Discover the best restaurant in Queen Charlotte City, Canada including Dave's in the Village, Oceana Chinese and Continental, Queen B's, J &T Restaurant, Keenawaii's Kitchen, Sapporo Japanese Restaurant, Jags Beanstalk, Ov Pizza, Kay Bistro, Ocean View Restaurant
Things to do in Queen Charlotte City
3 based on 5 reviews
Dave's has been a staple of Skidegate (not Queen Charlotte City) since at least the early 1990s. In that time, this small eatery, which is primarily take-out though it does have limited seasonal (summer) Seating, has amassed something of a cult-like following in the community and the surrounding area. This place is well-known for their burgers, chicken strips, pizza, soft ice cream, slushies and occasional specials. In other words, Dave's is basically like your typical Takeout fast-food place, though it isn't "fast food."
Unfortunately, like many of the restaurants on Haida Gwaii, Dave's seems to suffer from inconsistency, both in terms of food quality and hours of operation. Sometimes you'll get something to go from here and it will be outstanding (the burgers come to mind), and yet at other times you're left scratching your head wondering what's changed (for instance, the pizza has been hit and miss. One of the last times I ordered one it was so greasy the toppings kept sliding off). Such inconsistency in product no doubt impacts the customer base -- or at least I would think so.
But if the lack of consistency isn't enough to impact customer base, then the inconsistent hours of operation might. Sometimes this place is open all week; at other times hours will be sporadic and/or with large gaps in between -- usually with no notice.
I think if Dave's could iron out such inconsistencies they would be more effective. I mean, it would be nice, when visiting Haida Gwaii, to have at least a couple of restaurants with consistent food -- not the proverbial surprise bag you get at most.
RECOMMENDATION: Despite the inconsistency this place offers a reprieve from the Chinese food offerings that seem to over-saturate the Island. And, hey, the burgers are pretty good!
3.5 based on 35 reviews
The owner was really nice and did his best but the food was awful. His recommendation was his pad Thai (strange for a Chinese restaurant) came out on a giant lid, and tasted more like ketchup than pad Thai.
Pretty bad but the guy was doing his best.
4.5 based on 86 reviews
We ordered out food and then waited, and waited and... They didn't seem to have a system, so half of our food went to another table whose order had gone somewhere else. Then they ran out of what we wanted.
Place your order and then watcj for it to emerge to be sure you get it.
The pizza is good,
3 based on 25 reviews
This restaurant has a bit of a history on Haida Gwaii. In its early years, it started off as "Marg's," a place famous just as much for their breakfasts as for the boisterous personality that ran the place. In the early 2000s, Marg's became "Lam's Cafe" -- an offshoot from John's Cafe and it remained that until late 2009 when the place was sold and became the current incarnation, J & T. But before I go further, a bit of context is perhaps necessary.
When this restaurant became Lam's Cafe in the early 2000s, it seemed to develop something of a cult following amongst the locals. The food was never great, but it was at least consistent. My personal favourite at the time was the pan-fried prawns and chow mein combo. And what was even better -- you could order practically the whole menu and it would still be "10 minutes" for pick-up. Unfortunately, the consistency in food service and quality died a slow and painful death with the sale of this restaurant in late 2009. But while Lam's Cafe may have closed, the new owners of what became J&T still nonetheless tried to ride off of Lam's coattails: Along with keeping the "Lam's Cafe" signage up (until just a few years ago), they attempted to learn "how to cook" like the previous owner, even going so far as to have him come in and teach them some of their trademark recipes (namely, the boneless spareribs). While the effort was there, they just could not duplicate the taste. As a result, this "copy-cat" project was abandoned and they cooked according to their own style. It seemed to work for a while, but after a few years, they moved away (last I heard the original owners of J&T were working at Hon's in Vancouver). And thus began the current conundrum: VERY inconsistent food and service.
Nowadays, it seems like the cooks work in a revolving door. This is something I've witnessed, having visited this establishment countless times since the early 2000s (though a lot less frequently now). Nearly every time I visit, there are different people in the building: different staff; different cooks. And this isn't necessarily good because it usually means that the food presentation/style is going to different. You never know what you're going to get. One day the food may be really good, and on another visit -- with different cooks -- it might very well be the worst thing you've put in your mouth. To highlight my point: I visited J&T in December 2016 and again at the end of February of this year. Unsurprisingly, there were different people working in the restaurant. I suspect it has something to do with Visas.
One other point that irks me: Like Oceana, despite different cooks/owners, this place maintains its name (J&T) and the same menu. Isn't keeping "the old" kind of bad practice, especially when it wasn't that good to begin with? But I suppose with a revolving door of cooks it doesn't really matter.
Oh! And one other point: One review referred to this place as having "Authentic Thai Chinese Cuisine." I can tell you there isn't anything "Authentic Thai" about this place; in fact, there isn't a single "Thai" dish on the menu. What you get here -- as others have pointed out -- is your typical Westernized cuisine. Nothing more, nothing less.
