The Roost

“If you go back to the Greeks and Romans, they talk about all three – wine, food, and art – as a way of enhancing life.” – Robert Mondavi


Who on the Saanich Peninsula — and beyond — doesn’t know about The Roost?!


There are plenty of chicken motifs around, but none wears it more proudly than these gorgeous kings of the roost!

Maybe because it’s close to home and close to the Panorama Rec Centre with indoor and outdoor tennis, maybe because my visitors can easily find it — it’s the place I frequent the most for casual dining or just coffee.
Not to mention that the food and coffee are reliably good!
Baked quiches, meat pies, Mac ‘n’ cheese bakes………..


……………muffins and cookies, fruit pies and tortes, and so much more!  Everything is house made and SO good!

Get your coffee and snack and enjoy the fare and surroundings at the outdoor front awning-covered tables, or in the picnic area…….


…………….or in a separate “room” created with hedging……..

……or in the iconic bus which has its ever-present, faithful driver, watching over the tables behind him.

Or have breakfast, lunch or dinner served to you inside the Bistro………

……with the familiar smell of good quality, fair-traded coffee and the changing artwork by local artists surrounding you.
On this occasion, some of the pieces on offer were chicken paintings by Catherine McLeod,

and landscapes by Mary Pearson.

You can dine outside near the fireplace in a screened-in area,

or around the rear of the building in a secluded, sunken dining area…..

……the sunken dining area from the other side………….

………….adjacent to a pleasant water feature.

On this occasion I had the spinach & pear salad

and my husband had the ham & cheddar sandwich with a Caesar salad.   Perfect!

The Roost sits (give me credit for not saying that it roosts!) on about ten acres of farmland owned by Hamish, below.
That’s a combine behind Hamish’s right shoulder, and the dust behind his left shoulder is from another combine, harvesting the wheat that will be made into flour which will be used to bake so much of the great fare offered at The Roost.

His daughter, Sarah, grew up here, and now she and her husband, Dallas Bohl, own and operate The Roost.
But clearly, this is so much more than just a coffee stop, or even just a local restaurant.
This auger moves the wheat up into the grain bin for storage until it’s needed.
The tractor is a working piece of equipment……

…….as is this vintage Chevrolet truck.
The wheat is milled and finished on-site and is used to bake the breads offered at The Roost.

In addition to milling their own wheat for flour, this family keeps chickens for fresh eggs and meat…………..

………sheep for milk, cheese and meat,,,,,,,,,,,,,

……..and bees for their honey.
The honeybee boxes are in the fruit portion of the farm, which includes the blueberry bushes behind the boxes……

…………green apple trees…………..

………… apple trees……………..

……..strawberries, black tomatoes…………..

…………and grapes.  Oh, the grapes!  Rows of vines hanging full of grape clusters!
The Roost farm produces both red and white wines, available in The Bistro with your meal, or for sale to go.

Tastings of The Roost’s wines are available here, as are other mementos and gift items,

just inside the main Bistro entrance — next to the piano.

This is also where you can sign up to paint your own chicken!
Indeed, The Roost is so much more than what meets the eye!

There’s the large outdoor tent for private functions………….

……another area for private functions……..
………a games area with a bull riding simulator for kids of all ages………..

………………..and a ping pong table, plus a soccer billiards game.

And then there’s Hamish’s private collection of vintage cars and tractors…………

—————and the pumpkin carriage in the back corner!

And if you haven’t already figured out that this family loves having fun, and loves providing a venue for others to have fun, you have got to see [….ominous music here…..]……..

………the Dungeon!
What lurks behind those imposing doors, you ask?

The first room is deceptively benign, with its long tables (crafted by Hamish) ………..but look to the far end, behind the door with steel bars where there should be windows………

…………standing guard over the wine aging barrels beyond his right shoulder is a full suit of armour, and behind that is a somewhat uncomfortable-looking standing squeeze box……..

…………..and a true, functional rack!…………..


…………….and a throne to which none wishes to ascend, and the remnant of some hapless one, hanging on the wall!
Do you see the humerus?!


Full of tasty, wholesome, home-grown food and drink — plus plenty of room for a good time — Welcome to The Roost!


