The Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort and Conference Center is set in a relaxing, tranquil, and aesthetically breathtaking environment. The resort is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Twenty-two acres of lush vegetation are fronted by an extensive sandy beach. Several choices for accommodation are available including log cottages with wood burning fireplaces, and rooms with panoramic views of the marvellous beach.
Tigh-Na-Mara is a fabulous year-round destination for romantic weekends, honeymoons, family vacations, reunions, or simply a girls� weekend together - as I found out this summer. The resort works hard to impress their guests with many enticing activities such as morning yoga on the beach, late night outdoor movies, and childcare programs, to name a few.
The Cedar Dining Room is no exception to the outstanding quality and variety offered in the resort, and an extensive menu is available for each meal. The pleasant staff strive to accommodate all dietary needs and requests with a personable level of professionalism. For example, our attentive waiters took close note of allergies, made detailed recommendations on menu choices and wine pairings, and were extremely knowledgeable of the cooking process and ingredients. The overall caliber of the restaurant is evident, right down to menus that explicitly urge diners to notify their server of dietary concerns, allergies, or food sensitivities in order to provide the best possible experience.
Enjoying the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus allowed me to truly observe the consistently high level of service and food quality. I will provide some specific comments on my experience below.
I began the gourmet event with a crab-stuffed Portobello mushroom ($10), topped with aged white cheddar. The stuffed mushroom trumped my expectations with fresh crab whipped to satiating consistency with cream cheese and a hint of chives.
For an entree I chose the Pacific Trio ($26), from the seasonal menu, which featured maple whiskey glazed salmon, herbed halibut with fresh salsa, and cedar smoked cod, over a fan of sauted peppers and snow peas. Each fish was cooked to perfection with deep and distinct flavours. The rich salmon is caught and smoked locally. The fresh salsa over the halibut included an array of seasonal fruits including strawberries and mangos. This entree provided me with the opportunity to taste a selection of fish prepared in an undeniably thorough, unique, and delicious manner.
To conclude the evening I selected a chocolate mousse torte ($8) from the dessert tray. Our patient waiter paused as we scoured the eight desserts on the tray and debated between cheesecakes, cream puffs, pies, and other sweet masterpieces. The rich Belgian chocolate mousse was encased with a crunchy crust of roasted pecans.
The lunch menu continues to feature many healthy choices and multiple options to enable guests to customize their order. For example, diners can choose to have their stir-fry served on rice, udon noodles, or crispy chow mein. I selected the smoked salmon burger to satisfy my hunger after an afternoon hike. The alder-smoked salmon filet is caught locally and smoked at the resort. The flavourful salmon filet is topped with fresh lettuce, tomato, and crispy bacon, on a toasted focaccia bun. I was able to omit the tomato and bacon due to dietary restrictions. My burger was served on my choice of Asian coleslaw, mixed green salad, Caesar salad or fries. The mixed green salad contained dark leafy greens and came with many dressing options, including an unbelievable homemade raspberry vinaigrette.
The wraps, stir-fries, pasta, and salads offered on the lunch menu continued to reflect the seaside surroundings with many seafood selections, but also contained several popular dishes with beef and chicken. The reasonable prices made this menu an absolute hit with the steak sandwich being the most expensive dish at $12.95. The majority of the menu hovered between $8.95-10.95.
The cheerful staff at the Cedar Dining room eased us into another day of relaxation at breakfast. Although the menu is packed with delicious meals, the predominant choice at our table was the buffet that featured French toast, cinnamon buns, granola, yogurt, fruit, scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausages, and bacon. I decided to stick with my favourite breakfast meal and enjoyed homemade waffles ($7.95) served with berries, whipped cream, warm syrup and a continuous stream of refillable coffee. Although our stay did not include a Sunday brunch, the menu and guest book raved about the reputable splay of gourmet selections available.
Specials that combine accommodation, dining, and spa treatments change throughout the year. Contact the resort to obtain a detailed list of currently offered specials, and room rates for visitors.
In sum, our dining experience did not disappoint, with much laughter, good food, and tranquil surroundings. The level of professionalism and expertise within this restaurant is evident from first greeting to last bite. I will return, but in the meantime, while I reminisce, I strongly recommend this truly relaxing experience as my summer draws to a close.
Reviewed by: Patricia Mackenzie
Last reviewed: August 30th, 2005