Best of the City magazine is being distributed today, Sept. 22, inside the Nanaimo News Bulletin. (News Bulletin photo)

Best of the City magazine is being distributed today, Sept. 22, inside the Nanaimo News Bulletin. (News Bulletin photo)

Best of the City 2021: How you voted

Nanaimo News Bulletin readers vote for their favourites in nearly 150 categories

Tens of thousands of votes were cast, so readers can be assured that it took a lot to come out on top in Best of the City this year.

We asked readers to vote in nearly 150 categories this year – a dozen more than last year – over a span of several weeks this summer, publicizing the survey in print issues of the Nanaimo News Bulletin, on our website and via our social media channels.

We used the same write-in vote system we used last year, and once a vote was submitted, the business name was added to a drop-down menu, making it easier for the next person to fill out the survey.

Well, the votes are in, the counting’s done, and this is how Nanaimo voted. We hope this list will give you some ideas of restaurants to try, businesses to support, and things to see and experience. These are the top Best of the City vote-getters, but we know that ultimately, you know best.

Here are all the winners, in the order they appear in the magazine:

Best Community-Minded Business

1. COCO Café

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Country Grocer

Best Catering Business

1. COCO Café

2. Smokin’ George’s BBQ Restaurant

3. Spice of Life Catering

Best Cinnamon Buns

1. Cobs Bread

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery

Best Asian Food

1. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

2. Nori Japanese Restaurant

3. Quality Foods

Best Bakery

1. Red’s Bakery

2. Cobs Bread

3. Columbia Bakery Ltd.

3. Nanaimo Bakery and Confectionery

Best Breakfasts

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

2. Tania’s Restaurant

3. Kelly’s Kitchen Café

Best Chicken Wings

1. Landlubber Pub

2. Oxy Pub

3. Nanda Chicken

Best Curry

1. Gateway to India Restaurant

2. Manvirros Indian Grill

3. Flavours Of India

Best Farmers’ Market

1. Cedar Farmers Market

2. Island Roots Farmers Market

3. Gabriola Saturday Market

Best Pub

1. Crow & Gate Pub

2. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

3. Landlubber Pub

Best Patio Restaurant

1. Crow & Gate Pub

2. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

3. Dinghy Dock Pub

Best Desserts

1. Burnt Honey Dessert Company

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Cold Front Gelato

Best Ice Cream and Gelato

1. Burnt Honey Dessert Company

2. Cold Front Gelato

3. Waterfront Confections

Best Hamburgers

1. Bin 4 Burger Lounge

2. Top Notch Burgers

3. White Spot

Best Family Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Milano’s Ristorante

