Best Places to Eat in Gibsons on BC’s Sunshine Coast
This town is small but you’ll want to pack a big appetite for all it has to offer when it comes to food and drink.
The community of Gibson at the southern end of British Columbia’s lovely and rugged Sunshine Coast is small, but you’ll eat great while you’re there.
Located just a short drive from the BC Ferries terminal in Langdale – itself just a 40-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in the Lower Mainland – Gibsons is a postcard-perfect town with a rich history – not to mention a little durability TV fame thanks to the iconic CBC The Beachcombers.
The heart of the city stretches from the seawall promenade and boat-lined pier up the hill and is packed with shops, galleries and all sorts of great places to grab a coffee, a sweet treat or a snack. meal. Beyond the center of Gibsons, however, you’ll find all sorts of culinary gems. Venture on the roads and you’ll find a food truck offering good hot breakfasts on the edge of a farm (and across from a pie stand in a local’s driveway) or a young cider house with Vancouver roots .
No matter which direction you walk in this town of Howe Sound, there’s something for everyone – and much of it is so deeply connected to the land and sea of the region. Here’s your guide to the best food and drink at Gibsons.
Sunshine Coast native Martin DesRosiers started his coffee roasting business in 2015, based not only on his love of brewing, but also on his passion for bringing a high-quality, handcrafted product to market. Beachcomber Coffee has become virtually synonymous with Gibsons, and the “Sunshine Coast vibe” is echoed in the coffee company’s merchandising. At their café on Gower Point Road, you’ll find a cozy space with great coffees and espressos and all sorts of delicious treats, like donuts and pastries. Whether you just need a great cup of coffee or a place to buy some great local produce, Beachcomber is a must visit in Gibsons. Also be sure to grab some take-out beans to taste the Sunshine Coast in your cup at home.
Beverly Hills, 90210 had the Peach Pit, saved by the bell had The Max, and The Beachcombers had Molly’s Reach. But the only meeting place to transition from the small screen to the real-life restaurant is Molly’s Reach, and a fairly recent redesign of the waterside restaurant means you’ll find an inviting space with elevated restaurant-style classics. If you get anything while you’re here it has to be the fish & chips – they’re probably the best I’ve ever had, but I’m told the burger here is also fantastic.
It might be so cold that your breath fogs the air around your face, but that won’t matter when you’re at The Shortcut, a roadside food stand that serves breakfasts. and lunches all day. The smell of bacon wafts through the air, and the outdoor “kitchen” is like a stage where you can watch your huge pancake bubble up before it’s flipped and cut into finger-sized wedges (aka Pancake Fries) to dip into an addictive cinnamon syrup whipped dip. They do breakfast wraps and sandwiches as well as trays of pierogies from the local supplier Mom Museyloaded poutines and a lunch menu focused on more take-out items like burgers and sandwiches.
Brassica is the new kid on the block that has steadily built a reputation as a go-to restaurant for seasonal fare since launching a pop-up operation in Gibsons. Now in a new home (alongside Coho Commissary), Brassica is up and running for lunch and dinner with a culinary team of stars, who have each spent time working in Vancouver’s finest restaurants. Executive Chef Jack Chen and Pastry Chef Hilary Prince are joined by General Manager Rhian Charette, and the result is a vibrant place where the focal point is the powerful ways in which good food fuels the community. The menu changes depending on the availability of ingredients, but you’ll always see gorgeous local produce, whimsical baked creations, and accessible dishes that give familiar flavors and ingredients a little more excitement. Perfect for sharing, dishes on the Brassica menu can range from crisp and sweet delicata squash tempura to soulful bolognese with casarecce.
There are fewer dining experiences more typical in seaside towns than sipping chilled oysters with drinks and waterfront views. That’s what you’ll get at Smitty’s Oyster House, a Gibsons staple for a laid back atmosphere, great seafood and plenty to drink. While Vancouverites may recognize the restaurant from its second outpost in the city, nothing beats the original, which is housed in a former marine repair shop in picturesque Gibsons Harbour. If you are lucky enough to sit at the bar you can watch the shuckers at work or in the warmer months you can sit at the communal outdoor table and watch the port in action.
It doesn’t have to be Sunday – or even summer – for you to turn off the main road and walk down the driveway to Sunday Cider’s operations. This small-batch cider is full of big ambitions – namely to make craft cider a staple at the table as we happily do with wine and beer. Sourcing most of his fruit from the Okanagan — fortified with some ingredients they grew on their up-and-coming farm property in Gibsons — Sunday Cider cider maker Clinton McDougall oversees an impressive heritage fruit processing operation from British Columbia into a range of ciders that bring the funk – or the sweet mellow – to sips. With ciders available in bottle or can, Sunday Cider’s offerings change with the season and reflect the nuances of taste that come from varying growing and fermentation conditions (yes, they ferment in large vats outdoors, on the property). This means you can come back again and again to try something different and definitely unique.
Persephone is an agricultural brewery with an impressive operation – and great beers. You can wander the property to see how the brewery integrates the grounds and its functions across its business, then grab a flight or a pint and settle in at a table in the dining room or on the patio. Persephone easily has incentives to stay home for a while; they have live music, a room full of games and toys, play areas for kids, and visiting food businesses. Oh..Miso!! pop-up regularly at Persephone Kitchen with their hand-pulled noodles. The traveling restaurant does things like a “brunch” ramen, loaded with eggs, roasted potatoes and thick bacon with crispy greens and noodles, and juicy hot dogs for the kids. Be warned, however, these dishes are very popular and are only available while supplies last, so don’t delay in placing your noodle order.
Slip into this cozy cottage with stunning views for brunch by day and bistro dinners by night. In the evening, Drift is a cozy getaway, perched on the hill, with tantalizing French-style plates perfect for sharing. Drift’s co-owner is Tim Bedford, who also co-owns another Gibsons spot, Molly’s Reach, and once served as executive chef at the Vancouver Aquarium. The Drift menu is built from fresh, local ingredients in simple yet elegant preparations; if you’re wise enough to save room for dessert, you might see something like “crispy meringue” which turns everyone’s favorite lemon pie into tangy curds, whipped cream, berries and slivers of sweet meringue for a sweet finish to a great meal.
Any food lover should make a stop at Gibsons Public Market. It’s compact but does a great job of featuring local vendors that cover a lot of key great food territories. Here, you can stock up on fresh breads and pastries, seafood, cheese and fresh produce, as well as zero-waste bulk foods. Upstairs, in what doubles as a community gathering space, you’ll find Emelle’s, a food service that also runs a tandem operation in Vancouver. On the Sunshine Coast, Emelle’s is a go-to spot for its beautiful breakfast dishes made from local produce served in a bright and airy space. Their roasted vegetable hash is a guaranteed good start to the day at Gibsons (although you’d do well with the option to build your own omelette, too). At lunchtime, they switch to burgers, salads, and bowls for a fresh midday bite.
Thanks to Sunshine CoastTourism and its partners for supporting this story. All opinions and inclusions are those of the author and have not been guided or influenced in any way. No company or representative received a preview of the story before it was published.