Salted Brick's popular brisket sandwich

The Best Cheap Eats in Kelowna

By Allison M Markin

Exploring the Kelowna, B.C. area can invite budget-breaking activities, most notably filling your trunk with a case or two of Okanagan wine. Thankfully, there’s also a cornucopia of choice for delicious eats that embrace the area’s farm-to-table vibe without requiring an increase to your credit limit.

STREET FOOD WITH FLAIR
Spend any amount of time in the cultural district of downtown Kelowna, or the nearby streets, and you’ll stumble upon a number of food trucks. Tasty and quick, they’ll get you back out exploring faster than you can say “Chardonnay.”

Poppadoms, an Okanagan institution, has transformed from a full restaurant to a food truck on the corner of Dilworth and Harvey. “Keep calm and curry on,” is their motto, which is reflected in $5 appies like aloo baingan made with local eggplant, flavourful pakoras and seasonal lemonades such as strawberry and green cardamom.

Billing itself as a blend of North American street food and Asian cooking, the aptly named Crasian specializes in comfort food with a sriracha-spiced kick (with some deep-fried goodness too). Keep up-to-date on the truck’s location on its Facebook page. And when you track it down, try a grilled “KimCheese” sandwich paired with a side of deep fried pickles.

If it’s time for an air-conditioning break, the street-food scene continues inside at Okanagan Street Food, located slightly off the beaten path on Crowley Avenue. Nine bucks gets you a breakfast wrap featuring house-cured, applewood smoked bacon, egg, potato and more (there’s also a veggie option), and if you’re escaping the midday heat, lunch dishes rarely stray past the $10 mark. Candied salmon risotto fritters anyone? Or how ‘bout a seared fish taco?

SNACKS, BAR BITES & BUCK-A-SHUCK
Charcuterie is the theme at Salted Brick on Bernard Avenue, a short distance from the waterfront. After exploring the quirky shops nearby, order warm dates stuffed with blue cheese for 75 cents each, then enjoy a handcrafted charcuterie plate or cheese board for $14. And don’t miss the peanut butter, chocolate and duck fat bar—a decadent dessert for just a pair of toonies. The menu changes based on what’s in season; be prepared for mouth-watering surprises.­

Speaking of duck fat, Micro Bar and Bites on Water Street adds the delectable ingredient to popcorn with rosemary and sea salt. Grab that savoury nibble along with some choice tapas—from warm olives to turkey wings to tomatoes and stone fruit—all under $10 each. Better yet, bring some friends during happy hour between 3 and 5 p.m., and share five small plates for $5 each.

Happy hour at West Coast Grill and Oyster Bar, located in the Prestige Beach House, goes on for an extra hour (until 6 p.m.) and offers a plethora of choice for your palate: buck-a-shuck oysters, $5 pours of beer and wine, and the classic Canadian drink, the $5 Caesar.

In the Okanagan, pretty much everything edible is sourced from the surrounding region. And even the least extravagant food options can be creatively paired with wine, local spirits, ciders and juices. No doubt you’ll want to do some fine dining, too, but in Kelowna, it’s good to know that can still eat your fill—frugally.

cheap-eats-in-kelowna-micro-bar
Popcorn and other nibbles pair well with beer at Micro Bar and Bites

GETTING THERE
WestJet and Air Canada offer direct flights to Kelowna from both Calgary and Edmonton. If you’re more ambitious, the south-central B.C. city is a seven-hour drive from Calgary—though you may want to plan for a longer journey, since you’ll be travelling through the Rockies. Consider upgrading to a Plus or higher membership, which allows for extended towing distances, free passport photos, free fuel and delivery, and enhanced trip collision reimbursement.

HOW TO SAVE
Fill ‘er up: Pump more money into your wallet with a prepaid reloadable Esso Card. Use it for gas and goodies at Esso service stations across Canada. Pick up a card at any AMA centre to earn 2% back in reward dollars on the purchase amount. Plus, earn 2% every time you reload the card in-centre, online or set up Automatic Reload—we’ll maintain your card’s balance as you use it. All you need is a credit card and we’ll make sure your savings never run out of gas.