The Malahat Chalet and Bakery was one of those places that we never seemed to have time to check out during our travels to and from Victoria. We finally stopped there for lunch on a recent trip, and were happily surprised at a number of things about the place.
The Malahat Chalet and Bakery has been perched at the 1,150 foot (350 metres) summit of the famed and treacherous road whose name it bears since 1935, when the Malahat trail was first built to connect Victoria and the community of Mill Bay. These days the road is a modern highway that sees traffic whizzing by; in the era when the restaurant was constructed vehicular traffic faced an epic journey that often contributed to overheated radiators, flat tires and hair-raising steep drops off the narrow roadway.
The Malahat Chalet and Bakery were recently purchased by new owners. The past three years have seen renovations to upgrade the facility, which offers breathtaking views of mountains and inlets. Still, there is a tip of the hat to the place’s history with the whimsical addition in the lobby of a skeleton playing an upright piano.
The Malahat Chalet and Bakery offers varied breakfast, lunch and dinner menus as well as a kids menu. They take pride in sourcing ingredients locally as much as possible.
My husband opted for the halibut and chips ( less expensive cod doesn’t even appear on the menu). The fish arrived in a crisp, light batter, accompanied by hand-cut fries and a tasty cole slaw.
I was intrigued with the Dirty Fries, and when the waitress described them to me (hand cut fries tossed in garlic butter and parmesan, served with a garlic mayo dip) I succumbed to temptation and ordered them along with a flavourful and very large wrap. Half of the wrap came home with us, but every morsel of those killer fries made their way into my stomach on the spot. ‘To-die-for’ is hardly an adequate description.
The large dining room can be a little noisy when things are busy but the picture windows opening on to spectacular views more than compensate. The Malahat Chalet and Bakery appears to be a very popular spot for family gatherings, ladies who lunch and couples – it was clear that many of our dining companions were ‘regulars’, which says nothing but good things for the consistency of food and service at the restaurant. We enjoyed prompt, friendly and courteous service.
We managed to resist all the baked goods in the display case on the way out, but it’s good to know that there is always a pick-me-up treat available in this almost-the-middle-of-nowhere location.
The combination of history, beautiful surroundings and good food is clearly a winning combination for the Malahat Chalet and Bakery – they certainly wouldn’t have survived 82 years without all those assets!
Price rating: $-$$
Further information on the Malahat Chalet and Bakery can be found at the website:
The Malahat Chalet and Bakery is located at 265 Trans Canada Highway, Malahat, Vancouver Island
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 48.544032 Long. -123.564498
N 48 32.642 W 123 33.870