Roost Vineyard Bistro & Farm Bakery
9100 East Saanich Road
North Saanich


Sun – Thur 8 – 8,  Fri & Sat 8 – 9


Part & Parcel

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas

Several friends recommended Part & Parcel to Linda and me in the “eating well” category, advising
us not to be deterred by the appearance of this downtown restaurant as “just a hole in the wall”– referring to the small street-front presence of this restaurant — they recommended it despite this!


Continue reading “Part & Parcel”

Maple Palace

“Thousands of red leaves bringing endless opportunities and prosperity.” — from a wall mural at the Maple Palace Restaurant

Having just returned from Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand, I was craving Asian food — especially after the in-flight fare! However, I was certainly not up to preparing it myself, and neither was my husband, so he suggested we pick up take-out from the Maple Palace.

Continue reading “Maple Palace”

Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub

“Eating is one of the great beauties in life. One of my favorite recreations… eating with friends, the service, the ambience.”  — LeRoy Neiman

Approaching the Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub is like going to a lovely home in the country.  And that’s exactly what it is!  The Stonehouse was a family home built in 1934 above the sheltered shoreline, close to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.

Even the address has charm………..located at the end of Canoe Cove Road!  Idyllic!

Stonehouse Pub, Sidney 1

The restaurant has four indoor dining spaces, allowing for intimate dining or larger parties.  There’s lots of stone and wood, reflecting the natural setting outdoors.


The artwork featuring local wildlife is by Morgan Warren whose studio is located just steps from the Stonehouse, above the water’s edge and the marina.  The ultimate inspirational location!

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The most popular dishes, according to the manager and staff, are pizzas and seafood tacos or wraps.
I had the day’s special, a seafood quesadilla with a side of the Stonehouse salad.  Exactly right!

Stonehouse Pub, Sidney 3

But for me, the piece de resistance is the outdoor space, once again with several dining areas.

Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub

There’s space for larger groups, even offering shelter from the occasional rain shower or the summer sun’s blazing heat.
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There are smaller, more intimate and rustic areas.

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I felt as if I’d been “away” after my time here in this lush, green setting with natural stone walls, gravel and stone paths, and the timbers on the Stonehouse walls.

Ambience?  In spades!

Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub


Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub
2215 Canoe Cove Road, North Saanich
www.the stonehouse

Sun – Thur 11 am – 8 pm,  Fri & Sat 11 am – 9 pm





Dakota Cafe

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots [routes] to come back and a reason to stay.”
Dalai Lama, posted on a chalkboard inside the Dakota Café at the Victoria Flying Club

Finding the Dakota Café was the challenge, but the food was well worth the search!Dakota 1b






Wor wonton soup is their specialty……people are in a lineup out the door some days just for this soup.
“Wor” means “everything”, which in their soup includes tasty pork wontons, chicken, prawns, scallops, imitation crab, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, red onions, bok choy and a tasty broth.  The soup bowl actually looks like a dishful of wontons, meat and vegetables surrounded by a bit of broth.  A medium bowl ($11)  is actually a full meal.
Very hearty!  Very tasty!

Dakota 2b







Linda and I split the wor wonton soup and then shared a “Cajun & More Wrap” ($11).  It was more, indeed!
Even half the wrap is a hefty portion, with a side of yummy fries – really GOOD  fries, actually.
The wrap had a bit of a bite to it, likely due to the banana peppers.
Another specialty is their Sesame Ginger Salad ($12), with mixed greens and soba noodles tossed in a sweet and spicy sesame dressing topped with grilled chicken and Japanese ginger.Dakota 31







Eggs Benny are served all day on weekends and until 11 am on weekdays.

The indoor café has a mercenary lunchroom look to it, with small lunchroom tables and chairs lined up in straight rows.
We were there on a gorgeous sunny day, so we ate on the patio, with the live action just beyond the patio.  We were sitting literally at the side of the tarmac!
As we ate, several small aircraft took off and landed, as did a couple of commercial jets and the large SeaKing helicopter.  Several small craft taxied in or out of their parked spot just a few metres beyond our table.  It was live entertainment!





Oh, and just so you have an easier time finding this gem secretly tucked among the various buildings near the airport, it’s on the way to the Victoria Flying Club, where Canora Road and Ocean Ave W meet…………go west of that intersection on Canso Road toward the airport control tower and look for the signs.
It’s worth it!


Dakota Café
#101, 1852 Canso Rd, Sidney, BC
Mon – Fri  8 am – 4 pm
Sat & Sun  8 am – 2:30 pm.