MARKIN: New places and flavours in Penticton and beyond

A list of new, or re-opening for summer, spots to wine and dine in Penticton and the South Okanagan.

As we welcome June, we also welcome a more common occurrence in the food and libations scene in the Okanagan:  the opening of new places to eat, the re-opening of long-time favourites after winter or a few renos, and the arrival of new chefs to the region.

I’ve had a chance to visit a few spots — paying my own way, in case you were wondering — and flying under the radar with friends who graciously offer their plates for social media posts before digging in.

An impromptu trip to Summerland resulted after I decided that I just wanted a hot dog for lunch one day. Therefore, Hawt Dawgz Gourmet Burgers and Dogs hit the spot. A variety of inventive burgers and dogs on the menu, from the California Dreamin’ Burger to the Buffalo Blaze Dog, I went with the Turkey Club, an organic turkey smokie with bacon and cheese, that did, indeed, taste like a turkey club. A side of crisp homemade chips rounded things out, and my pal and I left with one suggestion:  milkshakes.

Back in my high school days, if your date took you to Salty’s Beach House, that was a big deal. After some nice renovations — gone is the very pirate-heavy decor, but the place still has a sea-beach feel — and a revised menu, it’s once again a spot for date night, followed by a walk on the beach. The butter chicken was one of the best I’ve had in the valley.

Also worth a return, the Dream Café on Front Street. Still eclectic, but with a sharper focus on local and B.C. libations, including a fresh wine list, the new menu for lunch and dinner features a tasty mac’n’cheese and a selection of appies worth sharing.

And just across the street, the Front Street Brasserie is quickly gaining a stellar reputation for wine and food. While the inside space is not large, the patio is now open. French-inspired, the crepes are savoury, the desserts divine, and the duck confit is so good that Instagram photos of it will never do it justice.

New spots on the horizon that are opening soon and sparking curiosity: Craft Corner Kitchen on Penticton’s Main Street, and Patio Burger and Ice Cream Co. on Lakeshore. Stay tuned.

Save the Date:

June 5: Sip Into Summer, open houses at wineries along the Westside Wine Trail in West Kelowna.

June 11 to 12: Heard it Through the Grapevine, self-guided tour of wineries on Bottleneck Drive in Summerland.

June 10: Okanagan Falls Winery Association Spring Social, Liquidity Winery, $60. Tickets must be purchased online in advance at

June 22: BRODO Beer-paired dinner with Cannery Brewing. Multi-course dinner, $65 per person. Reserv by calling 778-476-1275.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.