It’s Friday, it’s been a mighty long winter and you’ve got a hankerin’ for a cheeseburger.  I can help you with one of these issues.  Now, you might take a look at a map and say something like “c’mon here, Toad, you’re up in the Pacific Northwest region there, this is a mighty long drive just for a cheeseburger”.  You’d be right.  But, it would be worth it, trust me.

The Cow Cafe - Lake Cowichan, BC, Canada

The Cow Cafe – Lake Cowichan, BC, Canada

Mrs. Toad and I love food.  And we love to run around this island of ours looking for the best places to eat.  When we find a special place like the Cow Cafe here, it becomes the best kept secret we love to share with everyone.

Lake Cowichan is one of our favorite places to explore.  In the summer, the entire lake almost becomes its own country as the visitors and folks on vacation flock to it to enjoy the lovely weather and abundant water sports.  In the winter, it’s a quiet little town that provides the best place to hideaway for the day.  The lake itself is huge; I believe it’s one of the biggest lakes on the whole island here.  It is peppered with little towns, communities and camp-grounds all around the shore helping to create a distinct island feel.

The Cow Cafe - Lake Cowichan, BC, Canada

The Cow Cafe – Lake Cowichan, BC, Canada

Inside the restaurant you will find the loveliest ambiance, top-notch service and some of the best food to be found anywhere.  With the busy lives we seem to lead, one of the highlights of any weekend is to hit the open road looking for photography opportunities, and of course this is almost always tempered with a stop at the Cow Cafe for lunch.

I am not entirely sure what the secret is to the food they make here, at times I am left wondering if magic isn’t sometimes used.  I am your consummate cheeseburger hound, and rarely heap praise on a specific burger unless it really warrants it.  The burgers at the Cow Cafe definitely warrant it.  Each one is carefully grilled and seasoned, and is accompanied by a basket of the most yummy fries you’ve ever set your sights on.  Mrs. Toad loves the veggie wrap, and she usually gets the basket of fries as well.  Every time we visit, we pretend to pour over the menu but really this tends to be a fruitless exercise that results in ordering “the usual”.

The Cow Cafe - Lake Cowichan, BC, Canada

The Cow Cafe – Lake Cowichan, BC, Canada

So now that we’ve got your mouth-watering and you are working on a plan to pop on up for a nice lunch or dinner, we’d also like to mention that we’d be delighted to join you!  We need very little coaxing or reasoning to find a good excuse to head over for some food and frivolity.  As a matter of fact, I seem to have worked up quite the appetite just writing this blog post…  I think it’s cheeseburger time!

Thanks for your visit today, my friends, we really appreciate it.  We love to hear from all our visitors, so please don’t hesitate to leave us any comments you may have!  And on that note, please have a great weekend!!

Cow Cafe & Cookhouse Lake Cowichan on Urbanspoon



  1. avatar Dave DiCello says:

    Now those just sound delicious my friend! Wonderful captures as well!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it my friend! You just gotta pop around for a visit, we’ll take you out for the best lunch you’ve ever eaten. Thanks for your kind visit and support, it really means a lot.

  2. avatar Rick Louie says:

    I love a good burger. This place sounds awesome! Have a great weekend, Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much Rick, both for your visit and for your awesome comments here! Best wishes to you for your weekend, too!

  3. Looks like a great place to eat old friend. We don’t tend to get too many places like that in London, mainly BK or McD but we do have Gourmet Burger Kitchen which is pretty special.
    However you have reminded me of a fabulous place out in the West Country and a great tale to accompany, must pop down and photograph it when I get a chance.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Most excellent, my fine friend! Shooting these types of locations is a lot of fun… You come away with some great photography and also have the benefit of a great lunch!!

  4. avatar LensScaper says:

    I could do with one of them! But a bit far for a day trip. We stopped off in Nanaimo for lunch when we drove the Island north to South in a day in about ’95. I’m sitting here looking at a fabulous Eagle wood carving – a really nice piece of indigenous Art we bought in Nanaimo on our way through. Sadly we missed out the lake. Nice write up – I guess there are now a bunch of photographers longing for one of those cheeseburgers.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      How awesome is is, Andy!???! Love your comments here, my good friend, it’s hard for me to imagine that you’ve actually been less than 50 km’s from where I am right now typing this response to you! We really appreciate your visit and most wonderful comments, more than we can properly say Andy! Thank you!!

  5. avatar Rob says:

    Nothing like a good burger and a beer. Wish I were there to share.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We wish you were here, too, Rob! Thanks so much for your kind visit and comments, my friend, we really do appreciate it!

  6. avatar Fred Norris says:

    What a great little shop,who doesn’t love a tankard of ale ,some crisps,and hearty hamburger!Nicely presented Toad

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so kindly there, Fred, I’ve made sure that they have a glass of the finest beer cold on tap, and hot burgers, just in case you pop by for a visit my friend! Thanks very much, we really appreciate all your support here, my friend!

