Winter travel on the Sunshine Coast comes with its share of cold, dark weather, but luckily there's one sure-fire way to stave off the weather: comfort food. Here are ten Sunshine Coast meals bound to lift your spirits, warm your soul (and belly), and induce happiness. Dig in.

1. Oh Miso Ramen at Persephone Brewing

What is it about ramen that makes it feel like the ultimate comfort soup? The salty-umami broth? The satisfaction of slurping just-right al dente noodles? Or the perfectly jammy egg? It's truly a dish that has it all, and while the basic recipe remains the same (broth, noodles, toppings), the versatility of this soup is endless—just ask anyone who's tried the ramen from Oh Miso. This one-chef-run, Japanese pop-up offers noodles at Persephone Brewing every Sunday, featuring a rotating selection of ramen, including a brunch ramen with thick cut bacon and poached egg, and a tomato-based clam chowder with ramen-style noodles. The Tan Tan noodles, when they're available, are popular and for good reason: hand-pulled noodles sit in a sesame miso broth, topped with ground chicken, chili oil, peanuts, greens, and charred shallot oil. While the menu changes weekly, the care and attention to making a truly delicious and nourishing noodle soup remains the same. 

2. Pasta at Coastal Cookery

This is comfort food on two levels. First, nothing beats the cold better than carb-loading with a giant plate of pasta. And second, for those like me, who grew up experiencing the long Canadian winter, pasta is a nostalgic meal plucked straight from childhood. Coastal Cookery's take on pasta dishes includes a wild mushroom rigatoni that features locally foraged mushrooms, beurre blanc, grana padano, fried sage, and toasted pine nuts. But if for some reason mushrooms aren't your thing, there's also a beurre blanc mac & cheese dish on the menu that includes smoked cheddar, white wine butter sauce, crispy bacon, and fried sage. The restaurant itself is also as warm and inviting as the dishes it serves, with its eye-catching styling and intimate interior.

Mac & Cheese
The Mac & Cheese from Coastal Cookery in Powell River. Photo:

3. Butter Chicken Poutine at Grasshopper Pub

Butter Chicken. Poutine. Put them together and you might have the comfort meals to end all comfort meals—or at least the best-kept culinary secret on the Sunshine Coast. This indulgent dish is one of a few South Asian dishes found on the menu at the Grasshopper Pub, a nod to the chef's heritage. The Butter Chicken happens to be a well-tested family recipe—and beloved customer favourite. And in poutine form, it's sure to wake up your palate and warm your belly. This East-meets-West version comes with a generous plate of perfectly salted fries and a heaping serving of fragrant Butter Chicken, topped with cheese curds. If the Butter Chicken Poutine doesn't draw you in, the view will: overlooking the harbour and across to neighbouring Garden Bay, the restaurant is a great spot to watch the sunset after a day spent braving the elements outdoors.

4. Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict at Basted Baker

Brunch, by nature, is meant to be indulgent. (If you disagree, we have different ideas of how to brunch.) It's a chance to linger over the first meal of the day, satisfy those cravings for french toast or eggs, and, if you're so inclined, to wash it all down with a mimosa or endless cups of coffee. It's not for everyday, but when the mood hits—and you happen to be on the Sunshine Coast—head to Basted Baker. This quaint cafe, located on Cowrie Street along Sechelt's downtown main drag, is known for their soft, buttery and flaky biscuits, which they use as the base for their brunch-friendly eggs benedict. There's a classic option with bacon and tomato, a smoked salmon and spinach version, and a vegetarian option, but the most comforting of all might just be the pulled pork eggs benny, It's loaded with tender, pull-apart slow roasted pork, two perfectly poached eggs, and covered in a luscious hollandaise sauce (made in-house, of course). 

5. Cinnamon Buns at Nancy's Bakery

A cinnamon bun makes a great snack post-hike or kayak and at Nancy's Bakery you'll find one of the best in British Columbia. This landmark bakery has been churning out decadent cinnamon buns, made in-house and with fresh ingredients, for more than 30 years. The glossy, sticky blackberry cinnamon bun is a perennial favourite and well worth the journey to Mile 0 of Highway 101 just for a taste. Whether you've just returned from the snowy trails or need a respite from the rain, this warm, inviting and delicious-smelling bakery is a great place to guard against the cold—cinnamon bun and cup of coffee in hand of course. Don't have a sweet tooth? You'll find plenty of other baked goods and savoury pastries and dishes here, too. 

