Dining with a view

Penticton’s Hooded Merganser Restaurant, which is perched over Okanagan Lake and serves up water and mountain views, is on OpenTable’s list of the 100 most scenic restaurants in Canada.

Lakes, mountains, vineyards, lagoons, cityscapes and fairways are all ingredients for fabulous views.

They are also the vistas that landed eight Okanagan restaurants on OpenTable’s list of the 100 most scenic in Canada.

OpenTable is the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, with more than 51,000 restaurants globally using its software to seat over 125 million diners monthly.

“Definitely, if OpenTable takes notice, it creates buzz immediately,” said Francis Dellosa, digital marketing manager at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

The resort is home to the Hooded Merganser, the upscale casual restaurant perched on the dock over Okanagan Lake, which made the list.

OpenTable doesn’t rank the 100 most scenic restaurants, but rather lists them alphabetically.

“We first saw we made the OpenTable list this morning on social media,” said Dellosa.

“We reposted it on our social media channels and people have been liking it, reposting it and using it to make reservations with friends ever since. It is so good for our brand.”

The Hooded Merganser was designed with huge windows and varying floor levels so every table and every seat has a panoramic view of lake and mountains.

Patio seating is equally as impressive with the added bonus of being outside in the sunshine.

Yes, the Hooded Merganser is named after that little duck with the thin bill and fan-shaped crest that makes its head look oversized.

The Penticton Lakeside Resort has a bit of a bird fetish. The resort’s cappuccino and wine bar is called Bufflehead after another small duck, and its pub is called The Barking Parrot Bar.

By the way, both of those restaurants also have incredible lake and mountain views.

The Okanagan was one of five regions in the country that over-performed on the list due to stunning natural locales and urban and rural concentration of restaurants.

The others are Niagara, with 16 eateries on the list, Vancouver, with 15, and Victoria and Toronto, with nine each.

The seven other Okanagan restaurants on the list are:

— Earls in Kelowna for its views of downtown, Okanagan Lake and mountains from its restaurant

— Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Winery in Oliver for its vista of vineyards and mountains

— Old Vines at Quails’ Gate Winery in West Kelowna for indoor and outdoor seating overlooking vineyard, lake and mountains

— Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Winery in Oliver for its location in a vineyard

— The Terrace at Mission Hill Family Estate in West Kelowna, an alfresco restaurant with vineyard, lake and mountain views

— Range Lounge & Grill at Predator Ridge Golf Resort near Vernon for fairway and mountain views

— Oak+Cru Social Kitchen & Wine Bar at the Delta Grand hotel in downtown Kelowna for its lagoon-side location with Waterfront Park, lake and mountain views.

“Just look at it,” said Delta Grand executive chef David Foot.

“It’s such a unique venue. In fact, if you have a boat you could pull it right up to the restaurant.

“OpenTable is such a popular social media platform. Probably three-quarters of our reservations are made through OpenTable.”

When I first received the 100 most-scenic list from OpenTable, I thought it was a repeat.

That’s because last month the reservations platform issued a list of Canada’s 100 best outdoor dining restaurants.

There’s quite a bit of Okanagan overlap with Oak+Cru, Hooded Merganser, Miradoro, Old Vines, Range, The Terrace and Sonora Room also making that list.

Both lists were generated from diner reviews on the OpenTable app between June 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019, and took into account overall diner rating, user clout, total number of reviews, regional rating and tags such as scenic views or outdoor dining.

OpenTable is part of the massive travel fare aggregator and search engine Booking Holdings, which also has Booking.com, Priceline.com, Kayak.com and RentalCars.com.