Best of the City covers from the past few years, including the 2020 edition, published today, Sept. 23. (News Bulletin photo)

Nanaimo’s Best of the City: This year’s winners

Readers smash voting records in this year’s poll to determine the best Nanaimo has to offer

The Nanaimo News Bulletin likes to think winning Best of the City is a great honour.

And the VI Free Daily’s Nanaimo affiliate is happy to report that in some ways, winning Best of the City is a greater honour than ever this year.

That’s because its reader survey received more votes than any other year. The Bulletin received three times as many votes as we did in 2019, which was our best-ever year for votes before this one.

Organizers are not entirely sure why there was such an uptick in voter turnout in 2020. They did make a significant change to the online voting platform this year. As always, they relied on write-in votes, but this year, once a business had been nominated, it was added to a drop-down menu so the next person to vote could choose from a random-order list of current nominees or write in a new one.

It made for some lively voting in some of the categories. As usual, Best Customer Service drew a wide range of entries, with more than 150 businesses nominated. Other categories that received the lengthiest lists of nominees were Best Beauty Salon or Spa, Best Lunches, Best Restaurant Overall and Best Hair Salon.

If two businesses tied for first, second or third, they didn’t break ties, and are presenting all of them as worthy winners in their own right.

Thank you for voting, thank you for reading. All the best.

Best Fish and Chips

1. Trollers Fish and Chips

2. Pirate Chips

3. Cod Squad Fish and Chips

Best Seafood Restaurant

1. Trollers Fish and Chips

2. Bold Knight Restaurant

3. The View Oceanside Grill

Best Restaurant Overall

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Mahle House Restaurant

3. La Stella Trattoria

Best Mediterranean Food

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Alexandra’s Bistro

3. Zougla Mediterranean Grill

Best Romantic Restaurant

1. Asteras Greek Taverna

2. Mahle House Restaurant

3. La Stella Trattoria

Best Asian Food

1. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

2. Nori Japanese Restaurant

3. Quality Foods

3. Umai Sushi

Best Bakery

1. Cobs Bread

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery

Best Breakfasts

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

2. Tania’s Restaurant

3. Kelly’s Kitchen Café

Best Catering Business

1. Coco Café

2. Spice of Life Catering

3. Smokin’ George’s BBQ

Best Chicken Wings

1. Landlubber Pub

2. The Oxy Pub

3. Quarterway Pub

Best Cinnamon Buns

1. Cobs Bread

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery

Best Deli

1. Nesvog Meats and Sausage Co.

2. McLean’s Specialty Foods

3. Nellie’s European Deli

Best Family Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Asteras Greek Taverna

