Skip to content

Best of the City 2023: The votes are in

Results of the Nanaimo News Bulletin’s reader survey
Best of the City magazine is inside today’s print issue of the Nanaimo News Bulletin. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Best of the City votes are in, they’re counted, and now, they’re revealed.

First off, congratulations to all winners and runners-up. Also, our sincere thanks to the thousands of readers who submitted votes in this year’s survey, sharing their favourites in more than 150 categories. The online survey was open for a month on Canada’s best community newspaper website,, and voters were free to choose the category winners from a list or submit write-in votes, which were subsequently added to that list. More than enough people participated in the process to make the survey results statistically significant, with worthy winners across all categories.

Here are this year’s top-three results, in the order in which they appear in Best of the City magazine:

Best Tourism Activity/Adventure Business

1. WildPlay Nanaimo

2. Saysutshun

3. Kitties and Cream

Best Real Estate Agent

1. Robyn Hewer

2. Scott Parker Team

3. Cory Chapman

Best Seafood Restaurant

1. The View Oceanside Grill

2. Trollers Fish and Chips

3. Nori Japanese Restaurant

Best Pizza

1. Mambo Gourmet Pizza

2. Milano’s Ristorante

3. Pizzeria La Stella

Best Take-Out Food

1. Mambo Gourmet Pizza

2. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

3. Poké Page

Best Restaurant Overall

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. The View Oceanside Grill

3. Mahle House Restaurant

Best Mediterranean Food

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Zougla Restaurant

3. Milano’s Ristorante

Best Bakery

1. Cobs Bread

2. Columbia Bakery

2. Nanaimo Bakery and Café

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery

Best Breakfast/Brunch

1. Gabriel’s Café

2. Tania’s Restaurant

3. Kelly’s Kitchen Café

Best Catering Business

1. Spice of Life Catering

2. Coastal Boards and Bites

2. Smokin’ George’s BBQ Restaurant

3. COCO Café

Best Fish and Chips

1. Trollers Fish and Chips

2. Maggie’s Seafood Market Fish and Chips

3. Cod Squad Fish and Chips

Best Chicken Wings

1. Landlubber Pub

2. Oxy Pub

3. Quarterway Pub

Best Cinnamon Buns

1. Cobs Bread

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery

Best Curry

1. The Curry Culture

2. Flavours of India

3. Gateway to India Restaurant

Best Deli

1. Nesvog Meats and Sausage Company

2. Nellie’s Dutch Deli

3. Meat Craft Island Butchery

Best Family Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Montana’s BBQ and Bar