3. Asteras Greek Taverna

3. Gina’s Mexican Café

Best Fish and Chips

1. Troller’s Fish and Chips

2. Pirate Chips

3. Cod Squad Fish and Chips

Best French Fries

1. Pirate Chips

2. New York Fries

2. Costco Wholesale

Best Kids Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Pirate Chips

3. Ricky’s All Day Grill

Best Lunches

1. Delicado’s Deli

2. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

3. Crow & Gate Pub

Best Mediterranean Food

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Alexandra’s Bistro

3. Zougla Restaurant

Best Fast Food

1. Sip and Sliders Food Truck

2. Delicado’s Deli

3. Wendy’s

Best Appetizers/Tapas

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Asteras Greek Taverna

3. Cactus Club Café

Best Happy Hour

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Cactus Club Café

3. Old City Station Pub

Best Place for Birthday Parties

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Splitsville Entertainment

3. WildPlay Elements Park

Best Place for Cocktails and Shots

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Cactus Club Café

3. The Nanaimo Bar

Best Sports Bar

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Old City Station Pub

3. Landlubber Pub

Best Nachos

1. Gina’s Mexican Café

2. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

3. Baby Salsa

Best Nanaimo Bars

1. Red’s Bakery

2. Nanaimo Bakery and Confectionery

3. COCO Café

Best Pasta

1. La Stella Trattoria

2. Milano’s Ristorante

3. New York Style Pizza and Pasta

Best Pizza

1. Mambo Gourmet Pizza

2. La Stella Trattoria

3. Milano’s Ristorante

Best Place to Buy Meat

1. Nesvog Meats and Sausage Company

2. Meat Craft Island Butchery

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Place to Buy Produce

1. Thrifty Foods

2. Cedar Farmers Market

3. Country Grocer

Best Place to Buy Seafood

1. Seadrift Fish Market and Eatery

2. Thrifty Foods

3. St. Jean’s Cannery and Smokehouse

Best Restaurant Overall

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Mahle House Restaurant

3. La Stella Trattoria

3. Nori Japanese Restaurant

Best Romantic Restaurant

1. Mahle House Restaurant

2. Asteras Greek Taverna

3. La Stella Trattoria

Best Seafood Restaurant

1. Troller’s Fish and Chips

2. Bold Knight Restaurant

3. The View Oceanside Grill

Best Steakhouse

1. Bold Knight Restaurant

2. Beefeater’s Chop House and Grill

3. Medium Rare Restaurant

Best Sushi

1. Nori Japanese Restaurant

2. Umai Sushi

3. Firehouse Grill

Best Tacos

1. Gina’s Mexican Café

2. Baby Salsa

3. Jalapenos Mexican Food

Best Take-Out Food

1. Mambo Gourmet Pizza

2. Smokin’ George’s BBQ Restaurant

3. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

Best Vegetarian Food

1. Eve Olive

2. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

3. Delicado’s Deli

Best Place to Buy Craft Beer

1. White Sails Brewing

2. Longwood Brewery

3. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

Best Karaoke

1. Quarterway Pub

2. Oxy Pub

3. Well Pub/Wellington Pub

Best Martini

1. Cactus Club Café

2. Nanaimo Bar

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

3. Firehouse Grill

Best Music Trivia

1. Landlubber Pub

2. Well Pub/Wellington Pub

3. Quarterway 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 Vault Café

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. Brigadoon Dance Academy

3. Vibrant (Vibe) Studios

Best Place to Meet for Coffee

1. Drip Coffee Social

2. Buzz Coffee House

2. The Vault Café

3. Starbucks

Best Wine-Making Store

1. Wine Kitz

2. Nanaimo Wine Shoppe

3. Off the Vine Winemaking

Best Tattoo Studio

1. Relegation Tattoo

2. Black and Blue Tattoo

2. The Electric Umbrella Tattoo and Gallery

3. Joel Lee Tattoo

Best Tile Store

1. City Tile

2. Cornerstone Tile

3. Home Depot

Best Store for Ladieswear

1. KC’s Boutique and Petites

2. CurVa-Voom

3. Winners

Best Accommodations

1. Coast Bastion Hotel

2. Inn on Long Lake

3. The Grand Hotel

Best Accounting Firm


2. Church Pickard Chartered Professional Accountants

3. New Heights Accounting Corporation

Best Art Gallery

1. Nanaimo Art Gallery

2. YellowBird Arts Gallery

3. Art 10 Gallery

Best Auto Detailer

1. V.I. Precision Detailing and Car Care

2. Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln Auto Smile

3. Nanaimo Toyota

Best Auto Servicing

