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Kootenay Restaurants

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I've heard that Nelson has one of the highest number of restaurants per capita... which could just be one of those rural myths. Regardless, we have a great variety for a small city, and lots of excellent quality eateries. I love to eat but I don't have much experience reviewing restaurants, so let me know if you need any more info.

Rice Bistro

301 Baker St., Nelson


Last meal: Wednesday May 25

Disclaimer: I'm friends with Dean the owner, Tessa the manager, and a few of the staff... in a small town that's what happens! It's a good thing they make good food.

Rice began years ago as a little sushi and rice bowl cafe on a side street. A few years ago, it moved to a main street and much more upscale location. Purchased not long after by Dean Symonds, the menu has changed to include more creative Thai and South Asian influenced dishes- it bears little resemblence to it's former self. The great drink menu has a nice selection of wines, but the main draw is the delicious sake and fruit based drinks- very nice on a summer night. Dean and Tessa are attentive, accommodating, and friendly hosts.

Two girlfriends and I went out to Rice for dinner last week. We picked the inexpensive Dunaver Pinot Gris to accompany Rice's spicy flavours. I had the Thai Green Curry, without seafood (tofu instead), one friend had the Thai Green Curry with the seafood, and the other had the Coconut Masala Chick Pea Curry. Dean brought on a new cook within the last month or so, and I really like the improvements made in the curry. It's my favourite dish there and now even more so. The tofu and veggies were served on a bed of rice noodles and topped with cucumber slices. The veggies were tender and the tofu was nicely firm. The sauce is flavourful, rich and plentiful, although it was a bit too spicy for me- I haven't been eating much spice lately. Dean brought a shot of coconut milk for me to add to cut the heat which worked well (he offered to retoss my dish but I declined). It was so good I'm glad I didn't have a spoon because I would have slurped up all the remaining sauce in my bowl. My friend with the same dish enjoyed her's, which didn't look as hot- the sauce on mine was a darker green. My other friend enjoyed her Chick Pea Curry... she didn't say too much about it, but then, we were there to visit not to critique our meals. The wine went nicely with the meal and cooled our palates.

For desert we picked the Gelato Quartet. I'm trying to remember them all: green tea, vanilla, raspberry, and mango I think, each served with it's own sauce including a caramel and a ginger sauce... can't remember the other two! They were nicely presented in a long narrow boat, accompanied by chocolate-filled wontons and gooseberries.

In the summer, Rice sets up a large covered patio which at least doubles it's seating area. There's often a local dj playing nice lounging beats on weekend nights. It's a great spot for a late summer dinner or for drinks before heading out for a night on the town.

Edited by organicgoddess (log)
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Organicgoddess - this is a cool thread, thanks for starting it. "Rural myths"... nice.

I have only been to the Kootenays once (not including a ski trip to Panorama), and that was 6? years ago with my then girlfriend now wife. Stayed in Cranbrook for a week, then drove back thru Trail, then up the OK, then back to Vancouver.

One night we went to a "well-known" German restaurant in Kimberly which was basically a house with a really busy kitchen. I can't for the life of me remember what I ate, probably schitzel, but I loved the ambiance. If you ever want to visit small-town Germany on a budget, just go to Kimberly!

The golf course in Kimberly is also gorgeous; I didn't eat there, but they had some nice looking venison grazing near the 7th or 8th tee. :raz:

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The Redfish is okay for a cheap breakfast but I find it's a little on the greasy side. They have a nice tom yum soup, and a good $4.99 basic burger and fries deal- that's what I go there for. Stanley Baker's is my preferred breakfast spot, across the street and down the block a bit. Rice has great bennies on the weekend.

I don't get over to the East Shore much. I *think* that Abracajava has closed down, but not sure on that.

I'm going out for dinner Saturday night to the All Season's- I'll let you know how it is! It's usually great. I haven't had their spring menu yet.

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I'm going out for dinner Saturday night to the All Season's- I'll let you know how it is!  It's usually great.  I haven't had their spring menu yet.

OMG that menu looks fantastic! Five Spiced Duck Confit & Spinach Salad Tahini-Lime Vinaigrette Are you kidding me? I just may have to come visit my cousin in Kaslo this summer!

Looking forward to your report.


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Alright! Dinner at the All Season's Cafe. 620 Herridge Lane, Nelson 250-352-0101. Dinner for 2 with wine, desserts, and dessert bevvies was $115 plus tip.

Disclaimer: Same as last time, I know the owners and some of the staff.

The menu on the website is not up to date- some items have changed. Sorry Daddy-A, no more 5 spice duck salad. The wine menu on line is not a full listing either.

We called ahead by a few days to get a deck table. This is a must for summertime dining here, and later in the summer you need to call further in advance. We were seated right away and given a bread basket with a small bowl of hummus to snack on. They've made a few changes since we were there last: the menu- I love this- opens up to 3 slim pages.... of wine! They win wine awards every year for their wine selection. On one of the fold-in pages is all the food. So it's basically wine menu and oh, yeah, we have a bit of food if you're hungry. We picked a white to go with the hot day- a half bottle (which turned out to be one of those mini bottles) of Dry Creek fume blanc. Very spicy and strong citrusy fruit flavours. The label says bracing- yes indeed.