3. Mrs. Riches Restaurant

Best Fast Food

1. Big Wheel Burger

2. Poké Page

3. Wendy’s

Best Place to Buy Seafood

1. Seadrift Seafood Market

2. The Drift Meat and Seafood

3. St. Jean’s Cannery and Smokehouse

3. Thrifty Foods

Best Food Truck

1. Sip and Sliders

1. Smitty’s Smokin’ Pig

2. Harbour City Donuts

3. Van Isle Poutinerie

Best French Fries

1. New York Fries

2. Costco Wholesale

3. McDonald’s

Best Hamburgers

1. Bin 4 Burger Lounge

2. Top Notch Burgers

3. Big Wheel Burger

3. Joe Burger

Best Kids Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. McDonald’s

3. Smitty’s

Best Lunches

1. Crow and Gate Pub

2. Delicado’s Deli

3. Gabriel’s Café

3. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

Best Asian Food

1. Nori Japanese Restaurant

2. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

3. Quality Foods

Best Sushi

1. Nori Japanese Restaurant

2. Umai Sushi

3. Firehouse Grill

Best Nachos

1. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

2. Gina’s Mexican Café

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

Best Patio Restaurant

1. Crow and Gate Pub

2. Dinghy Dock Pub

3. Cactus Club Café

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

Best Place to Buy Meat

1. Nesvog Meats and Sausage Company

2. Meat Craft Island Butchery

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Nanaimo Bars

1. Red’s Bakery

2. Nanaimo Bakery and Café

3. Hearthstone Artisan Bakery

Best Place to Buy Produce

1. Country Grocer

2. Cedar Farmer’s Market

3. Nanaimo Fruit and Vegetable Company

Best Pasta

1. Milano’s Ristorante

2. La Stella Trattoria

3. Asteras Greek Taverna

Best Place to Meet for Coffee

1. Drip Coffee Social

2. The Vault Café

3. Buzz Coffee House

Best Romantic Restaurant

1. Mahle House Restaurant

2. The View Oceanside Grill

3. Asteras Greek Taverna

Best Steakhouse

1. Bold Knight Restaurant

2. Montana’s BBQ and Bar

3. Mahle House Restaurant

Best Tacos

1. Jalapenos Mexican Food

2. Gina’s Mexican Café

3. Baby Salsa Mexican Restaurant

Best Vegetarian Food

1. Eve Olive

2. Gabriel’s Café

3. Delicado’s

Best Desserts

1. Burnt Honey Dessert Company

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Nanaimo Bakery and Café

Best Ice Cream/Gelato

1. Burnt Honey Dessert Company

2. Cold Front Gelato

3. Dairy Queen

Best Appetizers/Tapas

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Cactus Club Café

3. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

Best Place for Birthday Parties

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Brechin Lanes

3. WildPlay Element Park

Best Cocktails and Shots

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. The Nanaimo Bar

3. Cactus Club Café

Best Happy Hour

1. Cactus Club Café

2. Carlos O’Bryans Neighbourhood Pub

3. Browns Socialhouse

Best Martini

1. Cactus Club Café

2. The Nanaimo Bar

3. Browns Socialhouse

Best Karaoke

1. Quarterway Pub

2. Oxy Pub

3. Corner Lounge

Best Music Trivia

1. Landlubber Pub

2. The Black Bear Pub

3. Lantzville Pub

Best Open Mic/Jam Session

1. The Queen’s

2. The Vault Café

3. Landlubber Pub

Best Place for Live Bands

1. The Queen’s

2. Port Theatre

3. The Nanaimo Bar

Best Place to Buy Craft Beer

1. White Sails Brewing

2. Longwood Brewery

3. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

Best Place to Buy Wine

1. B.C. Liquor Store

2. Lucky’s Liquor Store

3. Greenrock Liquor Store

Best Place to Dance

1. The Queen’s

2. Vibe Studios

3. Brigadoon Dance Academy

Best Pub

1. Crow and Gate Pub

2. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

Best Sports Bar

1. Old City Station Pub

2. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Quarterway Pub

3. Boston Pizza

Best Wine-Making Store

1. Wine Kitz

