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Where to Eat and Drink in Vernon: Tasting Trail Guide

The best accompaniment to outdoor adventure? Great food and drink! The city of Vernon delivers on both fronts, a reason why it’s one of our favourite weekend destinations in British Columbia.

As highlighted previously on this site, Vernon has an excellent network of multi-use trails. But here’s a new one of a different kind to add to the list – Vernon’s Tasting Trail.

Hiking trail view of city of Vernon, with housing and commercial buildings below and lake in background
City of Vernon from the Grey Canal Trail in spring

Celebrating Vernon’s bountiful harvest and artisans, this collection of characterful local businesses acts like a cheat’s guide to the best places to eat and drink in Vernon. 

In this post, I’ll show you around the Tasting Trail and also share our top picks for the best restaurants in Vernon. By the end, you’ll know exactly where to go for picnic supplies, post-hike drinks and celebratory meals.

Birds eye view of BX Press cider flights with eight different variations
Bx Press Cidery has two flights (each with four different cider varieties) – one dry and one sweeter

Vernon is located on the traditional territory of the Syilx people of the Okanagan Nation. We visited Vernon in late October 2021 in partnership with Tourism Vernon.

Back view of JR looking out to farmland in Vernon BC, from hiking trail
Looking out over Davison Orchards from the Grey Canal Trail

Introducing Vernon’s Tasting Trail

Vernon’s Tasting Trail features a grand total of 33 local producers and businesses.

While we haven’t visited all of them quite yet, we’re made a good effort!

Looking out across yellowing vineyards at winery in Lake Country, towards Okanagan Lake, which is slightly misty
Misty morning in the vineyards of Lake Country, just south of Vernon

Find shortcuts to our favourite locations below, along with additional recommendations for places to eat in Vernon and a Google Map to help with navigation.

When planning a Tasting Trail adventure, check the opening hours of each business first. Some of the Tasting Trail destinations open seasonally or have reduced opening hours/days in winter.

Vernon Tasting Trail Google map screenshot, featuring all member businesses
Click here or above to view Vernon Tasting Trail map, featuring all member businesses

Tasting Trail foodie destinations

Vernon’s Tasting Trail can be easily divided into food and drink destinations. Let’s make a start with food!

Overhead view of decorative squash at Davison Orchards in fall
Decorative squash at Davison Orchards in fall

Davison Orchards

This fifth generation family farm includes a local produce market, café, bakery, playground, petting zoo, seasonal U-pick and artisan ice cream shop. Phew!

With free entry, it’s the perfect all-in-one destination for families. Even for adults, it’s an incredibly wholesome experience.

Foodies should make a beeline for the Farmhouse Café. Located in the original 1940’s farmhouse, most of the menu items are made from ingredients grown and prepared on the farm.

Highlights: Multifaceted family business, great for families

Address: 3111 Davison Road, Vernon

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Old rec truck parked outside Davison Orchards country Village buildings with hanging flowers and wooden frontage
Davison Orchards

Planet Bee Honey Farm

With hives located right on-site, Planet Bee really takes the farm shop experience to new levels!

But it doesn’t stop there. As well as producing 100% raw honey, Planet Bee also curates the highest quality, cruelty free honey bee products from around Canada.

A true family owned and operated business, you’ll likely meet one of the Noweks in the Planet Bee shop. Founder and father, Ed, began his beekeeping career at 16 years old.

The Planet Bee Honey Farm also features an educational centre with an indoor glass observatory hive, Honeymoon Meadery (another Vernon Tasting Trail destination) and beautiful pollinator gardens.

Highlights: Large range of bee products (raw honey, pollen, mead) and activities in family friendly environment

Address: 5011 Bella Vista Rd, Vernon

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Honey bee hive surrounded by brightly coloured flowers at Planet Bee Honey Farm in Vernon
Bee hive at Planet Bee Honey Farm in Vernon

Olive Us Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Room

Olive Us is on a mission to elevate the simple pairing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The centerpiece of the store is the tasting bar, which offers the chance to taste, pair and compare ultra premium (single varietal) olive oils, traditional style condimento balsamic vinegars and 100% naturally flavoured infused olive oils.