I picked the rosemary & goat cheese polenta with basil pesto and tomato confit. It was served with asparagus and broccoli spears, as well as thinly sliced carrot and zucchini. It was delicious- the polenta had a very smooth rosemary flavour with chewy edges. I love rosemary and goat cheese together. The tomato confit was interesting- I really liked the first few bites, and couldn't figure out what the flavour was that I was tasting, and I liked the way the flavours mixed together. Then I figured out it was mustard seed, which, after a few more bites, became overpowering. The asparagus was perfectly cooked as were the other veggies, and had a nice fresh flavour. They're from a local farm. A little less confit, a few more veggies would have been good.

My boyfriend had the rack of lamb daily special, done medium. He loved it. It came with mashed potatoes, some sort of gravy/jus, pecan-pistachio pesto, and veggies- carrots and zucchini. I sampled some of the lamb, but not being much of a meat eater, what can I say except it tasted good. The pesto was delicious, and tasted very lamby to me- they went very well together.

The wine was super with both of our dishes- very palate cleansing.

For dessert, we picked the orange blossom creme brulee and bourbon pecan pie with vanilla ice cream. I had some orange muscat, and he had Taylor port. Mmmmmm. The creme brulee had a thicker than usual crust, which made me happy because I usually run out. He thought that there was too much though. It had a very subtle orange flavour, hard to detect but it was delicious nonetheless, smooth, creamy, and perfect. The pecan pie was boozy, sweet, and rich. Nice flakey pastry. Excellent ice cream.

The weather was excellent on the deck. It sits beside the restaurant and is surrounded by a hill with rock walls and lots of shade from maple trees. It was fairly busy and it was interesting to eavesdrop on nearby tables. I tried to stop though after the woman next to us raved about a dessert made from cream cheese and fat free cool whip lest I ruin my appetite. On the other hand we heard lots of 'oooohhhhhhs' as diners were served, and 'that was the best dinner/steak/fish'. Service was very attentive and friendly (of course we know the servers, but they were friendly to everyone else too)- water was refillied frequently, and we didn't have to ask for a thing. Although the All Season's is an award winning restaurant, it's a very unpretentious- people do tend to dress up but eveyone's relaxed. It was a great night out.

Edited by organicgoddess (log)
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I went to the Redfish yesterday and had breakfast; bacon eggs, over easy, brown toast and hash browns. I loved the space and I was at a window seat and the street action in Nelson is top notch, boy there are a lot of yummy mommies there, it is like a small baby boom, must be a great place to raise kids, any how back to the topic at hand.

I have been eating out for breakfast for 20 years and the one thing that I look for in what in my opinion make a great breakfast is when a place does not do the straight line and deep-fry their breakfast potato. My god are you trying to kill us; there is enough fat in that breakfast to kill an elephant, that you do not need to kill those beautiful morning potatoes, I do not want french-fries, I like hash browns, pan fried potatoes. Ah!! But we cooks always look for that straight line, so fast and easy but oh so deadly and it ruins a great breakfast.

I believe you have six things that a great breakfast makes: 1) coffee 2) the Eggs 3) the potato 4) the bread 5) the meat 6) the sides such as a roasted tomato or sautéed mushrooms

The combination of all the above makes my day

And yes the action; a place like the Elbow room or Sophie’s in van are great fun

Redfish has almost all the great things that make it a great breakfast place.

Would I go there again?

In a heart beat

Cause there is not breakfast joint in New Denver

And I must have my fix; I can not function without that morning ritual.

I have been known to have breakfast anytime of day.


Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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  • 7 months later...

Ah- The "RICE" bowl- the restaurant closed a few weeks back- they say it was because they did not pay the GST- I went there a few times and I found service to be indifferent and found the food not that great- pump it up they did- themselves as a great restaurant - I found the interpretation of various menu items lacking. That stacking thing and many plate presentation trends that as I see were out of date and are not done very well- I guess that is really more of my issue- you can be out of date but if you do it well; I would let it slide- enjoy and just get into the retro thing and maybe get even teary eyed and reminisce about the old days.

Nelson has had a tough winter in the restaurant world, we have had a couple of flips and a new addition; who now is changing concept in mid stream. It really does rely on the tourists to keep itself viable and sustainable in the restaurant scene. There are only about 9,000 people in the city so it is not a huge place but it has the impression of a way bigger place and has the number of restaurants and bars of a way bigger town. The summer is a way busier season for Nelson but I feel with the great number of winter resorts and better services and some great BB it should lift off very soon- many a property is being sold to Alberta and many retires are buying up the cheap realistate. The population will go up and Nelson will become a year round resort town. It is a gateway to some of the best skiing on the planet and in the summer some amazing hiking, mountain biking and all those other summer sports.

The only thing close to high end cuisine is ALL SEASONS- you could call it West Coast cuisine, I will be going there for dinner before I make a complete opinion- there is no shortage of many different opinion around town and I have heard about the restaurant from both sides- old staff and the customer but I must make my own opinion first hand.

The Stanley closed recently and replaced with a new place is called FULL CIRCLE- they are following the old concept very close-still only open for breakfast and lunch- still my favourite place in town to eat.

A new place opened up called BAKER STREET LIVE in the old church at the end of Baker Street- they have live music and dinner. I went opening week and had a glass of wine and really loved the place. Although recently I have heard they are changing the concept. Not a good sign- it usually means death in the restaurant world. Never change your concept in mid stream-bad business.

More Nelson food news soon


Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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