Searching for something a little more elevated than standard Canadian pub-style food (burgers, nachos, wings, flatbreads et al)? No problem! The range and quality of Penticton’s fine dining restaurants may surprise you.
We moved to Penticton in 2015 and in the eight years since, the local dining scene has greatly expanded and become significantly more sophisticated. We feel spoiled for choice these days!
In this post, I will share our top picks for the best fine-dining restaurants in Penticton. From innovative menus that showcase the finest local ingredients to eateries with meticulously curated ambience, the following restaurants offer an upscale experience for the discerning palate.
Last updated December 2023. For the most up-to-date information, contact individual businesses before visiting. There may be affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase, we may receive a small percentage of the sale. We were guests of Eliza Wine Bar.
Please contact individual businesses for the most accurate information. There may be affiliate links in this post. We may earn a small percentage of any resulting sales or bookings.
Best fine dining restaurants in Penticton
Let’s get into our shortlist of the best fine-dining restaurants in Penticton. This list is in general preference order, with our all-time favourites at the top.
Elma is the epitome of an excellent fine dining destination. The stunning venue is a highlight, with the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows not only showcasing the picturesque lakeside setting but also ensuring the interior remains wonderfully spacious, airy, and bright.
The dining experience feels both familiar and adventurous, with Okanagan ingredients being seamlessly incorporated into the Middle Eastern-inspired menu. Hailing from Turkey, the owners draw inspiration from their roots without being too limited by the theme.
The dishes are elegant in style, from the meze dishes to the small sharing plates and larger dishes featuring vegetarian, seafood, and meat options. My recommendation would be to choose three of the meze to start, with the muhammara being a must-try.
Kin & Folk
We recently visited Kin & Folk for the first time and it shot right to the top of our list of Penticton fine dining restaurants. Located in the 500 block of downtown, this new venture is a welcome addition to what is a quieter area.
The menu is playful, particularly during happy hour. Think contemporary Asian-fusion with ingredients and ideas from Korean, Japan and China, with a hint of Italy. Hints of chilli are included in most dishes. Meat takes the focus of many dishes, but there are some innovative vegetarian and fish options too.
The setting is modern with clean lines yet still warm and welcoming. The backlit bar is a focal point for the dining room, a nod to the creative cocktail menu. We were happy to find some attention has been paid to non-alcoholic drinks as well (not just soda!) Kin & Folk’s large patio is a huge bonus in summer.
If you can, visit during happy hour (3-5pm, after 8pm). We really enjoyed being able to try more dishes and drinks for less, especially some of the more experimental cocktails that we may not have tried otherwise.
Eliza Restaurant and Wine Bar at the Naramata Inn
The last entry in our top three list of fine dining restaurants in Penticton is Eliza. Yes, it may actually be located in Naramata, but I assure you, it’s worth the drive.
Located on the lower floor of the Naramata Inn, Eliza feels almost like a ‘secret’ wine bar. This is a secret I’m happy to get out, however, as the team deserve the attention. The restaurant oozes sophisticated style, with exposed brick, wooden booths and an elegant central bar.
Hyper-local ingredients are the focus of the concise menu but not in the way you’d expect. The presentation is exceptionally playful, with almost every dish taking on a very different appearance and taste profile than you may initially expect.
The ever-evolving menu reflects the seasons, showcasing a variety of meats, vegetables, and fish throughout the year. What remains constant is that each dish is visually stunning and equally delightful in taste. This is truly a cuisine meant for celebration and savouring.
The best item on the menu? The Basque-style cheesecake. Made from brie, this cheesecake simply melts in the mouth. I still dream about it! Luckily, it was still on the menu during our last visit. I hope it is a keeper.
Location: 3625 1st Street, Naramata
The Naramata Inn
Naramata Inn stands as an iconic landmark in the heart of the village, catching the eye with its impressive century-old architecture at the terminus of Robinson Avenue. This distinguished establishment encompasses a restaurant, a wine bar (above), and 12 period rooms.
Under the guidance of Chef Jacob Deacon-Evans, Naramata Inn provides an unparalleled hyper-local dining experience. The upscale menu is thoughtfully crafted to showcase the abundance of high-quality, locally sourced ingredients in the area.
The wine selection continues the theme, putting a spotlight on local offerings. And when I say local, I’m talking local – the Naramata Bench, the broader Okanagan Valley and the Similkameen Valley only.
