Dancers Olivia Rockall, left, and twin sisters Leeya and Leena Sharma take a break from training at Vibrant Dance Studio. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin photo)

Readers vote for Nanaimo’s Best of the City

Complete results of the Nanaimo News Bulletin’s 2019 survey

There are so many good things happening around Nanaimo that to be the best, well, that really means something.

We at the Nanaimo News Bulletin are happy to present our 18th annual Best of the City magazine: a collection of favourite places to eat and drink, the very best shops and services in town, and some other places to go and things to do.

Although we did a lot of the work putting it together, Best of the City isn’t a reflection of our favourites – it’s a tabulation of yours. Earlier this spring, we put out the call for votes in our print issues and on our website and our readers came through in greater numbers than ever before. We’re thrilled with the ‘voter turnout,’ because it’s a greater show of support for this year’s Best of the City winners. There are worthy winners on this list, and we hope you’ll consider checking them out and finding out why they’ve attained their status.

The following pages show winners and runners-up in 124 categories, but we recognize that barely scratches the surface of Nanaimo.

This is a sampling of the best, some of the bits and pieces that help to define just why we like it so much here.

Best Performing Arts School

1. Vibrant Studios (Vibe)

2. Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts

3. Kismet Theatre Academy

Best Place to Get a Nanaimo Bar

1. Red’s Bakery

2. Hearthstone Artisan Bakery

3. Bocca Café

Best Asian Food

1. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

2. Nori Japanese Restaurant

3. Saigon Kitchen

Best Bakery

1. Cobs Bread Bakery

2. Columbia Bakery

3. Hearthstone Artisan Bakery

Best Breakfasts

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Cafe

2. Tania’s Restaurant

3. Ricky’s All Day Grill

Best Catering Business

1. Spice of Life Catering

2. Coco Café

3. HeavenScent Catering

Best Chicken Wings

1. Landlubber Pub

2. The Oxy Pub

3. Quarterway Pub

Best Cinnamon Buns

1. Cobs Bread Bakery

2. Red’s Bakery

3. The Bee’s Knees

Best Deli

1. Nesvog Meats & Sausage Co.

2. Nellie’s European Deli

3. Country Grocer

Best Family Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Ricky’s All Day Grill

3. Montana’s

Best Fast Food

1. Wendy’s

2. A&W Canada

3. Baby Salsa

Best Fish and Chips

1. Troller’s Fish and Chips

2. Pirate Chips

3. Cod Squad Fish & Chips

Best French Fries

1. Pirate Chips

2. McDonald’s

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Hamburgers

1. Mrs. Riches Restaurant

2. A&W Canada

3. White Spot

3. Landlubber Pub

Best Kids Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Pirate Chips

3. Ricky’s All Day Grill

3. Montana’s

Best Lunches

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Cafe

2. Delicado’s Deli

3. Nellie’s European Deli

Best Mediterranean Food

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Alexandra’s Bistro

3. Zougla Restaurant

Best Nachos

1. Gina’s Mexican Cafe

2. Longwood Brew Pub

3. Baby Salsa

Best Pasta

1. La Stella Trattoria

2. Milano’s Ristorante

3. Boston Pizza

Best Place to Buy Craft Beer

1. White Sails Brewing

2. Longwood Brew Pub

3. Lucky’s Liquor Store

Best Desserts

1. Burnt Honey Dessert Company

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Nanaimo Bakery & Confectionery

3. Hearthstone Artisan Bakery

Best Place to Meet for Coffee

1. The Buzz Coffee House

2. Drip Coffee Social

3. Starbucks

Best Martini

1. Cactus Club Cafe

2. Nanaimo Bar

3. Modern Cafe

Best Place for Cocktails and Shots

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Cactus Club Cafe

3. Nanaimo Bar

Best Pub

1. Longwood Brew Pub

2. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

3. Landlubber Pub

Best Sports Bar

1. Old City Station Pub

2. Landlubber Pub

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

Best Place for Birthday Parties

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Oliver Woods Community Centre