1. Supertech Diesel Truck Specialists

2. Ernie’s Blackpoint Repair

3. Bavarian Imports Auto Repair

Best Banking Institution

1. RBC Royal Bank

2. Coastal Community Credit Union

3. TD Canada Trust

Best Barbershop

1. Edge Barbershop

2. Four Crows Barber and Shave Co.

3. That ’50s Barber Shop

Best Bathrooms

1. Woodgrove Centre

2. Cactus Club Café

3. Cabela’s

3. Simonholt Restaurant

Best Beauty Salon or Spa

1. Breze Aveda Concept Salon and Day Spa

2. Rich 1 Beauty Salon and MediSpa

3. The Nail Lounge

Best Bike Shop

1. Arrowsmith Bikes

2. Rock City Cycles

3. Hub City Cycles

Best Carpet Cleaners

1. Classic Care Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

2. Van Isle Carpet Cleaning

3. Terry’s Carpet Cleaning

Best Consignment or Thrift Store

1. Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop

2. Charlie’s Closet

3. Friends of Haven Thrift Store

3. Funk Revival

Best Customer Service

1. Country Grocer

2. KC’s Boutique and Petites

3. The Soap Exchange

Best Yoga Studio

1. Red Door Yoga

2. Modo Yoga

3. Oxygen Yoga and Fitness

Best Jewelry Store

1. Kellers Jewellers

2. Peoples Jewellers

3. KPK Goldsmith Inc.

Best Nail Studio

1. The Nail Lounge

2. Neon Nail Studio

3. The Babe Cave

Best Dentist

1. Diver Lake Dental Clinic

2. Seven Sails Dental Centre

3. Country Club Dental Centre

Best Electrical Contractor

1. Walls Electrical

2. DenMar Electric Ltd.

3. Mazzei Electric

Best Estheticians

1. The Babe Cave

2. Enhance Beauty

3. Breze Aveda Concept Salon and Day Spa

Best Financial Planner

1. RBC Royal Bank/RBC Dominion Securities

2. Coastal Community Private Wealth Group

2. TD Canada Trust

3. Investors Group

Best Floor Covering Store

1. United Floors

2. End of the Roll

3. Wingren Nufloors

Best Flower Shop

1. Turley’s Florist

2. Thrifty Foods

3. Ladybug Floral

Best Furniture Store

1. Dodds Furniture and Mattress

2. La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries

3. Flying Fish

Best Gas Bar

1. Mid Island Co-op

2. Super Save Gas Stations

3. Snaw-Naw-As Market/Shell

Best Hair Salon

1. Hair Tech Salon Ltd.

2. KG Hair Salon

3. Edge Hair Design

Best Health-Care Clinic

1. Caledonian Clinic Ltd.

2. Medical Arts Centre

3. Wellington Medical Clinic

Best Hearing Clinic

1. NexGen Hearing

2. Costco Wholesale

3. Connect Hearing

Best Heating Business

1. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

2. Coastal Energy Ltd.

3. Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating

Best Home Builder

1. Shining Knight Construction Inc.

2. Pheasant Hill Homes Ltd.

3. Trev Homes Ltd.

Best Home Improvement Store

1. Home Depot

2. Home Hardware

3. Lowe’s

Best Housewares/Linen Store

1. HomeSense

2. Flying Fish

3. The Bay

Best Pharmacy

1. Central Drugs

2. Shoppers Drug Mart

3. Save-On-Foods

Best Home/Kitchen Appliance Store

1. Coast Appliances

2. Home Depot

3. Trail Appliances

Best Insurance Agency

1. Core Insurance Services

2. Coastal Community Insurance Services Ltd.


Best Kids Clothing Store

1. Once Upon a Child

2. Old Navy

3. Carter’s

Best Landscaper

1. McKenzie Maintenance Ltd.

2. Island Eco-Scapes

3. Concepts Landscaping

Best Law Firm

1. Ramsay Lampman Rhodes

2. Mont & Walker Law Corporation

3. Heath Law LLP

Best Lighting Store

1. Mclaren Lighting

2. Home Depot

3. Lowe’s

Best Lingerie Store

1. Purple Cactus Lingerie

2. La Vie En Rose

3. Elizabeth’s Lingerie Drawer

Best Fitness/Exercise Company

1. Authentically Fit

2. Driven Performance Fitness

3. Healthy Role Models

Best Marine Supplier

1. The Harbour Chandler Ltd.

2. Stones Boatyard and the Marine Store

3. Marine Parts Supply

Best Massages

1. Knead Registered Massage Therapy

2. Pure Body Balance Health and Fitness

3. Breze Aveda Concept Salon and Day Spa

Best Mattress Store

1. Sleep Country

2. John’s Bedrooms

3. Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress

Best Moving Company

1. Junk in Our Trunk

2. Take a Load Off Moving

3. Nanaimo Mini Storage/U-Haul

3. Two Burley Men

Best Optical Store

1. Highview Optical

2. FYI Doctors

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Outdoor Garden Centre

1. Green Thumb Garden Centre

1. Little Tree Garden Center

2. GardenWorks

3. Buckerfield’s

Best Paint Store

1. Cloverdale Paint

2. Home Depot

3. Island Paint and Floor Benjamin Moore

3. Sherwin-Williams Paints