While I love both the Naramata Inn and Eliza, they offer two different dining experiences. The Inn’s dining room is airy and elegant; Eliza is cosy and atmospheric. No matter which you choose, you won’t be disappointed. If you choose to dine at the Inn, you can always enjoy a nightcap at Eliza afterwards.
Chulo Tapas & Bar
Situated on an assuming industrial street (Estabrook Avenue) between the main downtown area and Okanagan Lake, Chulo is one of Penticton’s most unique eateries. This off-beat location certainly offers a ‘hidden bar’ vibe, something that increases as you open the door and discover only 22 total seats!
Needless to say, dining at Chulo is an intimate affair. It’s still unpretentious in style, however, with the small plates of Basque-inspired food and drinks being prepared and served by the two-person team behind the bar.
The food menu isn’t long but it doesn’t need to be since flavour is packed into every dish. As is the theme with many Spanish restaurants, seafood is showcased well. Potato is also well represented. Meat eaters should make a beeline for the amazing tender Cuchifritos & Beans.
The experience reminds us of an izakaya in Japan – a place to grab a drink, enjoy a few small plates of food and relax. With that in mind, the cocktail and wine selection is excellent. There are some creative non-alcoholic drinks as well, including a delicious “Amaretto” Sour.
The Restaurant, Poplar Grove Winery
Nestled on the slopes of Munson Mountain, Poplar Grove Winery sets the stage for a special dining experience even before you step foot in the restaurant.
The spectacular views, of Okanagan Lake and the city of Penticton, truly take ‘special occasion’ to a whole other level. Whether you opt for indoor or outdoor seating, both provide ample opportunities to savour the spectacular vistas.
The menu is short and succinct, with a clear vision of showcasing ingredients from local farmers, with foraged elements. As with vegetables, the choice of fish is also seasonal with sustainability in mind.
The female-led team refined their skills at the Naramata Inn, helping to launch the locally-focused restaurant in 2020.
Socialē Enoteca Ristorante
A close neighbour to Elma, Socialē Enoteca Ristorante occupies a premier spot on Lakeshore Drive. Taking advantage of the scenic location, the large patio features a long, communal bar facing the lake. And that is just the first indicator of the ‘social’ nature of this fun yet refined Italian restaurant.
The owners of Socialē previously operated the legendary Penticton restaurant Villa Rosa, located just a few blocks away on the corner of Westminster and Power for more than 25 years.
A modernised, refined version of Villa Rosa, Socialē is a stylish and surprisingly practical addition to the Okanagan Lake waterfront. We walk the promenade almost every day and I’m glad that there is finally a place to buy early morning coffee. The afternoon and late-night ‘Tappy Hour’ is a stroke of genius, especially with that impressive patio in mind.
As fans of Villa Rosa (and lakefront restaurants in general), we were excited to try Socialē. Although I enjoyed every dish I tried, I couldn’t help but feel that a little ‘oomph’ was missing. The style and presentation are already there, just pump up the flavours, please!
OROLO Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
Downtown Penticton’s most elegant dining experience is found at OROLO. Part of the impressive Time Winery facility (formerly a historic movie theatre), OROLO is named after the study of time (horology). The interior is sophisticated, with high ceilings, dark walls and golden highlights.
Many of the elevated dishes change with the seasons, though the 45-day dry-aged steaks are a mainstay. Wine pairings, as you may guess, are encouraged. On the cocktail side, think both classic and craft. We like attention paid to the mocktail list.
If you can, visit on a Thursday night. There is free, live music. The intimate surroundings make this a very special experience, especially in winter when it is dark so early outside. Wednesday is another good day to go, since wine bottles are 50% off.
While I love, love, love Orolo’s ambience and luxe design, we do find the menu items to be slightly overpriced (about $5-7 for the à la carte dishes). With this in mind, I think the three-course Prix Fixe menu is the way to go as it provides excellent value for money.
Sonetto at Play Winery
Enjoy a different vantage point of Penticton at Sonetto. Situated on the southern side of Penticton, this fine dining restaurant at Play Winery offers gorgeous views of Skaha Lake and surrounding vineyards.
Firmly Italian in theme, the menu showcases delectable pasta, seafood, meat and bread dishes. And, of course, the wine selection celebrates the on-site winery. I’d recommend having a tasting prior to your meal, so you can narrow down the options first.
The best views at Sonetto are found on the patio, though the interior restaurant boasts stunning floor-to-ceiling windows. Play Winery is currently up for sale, so I hope the future owner retains the elegance of the restaurant.