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Nanaimo's best brunch at Longwood Brewpub

May 2, 2013

When looking for a new Vancouver Island brunch place to try, I asked around and kept hearing one name - the Longwood Brewpub in Nanaimo. My curiosity of why a brewpub was so popular for brunch increased when I discovered that they have been voted "Best Brunch in Nanaimo" the past six years running. So, on a foggy & rainy Sunday, my husband and I headed over to the west coast brewery on the hill see what all the fuss was about.

There are two things that instantly made me glad we'd come to Longwood for their buffet. The first was, of course, the food. There was a nice variety of freshly baked pastries, Pacific snow crab and wild salmon, and large selection of what I consider "brunch comfort food" - eggs benedict, honey-glazed ham, salads, waffles and a side table covered in cheesecakes and other desserts.

My one prior concern had been fact that we were a little lazy and not going to arrive until 1:15, right before the last seating. I was happy to see that the buffet was still well stocked, and the restaurant was still packed with diners. The only thing that suffered from the 'late hour' was the Eggs Benedict, which had over-cooked in the steam tray, then cooled. But when I mentioned it, the chef immediately went to the kitchen and brought two freshly-made ones out to me, then stopped by a few minutes later to check if I was enjoying them. Much appreciate, as I have a long-standing weakness for the Benedict on a Sunday afternoon, and it made the meal complete.


There were some pleasant surprises on the menu - my husband (a Saskatchewan boy) was impressed with the wide selection and quality of meats (both of the deli and breakfast variety) and delighted to find house-made cabbage rolls. I couldn't get enough of the sweet potato hash browns with a dash of spice, a nice compliment to the traditional potato variety.

The second thing that makes the Longwood Brewpub a memorable brunch spot is the ambiance of the restaurant and its staff. The west-facing hillside location has great views of the nearby mountains (pretty even on a rainy Spring day, and amazing on a clear sunset evening, I'm told). The Longwood has three levels, and brunch takes place on the main restaurant level, with warm west coast decor and a two-story wood-burning fireplace.

The restaurant was crammed with happy multi-generational families and couples during our visit, but it still felt open and airy even with a full house (reservations are a must, it's a popular spot). The staff, without exception, were all pleasant and attentive, from chefs making sure that the brunch tables stayed well-stocked right until the last brunch seating at 1:30pm to the serving staff keeping coffee flowing and empty plates whisked away.

I also liked that many individually portioned items were mini-sized, so you could sample a little of this or that throughout the buffet instead of overloading your plate - highlights included the mini cornbread muffins with maple pecan cream cheese, and the mini chocolate mousse that I enjoyed with one last coffee at the end of our meal.

I can now see why the Longwood Brewpub Restaurant's Sunday Brunch gets voted as the best in the city year after year. It's an authentic, unpretentious and tasty buffet that focuses on fresh and local food paired with a staff that are happy you've come to spend your Sunday meal with them.

I'll certainly be back again, perhaps next time down to the pub level to do a Longwood Brewery Beer Tasting.


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