2. Jumpin Jiminy’s

3. Brechin Lanes

3. 4Cats Arts Studio

Best Restaurant Overall

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Gabriel’s Gourmet Cafe

3. La Stella Trattoria

Best Patio Restaurant

1. Cactus Club Cafe

2. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

3. Longwood Brew Pub

Best Pizza

1. Mambo Gourmet Pizza

2. Milano’s Ristorante

3. Ali Baba Pizza

Best Place to Buy Meat

1. Nesvog Meats & Sausage Co.

2. Meat Craft Island Butchery

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Place to Buy Produce

1. Thrifty Foods

2. Country Grocer

3. Cedar Farmers Market

Best Place to Buy Seafood

1. Seadrift Fish Market

2. Thrifty Foods

3. Troller’s Fish and Chips

Best Romantic Restaurant

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. La Stella Trattoria

3. Mahle House

Best Seafood Restaurant

1. The Bold Knight

2. Troller’s Fish and Chips

3. Asteras Greek Taverna

Best Steakhouse

1. The Keg Steakhouse and Bar

2. The Bold Knight

3. Beefeater’s Seaside Bar & Grill

Best Sushi

1. Nori Japanese Restaurant

2. Umai Sushi

3. Firehouse Grill

Best Tacos

1. Baby Salsa

2. Gina’s Mexican Cafe

3. Jalapenos Mexican Food

Best Vegetarian Food

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Cafe

2. Delicado’s

3. Eve Olive

Best Art Gallery

1. Nanaimo Art Gallery

2. Gallery Merrick

3. Yellow Bird Arts Gallery

Best Theatre Company

1. Nanaimo Theatre Group

2. Schmooze Productions

3. TheatreOne

Best Karaoke

1. Quarterway Pub

2. The Oxy Pub

3. Wellington Pub

Best Music Trivia

1. Landlubber Pub

2. Wellington Pub

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s

Best Open Mike/Jam Session

1. The Queen’s

2. Vault Café

3. Landlubber Pub

Best Place for Live Bands

1. The Queen’s

2. Vault Café

3. Nanaimo Bar

Best Place to Dance

1. The Queen’s

2. LevelTwo Nightclub

3. Vibe Dance Studio

Best Flower Shop

1. Turley’s Florist

2. Thrifty Foods

3. Ladybug Floral

Best Bathrooms

1. Woodgrove Centre

2. Cactus Club Cafe

3. The Home Depot

Best Bike Shop

1. Arrowsmith Bikes

2. Rock City Cycles

3. Coal City Cycles

Best Consignment or Thrift Store

1. Charlie’s Closet

2. Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

2. Salvation Army Thrift Store

3. Funk Your Fashion

Best Customer Service

1. Thrifty Foods

2. Costco Wholesale

3. KC’s Boutique and Petites

Best Floor Covering Store

1. United Floors

2. End Of The Roll

3. Abba Floorcoverings

Best Furniture Store

1. The Brick

1. Dodd’s Furniture & Mattress

2. La-Z-Boy

3. ScanDesigns Furniture

Best Plumbing Business

1. 250 Plumber

2. Archie Johnstone Plumbing & Heating

3. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

Best Jewelry Store

1. Peoples Jewellers

2. Bastion Jewellers

3. Keller’s Jewellers

Best Home Improvement Store

1. Home Depot

2. Lowe’s

3. Nanaimo Home Hardware

Best Housewares/Linen Store

1. HomeSense

2. Hudson’s Bay

2. Flying Fish

3. JYSK

Best Kids Clothing Store

1. Carter’s Oshkosh B’Gosh

2. Once Upon A Child

3. Pumpkin Pie Kids

Best Lingerie Store

1. My Undies

2. La Senza

3. La Vie En Rose

Best Marine Supplier

1. Harbour Chandler

2. Parker Marine

3. Marine Parts Supply

Best Mattress Store