I’ve noted our favourite combination below but we also loved the butter infused (vegan!) and wild mushroom olive oil varieties too. 

Highlights: Fused blood orange olive oil paired with dark chocolate balsamic vinegar

Address: 3003A 30th Avenue, Vernon (downtown)

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Front view of white balsamics containers and bottles in Olive Us shop
Olive Us Oil & Vinegar Tasting Room

Sweet Hoopla

Indulge a little at Sweet Hoopla! This delightful store is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Expect curated treats from Canada and beyond alongside in-house small batch kettle roasted almonds.

Sweet Hoopla is a great place to pick up a gift for anyone with dietary requirements. The Koko Monk Chocolates from Vancouver, for example, are made from raw origin beans, therefore both sugar free and vegan.

In summer, there is a separate gelato bar just around the corner on 31st Street.

Highlights: Hot roasted almonds, local gelato in summer

Address: 2908 31 Ave, Vernon (downtown)

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Hand holding up gelato pot in front of colourful mural in Vernon
Locally made gelato from Sweet Hoopla, Vernon

Hot Bread Shoppe

Blink and you may miss the Hot Bread Shoppe, a small batch artisan bakery perched on 31st St. Once inside, however, you will be held captive by the heavenly smell of bread and cinnamon buns.

The Hot Bread Shoppe’s irresistible array of baked goods is made completely from scratch with organic flours from a local mill. No preservatives, dough enhancers or other synthetic additives are used.

Vegans rejoice, there are options for you here too!

Highlights: Croissants and sour dough bread

Address: 2901 31 St, Vernon (downtown)

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Hot Bread Shoppe interior view, with white walls featuring brick detailing, with baked items on counter
Hot Bread Shoppe

Wedge Cheesery

Wedge Cheesery showcases high quality dairy delights from around the world as well as local varieties.

In addition to selling artisan cheeses by weight, Wedge Cheesery creates tasty custom charcuterie boards including specially selected cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts and locally made condiments.

Planning to explore one of Vernon’s hiking trails? Packaged into a box as standard (you can rent or buy a board instead), these charcuterie platters are perfect for picnics.

Highlights: The “Wedge” charcuterie boards!

Address: 3026 30th Ave, Vernon (downtown)

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Exterior view of Wedge Cheesery building, with modern logo above door, large floor to ceiling windows and white patio seating outside
Wedge Cheesery

More of the Vernon Tasting Trail

As mentioned, Vernon’s Tasting Trail includes more than 30 different producers and businesses. Other members located in or close to downtown Vernon are:

  • Vernon Farmers’ Market – Held twice a week, all products are made, baked or grown locally. The outdoor season runs from mid April to the end of October.
  • Ratio – Handcrafted pastries (with a different specialty highlighted each day) accompanied by quality coffee. Visit on Friday for some of the best doughnuts in the Okanagan Valley!
  • Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen – Quality artisan meats sourced from local producers, sold with Central European flair. The on-site bistro serves hot deli sandwiches and borscht
View of painted mural on wall of Helmuts Sausage Kitchen, with five people eating meat products in forest setting
Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen
  • Pink Spotted Goat – Market showcasing handcrafted items made by 150+ local artisans. Sustainability is a focus, with a wide range of plastic free and eco products on offer
  • Okanagan Bakehouse – European specialties abound here, with rye and sour dough breads, Black Forest cake and pretzels in addition to Canadian favourites
  • Midtown Bistro – Funky downtown spot making fresh, innovative dishes with as many local ingredients as possible. Small but varied menu
Overhead view of Midtown Bistro meal, with three vegetarian sliders, two bowls of squash soup and prawn wrap
Lunch at the Midtown Bistro, Vernon (soup, sliders and a prawn wrap)

Local libations

They say that food is always better with wine…but what about craft mead, beer, cider and spirits as well? Vernon’s Tasting Trail has it all!

