If you love superb food, splendid surroundings, great service and a casual atmosphere, get thee, sooner rather than later, to the Genoa Bay Café. I promise you won’t regret it!
Genoa Bay is a miniscule marine community tucked away down a winding country road slightly southeast of Duncan. It’s a bit of a journey to get there, but the lovely drive bordered by verdant farm fields and forests really just adds to the pleasure of an unhurried lunch or dinner. The journey sets you up for the leisurely pace at Genoa Bay– a delightful retreat from the harum-scarum world that comprises so much of modern life these days.
Our first visit to the Genoa Bay Café stretched over 2 ½ hours. We enjoyed the lovely early-summer evening on the café’s outdoor deck. Dining al fresco always seems to make food taste better, somehow – although I doubt the flavour sensations that we marveled over would be diminished by eating indoors at this waterfront restaurant.
The café has only been open under the ownership of Stacey Johnson and Gord Rumley since early 2010, but it has garnered a faithful local following as well as being popular with the sailing public – seafarers can tie up right at the docks below the restaurant, courtesy of the café.
While some of our readers may look askance at the fact that our dining experience consumed 2 ½ hours from start to finish, please rest assured that it most definitely was not due to poor service. Freshly prepared food (locally sourced, I might add) takes time, and it is patently clear that the folks at Genoa Bay want to give you every opportunity to enjoy the ambiance and the most excellent fare that appears on your table.
And the food? Well, hands-down this place has the very best calamari that I have ever had the pleasure of ingesting . The geniuses in the kitchen marinate it in ginger, which makes it extremely tender and gives it just a hint of bite; it is finished in what I can only describe as a tender-crisp coating, and it’s served with a mild lemon aioli. It’s one of the café’s signature dishes, and rightfully so. Our main courses were equally excellent, featuring innovative twists on core ingredients that can be pretty mundane in a lot of eateries. The dessert menu isn’t large, but offers first-rate sweet finishes.
We discovered at the conclusion of our meal that our waiter was Stacey Johnson, one of the café owners. I always like to see that – it is an indication to me that there’s a real dedication and interest on the part of those who are the money behind it all. The hands-on approach seems, always, to render up some of the best dining experiences. There can be no doubt that’s true in this case!
When you head to Genoa Bay, be sure to set aside a little extra time to wander down on to the docks and take a look around. There are some charming houseboats, a gallery, and one of the most interesting walks between boathouses you are ever likely to see. It will add to the pleasure of your trip and leave you with great memories of one of the best hidden treasures on the Island.
Price Rating: $$ – $$$
Genoa Bay Café is located at Unit #9, 5000 Genoa Bay Road, in the Duncan area.
Hours vary depending on the season, so best to check out their website at:
GPS co-ordinates are: Lat: 48.758968430639456 Long. -123.59865367412567