So why the low rating? Because this place, due to constant changes in the kitchen, is just too inconsistent. Sometimes the food is good; other times it is mediocre; and at still other times it is outright gross. Some of the attached pictures will highlight this fact: sometimes there will be very different looks to what are supposed to be the same dishes (some quite nasty). Sure, the staff generally treat you well, but if you don't know what you're going to get from one visit to the next, what real incentive is there to return? I guess it's a good thing for this place that people are creatures of habit. . .?
VALUE: 2/5 (expensive for what you get)
RECOMMENDATION: I'm neutral on this one. Either you like it or you don't!
4.5 based on 21 reviews
An authentic Haida meal served by Roberta & family. Salmon, halibut, venison ...all from the surrounding area. Excellent food, wonderful surroundings including a treasure of Haida art & artifacts. Don't miss the opportunity to visit Keenawii's Kitchen...it was the highlight of our visit to this land at "the edge of the world"
Don & Mary
4 based on 32 reviews
I frequently eat sushi on Vancouver Island and in the "Lower Mainland" and I have found few places serve better quality sushi that the two dinners we had in QCC. It was fresh and extremely flavourful - the only "downside" was that it was slightly more expensive that that I've had elsewhere and I think one might put that down to an "isolation tariff" which one encounters over much of BC. We had been advised by locals that one really doesn't expect good, let alone great, food here in QCC. I beg to differ - this was very good and the service was prompt and charming and not outrageously expensive - perhaps 15-20% over Richmond/Vancouver prices. For those of you who think this place doesn't serve really good sushi, I wonder what your comparing it against.
4.5 based on 68 reviews
4 based on 39 reviews
OV Pizza has been around for close to two decades. It is basically the same as Ocean View Restaurant (they’re housed in the same space and “OV” is short for, well, you get it), but maybe I’m just getting too picky pointing that out? Anyway, OV Pizza is something of a foodie institution on southern Graham Island. Being the only pizza place outside of Dave’s (and the latter doesn’t seem to have consistent hours) certainly helps in this regard. Like Dave’s the quality of the pizza seems to depend on who’s cooking. I remember ordering a pizza not long after OV Pizza officially opened and thought to myself, “wow! This is some of the best pizza I’ve ever had!” Fast forward several months. I ordered again and the experience was the polar opposite: cheese was burnt, crust was solid (not in a good way), and the bottom of the pizza was extremely tough – a clear indication of overcooking. In most instances, this would be enough to turn someone off, but when there are such limited options, one cannot afford to be overly picky. These experiences took place between about 2005 to 2010.
Fast forward several years to 2017. I found myself once again on Haida Gwaii. The first thing I noticed was that OV/Ocean View had moved. They were no longer attached to the Sea Raven restaurant and had, in fact, moved to the former Howler’s Pub – a smart move since the space is larger and actually offers far better “Ocean Views.” I decided to order a pizza. . .and it was OK. The crust was still just as tough as I’d remembered and the pizza itself was very “heavy” feeling, and not because of an abundance of toppings. I mean, to be clear, the pizza was fine, but far from something I’d write home and rave about. Would I return? Probably, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.
SERVICE: 4/5 (excellent service)
RECOMMENDATION: If you’re really wishing for pizza, this is your only real option within striking distance since the competition is inconsistent, RE: hours of operation. The pizza isn’t great, but it’s certainly far from bad.
5 based on 69 reviews
4 based on 117 reviews
Ocean View Restaurant opened its doors in 2004 and offered Islanders and tourists alike a new, fresh dining option replete with excellent burgers, steak and local seafood. Until fairly recently Ocean View was an appendage of the Sea Raven Motel, but has since branched off into its own space (with superior “Ocean Views”). When on Island, I used to dine here frequently with family and friends. The seafood chowder was fantastic – rich, creamy broth loaded with delicious local seafood; the fish and chips were expertly done (light, crisp batter and not overly greasy); the burgers were well-seasoned; and the garlic/Thai prawns were outstanding – a personal favourite. But that was then.
On a recent visit to Ocean View, it seemed to me like the quality of the food has begun to slip. We ordered a deluxe burger; chicken wings; and fish and chips. The wings were good – nice ratio of sauce to wing, and they were cooked very well. The burger, however, left much to be desired. It was certainly big – very filling – but it totally lacked in flavor and it was kind of dry. Very disappointing given past experiences. And the fish and chips were probably the biggest sin of all. Having had the fish and chips here numerous times in the past, I was looking forward to these. Sadly, I was disappointed. The fish was greasy and the ratio of batter to fish was way off – more batter than fish (and, oddly enough, the batter didn’t even really stick to the fish; it was just kind of “loose” around it. Basically, the fish would’ve just slid out of the batter had I tilted it a little). What the heck has happened? Once described as a “must eat” destination on Haida Gwaii, I don’t feel such designation applies anymore. I mean, I know some who still rave about this place, but I don’t see it? I just hope this eatery isn’t getting complacent after so many years and recognizing that they’re pretty much the only non-Chinese/Japanese restaurant in town. Hopefully the owners pick up the slack and, to borrow from a popular campaign slogan, can make Ocean View great again! As it sits, I would rank this restaurant as “average.”
RECOMMENDATION: If I were writing this review a few years ago I’d say the slightly inflated prices are well worth it for the quality of food you receive, but not so much anymore. The cuisine is average at best, and that’s disappointing to acknowledge given what this place used to produce!
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