Scenic Sip Wineries

Vernon sits at the top of the Okanagan Valley, one of the best wine growing regions in Canada. Just a short drive south of downtown is the Scenic Sip, a collection of eight wineries in the Lake Country area.

Six of these wineries are clustered above Okanagan Lake, where the vineyards slope towards the sparkling water below. The long summer afternoons help the vines receive almost 2000 hours of sunlight per year.

Lake Country best known for white wines, particularly Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Riesling. Rosé and Pinot Noir rounds out the collection. Grapes for other varietals are sourced further south.

Back view of Gemma walking down stairs towards vineyard, where some of the vines are turning yellow and red. There is Okanagan Lake in the background
Arrowleaf Cellars, Lake Country

The best way to tour the Scenic Sip wineries is to join a wine tour. That way, everyone gets to fully enjoy the experience!

We visited five wineries with Wine Boss Tours, guided by owner Gerry. Our relaxed tour a long stop for lunch Gray Monk’s Lookout Restaurant (I’d recommend making this a priority!)

Gerry, a Vernon local, seemed to know every winemaker and wine server personally, which only enhanced our experience. Congenial and knowledgeable, Gerry loves this area (and wine!) and wants you to love it too.

  • Intrigue Wines: This laid back winery is both budget friendly and fun, especially if you like bubbles
  • O’Rouke’s Peak Cellars: Upscale, modern tasting room with long wine tasting list (all estate grown) and stunning views
  • Gray Monk Estate Winery: First winery to plant Pinot Gris (also the origin of the winery’s name)
  • Ex Nihilo Vineyards: Stylish yet down to earth, this passion project has an excellent story
  • Arrowleaf Cellars: Family owned winery producing high quality terroir-driven wines with elegant style
Close up of trout dish (featuring fillet with crispy skin, potatoes, sauce, dill) at Lookout Restaurant with vineyard and lake view in background
Lunch at Gray Monk’s Lookout Restaurant – check out the view!

Honeymoon Meadery

One of the Tasting Trail’s most unique producers, Honeymoon Meadery specialises in hand crafted honey wine made with entirely natural ingredients. Served and styled like wine, mead can also be flavoured with spices, hops, grains or, most commonly, fruit.

Mead is actually one of the oldest alcoholic beverages, with remnants being found on 9000 year old pottery in China. Honeymoon Meadery’s name is a nod to this long heritage, referring to the old custom of consuming mead for one moon cycle after marriage to encourage vitality and fertility.

If you’ve never tried mead, Honeymoon Meadery is the ideal place to try. Complimentary tastings include up to eight different varieties, which range widely in both flavour and sweetness.

Highlights: Apple Indulgence (tastes just like apple pie!), Ode to Odin (aged in whisky barrels)

Address: 5011 Bella Vista Rd, Vernon

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Line up of differently shaped and sized mead bottles on counter at Honeymoon Meadery
Mead tasting at Honeymoon Meadery in Vernon

Marten Craft Brewery

Marten Brewing may be Vernon’s only craft brewery but it certainly isn’t complacent about it. The stylish two story brick building sits in the heart of downtown and features plenty of space beer for drinkers and diners.

There’s a little something for almost all tastes here, with the range usually including IPAs, sours, lagers and stouts. The full bodied beers are made without the use of preservatives and additives.

Not keen on beer? Try one of the four flavours of house-made kombucha (or the Kombucha Radler, featuring half lager, half kombucha).

The food menu is great too, featuring plenty of pub favourites alongside some house specialities (smoked meat, burgers and creatively topped pizzas).

Highlights: Hello Okanagan Peach Wheat Beer, Cookie Monster Stout

Address: 2933a 30th Avenue, Vernon (downtown)

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Tasting flight at Marten Brewing Co in Vernon, BC with four different varieties of beer
A tasting flight at Marten Brewing Co in Vernon

The BX Press Cidery & Orchard

Cider has been through something of a transformation over the last few years, with producers like the BX Press leading the charge. This third generation farm grows more than two dozen varieties of apples and almost as many varieties of cider!

