Wine Culture Magazine

Great places around B.C. for primo cuts—and the big reds that go with them

Getty Images photo

The cooler days of fall make us crave big, bold, heartwarming red wines. And all those Cabs and Merlots and Bordeaux-style blends in turn make us crave a steak with all the fixin’s. Bring on the cheese toast and creamed spinach, the bordelaise sauce and chimichurri, the potatoes fried, mashed, puréed or pavéd. Given the cost of beef these days,  though, if you’re going to indulge, you might as well make it worthwhile.

Here are seven great steak restaurants around the province that do just that.


Steak lovers have nothing to beef about in B.C.’s biggest city, given the large number of places that can sear a sirloin with flair (and, if you’ve ever watched the grill master at Hy’s Encore, plenty of flare, too). From chain restaurants like The Keg—which began in North Van 52 years ago as The Keg n’ Cleaver—to upscale eateries like Black & Blue, from the Art Deco splendour of Gotham to the updated-chophouse fun of Riley’s Fish & Steak, there’s a steak joint for every kind of steak lover.

But Elisa, Toptable Group’s modern take on the steakhouse, kicks it all up one very meaty notch. It offers an almost overwhelming number of choice cuts from premium producers across Canada and beyond. Craving a 30-ounce bone-in ribeye from PEI? Or a Wagyu tenderloin, imported from Japan, for an eyewatering $38 per ounce? They’ve got you covered. Whatever you order, it arrives grilled to perfection on chef Andrew Richardson’s prized Grillworks Infierno. Alongside, order from the selection of updated classic steakhouse sides and sauces, and dip into an international wine cellar of unusual breadth and depth.


There’s nothing like a day on the slopes to build your appetite, and Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar knows just what you’re hungry for. This award-winning, year-old restaurant from some of the region’s most expert hospitality pros takes its steaks seriously. Executive chef Derek Bendig offers classic cuts like tenderloin, ribeye and New York as well as Wagyu imported from Japan, and caters to the “surf ‘n’ turf” set with sides that include seared scallops and lobster prepared a la plancha. The restaurant’s focus on food and wine pairing means the sips will be equally compelling.


Vancouver Island isn’t really steak country, but if you find yourself in the provincial capital with a hankering for a slab of beef done rare, the best place to satisfy it is at The Courtney Room, located at the pretty Magnolia Hotel. Chef Brian Tesolin offers a selection of premium cuts, including a giant daily bone-in steak to share, along with optional sides and add-ons such as the swoony duck-fat-rich Potatoes Courtney, a gourmet take on mac ’n’ cheese, seasonal truffles and seared foie gras. Plus sommelier Colin Davidson will happily unearth some treasures in his Aladdin’s cave of a cellar.

Okanagan Valley:

Oddly, given its cattle-ranching past and huge annual influx of Albertans, the Okanagan wasn’t much of a destination for steak lovers until fairly recently. Then Mt. Boucherie in West Kelowna was purchased by new owners, who built a glamourous tasting room with a restaurant overlooking the lake.

And with a name like “boucherie”—which means “butcher shop” in French—what else would it serve besides steak? At The Modest Butcher Kitchen + Market, executive chef Dan Carkner offers generous cuts of beef (the tomahawk is a sheer drama of presentation) with not-so-modest sides like the pint o’ bacon, duck fat fries or smoked gorgonzola steak topper. They pair beautifully with the winery’s lush red wines, especially the opulent Summit blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Malbec and Syrah.

Walk into OROLO in Penticton and you’re sure to think, “At last!” After five years of oh-so-close-but-not-quite concepts, the TIME Family of Wines (comprising Chronos, Evolve Cellars and the McWatters Collection) has truly nailed its urban winery restaurant. The room is glamorous, the service warm and welcoming, and the food just what you’d hope it would be.

Culinary director Kirk Morrison has the valley’s only dry-aging cooler, where he is perfecting cuts of beef and racks of lamb. But he’s also having fun with steakhouse traditions—for instance, offering a tableside salad, but instead of a Caesar, making it a wedge with buttermilk-blue cheese dressing. There’s also a smashed potato side that should make traditional pommes purée and fries sit up and take notice. And, of course, there is a terrific selection of wines to choose from, as well as an exciting cocktail program.

Finally, no look at the valley’s steak restaurants would be complete without stepping into the past at the Diamond Steak & Seafood House in Osoyoos. Look for the turret on the main drag and you’ll find this old-school joint where you can get classic fare like baked pastas, chicken cordon bleu and Greek souvlaki, as well as steaks cut to order with an encouraging note on the menu saying, “If you would like a bigger cut, please ask your server.” Oh, OK, if you insist.

Follow us on Instagram