2. Off the Vine Winemaking

3. Brewers Corner/Nanaimo Wine Shoppe

Best Art Gallery

1. Nanaimo Art Gallery

2. Art 10 Gallery

3. The View Gallery

3. YellowBird Arts Gallery

Best Dental Clinic

1. Diver Lake Dental Clinic

2. Franklyn Street Dental Centre

2. Harewood Dental Clinic

3. Northfield Dental Clinic

Best Accounting Firm


2. Church Pickard Chartered Professional Accountants

3. Dougan, Irwin and Associates

Best Auto Body Shop

1. Trojan Collision

2. Craftsman Collision

3. CSN Mid-Island Auto Collision

Best Auto Detailer

1. Bro’s Detailing Nanaimo

2. Galaxy Motors

2. V.I. Precision Detailing and Car Care

3. Eco Wash Automotive Detailing

3. A Touch Above/Nanaimo Toyota

Best Auto Servicing

1. Precise Mechanical Repairs

1. Supertech Diesel Truck Specialists

2. Bavarian Imports Auto Repair

2. Ernie’s Blackpoint Repair

3. BCAA Auto Service Centre

Best Banking Institution

1. Coastal Community Credit Union

1. RBC Royal Bank

2. TD Canada Trust


Best Hearing Clinic

1. Ears To You

2. HearingLife/NexGen Hearing

3. Connect Hearing

Best Barbershop

1. Edge Barbershop

2. That 50’s Barbershop

3. Shear Agony Barber Shop

Best Bathrooms

1. Cabela’s

2. Cactus Club Café

3. Woodgrove Centre

Best Bike Shop

1. Arrowsmith Bikes

2. Rock City Cycles

3. Coal City Cycles

Best Bookstore

1. Chapters

2. Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

3. Literacy Central Vancouver Island

Best Carpet Cleaners

1. Classic Care Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

2. Eco Clean Carpet Care

2. Suck It Up Carpet Furnace

3. Nanaimo Carpet Cleaning

Best Janitorial/Housekeeping Business

1. Bastion Janitorial Supplies

2. Maid For This

3. Maid to Please Cleaning Services

Best Cell Phone Repair

1. Mobile Klinik/UbreakiFix

2. London Drugs

3. Cell Pro

Best Clothing Store for Inclusive Sizing

1. CurVa-Voom

2. Penningtons

3. Old Navy

Best Community Minded Business

1. Red’s Bakery

2. V.I. Towing

3. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

Best Computer Sales and Service

1. R-U Computing Co.

2. Alpine Technical Services and Sales

3. Best Buy

Best Consignment or Thrift Store

1. Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

2. Nanaimo Hospice Shoppe

3. Friends of Haven Thrift Shop

Best Pharmacy

1. Central Drugs

2. Medicine Shoppe

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Customer Service

1. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

2. KC’s Boutique and Petites

3. Country Grocer

3. V.I. Towing

Best Denture Clinic

1. Harbour City Denture Clinic

2. Nanaimo Denture Clinic

3. Pacific Denture Centre

Best Electrical Company

1. DenMar Electric

2. Walls Electrical

3. Mazzei Electric

Best Engineering Firm

1. Herold Engineering

1. Sorensen Trilogy Engineering

2. Onsite Engineering

2. Tetra Tech

3. Lewkowich Engineering Associates

Best Estheticians

1. The Nail Lounge

2. The Babe Cave

3. Breze Salon and Day Spa

3. Pure Spa

Best Lingerie Store

1. Purple Cactus Lingerie

2. La Vie En Rose

3. Elizabeth’s Lingerie Drawer

Best Farmers’ Market

1. Cedar Farmers Market

2. Island Roots Farmers Market

3. Gabriola Farmers Market

Best Financial Planning Business

1. Coastal Community Private Wealth Group

1. RBC Dominion Securities

1. TD Canada Trust

2. RBC Royal Bank

3. Integral Wealth Management

Best Fitness/Exercise Company

1. Healthy Role Models

2. Authentically Fit

3. Planet Fitness

Best Floor Covering Store

1. End of the Roll

1. United Floors

2. Abba Floorcoverings

3. City Tile

Best Furniture Store

1. Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress

2. La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries

2. The Brick

3. Hartmann and Company

Best Vitamin/Health Food Store

1. Charlie Brown’s Health Foods

