When a little birdie told us that there were two talented chefs serving some serious food out of a small bistro in the Old City Quarter, we knew we had to investigate.
The Nest Bistro is owned and operated by chefs Nicolas Braun and Jennifer Ash. The pair offer Pacific Northwest fare with French and Italian influences leaving their mark on every plate. Hailing from Vancouver, the pair settled in Nanaimo after realizing the location and size were just right for their prospective restaurant. Their joint efforts have produced a cozy and intimate space with an inviting atmosphere to match. The modest decor plays on their namesake with birds, feathers and branches accentuating the simple but elegant layout. Teal tables line a leather bench and chairs, with bright counter seating along the window.
As it was past noon, we were able to justify a glass of the house white each as we ruminated over their understated but enticing lunch menu. With tantalizing choices like their signature Seafood Trio with crab cake, filo prawns and a tian of baby shrimp cocktail and comforting baked Jenny Mac we knew we had difficult decisions ahead. Our cheerful server asked if either of us had any food allergies prior to taking our order, a considerate gesture which we appreciated. Continue reading →
Bistro Taiyo Sushi Bar & Izakaya, located in the heart of Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter has served up authentic Japanese home-style cuisine for years. Under new ownership since 2011, Takeshi Hirose and Shin Koshimizu have given it a sophisticated remodel while still keeping true to the character and friendly atmosphere of its previous incarnation. From the moment you are warmly welcomed by the gracious all Japanese staff, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a small restaurant in Tokyo, minus the happy hour crowd in suits. The space though modest, features a sleek sushi bar where one can get a front row seat of sushi chefs in action. In addition, there are tables lining a bench and wooden chairs with traditional paper lanterns floating from the ceiling. While we do recommend that you pull up a seat at the sushi bar, we grabbed a table in anticipation of the serious spread we planned on ordering. The extra table space was needed. Continue reading →