Now that it’s nearly summer, it’s the perfect time to go on a road trip and discover Canada’s amazing landscape — and sample some good food along the way. Here are some spots along the Trans-Canada highway that are ready and waiting to feed a hungry traveler.
Sushi Wara (Ladysmith, BC)
When you’re nearing the end of the road on Vancouver Island’s east coast, pull over at this little sushi spot close to the water. Here you’ll find satisfying bento boxes, takoyaki and sashimi that will keep you full until your next destination, wherever that may be.
Harold's Family Dining (Kamloops, BC)
Good ol’ family dining proves to be a popular go-to in this small city just a few hours away from Vancouver. From morning to night, there’s plenty to eat here — big omelettes, homemade crabcake benedicts, meaty reubens, burgers, and even throwback classics like hot hamburger sandwiches. When was the last time you had one of those?
Truffle Pigs Bistro (Field, BC)
One of the most famous restaurants in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Truffle Pigs isn’t just a place to pull over to grab a bite, it’s a place that many people will drive out specifically for dinner. It’s a family-friendly restaurant that serves up impressive bistro dishes and full-on servings. The menu is filled with offerings that run the gamut from small bites, such as deep-fried avocado slices and garlic shrimp, to proper plates of duck confit or tagliatelle. For a real quick pull-over, just head into their sister space, Pig Pen Deli, for ice cream cones, paninis, packaged sausages and more.
Shuswap Chefs (Sicamous, BC)
Taking a break in Canada’s house-boating capital? Make sure to check out this restaurant that’s putting out some of the most chef-driven cuisine around the Shuswap Lake region. Beef carpaccio with basil aioli and crispy capers, braised short rib, and beet and halloumi salad aren’t things you would expect to see on a roadside restaurant menu, but you certainly will here.
Peter's Drive-in (Calgary, AB)
A Calgary classic for many years, Peter’s is an easy pull-over stop to make if you’re craving a simple cheeseburger and a milkshake. Kids will appreciate the cheese dogs and golden crispy onion rings, and may find it hard to decide which milkshake flavour they should go for. Root beer is always a fan favourite, and you can never go wrong with maple.
Scopa Neighbourhood Italian (Calgary, AB)
Alright, so this deceivingly upscale Italian restaurant may be four blocks off the Trans-Canada as you’re passing through Calgary, but that extra three-minute drive is worth it. Enjoy delicious wood-fired pizzas, made with ciabatta dough, a deliciously rich carbonara, and all kinds of fresh salads in a space that’s as warm and friendly as the company you’re keeping.
Kokom's Bannock Shack (Dryden, ON)
Though there’s plenty of popular diner fare, like deep-fried pickles, BLT sandwiches et al, the cool thing about Kokom’s is that you can opt for bannock instead of the standard breads and buns. The First Nations traditional dough is served up many different ways including poutine-style, proving that bannock is an edible blank canvas for just about anything.
Kelly’s Restaurant (Tweed, ON)
Locals swear by this family-owned restaurant that offers classic small-town fare, such as baked onion soup, hot beef sandwiches and chicken fingers, and tasty nibbles like pizza fusion rolls and deep-fried clams. Unlike most other roadside spots, Kelly’s takes it up a notch with a seriously impressive gluten-free menu, complete with dessert options. Gluten-free peanut butter brownie cheesecake, anyone?
Ches’s Fish and Chips (St. John’s)
Ches and his wife, Betty, opened the popular family-run establishment 65 years ago that continues to entice East Coasters with fresh deep-fried fillets at their seven locations. The fish and chips are a must-try, of course, but the menu offers everything from seafood platters to cod tongues, salmon bites and seafood chowder. And for the land lover, options of fried chicken, Montreal steak poutine and cheeseburgers are also sure to satisfy.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.