1. Sleep Country Canada

2. John’s Bedrooms

3. The Brick

Best Lighting Store

1. McLaren Lighting

2. Home Depot

3. Illuminations Lighting Solutions

Best Outdoor Garden Centre

1. Art Knapp Plantland

2. Green Thumb Garden Centre

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Paint Store

1. Cloverdale Paint

2. Home Depot

3. Sherwin-Williams

Best Pet Supply Store

1. Bosley’s by Pet Valu

2. PetSmart

3. Olivers Pet Supplies

Best Place to Shop

1. Woodgrove Centre

2. Downtown/Old City Quarter

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Sewing Notions Store

1. Snip & Stitch Sewing Centre Ltd

2. Serge and Sew

3. Michaels

Best Shoe Store

1. A Step Ahead

2. SoftMoc

3. Hudson’s Bay

Best Optical Store

1. Highview Optical

2. Costco Optical Centre

3. LensCrafters

3. Iris

Best Store for Ladieswear

1. KC’s Boutique and Petites

2. Quintessential

3. Hudson’s Bay

Best Store for Menswear

1. NYLA Fresh Thread

2. Mark’s

3. Hudson’s Bay

Best Store to Buy Tools

1. Midland Tools

2. Home Depot

3. Canadian Tire

Best Sporting Goods Store

1. Sport Chek

2. Kirby’s Source For Sports

3. Cabela’s

Best Store to Buy Books

1. Chapters

2. Literacy Central Vancouver Island

3. Window Seat Books

Best Tile Store

1. City Tile

2. Cornerstone Tile Ltd

3. Home Depot

Best Toy Store

1. Kool & Child

2. Toys R Us

3. Children’s Treehouse

Best Vitamin/Health Food Stores

1. Pomme Natural Market

2. Charlie Brown’s Health Foods

3. Popeye’s Supplements

Best Accounting Firm

1. MNP LLP

2. Church Pickard Chartered Professional

Accountants

3. Benson Seymour LLP

Best Auto Detailer

1. VI Precision Detailing & Car Care

2. Harris Mazda

3. Auto Smile

Best Auto Servicing

1. Bavarian Imports Auto Repair

2. Supertech Automotive

3. Midas

Best Banking Institution

1. TD Canada Trust

2. RBC Royal Bank

3. Coastal Community Credit Union

Best Barbershop

1. Sports Barbers

2. Shear Agony Barber Shop

3. Four Crows Barber & Shave Co.

Best Beauty Salon or Spa

1. Breze Aveda Concept Salon & Day Spa

2. Maffeo Salon & Day Spa

2. Kiyo Salon & Day Spa

3. Nanaimo Elements Holistic Centre & Spa

Best Carpet Cleaners

1. Classic Care Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

2. Citrus-O Carpet Cleaning

3. Suck It Up Carpet Furnace

Best Daycare Centre

1. Kids Kompany Small Fries

2. Jolly Giant Childcare Ltd.

3. Katies Korner Childcare

Best Dentist

1. Diver Lake Dental Clinic

2. Lantzville Dental Clinic

3. Harewood Dental Clinic

Best Electrical Contractor

1. DenMar Electric

2. Mazzei Electric

3. Walls Electrical Ltd.

Best Estheticians

1. Nanaimo Elements Holistic Centre & Spa

2. Breze Aveda Concept Salon & Day Spa

3. Kiyo Salon & Day Spa

Best Financial Planner

1. Sun Life Financial

2. Investors Group Financial Services

3. RBC Royal Bank

Best Fitness Centre

1. Driven Performance Fitness

2. Planet Fitness

2. Fit4Less

3. Jumpstart Outdoor Fitness

Best Gas Bar

1. Mid Island Co-op

2. Mobil

3. Chevron

Best Hair Salon

1. Aura Hair Boutique

2. Maffeo Salon & Day Spa

3. Salon Muse

Best Heating Business

1. Archie Johnstone Plumbing & Heating

2. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

3. Coastal Energy Ltd.

Best Insurance Agency

