Taverna

Best Hamburgers

1. Mrs. Riches

2. White Spot

3. Milton Street Public House

Best Bakery

1. Cobs Bread

2. Columbia Bakery

3. Nanaimo Bakery and Confectionery

Best Sushi

1. Nori Japanese Restaurant

2. Firehouse Grill

3. Umai Sushi

Best Place to Get a Nanaimo Bar

1. Bocca Café

2. The Hearthstone Artisan Bakery

2. Mon Petit Choux

3. Nanaimo Bakery and Confectionery

Best Seafood Restaurant

1. The Bold Knight

2. Trollers Fish and Chips

3. The Keg

Best Catering Business

1. Spice of Life Catering

2. Coco Café

2. 2 Chefs Affair

3. Mrs. Riches

Best Pasta

1. La Stella Trattoria

2. Milano’s Ristorante

3. Figo Italian Bistro

Best Patio

1. Cactus Club Café

2. Carlos O’Bryan’s

3. Penny’s Palapa

Best Desserts

1. The Hearthstone Artisan Bakery

2. Mrs. Riches

3. Mon Petit Choux

3. Nanaimo Bakery and Confectionery

Best View of the City

1. Mount Benson

2. Vancouver Island University

3. Sugarloaf Mountain

Best Playground

1. Beban Park Altrusa Playground

2. Oliver Woods Community Centre

3. Maffeo Sutton Park

Best Place to Swim Outdoors

1. Westwood Lake

2. Nanaimo River

3. Long Lake

Best Place to Walk, Jog or Hike

1. Westwood Lake Park

2. Neck Point Park

3. Maffeo Sutton Park

Best Place to Walk Your Dog

1. Westwood Lake Park

2. Neck Point Park

3. Maffeo Sutton Park

Best Place to Mountain Bike

1. Westwood Lake Park

2. Doumont trails

3. Mount Benson

Best Place for a Picnic

1. Neck Point Park

2. Pipers Lagoon Park

3. Newcastle Island

Best Local Campground

1. Living Forest Oceanside Campground

2. Brannen Lake Campground

3. Nanaimo Lakes

3. Westwood Lake Campground

Best Place for Kayaking

1. Newcastle Island

2. Departure Bay

3. Long Lake

Best Place to Take Guests

1. Maffeo Sutton Park

2. Harbourfront Walkway

3. Pipers Lagoon Park

Best People-Watching Spot

1. Harbourfront Walkway

2. Maffeo Sutton Park

3. Woodgrove Centre

Best Place to Watch Birds

1. Buttertubs Marsh

2. Neck Point Park

3. Morrell Nature Sanctuary

Winners in the 16th annual Nanaimo News Bulletin Best of the City supplement were chosen by Nanaimo readers. Votes were tabulated following an online survey.

Just Posted

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Naked man arrested in Nanaimo, provided with pants

Suspect arrested for causing disturbance Nov. 13 near Bowen and Northfield roads

Highway 19A washed out north of Qualicum Beach

UPDATE: Highway to remain closed overnight Nov. 19

Suspended Snuneymuxw chief issues statement on suspension

John Wesley denies wrongdoing and said suspension is invalid under First Nation council rules.

Nanaimo RCMP warn of NAC and Beban Park pool thefts

Nanaimo RCMP warning of increase in locker room thefts at public pool complexes.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

VIDEO: Great Nanaimo Toy Drive kicks off 2017 campaign

Toys can be donated at various locations throughout Nanaimo until Dec. 16

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Heavy rains, winds hit B.C.’s south coast

Localized flooding, gusts up to 70 km/hr expected for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

Most Read