ITS-Food Says Island’s Top Restaurants Becoming Increasingly World Class

NANAIMO – The bar of excellence for Vancouver Island based restaurants keeps going up – just ask professional food photographer Tim McGrath. The owner of, McGrath has worked with restaurants, food stores and assorted hospitality industry clients for the past decade – on projects ranging from menus and cookbooks, to social media marketing campaigns in addition to traditional magazine and newspaper advertising.

Nanaimo-based Tim McGrath has been working as a professional food photographer for more than a decade.

One of the trends he’s noticed is that the quality and the sophistication of Island eateries keeps getting better, to the delight of foodies everywhere! “Vancouver Island north of the Malahat is growing up from a food services point of view. Island restaurants are creating items that compete with the best anywhere, and that trend is only expected to grow as times goes on,” he said.

One example of this increasing level of skills and talent is Nanaimo’s Ryan Zuvich, the Chef at the city’s Hilltop Bistro. He garnered for his restaurant a bronze medal in the recent Gold Medal Plates competition, a national culinary event that serves as a fundraising for the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

“He came in third place in BC in the Gold Medal Plates competition which is exceptional. That means there were only two restaurants in the competition that beat him in the province – showing just how good regional restaurants are getting,” McGrath said.

He also points out the skills and quality of all aspects of the hospitality and food services sector on the Island are also on the rise – including the local craft breweries. McGrath said Nanaimo’s White Sails Brewing had its Snake Island CDA (Cascadian Dark Ale) dark beer crowned Best Canadian and Best World Black IPA (India Pale Ale) while the brewery’s Mount Benson IPA took home the Canadian Gold Medal at a tournament held in London, England last August.

Vancouver Island’s top restaurants and food services providers are starting to receive international recognition.

In addition Port Alberni’s Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Company was declared Brewery of the Year at the recent BC Beer Awards, while the Twin City Brewery in Port Alberni took home a second place in the British Bitter category for its Tickity Boo British Pale Ale at the same competition.

“Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine conducts an annual review of the best restaurants in the country with the Villa Eyrie Resort near Victoria coming in the top 10 in the country. This achievement is part of an overall trend where Island restaurants keep getting better, and are starting to get the recognition they deserve,” he said.

Once only found in major centres Vancouver Island is now the home to many award winning restaurants.

McGrath speculates that the cost of owning and operating an eatery in the province’s major centres is becoming prohibitive, with local patrons benefiting from the move to the new Island locations. “The culinary scene north of the Malahat is changing significantly, and for lovers of fine dining the opportunities just keep getting better and better,” McGrath said.

To learn more please visit the company’s website at:

Written by David Holmes

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