Parksville has a new ‘Taste’ sensation

The interior at Taste is classy-but-casual

The interior at Taste is classy-but-casual

It’s bright and cheerful.  It has a lively vibe. It has good, in-house-made food.  And it’s very, very busy after only two months of being open.  Taste Café and Bistro is Parksville’s newest entry into the dining-out scene and judging by what we found there recently it’s no surprise it is already rated #1 in the area.

The cheddar waffle BLT offers up great flavour and texture combinations

The cheddar waffle BLT offers up great flavour and texture combinations

We had heard about this tiny (20 seats) new bistro via the foodie grapevine in the Oceanside area but, as is our habit, decided to put off visiting for a bit in order to allow for a settling-in period.  Glad we did, too – we had no complaints, and came away after a nice lunch feeling more than satisfied with the culinary offerings, the ambiance and the service.

Taste is operated by Jason, a veteran of the Oceanside restaurant scene, and his girlfriend Kirsten. The two of them make a great team – he creates the main course offerings at the bistro while Kirsten produces all the sweet treats and desserts in-house. It has turned out to be a happy pairing of two complementary talents.

Jason and Kirsten - a great pairing of complementary talents

Jason and Kirsten – a great pairing of complementary talents

Our first visit to Taste was just after noon on a Thursday, and we got the last available table.  We feel that is always a good sign in a young restaurant, and our instincts were certainly right on the mark this time around.

The bistro is a long, narrow space with the small kitchen area and counter running along one wall, tables set at the front, back and along the other wall. There are big windows that let in plenty of natural light and jazz music adds to the upbeat atmosphere.

Pulled pork macaroni and cheese

Pulled pork macaroni and cheese

Taste offers a set menu along with daily specials for the lunchtime crowd.  My husband opted for the very flavourful butternut squash soup and one of the patron favourites – the cheddar waffle BLT sandwich.  I ordered the daily special, a pulled-pork mac and cheese dish.  Generously augmented with the house-made pulled pork, half of the serving left me more than satisfied – the remainder went into a container destined for home and lunch on another day.

We also split Kirsten’s version of a ‘skinny trifle’, designed to cut calories but not flavour.  It was delicious and certainly much less guilt-inducing than some of the desserts we have consumed over the course of ‘researching’ our feature articles.

Exterior A recent innovation at the bistro is an early closing on Fridays and Saturdays (at 4 p.m.), but then re-opening at 6:30. On those two evenings only each week Taste will offer a tapas menu for those who want a light meal complemented, perhaps, by an alcoholic beverage. Sounds like a great option for those nights when you may not want much to eat but are looking for quality food in a nice setting.  Hmmmm – I can already envision a nice summer evening spent in such a way.

Taste Café and Bistro does not presently have a website, but contact information and opening hours are available on their Facebook page at:

Price rating: $ – $$           wheelchair-m Taste is located at 101B – 1080 Resort Drive, Parksville

GPS co-ordinates are:

Lat. 49.31370504782232  Long. -124.27117151158762

N 49 18.822  W 124 16.270

Taste Cafe & Bistro on Urbanspoon


About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers.
In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.

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