2. Pomme Natural Market

3. Nanaimo’s Health Shop

Best Health-Care Clinic

1. Caledonian Clinic

2. Medical Arts Centre

3. Wellington Medical Clinic

Best Heating Business

1. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

2. Servicexcel

3. Coastal Energy

Best Home/Kitchen Appliance Store

1. Trail Appliances

2. Home Depot

3. Coast Appliances

Best Home Builder

1. Shining Knight Construction

2. Alair Homes Nanaimo

2. Pheasant Hill Homes

3. Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island Society

Best Home Improvement Store

1. Home Depot

2. Home Hardware

3. Lowe’s

Best Flower Shop

1. Turley’s Florist

2. Thrifty Foods

3. Ladybug Floral

Best Home Renovation Company

1. Shining Knight Construction

2. Alair Homes Nanaimo

2. B. Gallant Homes

3. Pheasant Hill Homes

Best Housewares/Linen Store

1. HomeSense

2. Flying Fish

2. Winners

3. Quilts Etc.

Best Insurance Agency

1. Driven Agencies

2. Hub International


Best Interior Designer

1. Evolve Interior Design

2. La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries

3. AEStudio Interior Design

Best Jewelry Store

1. Keller’s Jewellers

2. Peoples Jewellers

3. KPK Goldsmith

Best Kids Clothing Store

1. Once Upon A Child

2. Carter’s OshKosh B’gosh

3. Pumpkin Pie Kids

Best Hair Salon

1. Hair Tech Salon

2. Edge Hair Design

2. Kiyo Salon and Day Spa

3. Chameleon Hair Salon

Best Landscaping Business

1. McKenzie Maintenance

2. Jim’s Mowing

3. Hoedown Excavating

3. Islanders Outdoor Maintenance

3. Rainbow Landscapes

Best Law Firm

1. Bradbury Sippel

2. Heath Law LLP

2. Mont and Walker Law Corp.

3. Ramsay Lampman Rhodes Lawyers

Best Lighting Store

1. McLaren Lighting

2. Home Depot

3. Habitat For Humanity ReStore

Best Marine Supplier

1. The Harbour Chandler

2. Stones Boatyard and the Marine Store Chandlery

3. Marine Parts Supply

Best Massage Clinic

1.Knead Registered Massage Therapy

2. Woodgrove Pines Wellness Clinic

3. 3 Cedars Wellness Collective

Best Outdoor Garden Centre

1. GardenWorks

2. Little Tree Garden Centre

3. Green Thumb Garden Centre

Best Mattress Store

1. Sleep Country

2. John’s Bedrooms

3. Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress

Best Mortgage Broker

1. Lendlab Mortgage

2. Rachel Cousins/Mortgage Architects

3. Mid Island Mortgage and Savings

Best Moving Company

1. Take A Load Off Moving

2. Junk In Our Trunk

3. 2 Burley Men

Best Nail Studio

1. The Nail Lounge

2. The Babe Cave

3. Beyond Beauty Bar

3. Neon Nail Studio

Best Oil Changes

1. Great Canadian Oil Change

2. Supertech Diesel Truck Specialists

3. Nanaimo Auto Care

Best Optical Store

1. Highview Optical

1. Specsavers

2. FYidoctors

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Painting Company

1. Pride Painting

2. Simply Painting

3. Mark the Painter

Best Performing Arts School

1. Vibe Studios

2. Wellington Secondary Jazz Academy

3. Vancouver Island University

Best Personal Training Business

1. Authentically Fit

2. Prime Performance and Therapy

3. David Gilks

Best Pest Control Service

1. V.I. Pest Control

2. The Pest Doctor

3. Antex Pest Control

Best Pet Supply Store

1. Bosley’s by Pet Valu

2. PetSmart

3. Oliver’s Pet Supplies

Best Photographer

1. Janayh Wright Photography

2. Jorja Portraits (Angela Eaves Photography)

3. Concept Photography

Best Place to Buy a New Vehicle

1. Nanaimo Toyota

2. Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln

3. Harris Kia

Best Gas Bar

1. Mid Island Co-op

2. Snaw-Naw-As Market/Shell

3. Super Save Gas

Best Place to Buy a Used Vehicle

1. Galaxy Motors

2. Nanaimo Toyota

3. Eddbarry Motors

Best Place to Get Tires

1. Cedar Tireland

2. Kal Tire

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Place to Shop

