The Driftwood Café sits contently in a bed of salal at the far north end of Chesterman Beach. It’s camouflaged by a few Sitka spruce trees and the world-renown Wickaninnish Inn

This west-coast-themed gem should not be missed. It’s a lovely opportunity for a hot frothy beverage, delicious meal, or even a glass of wine and some live music on Thursday evenings.

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A Hidden Gem

It seems as though most who visit Tofino don’t know that this café exists. It’s pleasantly quiet much of the time which contributes to a peaceful west coast experience and cozy ambiance that not all café’s in Tofino have.

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This café is in a perfect location to either start or end a walk along Chesterman Beach. Check out my North Chesterman Beach gallery! There is so much to explore including the Carving Shed.

Bringing the West Coast Inside

Floor to ceiling windows welcome a seamless transition between the crashing surf and a warm woody interior that features a rugged driftwood bar. It looks as if it washed into the café by a winter storm. The roots still have barnacles on them!

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Bringing the outdoors indoors was Dr. Howard McDiarmid’s vision when he first began designing the Wickaninnish Inn. He wanted to share the beauty of the west coast with guests.

It was also important to him to keep as much of the natural environment as possible when constructing the inn. Only two trees over 6″ in diameter had to be removed and they didn’t go to waste. They were used in the interior design of both the Driftwood Café and the Beach Building Foyer.

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Beach Building Foyer

An Extensive Menu

The Driftwood Café offers various breakfast and lunch items including baked treats, sandwiches, soups, and salads just to name a few. You can also enjoy dinner and live music here on Thursday evenings. Visit the menu!

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One morning, while I worked on my laptop, I enjoyed a delicious mochaccino!

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I paired it with a freshly baked chocolate croissant. I couldn’t resist when I learned the pastry chef bakes breads, muffins and other delicious treats daily. Even the jams are prepared in-house!

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Dinner & Entertainment

I enjoyed the Halibut ceviche one Thursday evening. It was marinaded in a yuzu citrus  juice with a slight jalapeño pepper spice. It was beautifully adorned with bits of red pepper, cucumber, cilantro and pansy pedals. The tortillas were crunchy edible spoons. This savoury seafood dish paired perfectly with a crisp glass of Chardonnay.

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Halibut Ceviche paired with Chardonnay

The Wickaninnish Inn displays all of their food so artistically. Check out other amazing menu items and their cookbook!

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The ocean backdrop plus guitar and voice by Grego Marino made for a relaxing and intimate dining experience. The musical entertainment changes from week to week. Keep up to date on the Driftwood Café Facebook page.

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The Staff

I spent a little time chatting with Michelle, my server, and Mickeen, the cook who made my amazing ceviche. I was impressed by both of these young women.

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Michelle (left) and Mickeen (right) working the Crab Cookout!

Michelle is nineteen years old and is from Unterbäch in Switzerland. She has worked at the Wickaninnish Inn since December 2018. The Swiss education system seems to prepare young people for the real world very early. Michelle chose her career path and started her three-year apprenticeship with Mont Cervin Palace in Zermatt, Switzerland at only fifteen years old! 

Mickeen spent two and a half years studying at The Culinary Arts Institute of Canada – Holland College in PEI. She did her internship here at the Wickaninnish Inn in the summer of 2016. She loved it here so much that she returned to the Wickaninnish Inn full-time in May 2017. She cooks in both the Driftwood Café and The Pointe Restaurant kitchens. 

Crab Cookout!

Michelle and Mickeen also work the Crab Cookouts that happen on Chesterman Beach throughout the summer. During inclement weather it is held inside the Driftwood Café. This is an experience you won’t want to miss out on!

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The crab is prepared in sea water. The meat is sweet and has the perfect amount of salty flavour! With melted butter it is absolutely divine!

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Of course there is much more to enjoy besides crab including an assortment of salads, corn on the cob,  bread, desserts, and beverages.

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And what better place to indulge in good food and crab than on a beautiful west coast beach!

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Find the Driftwood Café

The Driftwood Café is open daily between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm during summer months and stays open late on Thursday evenings until 9:30 pm. During fall and winter it is open between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm and every second Thursday for music until 9:30 pm. 

It’s located at the Wickaninnish Inn at 500 Osprey Lane, Tofino, BC. If you’re walking the beach, look for the three coal-black ravens perched on top of driftwood posts and follow the trail to the door.

Visit their website or contact them at (250) 725-3100.