1. BCAA

2. Hub International

3. Coastal Community Credit Union

Best Landscaper

1. Neat & Tidy Landscaping

2. Island Eco-Scapes

3. VI Outdoor

Best Law Firm

1. Ramsay Lampman Rhodes

2. Duncan Allen Law LLP

3. Heath Law LLP

Best Massages

1. Knead Registered Massage Therapy

2. Island Optimal Health & Performance

3. Solace Wellness Centre

Best Moving Company

1. Take A Load Off Moving

2. Clydesdale Moving and Hauling

2. 2 Burley Men Moving

3. Minute Men Moving and Storage

Best Painting Contractor

1. Pride Painting

2. Sloan’s Painting

3. Sonshine Girls Painting

Best Personal Trainer

1. Miguel Diaz, Driven Performance Fitness

2. Lee Surinak, Punisher Training

3. Brian Schick, B-Fit Bootcamp

Best Pet Grooming Business

1. Nanaimo Pet Services

2. Dog & Suds Pet Services

3. Happy Hound Dog Care

Best Photographer

1. Concept Photography

2. HA Photography

3. Rachel Kirk Photography

Best Place to Buy a Used Vehicle

1. Galaxy Motors

2. Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln

3. Bouman Auto Gallery

Best Place to Get Tires

1. Cedar Tireland

2. Kal Tire

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Place to Get a Tattoo

1. Relegation Tattoo

2. Electric Umbrella

3. Black & Blue Tattoo

Best Retirement Community

1. Berwick on the Lake

2. Origin at Longwood

3. Nanaimo Seniors Village

3. Deerwood Estates

Best Roofing Company

1. Erickson Roofing

2. Usher Roofing Systems

3. Milne Roofing

3. Allterrain Roofing

Best Tanning Salon

1. Golden Sands Tanning Studio

2. Divine Glow Tanning Salon

3. OrganicTan

Best Travel Agency

1. Flight Centre

2. Marlin Travel

3. Imagine Cruise & Travel

Best Veterinary Clinic

1. Chase River Veterinary Hospital

2. VCA Canada Island Animal Hospital

3. Petroglyph Animal Hospital

Best Wine Making Store

1. Wine Kitz

2. Wine Works

3. Rainy Crick Wine

Best Yoga Studio

1. Modo Yoga

2. OmTown Yoga

3. Oxygen Yoga and Fitness Nanaimo

Best Local Campground

1. Living Forest Oceanside Campground

2. Brannen Lake

3. Westwood Lake Campgrounds

Best People Watching Spot

1. Maffeo Sutton Park

2. Harbourfront Walkway

3. Sway’A’Lana Lagoon

Best Place for a Picnic

1. Neck Point Park

2. Pipers Lagoon

3. Westwood Lake

Best Place for Paddling

1. Newcastle Island/Saysutshun

2. Westwood Lake

2. Long Lake

3. Departure Bay

Best Place to Swim Outdoors

1. Nanaimo River

2. Westwood Lake

3. Departure Bay Beach

Best Place to Take Guests

1. Pipers Lagoon

2. Harbourfront Walkway

3. Sway’A’Lana Lagoon

Best Place to Jog, Hike, or Walk

1. Westwood Lake Trails

2. Neck Point Park

3. Colliery Dam Park

Best Place to Walk Your Dog

1. Westwood Lake Trails

2. Colliery Dam Park

3. Neck Point Park

Best Place to Watch Birds

1. Buttertubs Marsh

2. Morrell Nature Sanctuary

3. Neck Point Park

Best Playground

1. Beban Park Altrusa Playground

2. Oliver Woods Community Centre

3. Maffeo Sutton Park Playdock

Best View of the City

1. Mount Benson

2. Sugarloaf Mountain Park

3. Vancouver Island University

Best Place to Mountain Bike

1. Doumont trails

2. Mount Benson

3. Westwood Lake trails



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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