  7. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Terrific images Toad. I love the name “Cow Cafe”, it says it all. I’m a big time foodie and always looking for the next best burger joint.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks for your compliments and kindness Len, it really means more than we can properly express my friend! You, sir, are the best of the best!!

  8. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Mmmm…now you’ve made me hungry. What an awesome place and you’ve captured it beautifully. This really looks like a restaurent you might find down in Arizona.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks funny, that’s pretty much what I thought too! Interesting, eh? Thanks so much for your wonderful visit and comments here Edith, we really do appreciate it so much!

  9. avatar Jim Nix says:

    I love the mountains peeking out above that first shot Toad, nice work as usual!

  10. avatar A.Barlow says:

    So the “cow” cafe on lake “cow”ichan cooks the best “cow” ye say? I’m tell ya, one day I’m gunna make to that little island of yours and see this for myself!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You sir, have a standing and never-ending invitation!! :) Thanks so very much for your awesome comments here today, Aaron, we appreciate it more than we can properly express!

  11. Man I want a burger!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Get on up here, my fine friend, I will BUY you one! At the best burger place in the world!! :) Thanks so much for your visit, Mark, it’s always such a highlight for us when you pop by!! Much appreciated, kind sir!

  12. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    Toad, can you imagine how much I miss eating a good American Burger??!! I have been “stuck” here in Italy for almost 3 years and will set foot back in the States in Aug… I cannot wait to get my hands on one. I might have to make a special trip up there to visit this joint! Lovely work my friend!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I’d go crazy, Adam, cheeseburgers are one of my favorite things in life next to the lovely Mrs. Toad! Thanks so much for your visit my friend, it’s always much appreciated!

  13. Looks like a really cool place. This is the second blog post I’ve read about burgers today. I think someone’s trying to send me a message.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      The message is subliminal, Steven. Basically, it’s trying to tell you to come visit your Canadian friends who would love to take you to the best burger place in the world for a great cheeseburger! LOL. Thanks so much for your most kind visit and comments here my friend, much appreciated!

  14. I concur: good food with nice service in there. As always nice photography, too.

  15. Thank you for the great blog!!! We are very proud of our food!!! All is Homemade with love and an extreme passion for fresh ingredients. Our southwestern theme really sets us apart from your typical westcoast restaurant setting, and so far its been a hit. Recently, we have expanded (across the street) owning an Italian Bistro and serving up locally inspired Italian cuisine. Chef David Sharrows Spagettinni and Venison Meatballs are to die for!!! Pop by any fri night in march(the cow) for Prime Rib and a complimentary tasting Bar featuring Canapes from “Aroma Neighbourhood Italian Bistro”.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Hi Matt! Pleased to meet you here, my friend, thank you for taking the time to pop by and leave us your WONDERFUL comments!! We really appreciate it! As you can probably tell from our blog post here your restaurant is one of our very favorite ones. :) Now that we know you guys are running the Italian place across the street, that just adds to our conundrum! Do we go left or right when we come to Lake Cowichan now?? Decisions, decisions!! We will be seeing you all soon, I’ve got a real hankerin’ for one of your burgers and all I need to do now is to talk the beautiful Mrs. Toad into accompanying me! Shouldn’t be too hard at all….

  16. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Great images and post, Toad. Now even though I’ve recently had dinner, I’m getting hungry again after reading this. LOL

    Awesome, man.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so very much Jimi! Sorry to get your cheeseburger passions all flamed up there, my friend! :) We really appreciate your visit, my friend, thanks so much!

  17. Sounds like a fine restaurant Toad! One of these days I’ll make it up that way and I’m gonna want one of those cheeseburgers! Great photos and writeup as usual my friend!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Well, get on up here, my friend! We’ll take you! :) Thanks so much for your kind visit and wonderful comments, Michael, it’s always a highlight for us!

  18. avatar Mike Crosa says:

    Toad, You talk big but I was hoping to see a photo of what you were talking about. Words are great but a picture of a big cheeseburger and fries is worth a thousand words. By the way nice shots of the exterior. It sounds like you live in a beautiful spot on this world.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I’ve got an even better idea Mike! Pop on up and we’ll take you out for a cheeseburger so can see for yourself in 3D! :) Thanks ever so kindly for your visit and for taking the time to leave these wonderful comments, we sure do appreciate it!

  19. avatar Matt Heyne says:

    Hey toad. Matt here from the cow cafe. Hey, we opened a new location in cowichan bay in July and things are going great. I would love to be able to share your blog and photos with everyone there. Any chance I could frame them for a wall in our entry way?

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      We love the Cow Cafe, it’s one of our favorite spots! As a matter of fact when we saw you had opened up the location at Cowichan Bay we immediately made a lunch date with some friends and popped up for a visit. It was wonderful! Food was great, service was top notch and the view is without peer.

      It would be a huge honor and delight for us to do this with you Matt! I will be sending you an email straight away here to try and make arrangement. Thanks so much for thinking of us! :)

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