Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek
Between the scorching temperatures and the delectable wine offerings, the Okanagan is our favourite among British Columbia’s summer holiday destinations. As wine lovers, sampling the latest releases from some of BC’s best vineyards is reason enough to travel to the region yet we’ve often found the area lacking in some other important amenities. Winery restaurants are typically overpriced and mediocre at best while many of the other local spots cater predominantly to families and are quite casual, making suitable places for an enjoyable evening out a rarity. This all changed when Tinhorn Creek – located in the Southern Okanagan in Oliver – launched Miradoro on their expansive grounds in 2011. This scenic spot was created by extending the winery’s barrel cellar, and features both indoor and outdoor seating that offers panoramic views of the Black Sage Bench. The design is elegant without being stuffy and Miradoro achieves that ideal, yet difficult, balance between West Coast informality and high-end cuisine. A collaboration between the Tinhorn Creek winery and restaurateur Manuel Ferreira (of Le Gavroche fame), Miradoro is the perfect destination dining experience in the Okanagan.
The brainchild of Executive Chef Jeff Van Geest, who had previously impressed with his West Coast cuisine at Vancouver’s Aurora Bistro, Miradoro’s menu features simple, yet tasty fare that makes extensive use of the region’s seasonal offerings. Drawing on its vineyard location, the dishes are designed to accommodate specific wine pairings and we’ve always found that the plates are best enjoyed if you heed the menu’s advice. While items are available à la carte, we highly recommend opting for a tasting menu in order to experience the robust flavours of both the food items and the wine pairings. The menu changes seasonally in order to take advantage of local produce and seafood offerings as well as the latest vintages, yet we’ve never been disappointed with the selection. The salt roasted beet and ricotta salad is a perennial favourite; the subtle sweetness of the cheese offsets the tartness of the beets which are so fresh they taste like they were picked that morning. On a visit during BC’s spot prawn season we began our meal with an absolutely delectable spot prawn bisque; rich without overpowering the seafood’s delicate flavour, this was among the best applications of spot prawn that we’ve sampled to date.
The selection of mains is just as enticing as the starters and we consistently have difficulty deciding what to order. Miradoro features a Woodstone oven and churns out tasty thin crust Neapolitan style pizzas covered in a variety of high-end, locally sourced ingredients. The quattro formaggi is the highlight, as the combination of the four quite distinct cheeses – most notably the tiger blue – creates an unusual yet quite enjoyable flavour profile. The mushroom risotto is a rich and savory meal; the rice is crisp and expertly prepared while the appealing assortment of wild and foraged mushrooms affords the dish its interesting texture and complex flavour. Our friends have enjoyed the restaurant’s signature Angus steak seasoned with harissa, and were impressed with both the quality of the meat and its skillful preparation.
The restaurant is best visited at dusk, when the sweltering temperatures begin to cool and the sunset colours the seemingly endless vista in an orange hue. With an outdoor amphitheater that hosts a summer concert series located just below Miradoro’s wrap-around terrace, Tinhorn Creek is well worth a visit when travelling to the Okanagan this summer. Whether you stop in for some tapas to accompany your wine or relax on the patio for a leisurely meal, Miradoro brings the best of high-end city dining to the relaxed, slow-paced atmosphere of the Okanagan.