As well as the traditional drier styles, BX Press also crafts experimental fruit-infused blends and barrel aged ciders. The laid back tasting room and patio are set right next to the orchard, so you can sip on cider flights while surrounded by apple trees. It’s a gorgeous setting in summer!

Please note that the patio, tastings and food are limited to the warmer months only. The bottle shop remains open year round for cider and apple sales.

Highlights: The Prospector, BX Press’s traditional dry apple cider

Address: 4667 East Vernon Rd, Vernon

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A hand holds up a half filled glass of cider at BX Press orchards in Vernon
Tasting cider at BX Press

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

More than 30 different varieties and variations of gin, vodka, whiskey and other liquors are carefully crafted and perfected at the family owned and operated Okanagan Spirits Distillery. Better yet, it’s all made with 100% locally grown fruits and grains!

The Vernon location is Okanagan Spirits’ flagship facility and also plays host to North America’s tallest copper pot still. It can be seen from the modern tasting bar, which is framed by family photos.

Walk-in tastings are available as well as signature distillery experiences. These range from intimate private tours and tastings to guided whisky and gin sessions.

Highlights: The ‘BRBN’ Bourbon-style corn whisky

Address: 5204 24th Street, Vernon

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An Okanagan Spirits glass sits on a wooden countertop with a bottle of AppleJack IPA Whisky behind
Tasting whisky at Okanagan Spirits, Vernon

Best restaurants in Vernon

It’s definitely been hard to narrow the loooong list down, but here’s our top picks for breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner in Vernon!

Best for breakfast/brunch: EATology

The epitome of the perfect brunch destination, EATology serves creative dishes made with local ingredients in a modern yet quirky setting.

And I’m clearly not the only one who thinks so highly of this place since EATology operates a waiting list at busy times (i.e. most days).

Take the time to explore the downtown area after providing your contact details to a server inside.

EATology also serves lunch and caters well for those with dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free).

Highlights: Caprese Eggs Benny, Chicken and Waffles, Stuffed French Toast

Address: 3100 30th Street, Vernon (downtown)

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Close up of Eggs Benedict meal at Eatology in Vernon
Caprese Eggs Benedict at Eatology in Vernon

Best for lunch: The Okanagan Eatery

In the mood for comfort food? Head to the Okanagan Eatery! This hip spot is one of the newest eateries on Vernon’s food scene. And in my mind, it’s the perfect addition.

Situated in a historic downtown building, the Okanagan Eatery serves simple, yet incredibly tasty, dishes with creative flair. Breakfast is served all day alongside classic lunch options (salads, appies, handhelds).

Ingredients and products are sourced from the Okanagan Valley, not only for fresh flavours but to support local businesses too.

Highlights: BrieBerry Stuffed French Toast, Vegetarian Portobello Smash Burger

Address: 2809 30th St, Vernon (downtown)

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Side view of seating at Okanagan Eatery, with elephant painting, low lights and wooden sign
The Okanagan Eatery

Best for dinner: Intermezzo

Though it may be unassuming from the outside, Intermezzo’s elegant interior provides the perfect environment for any special occasion. Multiple private (or almost private) spaces enable a cosy, intimate ambience.

Intermezzo’s menu features many classic Meditterean dishes, alongside their take on Canadian favourites such as Butter Chicken and Steak and Lobster. This is upscale dining with a comfort food twist.

All dishes are made in house, from scratch, with local ingredients where possible. The wine list is extensive, favouring wines from the Okanagan Valley.

Highlights: Caribbean Halibut, Escargot Casino, Mediterranean Mussels & Prawns

Address: 3206 34th Ave, Vernon (downtown)

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Read these these related posts next:

41 Awesome Things to Do in Vernon, British Columbia

What to See, Do and Eat in Vernon in Fall

Sparkling Hill Resort: Where Wellness and Nature Meet

Predator Ridge Hiking: Best Trails + Essential Info

9 Fast and Fun Vernon Hiking Trails

Hiking the Twin Lakes Trail near Cherryville

The best accompaniment to outdoor adventure? Great food and drink! The city of Vernon delivers on both fronts, a reason why it’s one of our favourite weekend destinations in British Columbia.

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