Bonitas Bistro, 20623 McDougald Rd.,
Chef / Proprietor: Colin Rayner
Sous Chef: Kelly Pascuwzi
Chef's Assistant: Jamie Royer
Manager: Terri-Rose Thompson
Seats: Indoors 70 / Outdoors 70 / Outdoor functions up to 120
May to end of September 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Please call for off-season hours.
Reservations recommended, dress casual in warm months, semi-casual in cooler months. Kids menu available.
Price Range: $$ - $$$
Bonitas Bistro (located on the same property as Bonitas Winery) is a little off the beaten track but the view and the food are well worth it. In the summer they have great entertainment outdoors ranging from blues to rock 'n' roll to jazz. Proprietor and Chef of Bonitas Bistro, Colin Rayner, is one of the good guys; he likes to source and use as much local and sustainable produce as possible.
The evening started out with an Avocado Prawn Bruschetta $13. The prawns were lightly sautéed and sat on a bed of three types of tomatoes, roasted garlic, shallot, and a pesto grilled crostini.
The dish is quite pretty and it was hard to get photographer Kirstin Wakal to stop shooting long enough to take a bite! The prawn is topped off with an avocado slice and shaved Parmesan. The freshness and slightly acid bite of the tomato mixed well with the sweetness of the grilled garlic and shallot.
Our next appie was a spinach and tomato mixture with panko fried goat cheese for $10. I'm really liking the different way chefs in the Thompson/Okanagan make each dish uniquely their own. The cheese, thanks to the panko, is nice and crispy. Getting a little piece of everything on the fork is a little tricky but well worth it. Cheese, spinach, roma tomato, crisp pancetta, and red onion chutney are quite enjoyable together. The onion chutney has a nice balance of sweet and vinegar to bring out the distinct flavour of the goat cheese.
Then Chef prepared a roast duck ($28). This dish combines cinnamon, apples, potato and cherries with braised red cabbage, a combo I've never had before. It took a few bites for my palate to switch gears and accept the cinnamon, duck leg confit, and the granny smith duck/apple strudel in a filo pastry. What really puts this dish into the 'must try' category is the cherry jus.
Getting the perfect mix of each part of the dish is important. My favourite combo was the potato rosti topped with braised cabbage, then the duck with a cherry on top. The cinnamon provides a great earthy background for a luscious combo.
Our other entrée was the Pork Wellington at $23. Again there was a pastry element as the pork tenderloin with maple bacon and mushroom pate were wrapped in a puff pastry. The dish was served with a potato rosti, sauteed snow peas and thyme jus. What stood out in this dish was the rich, smoky flavour of the bacon with the sweet maple and the earthiness of the mushroom pate between the pastry.
Then came dessert. Chef Rayner makes the most decadent, flavourful white chocolate maple cheesecake for $9. Not too sweet, not too creamy, this dessert is worth the extra calories. If you try anything at Bonitas, make it the cheesecake.
This Maple Cheesecake is the Canadian equivalent to the New York Cheesecake, only better. Seriously - try it - you'll be glad you did.