3. Montana’s BBQ and Bar

Best Fast Food

1. Delicado’s Deli

2. BarBurrito

3. Baby Salsa

Best French Fries

1. Pirate Chips

2. New York Fries

3. McDonald’s

Best Kids’ Restaurant

1. White Spot

2. Pirate Chips

3. Ricky’s All Day Grill

Best Lunches

1. Delicado’s Deli

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

2. Gina’s Mexican Café

3. Coco Café

Best Nanaimo Bars

1. Red’s Bakery

2. Hearthstone Artisan Bakery

3. Pirate Chips

Best Hamburgers

1. Top Notch Burgers

2. Big Wheel Burger

3. Sip and Sliders Food Truck

Best Nachos

1. Gina’s Mexican Café

2. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

Best Tacos

1. Gina’s Mexican Café

2. Baby Salsa

3. Jalapenos Mexican Food

Best Pasta

1. La Stella Trattoria

2. Milano’s Ristorante

3. Alexandra’s Bistro

Best Place to Buy Meat

1. Nesvog Meats and Sausage Company

2. Meat Craft Island Butchery

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Place to Buy Produce

1. Thrifty Foods

2. Country Grocer

3. Cedar Farmer’s Market

Best Place to Buy Seafood

1. Seadrift Fish Market and Eatery

2. Thrifty Foods

3. Driftwood Seafoods

Best Seafood Restaurant

1. Troller’s Fish and Chips

2. Bold Knight Restaurant

3. The View Oceanside Grill

Best Pizza

1. Mambo Gourmet Pizza

2. La Stella Trattoria

3. Milano’s Ristorante

Best Steak House

1. Bold Knight Restaurant

2. Beefeater’s Chop House and Grill

3. Montana’s BBQ and Bar

Best Sushi

1. Nori Sushi

2. Umai Sushi

3. Firehouse Grill

Best Vegetarian Food

1. Gabriel’s Gourmet Café

2. Eve Olive

3. Delicado’s Deli

Best Patio Restaurant

1. Crow and Gate Pub

2. Dinghy Dock Pub

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

Best Place to Buy Craft Beer

1. White Sails Brewing

2. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

3. Longwood Brewery

Best Place to Meet for Coffee

1. Drip Coffee Social

2. Buzz Coffee House

3. The Vault Café

Best Desserts

1. Burnt Honey Dessert Company

2. Red’s Bakery

3. Cold Front Gelato

Best Cocktails and Shots

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. The Nanaimo Bar

3. Cactus Club Café

Best Martini

1. The Nanaimo Bar

2. Cactus Club Café

3. Modern Café

Best Pub

1. Crow and Gate Pub

2. Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant

3. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

Best Sports Bar

1. Old City Station Pub

2. Original Joe’s Restaurant and Bar

3. Landlubber Pub

Best Place for Birthday Parties

1. Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Pub

2. Cactus Club Café

3. Splitsville Entertainment

Best Karaoke

1. Quarterway Pub

2. The Oxy Pub

2. The Wellington Pub

3. The Queen’s Hotel

Best Music Trivia

1. Landlubber Pub

2. The Wellington Pub

3. The Oxy Pub

Best Art Gallery

1. Nanaimo Art Gallery

2. Gallery Merrick

3. Art 10 Gallery

Best Open Mic/Jam Session

1. The Queen’s Hotel

2. The Vault Café

3. The Nanaimo Bar

Best Performing Arts School

1. Vibrant Studios (Vibe)

2. Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts

3. Harbour Dance Studios Inc.

Best Place for Live Bands

1. The Queen’s Hotel

2. Port Theatre

3. The Nanaimo Bar

Best Place to Dance

1. The Queen’s Hotel

2. LevelTwo Nightclub

3. Vibrant Studios (Vibe)

Best Theatre Company

1. Nanaimo Theatre Group

2. Schmooze Productions

3. TheatreOne

Best Lingerie Store

1. Purple Cactus Lingerie

2. La Senza

2. La Vie En Rose

3. My Undies

Best Consignment or Thrift Store

1. Charlie’s Closet

1. Nanaimo Hospital Auxilliary Thrift Store

2. Leiv It Or Love It

3. Friends of Haven Thrift Shop

3. Once Upon A Child

Best Kids’ Clothing Store

1. Once Upon A Child

2. Old Navy

3. Carter’s OshKosh

Best Shoe Store

1. A Step Ahead

2. Frontrunners

3. SoftMoc

Best Store for Ladieswear

1. KC’s Boutique and Petites