Best Painting Contractor

1. Pride Painting Ltd.

2. Sonshine Girls Painting

3. Details Painting

Best Performing Arts School

1. Vibrant (Vibe) Studios

2. Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts

3. Harbour Dance Studios Inc.

Best Personal trainer

1. Miguel Diaz – Driven Performance

2. Adam Mackay – Loaded Movement Academy

3. Fit Body Boot Camp

Best Pet Grooming Business

1. Dog N’ Suds Pet Services

2. Nanaimo Pet Services

3. Happy Hound Dog Care Company

Best Pet Supply Store

1. Bosley’s Pet Food Plus

2. PetSmart

3. Oliver’s Pet Supplies

Best Place to Buy a New Vehicle

1. Nanaimo Toyota

2. Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln

3. Nanaimo Honda

Best Place to Buy a Used Vehicle

1. Galaxy Motors

2. Bouman Motors

3. Nanaimo Toyota

3. Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln

Best Place to Get Tires

1. Cedar Tireland

2. Kal Tire

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Place to Shop

1. Woodgrove Centre

2. Costco Wholesale

3. HomeSense

Best Computer Sales and Service

1. R-U Computing Co. Ltd.

2. Best Buy

3. London Drugs

3. UBreakiFix

Best Plumbing Business

1. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

2. 250 Plumber

3. Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating

Best Real Estate Agent/Team

1. Dawn Walton and Associates

2. David Hitchcock

2. Thompson Godfrey Group

2. Vancouver Island Home Group

3. The Bald Guy Real Estate Team

Best Retirement Community

1. Berwick on the Lake Retirement Residence

2. Eden Gardens

3. Origin at Longwood

Best Roofing Company

1. Erickson Roofing

2. All the Way Roofing

3. Best On Top Roofing

Best Collision Repair/Auto Body Service

1. Trojan Collision Services

2. Craftsman Collision

3. CSN Mid-Island Auto Collision

Best Sewing Notions Store

1. Snip and Stitch Sewing Centre Ltd.

2. Fabricland

3. Serge and Sew

Best Shoe Store

1. A Step Ahead

2. Frontrunners

3. SoftMoc

Best Sporting Goods Store

1. Cabela’s

2. Canadian Tire

3. Sport Chek

Best Store for Menswear

1. Mark’s

2. NYLA Fresh Thread

3. Eddie Bauer

Best Store to Buy Books

1. Chapters

2. Literacy Central Vancouver Island

3. WindowSeat Books

Best Photographer

1. Janayh Wright Photography

2. Paige Barney Photography

3. Jenna LeFebvre Photographer

Best Store to Buy Tools

1. Midland Tools

2. Home Depot

3. Canadian Tire

Best Tanning Salon

1. Golden Sands Tanning Studio

2. Organic Tan Nanaimo

3. Divine Glow Tanning Studio

Best Theatre Company

1. Nanaimo Theatre Group

2. TheatreOne

3. Yellow Point Drama Group

Best Toy Store

1. Kool & Child

2. Toys R Us

3. The Children’s Treehouse

Best Travel Agency

1. Marlin Travel

2. Imagine Cruise and Travel

3. Around the World Travel

Best Veterinary Clinic

1. Chase River Veterinary Hospital

2. Petroglyph Animal Hospital

3. Mahalo Veterinary Hospital

Best Vitamin/Health Food Stores

1. Pomme Natural Market

2. Charlie Brown’s Health Foods

3. Popeye’s Supplements

Best Tourism Activity/Adventure Business

1. WildPlay Elements Park

2. Saysutshun-Newcastle Island

3. Axe and Grind

Best Playground

1. Maffeo Sutton Park Playdock

2. Oliver Woods Community Centre

3. Harewood Centennial Park

Best Local Campground

1. Living Forest Oceanside Campground and RV Resort

2. Brannen Lake RV Park and Campsite

3. Nanaimo Lakes

Best People-Watching Spot

1. Harbourfront Walkway

2. Maffeo Sutton Park

3. Woodgrove Centre

Best Place for a Picnic

1. Pipers Lagoon Park

2. Saysutshun-Newcastle Island

3. Neck Point Park

Best Place for Paddling

1. Newcastle Channel

2. Westwood Lake

3. Departure Bay

Best Place to Jog, Walk or Hike

1. Westwood Lake

2. Neck Point Park

3. Harbourfront Walkway

Best Place to Mountain bike

1. Doumont Hill

2. Mount Benson

3. Westwood Lake Park

Best Place to Swim Outdoors

1. Nanaimo River

2. Westwood Lake

3. Pipers Lagoon

Best Place to Take Guests

1. Neck Point Park

2. Dinghy Dock Pub

3. Crow & Gate Pub

Best Place to Walk Your Dog

1. Colliery Dam

2. Westwood Lake

3. Cable Bay trail

3. Neck Point Park

Best Place to Watch Birds

1. Buttertubs Marsh

2. Morrell Wildlife Sanctuary

3. Neck Point Park

Best View of the City

1. Mount Benson

2. Sugarloaf Mountain

3. Jack Point and Biggs Park

READ ALSO: Best of the City 2021 winners

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