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Please note I was invited by the resort to stay overnight and try the menu, everything was comped unless otherwise noted.
I have to say that I’ve never really truly explored BC as much as I should. I’m always looking to go outside of Canada on big trips but truth be told, we have some great getaways here that not many people know about. I think that Painted Boat is one of them. To get to Painted Boat, you have to take a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. When you pay the ferry toll at Horseshoe Bay, it also counts as your return fare when you leave from Langdale.
You go through places like Gibsons, Half Moon Bay and Seschelt (pronounced Sea-shelt).
The driving from landing at Langdale is about an hour and the ferry takes 30-40 minutes. So it’s not a terribly long distance to drive.
Painted Boat is a small, luxury resort that is sheltered by a very calm, small harbour. There are just 31 waterfront vacation villas, so its nice and quiet. All the suites face the water, so you never have a bad view. Our villa was on the bottom floor and was quite big for 2 people. This would be perfect for a family of 3-4. Everything is clean, new and comfortable. The colour scheme of the villas is a nice warm, homely mix.
There is plenty to do at the resort and plenty not to do if you’re like me and want to just relax.
There is a nice spa on location, a heated infinity pool, hot tub, gym. You can also rent kayaks and paddle boards. There is also tonnes of hiking and biking trails nearby.
When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to see food waiting for us in the fridge! This lovely plate of snacks was a great treat after a long drive up. Two of everything, there were danishes, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, raspberries, truffles and strudels. All of them were very delicious!
Our villa had two rooms, a master bedroom and a smaller room. Seriously, this place could be a million dollar house in Vancouver. There was a soaker tub, two patios – a small one in the master bedroom and a larger one near the living room complete with an outdoor area to eat and a BBQ grill.
The entire place is completely stocked with kitchen equipment and bbq utensils – also two TVs with cable, a DVD player and an iPhone/iPod dock for music. There are some basic necessities like tea, coffee, etc. Also there are some lotions, soaps and toiletries if you forget to bring anything.
They delivered a Breakfast Basket for the following morning, but more on that after the review!
The Restaurant at Painted Boat
Woo, you made it to the restaurant review! Or perhaps you just scrolled down to the bold title, that’s fine too!
The Restaurant at Painted Boat is situated right near the docks for a great view onto the harbour. Head Chef Marcus Bugoy who grew up locally in Smithers, BC has experience that spans across Canada from the famous Canoe in Toronto, Niagara and Banff.
Chef Bugoy is committed to using locally grown and sustainable ingredients to create his dishes and works closely with local purveyors to source ingredients. The menu is Oceanwise as well, so big points on that.
We started off with an Amuse Bouche from the Chef. A Truffled egg custard with fresh spot prawn. I’ve been craving spot prawns ever since they came into season, so this was a nice refreshing treat. The custard is light and balances well with the fresh spot prawn.
The Restaurant is celebrating 5 years so there were a couple menu items for $5. We went with the Tuna Tartar, Forked Greens and two of their cocktails – the Harbour Spritzer and the Slow Cat Cocktail.
Our drinks arrived first [Editor's Note: Our meal was comped but we did pay for our drinks]. I had the Harbour Spritzer which is Rose wine with soda. They are very generous with the amount of drink given here – I was quite surprised that my Spritzer came in such a large wine glass. It was nice and refreshing with very little of the alcohol taste which could prove dangerous after your first couple!
Brian ordered the Slow Cat Cocktail which consisted of sweet Vermouth, Gin, orange juice and soda. He seemed to enjoy his cocktail.
Next up, we were served warm bread and butter in anticipation for our meal. The bread here is great, not sure if it’s made on premises but quite nice.
Our Forked Greens ($5) came up first – great presentation. Three forks with beets, pear, and some greens in a vanilla vinaigrette. This lovely, lightly sweet appetizer was refreshing and certainly helped whet our appetite for our main meal.
Our Tuna Tartar ($5) followed shortly after. The tuna is served with a cucumber vinaigrette on fried wonton chips. Beautifully presented, this dish was good. The wonton chips were a little soggy on the bottom under the generous serving of tuna atop them.
We ordered one extra appetizer to share – the Crab & Avocado Roulade ($16). This dish was plated beautifully. I asked the server what the two sauces were and she mentioned that they were lemon mustard vinaigrette and arugula puree. The crab and avocado together was a great mix – the crab is slightly sweet and the avocado gives it a more buttery taste to it. On either side, this dish has some greens that are slightly salty so you get the full spectrum of taste in one dish.
Finally our mains. Brian ordered the Butter Poached Lobster ($34). It is served with Fava Beans, Lobster Tortellini and warm Tarragon Vinaigrette. I’m not usually a big fan of lobster but this is probably the best place I’ve had lobster. I find most places tend to overcook lobster and it becomes rubbery, but it was great here. The lobster was tender enough that you could cut it with a fork with no problem. The lobster ravioli is just as delightful – the pasta cooked perfectly al dente and a generous portion of tasty lobster within.
My dish was the Haida Gwaii Halibut served with Ricotta Gnocchi, Arugula Puree and Pickled Beet Emulsion ($32). Another beautifully plated dish with lots of red and green. Brian and I both loved the Ricotta Gnocchi, it was slightly seared and were just the right size and amount. The halibut sat atop some spinach and the dish is dressed with some asparagus as well. The Halibut flakes into meaty sections easily with a fork and is seared and slightly crispy on the top. This is a fairly generous portion of halibut.
We rounded off the evening with desserts. Brian stuck with the house made ice cream and I chose the Chocolate Ganache (of course!).
The House Made Ice Cream dessert featured three different flavours: strawberry, cinnamon chocolate and lemon. The dessert chef likes to switch it up and make different flavours every couple of days. I really enjoyed the strawberry ice cream, the lemon was nice and refreshing and the chocolate with a hint of cinnamon was great.
My Chocolate Ganache dessert was a beautiful array of chocolate decadence. None of the pieces featured were overtly sweet but had a great chocolatey taste to them.
Our meal overall was solid and our server and everyone at the restaurant was very friendly. The restaurant itself is nice and homely with its warm wood panels and a great view of the harbour. There is a patio area where you can enjoy some dining al fresco!
The next morning, we opened up our breakfast basket.
There were some real healthy treats inside. We had some apple juice, muesli, yogurt, jam, fresh cream cheese and milk in mason jars. So cute! We also had some bagels, croissants, smoked salmon and fresh raspberries as well.
We also helped ourselves to some tea and coffee - which is a nice touch to our breakfast. Our breakfast was so filling we couldn’t finish it all but we were very thankful that there was left over rather than being hungry!
I really loved the fact they included cream cheese, smoked salmon and a bagel – I want to say its a West Coast type of thing that makes our breakfast different.
Checkout was at 11, so we made our way out a little before then to catch the 12:30 ferry. I love the fact that even just an overnight retreat like this one can recharge you before you have to head back to work!
I’d definitely recommend Painted Boat – especially if you want to experience the great outdoors and get away from city life for a bit! There is a great BBQ on every villa’s patio and a full working kitchen so you can definitely bring your own food and just kick back and relax.
I’d like to thank Nancy for her hospitality when we arrived, she was so helpful also when I was checking out and suggested certain places we could go visit if we didn’t make our ferry.
For more information including their restaurant hours and menu, check out their website here.