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“Artistry in food” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hilltop Bistro

Hilltop Bistro
Ranked #11 of 320 Restaurants in Nanaimo
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $13 - $22
Cuisines: Canadian, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Nelson street
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Artistry in food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2014

Loved my visit to the Hilltop. The atmosphere is welcoming, warm and the perfect place for a romantic dinner or gathering with friends. The wine list is impressive, as is the staffs knowledge of it. Although the "feel " of the restaurant is casual, the food takes it to another level. Chef Ryan surprises the palate with each course. Is it wrong to lick your plate? I'm thinking no. Appreciate the effort towards locally sourced & ethically managed food as well. If you haven't been, make your reso soon!

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank JustAPinchofGinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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160 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    121
    27
    9
    2
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
252 reviews
148 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“A delightful escape from the norm”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2014

Always interesting to read other reviews. It is difficult to find a restaurant in Nanaimo which offers a quality menu, atmosphere and service without pretentiousness. This Bistro is raising the bar. Complimentary taste of soup sent to our table initially was presented in tiny cups- nice touch. Bison could have had more flavour but cooked to perfection and well presented. Arctic Char was not cooked enough for one guest's palate and when sent back a complete new meal was presented - impressive. The meal was filling and tasty. If one wants to be stuffed and just shovel down food, there are many greasy spoons and pubs willing to offer same. If you want a nice evening with great service and food pleasing to the eye and palate, this is the venue.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank ELES ESCAPE B a... B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nanoose Bay, Canada
1 review
“A Delightful Gem in Nanaimo - NOT to be missed!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

My partner and I found this wonderful restaurant by sheer luck. As a late afternoon appointment with my hair stylist (Edwin, at The Cutting Edge - also "A Delightful Gem in Nanaimo") was drawing to a close, he asked if we would be going out to dinner. We were undecided. He suggested that we try nearby Hilltop Bistro - and are we ever glad we did.

Although we obviously had no reservation, we were cheerfully seated in the last remaining table for two (obviously we got lucky), and thus began a lovely evening of excellent service and wonderful food. The venue is small, yet tables are placed such that private conversation remains possible. Decor is charming "French bistro" style, yet not overdone with kitsch. There is a glass panel between the dining area and the kitchen, allowing an "open kitchen" experience for those seated near or with a sightline to the window.

Because our visit was unplanned, and we had eaten a substantial late lunch, we arrived with unfortunately light appetites. We were drawn to the three-course prix fixe ($42) and asked if we could possibly share one order, so we could sample three dishes. While we anticipated a possibly less than positive response, we were assured that of course we could do that. Extra plates were provided, we each received the chef's complimentary amuse bouche (a demitasse of velvety roasted squash soup garnished with olive oil), and were throughout made to feel like special guests. The server, in addition to being very accommodating, was knowledgeable about both the food and wine menus, and contributed greatly to the pleasure of our spontaneous evening out. A brief exchange with another server was equally pleasant, leading us to conclude that the high standard of service is consistent.

The food, beginning with that deliciously creamy amuse bouche, was wonderful. We began with an appetizer of Vancouver Island mussels. These were amazingly large and plump, and were prepared in a lightly flavourful white wine broth, finished with a brightening spritz of lemon, perfectly enhancing the delicate flavour of the mussels.

For our main course, we struggled between Arctic char and the bison short rib, finally opting for the latter. Good choice. It arrived topped with two perfectly deep-fried onion rings. The meat was fork tender, served atop deliciously smooth whipped potatoes with an intensely reduced and flavourful gravy, and complemented by beet greens with a crunchy garnish.

The dessert choice was also a dilemma as each selection was thoroughly tempting. We settled on profiteroles stuffed with scotch-flavoured gelato, and drizzled with caramel sauce. This was outstanding. Definitely one of the best desserts I've eaten anywhere. If you don't like scotch, give it a pass, but if you do, and this dessert is on the menu, go for it. The profiteroles were tender, and the smokiness of the scotch was quite prominent, yet perfectly complemented by the caramel sauce - a dynamite flavour combination. Refreshing, not too sweet (but sweet enough!),...divine!

The wine list is tight and offers a modest but respectable choice in a mid price range, enhanced by a red and white featured wine. Several by-the-glass options are available. An especially attractive option with the prix fixe is "chef's choice" wine pairings; either 3 or 5 oz pours. We will definitely try this next time.

We will back soon. And with full appetites. This wonderful restaurant is a major enhancement to the dining options in the Nanaimo area, well worth a drive to get there (ours is about 40 minutes), and really deserves your attention. Kudos (and much gratitude) to Chef Zuvich!

  • Visited January 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Ilovefoodandwine2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver Island, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Perfect for special occasions!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

Enjoyed a 3-course meal at the Hilltop Bistro a couple months ago, and it was absolutely wonderful! Everything was cooked and prepared to perfection. Our server was great as well, friendly but professional! Cozy little place with great ambiance. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time because they do get booked up! It was indeed quite pricey but its not everyday you would go to this restaurant to eat. Definitely good for special occasions! Absolutely worth it for celebrating a 3 year anniversary. :)

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank LoversOnTheRun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
“Best Dining Experience in Nanaimo By Far”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 26, 2013

Went here for an anniversary dinner with my girlfriend and we got unbelievably spoiled by the Chef; before we even got our entrees the experience had already exceeded our expectations. The atmosphere is really intimate, the service is very professional, knowledgeable and friendly it was so enjoyable. The food is sublime, amazing attention to detail filled with personal touches and finesse that I could hardly believe, it was truly an elevating dinner, every ingredient was perfect and stood on it's own just perfectly composed to compliment each other. Chef Ryan Zuvich has amazing talent and is doing something at Hilltop Bistro that should not be missed by anyone who has the opportunity to go. Very fair prices not expensive for the quality, and perfect atmosphere whether it's an intimate date or a party looking to go out for some excellent cuisine; cheers!

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank IslandCook92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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