1. Woodgrove Centre

2. Nanaimo Buyers Club

3. KC’s Boutique and Petites

Best Plumbing Business

1. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

2. 250 Plumber

2. Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating

3. High Tide Plumbing and Gas

Best Retirement Community

1. Berwick on the Lake

2. Origin at Longwood

3. Kiwanis Village Nanaimo

Best Paint Store

1. Cloverdale Paint

2. Home Depot

3. Benjamin Moore

Best Roofing Company

1. Erickson Roofing

2. All the Way Roofing

3. Alpine Roofs

Best Security Company

1. Footprints Security Patrol

2. Telus

3. Securco Services

Best Sewing Notions Store

1. Fabricland

2. Serge and Sew

2. Snip and Stitch Sewing Centre

3. Sew It Begins

Best Shoe Store

1. Frontrunners

2. A Step Ahead

3. SoftMoc

Best Sporting Goods Store

1. Frontrunners

2. Kirbys Source for Sports

3. Cabela’s

Best Storage Company

1. U-Lock Mini Storage

2. Nanaimo Mini Storage

3. Budget Self Storage

Best Store for Ladieswear

1. KC’s Boutique and Petites

2. CurVa-Voom

3. Winners

Best Exterior Cleaning Company

1. Green Tech Property Care

2. Mr. Sparkle Exterior Cleaning

3. West Coast Softwash

Best Store for Menswear

1. Mark’s

2. Moores Clothing for Men

2. NYLA Fresh Thread

2. The Bay

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Store to Buy Tools

1. Midland Tools

2. Home Depot

3. KMS Tools and Equipment

Best Tanning Salon

1. Glow With the Flow Tanning

2. House of Dandy

3. Golden Sands Tanning Studio

Best Tattoo Studio

1. Relegation Tattoo

2. The Electric Umbrella Tattoo and Gallery

3. Old City Tattoo

Best Tile Store

1. City Tile

2. Cornerstone Tile

3. BEtile

Best Theatre Company

1. Nanaimo Theatre Group

2. Yellow Point Drama Group

3. TheatreOne

Best Toy Store

1. Toys ‘R’ Us

2. The Children’s Treehouse

3. Curious Comics

Best Pet Grooming Business

1. Dog N’ Suds Pet Services

2. Dawg Pet Care and Training

2. Happy Hound Dog DayCare

2. Wild Tails

3. 1 Purr 4 Paws

Best Travel Agency

1. Amanda Rauh the Travel Agent Next Door

2. Marlin Travel

3. Ashley Travel

Best Tree Service

1. V.I. Tree Service

2. Davey Tree Expert Company

3. Jeff’s Tree Service

Best Veterinary Clinic

1. Mahalo Veterinary Hospital

2. VCA Canada Island Animal Hospital

3. Chase River Veterinary Hospital

Best Window Coverings

1. Budget Blinds

2. Paradise Shades and Blinds

3. Costco Wholesale

3. Jysk

Best Yoga Studio

1. Red Door Yoga

2. Oxygen Yoga and Fitness

3. Modo Yoga

Best Accommodations

1. Yellow Point Lodge

2. The Grand Hotel

3. Coast Bastion Hotel

Best Local Campground

1. Living Forest Oceanside Campground and RV Resort

2. Brannen Lake RV Park and Campsite

3. Saysutshun

Best People-Watching Spot

1. Harbourfront Walkway

2. Maffeo Sutton Park

3. Commercial Street Night Market

Best Place for a Picnic

1. Neck Point Park

2. Pipers Lagoon Park

3. Saysutshun

Best Place for Paddling

1. Westwood Lake

2. Newcastle Channel

3. Long Lake

Best Place to Jog, Walk or Hike

1. Westwood Lake

2. Neck Point Park

3. Cable Bay Trail

Best Place to Mountain Bike

1. Doumont Hill

2. Mount Benson

3. Westwood Lake

Best Place to Swim Outdoors

1. Nanaimo River

2. Westwood Lake

3. Departure Bay

Best Place to Take Guests

1. Neck Point Park

2. Harbourfront Walkway

3. Pipers Lagoon Park

Best Place to Walk Your Dog

1. Colliery Dam Park

2. Neck Point Park

3. Westwood Lake

Best Place to Watch Birds

1. Buttertubs Marsh

2. Morrell Wildlife Sanctuary

3. Nanaimo River Estuary

Best Playground

1. Maffeo Sutton Park Playdock

2. Harewood Centennial Park

3. Beban Park Altrusa Playground

Best View of the City

1. Mount Benson

2. Sugarloaf Mountain

3. Jack Point/Biggs Park

About the Author: Nanaimo Bulletin News Staff

Read more