Gathering and sharing food are ways to celebrate culture and come together in community.
Top Indigenous eateries are now open with reduced seating to allow for social distancing. With the growing interest in immersive Indigenous tourism experiences and locally-sourced, wild-harvested food, Indigenous restaurants are on the rise.
Stay Social, Eat Local
The celebrated and casual Salmon ‘n’ Bannock Bistro is located in the Traditional Coast Salish Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh First Nations—present-day Vancouver. Saskatoon berries and soapberries; stinging nettle and sea asparagus; birch syrup and cedar jelly; caribou and salmon all make appearances on the menu of this small—but always packed—restaurant. Reservations are highly recommended, especially with reduced seating to respect social distance.
Lelem’ (say lay-lem) means home or place to come together in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm, the language of the Kwantlen people. Situated on a low bank of the Fraser River in the historic village of Fort Langley, the Lelem’ Arts and Cultural Cafe menu options, like venison sliders and sockeye salmon chowder, make use of locally-sourced elements of a traditional Coast Salish diet. Trend meets tradition at Mr. Bannock—the first Indigenous food truck in Vancouver. The affordable menu includes award-winning bannock tacos and a creative Indigenous twist on chicken and waffles: juniper dry-rubbed chicken on waffle bannock.
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) in Whistler is home to Thunderbird Cafe and its modern Indigenous cuisine. This is a place of cultural sharing where you can participate in interactive workshops and tours hosted by members of both Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation. Ask the Cafe Cultural Ambassadors questions about local culture and your food as you enjoy people-pleasing menu items like cedar plank sockeye salmon salad or venison chili with traditional bannock.
The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry at Spirit Ridge Resort, Winery, and Sacred Land in Osoyoos takes its name from a Syilx story about their Four Food Chiefs. The upscale restaurant celebrates the land, history, and people of Okanagan Nation. This modern vineyard dining experience includes Indigenous-inspired features like spruce glazed salmon and sage wrapped venison with a view of Osoyoos Lake and wine pairings by Nk’Mip Cellars.
Quaaout Lodge & Spa at Talking Rock Golf Resort is located in traditional Secwepemc Territory in the community of Skwlax. When your restorative day is done, visit Jack Sam’s for authentic Indigenous ingredients and gourmet dinners that include bacon-wrapped venison tenderloin with berry jus and elk stroganoff with fresh pappardelle. The location has a panoramic view of Shuswap Lake and the surrounding snow-capped mountains.
If you’re in Westbank or Merritt, visit Kekuli Cafe, named for the kekuli (say ke-koo-lee)—a traditional indigenous winter dwelling built half into the ground and made of logs, tule, dirt, and grass. The traditional and gourmet bannock delights are made fresh daily. Their famous frybread is always vegan and is the glorious, golden centerpiece in Breakfast Bannockwiches and Venison Flatbread Tacos.
Take your seat at a timeless and contemporary table where eating is learning, and every morsel is a connection to the land and its people.
Indigenous Restaurants and Eateries outside of BC
With local ingredients, unique spins on traditional flavours and fusion recipes, Indigenous cuisine is transforming the Canadian culinary scene. All across the country, Indigenous-owned food businesses are serving up dishes that have a deep connection to their communities fuelling the Indigenous Renaissance. Find Indigenous culinary experiences open in 2020 from across Canada here. Bon appétit!