2. Quintessential

3. Charlie’s Closet

Best Store for Menswear

1. NYLA Fresh Thread

2. Mark’s

3. The Bay

Best Place to Shop

1. Woodgrove Centre

2. Costco Wholesale

3. Old City Quarter

Best Yoga Studio

1. Modo Yoga Nanaimo

2. Red Door Yoga

3. OmTown Yoga

Best Accounting Firm

1. MNP

2. Church Pickard Chartered Professional Accountants

3. Liberty Tax Canada

Best Auto Detailer

1. Nanaimo Toyota

2. V.I. Precision Detailing and Car Care

3. Harris Auto Spa

Best Auto Servicing

1. Supertech Diesel Truck Specialists

2. Bavarian Imports Auto Repairs Ltd.

3. BCAA Auto Service Centre

3. Wellington Garage

Best Banking Institution

1. RBC Royal Bank

2. TD Canada Trust

3. Coastal Community Credit Union

Best Bathrooms

1. Woodgrove Centre

2. Cabela’s

3. Cactus Club Café

Best Beauty Salon or Spa

1. Breze Aveda Concept Salon and Spa

2. Aura Hair Boutique

3. Kiyo Salon and Day Spa

Best Bike Shop

1. Arrowsmith Bikes

2. Rock City Cycles

3. Hub City Cycles Community Co-op

Best Carpet Cleaners

1. Classic Care Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

2. Suck It Up Carpet Furnace

3. Terry’s Carpet Cleaning

Best Daycare Centre

1. Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island

2. Kidz Kompany

3. Jolly Giant Childcare

Best Estheticians

1. Breze Aveda Concept Salon and Day Spa

2. Kiyo Salon and Day Spa

3. Nanaimo Elements Holistic Centre and Spa

3. Neon Nail Studio

Best Financial Planner

1. RBC Royal Bank

2. TD Canada Trust

3. Coastal Community Private Wealth Group

Best Fitness/Exercise Company

1. Driven Performance Fitness

2. Zumba with Shandra Mayes

3. Planet Fitness

Best Flower Shop

1. Turley’s Florist

2. Ladybug Floral

3. Thrifty Foods

Best Gas Bar

1. Mid Island Co-op

2. Mobil

3. Chevron

Best Pet Grooming Business

1. Dog N’ Suds Pet Services

2. Nanaimo Pet Services

3. Foxy Dog Grooming

Best Dentist

1. Franklyn Street Dental Centre

2. Diver Lake Dental

3. Seven Sails Dental Centre

Best Floor Covering Store

1. End of the Roll

2. United Floors

3. Wingren Nufloors

Best Electrical Contractor

1. Mazzei Electric

2. Walls Electrical Ltd.

3. Houle Electric

Best Hair Salon

1. Hair Tech Salon Ltd.

2. Aura Hair Boutique

3. Kiyo Salon and Day Spa

Best Healthcare Clinic

1. Medical Arts Centre

2. Caledonian Clinic Ltd.

3. Anchor Family Medicine

Best Heating Business

1. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

2. Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating

3. Bryans Mechanical

Best Home Builder

1. Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island Society

2. Saywell Contracting Ltd.

3. Pheasant Hill Homes Ltd.

Best Home Improvement Store

1. Home Depot

2. Home Hardware

3. Lowe’s

Best Housewares/Linen Store

1. HomeSense

2. Flying Fish

3. The Bay

Best Insurance Agency

1. Core Insurance Services

2. Hub Insurance

3. Real Insurance Solutions

Best Jewelry Store

1. Keller’s Jewellers

2. Bastion Jewellers

3. Peoples Jewellers

Best Landscaper

1. McKenzie Maintenance

2. Concepts Landscaping and Excavation

3. Island Eco-Scapes

Best Law Firm

1. Ramsay Lampman Rhodes

2. Heath Law LLP

2. Krog and Company

3. Johnston Franklin Bishop

3. Mont and Walker Law Corporation

Best Lighting Store

1. McLaren Lighting

2. Home Depot

3. Lowe’s

Best Marine Supplier

1. The Harbour Chandler Ltd.

2. Parker Marine

3. Marina Parts Supply/Anchorage

Best Massages

1. Knead Registered Massage Therapy

2. Pure Body Balance Health and Fitness

3. Wild Coast Wellness

Best Customer Service

1. Costco Wholesale

2. Mood Cannabis Co.

3. Country Grocer

Best Barber Shop

1. Four Crows Barber and Shave Co.

2. That 50’s Barber Shop

3. Shear Agony Barber Shop

3. Sports Barbers

Best Furniture Store

1. Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress

