Imagine a higher-end version of the Cactus Club. That, in a nutshell, is Shelter. After reading about some persistent rumours (now confirmed) that the Cactus Club (or certain investor/owners of the chain) was behind this restaurant, it is easy to make this kind of over-simplification. To me it goes a bit beyond that. The menu certainly has CC all over it. It is divided into Apps, Mains, and Lounge where the Mains section seem to be a selection of higher-end dishes grafted onto a typical CC menu (you know - calamari, burgers, miscellaneous Asian inspired dishes, etc). This review is starting to sound negative - so I'll nip that in the bud right now...I enjoyed my meal at Shelter. I think this formula works. It is very accessible, and it has a Kids menu - very important to my demographic. They even had crayons and colouring sheets!
The restaurant was renovated last year and they did a terrific job, IMO. They added interesting metal-art detailing into the timber frame structure. The interior design is quite versatile - it has a lower ceilinged pub section, a "lodgey" fireplace section and a upper dining room. Each space has its own particular vibe.
The food is artfully executed, tasty and well priced. Our kids ordered from limited, but well designed Kids menu - they had a Cheese Pizza and a Butter-Parm Pasta. Very well done, well portioned and our kids enjoyed it. No chicken fingers here...and no burgers that are just too big to finish.
The wine, liquor, and drinks list is fairly extensive and well priced. The cocktails are very tasty and creative.
We ordered some Cocktails, Calamari, Oysters, Seared Tuna, Seared Scallops and Desserts (a Chevre Cheesecake and a Crumble). Everything was done well - right down to the little aesthetic plating touches like the balsamic reduction/lemongrass oil iconography.
So now there are rumours that the Shelter brand is moving to Vancouver (somewhere in Coal Harbour) after this incubation in Tofino.
601 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R, CA