Kenny Tai has been photographing food and posting his delicious findings to his Instagram account, @HeyHangryHippo, for many years now. Over the course of the next four weeks, Kenny will be sharing his favourite eats from different areas of Kelowna—first up is downtown!

With current provincial health orders prohibiting indoor dining, restaurants have adjusted their operations focusing on outdoor patio dining, take out, and delivery. Please note: people should only be outdoor dining at restaurants with their household or core bubble and restaurants only accommodate tables of six or less.

El Taquero

El Taquero means "Taco Maker" in Spanish and is, fittingly, Head Chef Izzy's role at the restaurant. After moving to Kelowna from Mexico, Izzy and his family decided to share their love of his country's most recognizable dishes with the masses and we're all the beneficiaries of it. This restaurant is truly a family run business with Izzy's wife, niece, and grandma helping out to make the best margaritas, tacos, burritos, nachos, and more, often using family recipes. Do not miss out on the Tinga de Pollo (spicy shredded chicken) paired with a fresh margarita—it's the perfect treat on the patio on a sunny Kelowna day. 

Currently, El Taquero is open for patio dining, as well as takeout and delivery.

Karat Chocolate Boutique & Cafe

Each and every chocolate and pastry made at Karat is a literal work of art, and they taste just as good as they look. Owner and Chef, Julian Helman, brings his knowledge and experience from years spent training and working around the world to downtown Kelowna where he and his team make amazing treats using the best ingredients, many of which are local to the Okanagan. With a menu that changes seasonally, a visit to Karat will always offer something new to try in addition to customer favourites. Don't miss their mini cakes (espresso, chocolate, or strawberry) and house-made croissants, whose flaky exterior, buttery inside, and decadent filling (like hazelnut chocolate) make them a crowd pleaser. 

Currently, Karat has a couple of seats outside the shop, but it's best to plan to take away your treats after purchasing as the seats fill quickly. 

Krafty Kitchen + Bar

If you're looking for creative dishes using local ingredients, a great cocktail and wine list, and a relaxing and chill vibe, look no further than Krafty. Brunch, lunch, and dinner menus are all different, so any time of day you visit, you'll be sure to find a creative and delicious meal. My favourite is hip hop brunch—every Saturday and Sunday, you'll find a menu with dishes named after classic hip hop artists or songs like the Notorious P.I.G. (brunch bowl with pork belly, salsa, refried beans, avocado, and two poached eggs) or the Method Mancake (buttermilk pancakes with seasonal compote, sweet crème fraîche, and maple syrup). Don't miss the Regulator either—it's one of their most popular brunch dishes featuring a buttermilk-brined chicken thigh, Waldorf salad, and buffalo sauce over a giant buttermilk pancake. 

Krafty is open for patio dining right now and they also have takeout and delivery options. 

Pacific Poke

Do you love fresh, colourful, (mostly) healthy dishes? Then don't miss Kelowna's first and only restaurant dedicated to poke, the traditional Hawaiian dish that will feed all your cravings. Their menu has a wide variety of options to choose from, but my favourite thing is to customize my bowl. Fill yours with fresh protein like Ahi Tuna, spicy Salmon, Crab, Shrimp (or all of them), then add things like seaweed salad, avocado nori, masoago, shoyu ramen eggs and top it with sauce. And don't worry, the staff are super helpful and will guide you in building your perfect bowl if it's your first time visiting. As an added bonus, the finished product is always Instagram-worthy, if you're into that kind of thing. ;)

Take away is currently on offer and you can order delivery with Doordash or SkipTheDishes. 

Sunny's - A Modern Diner

Diner food got a major upgrade when renowned Kelowna Chef, Rod Butters, and wine guru, Audrey Surrao—co-owners of RauDZ Creative Concepts—decided to open a special place named after their beloved golden retriever, Sunny. Recently featured on the Food Network's Big Food Bucketlist, Sunny's makes some of the best breakfast, lunch, and brunch food in town. Featured on the show, and my favourite dish at the restaurant is Chicks on a Raft, a delicious and curious combination of scrambled eggs, gypsy bacon lardons, green onion, aged and very sharp cheddar, and peanut butter loaded atop a toasted French loaf. It's a best seller and it works, trust me (and all the others that order it regularly)! 

Patio dining available on a first-come, first-serve basis, along with takeout. 

Get out to support local, safely, and enjoy these tasty downtown Kelowna eats (and others nearby)—your tastebuds will thank you!