Nancy's Bakery
The famous cinnamon buns at Nancy's Bakery in Lund, BC. Photo: Annie Wise

This newly-opened Sechelt joint is the latest location for the much-beloved JamJar restaurant in Vancouver. Equal parts cafe and canteen—meaning they offer a selection of pantry items for purchase, including spices, house-made sauces, and other Middle Eastern staples—this lunchtime spot offers three different ways to sample their classic dishes: mezze-style, in a wrap, or as a bowl. The always-popular Chicken Shawarma wrap, which comes with yogurt-marinated chicken thighs seasoned with garlic, lemon and spices stuffed into a soft pita and dressed with hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, pickled veg, and cucumber, absolutely lives up to its reputation. Gluten-free or vegan? You'll find plenty of menu options here and none that skimp on the flavour. 

7. Chilli at Sheer Bliss

It's right there in the name. This unassuming bakery and cafe, located right off the Sunshine Coast Highway, offers a classic comfort staple—beef chilli—that is sheer bliss. If you enjoy the nostalgic flavours of this classic dish at Tim Hortons, picture this as a high-quality, homemade version. The chilli itself has a depth of flavour to it that can only be achieved using good ingredients and comes topped with the usual assortment of sour cream, green onions and cheese. The addition of a supremely soft and just-salted ciabatta bread, baked in-house each day, is perfect for sopping up any last remaining spoonfuls (if there are any). The ciabatta is also great eaten on its own with a simple slathering of butter. Grab a seat next to the fire and tuck in.

8. Bayou Bite at Batch 44 Brewery

One antidote to the dreariness of winter? Southern food. When you need to fly south for the winter (proverbially speaking, of course) head to Batch 44 Brewery in Sechelt for their Louisiana-seasoned fried chicken burger. It's a dish of epic proportions and no easy feat to tackle—but for some, a hearty helping is a staunch criteria of comfort food. Sandwiched between two soft brioche buns is a buttermilk marinated chicken thigh seasoned with the heat-inducing spices of the south, topped with bacon jam, pickles, and smothered with a white BBQ sauce. Coleslaw comes on the side, and while you're there, you might as well order a flight of beer or a pint of cider to wash it all down. 

Batch 44 Brewery
The Bayou Bite at Batch 44 Brewery. Photo: BC Ale Trail/Geoff Tomlin-Hood

9. Curries at Little Hut Curry

It's hard to pick just one. Do you opt for the fish curry? The vegetarian-friendly coconut veggie? The Gobi Matar? Or Saag Paneer? Or the always-popular and ultra-classic Butter Chicken? This beloved Powell River institution serves up comforting, home-style Indian cooking with a menu designed to brighten even the darkest days of winter. The curries come with cumin-spiced rice pilaf and a tangy mint chutney, but make sure to order a side of buttered naan and a plate of veggie pakoras (a local favourite) to round out your comfort meal. If you're still unsure of what to order, the thali combos offer a mix of curries and dishes, such as lamb curry served with saag paneer and dal tadk. Be warned: this is a mom-and-pop shop serving limited quantities and they sell out fast; show up early to avoid being disappointed. 

10. Pera Pizza at Buono Osteria

One comfort food we can all agree on? Pizza. Piping hot, gooey, with endless flavour combinations and varieties, this is a meal to tuck into after a day adventuring in the mountains, on the ocean, or around the Sunshine Coast. Buono Osteria 's wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas are baked in a forno (that's a wood-burning oven) ensuring their crust is perfectly charred yet chewy and tender. I've sampled all their delicious za's, but the pera pizza—with a garlic cream sauce, thinly sliced and perfectly soft bartlett pears, toasted walnuts, pickled red onion, and gorgonzola cheese, all drizzled with a balsamic reduction—is a personal favourite. Order a pie for yourself, or a couple to share with friends and family, and enjoy in the restaurant's cozy dining space. (Tip: start with the caesar salad; it comes deconstructed, with a half-cut head of romaine, drenched generously with homemade caesar dressing and parmesan cheese and a side of garlic butter croutons that seem to ooze deliciousness.)

The wood-fired pizzas at Buono Osteria
The wood-fired pizzas at Buono Osteria. Photo: Buono Osteria