There’s a lot of money in the town of Qualicum Beach, and there are a lot of people with a lot of leisure time to enjoy, but there isn’t much in the way of classy restaurants that offer fine dining in an intimate setting. So it was with great delight that my husband and I recently celebrated our anniversary in a lovely little spot located on the main drag that fit the bill very nicely.
Bistro 694 has been around for a while, but we hadn’t been there for a couple of years. Happy to report that our most recent experience has dictated that from here on in Bistro 694 will be our ‘go to’ place in Qualicum Beach for a nice meal in a pleasant setting. The owners have stepped up to the plate and offer a variety of interesting dishes, well-prepared and beautifully presented.
Like many of our favourite dining choices, Bistro 694 isn’t very large. There is room for 30 diners inside and another 20 on the patio when the weather is fine. Happily for us it was a beautiful summer evening during our most recent visit, and we were able to enjoy the ambiance of an al fresco meal.
Bistro 694 is owned by Tony (in the kitchen) and Nancy (out front, hostessing and waiting tables) Szeles, who abandoned the upscale Vancouver neighbourhood of Kitsilano, where they ran a successful bistro and catering business. Prior to that Tony had worked in restaurants in eastern Canada and Japan. But, the lure of small town life held sway in the end and the couple ended up on the Island.
Tony puts a lot of emphasis on global flavours using local ingredients, and that approach shone through the evening we were there. We began our meal with a unique bruschetta featuring caramelized onions, kalamata olives, fresh herbs and warm, barely-melted Little Qualicum Cheeseworks brie on a rustic baquette. The artful presentation added to our delight in the dish. Our main courses were equally enjoyable. While my husband worked his way through the daily special lamb entrée I partook of a beautiful fork-tender butter chicken dish napped in a velvety curry sauce. Both meals arrived with perfectly-cooked fresh vegetables. We finished our meal with a unique and deeply satisfying chocolate bread pudding, complete with a celebratory candle to acknowledge our anniversary – a lovely and completely unexpected touch.
Other than the great food, we loved the atmosphere at Bistro 694. Nancy’s friendly, efficient service had us charmed pretty much right from the beginning, and the pretty deck was an added bonus. The interior of the restaurant is all clean lines, with big windowed doors that open on to the street, allowing for a pleasant breeze and a dose of fresh air when the weather is warm. As the Bistro 694 website promises, small town charm, urban vibe. This is a welcome addition to the dining scene in Qualicum Beach – which is pretty obvious, considering how popular it has become.
Bistro 694 is located at 694 Memorial Avenue in downtown Qualicum Beach
For further information and a peek at the menus, go to:
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 49.346745630537804 Long. -124.4415807723999
N 49 20.805 W 124 26.495