Have you ever walked into a restaurant and thought, “Why haven’t I been here before?” This happened to me when I had lunch recently with a friend at Sim’s Lunchbox, a small diner located at 850 3rd Avenue that serves Korean dishes. I’d heard about Sim’s Lunchbox through word-of-mouth (they don’t have a strong online presence) but had never stopped by, maybe because of the hours of operation, maybe because it’s in a light industrial area of town and I just didn’t think about it as a lunch hour option. Either way, I was pleasantly surprised. The couple who run the restaurant were very friendly and the bibimbap I ordered was huge, tasty and affordable.
This experience made me wonder what other restaurants and eateries are scattered around Prince George in hidden locations and might not get the attention they deserve. So we asked Prince George residents to share their favourites with us then went on a mission to taste test them all.
JD’s Kitchen & Catering
My coworker Sandro joined me to try out the meat options because I don’t eat meat. We started our tour of the “hidden gems” recommended to us at JD’s Kitchen & Catering. It’s located in the light industrial area off Massey at 2290 Nicholson Street South, so it’s definitely not somewhere you’d think to go for a meal unless you work in the area. I’ve been asked before if we have takeaways in Prince George and I always thought we didn’t until I tried JD’s. They offer an assortment of pre-made dishes you can eat in a laid-back diner atmosphere or take out with you if you’re in a rush. We tried the mojos because they were recommended to us and the honey wings. The mojos were deliciously crispy and according to Sandro, the wings were tasty but the sauce they came with was phenomenal. I also grabbed some frozen samosas to go and cooked them later in my oven. They were delicious. The best part: the incredibly friendly staff who greeted us with smiles as soon as we walked in the door and checked on us cheerfully several times.
After we finished up at JD’s Kitchen, we went around the corner to the Adria Deli. This place is located at 3578 Massey Drive and is definitely hidden. The sign is so small it’s easy to miss if you don’t look carefully but we were glad it was one of the recommendations. In addition to providing a range of dry goods for purchase, Adria Deli offers lunch service from Monday to Friday. You can buy a pre-made sandwich or build your own from a huge range of meats, cheeses and fresh veggies. Sandro got a sandwich that “blew his mind.” He said he’s definitely going to be a repeat customer. I tried the broccoli soup, which I also really enjoyed. If you’re not in the mood for sandwiches or soup, you can try one of their lunch specials that are posted to their Facebook page every morning, including cabbage rolls made in-house and served with perogies every Thursday.
Good Chef replaced a Chinese restaurant that used to be located at 4299 1st Avenue off Tabor. I had no idea there was a new restaurant at this location, which is hidden around the corner of the Tabor plaza, so I was excited to check it out. The new owners have fully renovated the space and offer a mix of Chinese and Japanese dishes. They also serve bubble tea and might be one of the only places in Prince George that offers dim sum. If there are others, we’d love to hear about them! I tried the tempura prawn roll and smashed red bean in sweet potato buns. The roll was very fresh and the buns were tasty. Sandro took a break from eating and had a mango bubble tea, which was sweet but good.
We both heard of Col Juicery but didn’t realize they serve food in addition to their cold-pressed juices so we made the trek to their permanent location in the UNBC Northern Sports Centre to check out their goods. They offer an assortment of muffins, sandwiches, and salads prepared by PlayGrounds Bistro as well as protein balls and bars and acai smoothie bowls. The first time I had an acai bowl was in Hawaii and I fell in love so I was thrilled to discover I can get them in Prince George. I tried the peanut butter chocolate bowl. It tasted like chocolate mousse and the upside is that it’s much healthier than mousse or ice cream. It was topped with bananas, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and a variety of other crunchy and delicious toppings. Rhea also let us sample a variety of their cold-pressed juices, which is always an option before you buy. If you’re looking for a healthy lunch option, Col Juicery is a must.
Ramen Ya SENDO
I’ve been to Ramen Ya SENDO before so we didn’t head out to their location at the Bon Voyage Plaza off Highway 16 West. We probably couldn’t have eaten any more food even if we wanted to! Ramen Ya used to be a sushi restaurant but now serves ramen exclusively. I had the vegetable ramen last time I was there followed by matcha ice cream and enjoyed both. If you’re looking for authentic ramen, this is the only place you’ll find it in Prince George.
Madras Maple Café
Madras Maple Café was suggested to us after we completed our tour, but luckily I can share my experience because I’ve ordered food for them through Skip the Dishes – a super dangerous app for those who haven’t discovered it yet. It allows you to order food from the comfort of your couch and have it delivered straight to your door! Back to Madras Maple Café: they’re also fairly hidden because they’re located in the same light industrial area as JD’s Kitchen and Adria Deli at 1535 Ogilvie Street. They serve Indian and western food with breakfast, lunch, and dinner offered on weekdays and lunch and dinner on the weekends. While I haven’t been to the restaurant, I can say the samosas, naan bread, and paneer butter masala were all very good and the price point is hard to beat.
What’s your favourite “hidden gem” restaurant? Is it one of the ones listed or one that wasn’t mentioned in this blog. We’d love to hear about your favourites! Share them with us on Facebook or Instagram. Want to discover more restaurants in Prince George? Read the stories in the “Food & Drink” section of our blog.