Smoke, what smoke? Helicopters, where? We don’t hear anything.
A lot of people are staying indoors during fire season, but for those who love to get outside — no matter what the circumstance — we came up with our choices for the 10 best outdoor patios in the Okanagan Valley.
The list is presented in alphabetical order and prepared by our editorial staff.
THE BARKING PARROT
With an awesome view of Okanagan Lake and Munson Mountain, The Barking Parrot at the Penticton Lakeside Resort is the valley’s largest outdoor patio with seating for 221 patrons, ages 19 and over (kids and their parents are welcome on the patio at the resort’s Bufflehead and Hooded Merganser restaurants.)
During the summer, the Parrot offers free live entertainment. The serving staff is young, energetic and good looking.
The pub recently lowered prices on most of the food options on the menu.
The patio went non-smoking in 1999 before it was mandated and it recently took another lead in the community when it banned plastic straws.
During triathlon weekend, the runners now race past the patio on their way to the finish line, located just seconds away.
The Parrot is unique for a pub in that it turns the room over. The working men and women usually arrive by 4 p.m., followed by an older crowd over dinner hour. At about 9 p.m., the young people take over.
BLIND ANGLER GRILL
The stylish logo for the Blind Angler Grill in Peachland includes a fishing rod and an oar, suitable representations for this delightful waterside restaurant, located at the south end of Beach Avenue.
Online reviewers note what some say is a “shabby chic” exterior, but the small restaurant’s real charms are inside. The decor is warm and inviting, and the patio offers Peachland’s only over-water dining experience.
“The view is absolutely breathtaking and I would highly recommend sitting outside,” wrote one Yelp reviewer.
Customer favourites include the Orgasm Burger, Guinness Stout Dog Sausage, and the aptly-named Beach Burger.
The patio at Earls downtown Kelowna is a classic spot for diners in the summer, looking the Kelowna Sails and Okanagan Lake.
Online reviews rave about the views from the rooftop patio.
“Sitting right across from Okanagan Lake, it offers beautiful views as well as delicious food,” one reviewer said.
The menu is also diverse, offering something for everyone.
Its website boasts having food options that cater to any occasion and mood, inspired by local farms and international flavours.
New to the menu is the ahi tuna poke bowl, a popular dish that has been taking over the internet this summer and is sure to be a good fit for a hot summer day on the patio.
Kelly O’Bryan’s restaurant on Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna has long been a favourite with locals and tourists alike.
Foodwise, a top appeal are pachos, those delicious lattice-style french fries served with melted cheese and drizzled with a secret recipe from Ireland.
And for the patio views, it’s hard to beat the upper deck at Kelly O’Bryans. It affords pleasing views through the trees of Kerry Park, the busy waterfront, and, of course, Okanagan Lake.
The rooftop patio is heated year round, and in summer it’s high enough for patrons to catch some cooling breezes coming off the water.
The website playfully notes it’s only 34 weeks until the next St. Patrick’s Day, but Kelly O’Bryan’s is a patio delight any time of year.
With its open air design, cascading infinity pool that flows into views of fertile vines leaning towards the lake, one could lose track of time getting lost in the beauty of Liquidity Wines bistro patio.
Located on the hillside of Okanagan Falls allows for stunning views of the winery’s vines, the B.C. Nature Reserve, both sloping towards the cooling waters of Skaha Lake.
The airy, bright look of the patio was a very deliberate design by owner Ian MacDonald, who is an avid art collector.
He wanted the patio to be as much of an art piece as his growing collection of art that can be found on the walls, entrance and outside in the vineyard.
Currently, Liquidity Wines is the only place in Canada to host the National Geographic Photo Ark exhibit. The public is invited to view the free exhibit until September.
OLD VINES RESTAURANT
There are lots of amazing views in the Okanagan, but perhaps the one from the Old Vines Restaurant in West Kelowna tops them all.
You could hardly design a more quintessential Valley vista than the one that stretches out from Quail’s Gate, the Boucherie Road winery where Old Vines is located.
The foreground consists of a verdant vineyard, beyond which is the impossibly perfect pairing of scenic Green Bay — a sort of half-moon cul-de-sac in the otherwise trench-like nature of Okanagan Lake — and the distant rise of Okanagan Mountain provincial park.
Three generations of the Stewart family have helped build a world-class winery with views to match. Oh, and the food? Well, Old Vines is rated as one of the top 100 in Canada.
If you’re looking for a great patio, you really can’t go wrong with a burger joint that has the word “patio” in its name.
Patio Burger and Ice Cream Co. opened last year on the waterfront next to Lakawanna Park in Penticton after extensive renovations, including massive decks and giant umbrellas for shade.
As the name suggests, the place is all about eating burgers outdoors. Diners order at a window and pick up their food when it’s ready. Servers are on hand to handle drink orders.
The food is reasonably priced, but the view across Lakeshore Drive to the lake is worth a million bucks. The patio is open during summer months only from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It’s a favourite with both locals and tourists.
Perch Cafe is aptly named, as it is perched on the roof of the seven-storey Okanagan Centre for Innovation downtown Kelowna.
Diners can enjoy their food with views of Kelowna’s skyline to one side and Okanagan Lake to the other.
The menu features local and intentionally shareable food and drink, and is one of Kelowna’s newest restaurants, having just opened last summer.
The east side of the roof is Perch Cafe, with 30 inside seats and 60 alfresco seats at tables with chairs and umbrellas, contemporary picnic tables and lounging couches and chairs.
On the west side, there are picnic tables and a deli counter where you can order sandwiches, wraps, salads and drinks.
Rose’s Pub was something of a novelty when it opened as part of the Grand hotel complex in the early 1990s.
For a city with a long shoreline, there were remarkably few places where one could actually sit near the water, enjoying some beverages and engaging in an agreeable bit of people-watching.
Rose’s provided that much-needed locale, and the clientele was a friendly mix of locals and tourists.
Fast forward to 2018, and Rose’s still boasts of being “the only true waterfront pub in Kelowna.” Owners of some other establishments would beg to differ, but the ambience at Rose’s is as welcoming as ever.
The large outdoor patio offers a great place to see and be seen, located as it is along the busy boardwalk that connects Stuart Park and Waterfront Park.
Rose’s — still as fresh, colourful, and inviting as the day it opened.
Smack Dab, located inside Manteo Resort, has some of the best views in the city.
Right on the water, there is nothing blocking the view of Okanagan Lake.
In fact, the name is inspired by its location on the water, smack dab in the heart of the resort, on the lake.
Large folding glass doors open onto the patio, which has a variety of tables and lounge style chairs.
Smack Dab boasts being the largest patio in Kelowna, with 150 seats.
It is well known for its many pizza options, but also has a wide variety of food for everyone in your group, including several options made for sharing.
It’s also an ideal place for beer lovers, as they claim to have one of the largest craft beer selections in Kelowna.
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Okanagan Top 10 is an opinion piece which appears every Saturday.
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—Contributing Writers: Joe Fries, James Miller, Andrea Peacock, Ron Seymour, Monique Tamminga