2. Island Home Furniture and Mattress

3. Flying Fish

Best Place to Get Tires

1. Cedar Tireland

2. Kal Tire

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Vitamin/Health Food Store

1. Pomme Natural Market

2. Charlie Brown’s Health Foods

3. Popeye’s Supplements

Best Mattress Store

1. Sleep Country

2. John’s Bedrooms

3. Island Home Furniture and Mattress

Best Moving Company

1. Junk in our Trunk

2. Take a Load Off Moving

3. Two Burley Men

Best Outdoor Garden Centre

1. Art Knapp Plantland

2. Green Thumb Garden Centre

3. Little Tree Garden Centre

Best Paint Store

1. Cloverdale Paint

2. Home Depot

3. Sherwin-Williams Paint Store

Best Painting Contractor

1. Pride Painting Ltd.

2. Sonshine Girls Painting

3. Details Painting

Best Personal Trainer

1. Miguel Diaz – Driven Performance

2. Kasey and Karissa

3. Fit Body Boot Camp

Best Pet Supply Store

1. Bosley’s By Pet Valu

2. PetSmart

3. Oliver’s Pet Supplies

Best Photographer

1. Janayh Wright Photography

2. Jorja Portraits (Angela Eaves Photography)

3. Concept Photography Inc.

Best Place to Buy a Used Vehicle

1. Galaxy Motors

2. Nanaimo Toyota

3. Bouman Auto Gallery

Best Plumbing Business

1. 250 Plumber

2. Norm’s Plumbing and Heating

3. Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating

Best Retirement Community

1. Berwick on the Lake

2. Origin at Longwood

3. Kiwanis Village

Best Roofing Company

1. Erickson Roofing

2. All the Way Roofing

3. Best on Top Roofing

Best Sewing Notions Store

1. Snip and Stitch Sewing Centre Ltd.

2. Michaels

2. Serge and Sew

3. Sew It Begins

Best Optical Store

1. FYI Doctors

2. Highview Optical

3. Costco Wholesale

Best Sporting Goods Store

1. Cabela’s

2. Sport Chek

3. Canadian Tire

3. Kirby’s Source for Sports

Best Store to Buy Books

1. Chapters

2. Literacy Central Vancouver Island

3. WindowSeat Books

Best Store to Buy Tools

1. Midland Tools

2. Home Depot

3. Canadian Tire

Best Tanning Salon

1. Golden Sands Tanning Studio

2. Divine Glow

3. OrganicTan Nanaimo

Best Hearing Clinic

1. Connect Hearing

2. Costco Wholesale

3. Nanaimo Hearing Clinic

Best Tile Store

1. City Tile

2. Cornerstone Tile

3. Home Depot

Best Toy Store

1. Kool and Child

2. Toys R Us

3. The Children’s Treehouse

Best Travel Agency

1. Flight Centre

2. Around the World Travel

2. Travel by Amanda

3. Marlin Travel

Best Veterinary Clinic

1. Chase River Veterinary Hospital

2. Mahalo Veterinary Hospital

3. Petroglyph Animal Hospital

Best Wine-Making Store

1. Wine Kitz

2. The Wine Works

3. Nanaimo Wine Shoppe

Best Local Campground

1. Living Forest Oceanside Campground

2. Nanaimo Lakes Campsite

3. Brannen Lake RV Park and Campsite

Best Place to Walk Your Dog

1. Colliery Dam

2. Westwood Lake Park

3. Neck Point Park

Best People-Watching Spot

1. Harbourfront Walkway

2. Maffeo Sutton Park

3. Woodgrove Centre

Best Place for a Picnic

1. Saysutshun Newcastle Island

2. Neck Point Park

3. Pipers Lagoon Park

Best Place for Paddling

1. Newcastle Channel

2. Westwood Lake Park

3. Departure Bay

Best Place to Jog, Walk or Hike

1. Westwood Lake Park

2. Neck Point Park

3. Harbourfront Walkway

Best Place to Mountain Bike

1. Doumont Hill

2. Westwood Lake Park

3. Mount Benson

Best Place to Swim Outdoors

1. Nanaimo River

2. Westwood Lake Park

3. Pipers Lagoon

Best Place to Take Guests

1. Neck Point Park

2. Dinghy Dock Pub

3. Harbourfront Walkway

Best Place to Watch Birds

1. Buttertubs Marsh

2. Morrell Wildlife Sanctuary

3. Nanaimo River Estuary

Best Playground

1. Maffeo Sutton Park Playdock

2. Oliver Woods Community Centre

3. Beban Park Altrusa Playground

Best View of the City

1. Mount Benson

2. Sugarloaf Mountain

3. Dinghy Dock Pub

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