AOL Travel
Print

Best Whistler Restaurants

AOL PICK from our Editors
When progressive BC chefs began creating the regional cuisine known as “West Coast” in the 1990s, Whistler restaurateurs quickly adopted the philosophy, emphasizing Western Canada ingredients, mixing in the European and Asian influences endemic to British Columbia. Thus, for example, the signature bouillabaisse at La Rúa Restaurante is made with Dungeness crab, BC white fish and locally raised shellfish. The dozen or so other Whistler fine-dining standouts also use the West Coast approach; some, such as Bearfoot Bistro and Araxi, are internationally known. Luckily, Whistler still has a half-dozen low-key, budget eateries at which economy travelers can make up for the paucity of shoestring lodgings.
Bearfoot Bistro

Bearfoot Bistro

Neighborhood: Whistler Village Price: Expensive
This high-style hearty food shrine in the Listel Hotel Whistler has long been famed as a meat-and-game mecca—a Whistler chophouse at which the entrée stars are Kobe beef (the real stuff, from Japan), Canadian beef and bison tenderloin, rack of lamb, foie gras and such. But Chef Melissa Craig has leavened the menu a bit with seafood, gazpachos, salads—even an heirloom tomato dessert tart. The champagne bar has built-in cooling for the serving flutes.

More Details on

Bearfoot Bistro »
La Rua Restaurante

La Rua Restaurante

Neighborhood: Upper Village Price: Expensive
No other Whistler restaurant more ably pairs Mediterranean culinary styles with West Coast ingredients and ethos. Aside from regional bouillabaisse, the approach is typified by the wild BC salmon with a fennel-seed horseradish crust and roasted Pemberton potatoes, grown just a few miles away. We’re fond of the bison carpaccio, which reflects the new Canadian Alberta buffalo craze—it’s superb. La Rua will be closed for renovation until late November, 2010.

More Details on

La Rua Restaurante »
Rim Rock Café

Rim Rock Café

Neighborhood: Creekside Price: Expensive
The friendly, attentive service ethic is what sets this fine-dining mainstay apart; given a choice, most Whistler residents would have a celebration dinner here. The dining room and bar are always packed; reservations are essential, at least a week ahead). Chef/owner Rolf Gunther honed his customer service ethic at, among others, Europe’s incomparable Kempinski Hotel chain; it shows all the way down the hierarchy to the greeting at the reception dais. Though nothing especially unusual is on the menu—fish and game, such as salmon and caribou, dominate—the preparations are exacting and the atmosphere is ever effervescent.

More Details on

Rim Rock Café »
Araxi

Araxi

Neighborhood: Whistler Village Price: Expensive
One of the pioneers of fine dining West Coast style in Whistler, Araxi practices a firm commitment to exceptional preparations of regional ingredients—one signature dish is the trio of B.C. seafood, with Vancouver Island octopus, spot prawns and seared red tuna, and the inventory ranges from local mushrooms to island scallops. The bright and glistening dining room has a vaguely Mediterranean air, and the restaurant’s raw bar serves up a variety of oysters, prawns and tuna. This is not a place to show up in T-shirt and flip-flops.

More Details on

Araxi »
Sushi Village

Sushi Village

Neighborhood: Whistler Village Price: Moderate
BC’s wide array of fresh seafood makes sushi a culinary mainstay, and this hugely popular restaurant is the longtime go-to choice in Whistler. It was founded in 1984 when three Vancouver restaurant workers got the skiing bug. Preparations are expert and largely uncompromising—wasabi is a key ingredient in many of the nigiri items (haoles can plead that it be left out); wild sockeye is used for salmon rolls; and ikura (delicious raw salmon roe) is on the menu. And, to prove just how multicultural BC’s culinary scene really is, the restaurant is also famous for sake margaritas. See if you can find that in Tokyo or Acapulco.

More Details on

Sushi Village »
Dusty's Bar & Barbecue

Dusty's Bar & Barbecue

Neighborhood: Creekside Price: Moderate
One of the last iconic holdouts of early Whistler is actually a replica—this eatery at the Creekside base was rebuilt and reopened in 2000 under the ownership of Intrawest, the ski resort operator. It’s a decades-old Whistler tradition to head down the Peak to Creek (the longest intermediate run in North America) in late morning for lunch at Dusty’s. The burgers and salads are good, and the potato wedges are a Whistler tradition perfectly suitable for replenishing lost carbs. But they don’t know how to do barbecue in Canada, so don’t try it here.

More Details on

Dusty's Bar & Barbecue »
Southside Diner

Southside Diner

Neighborhood: Creekside Price: Budget
Though it’s open into the evening, this Whistler mainstay is mostly, and justly, famed for huge breakfast platters (curmudgeons say overloaded grease buckets) such as the “Southside Slam,” two eggs, two pancakes, bacon or ham; or the huevos rancheros, an exception to the rule that one ought not have Mexican food in Canada. Actually a new incarnation of a legendary, long-gone Creekside institution, this is the quintessential skiers breakfast in Whistler. Eat deep, ski hard.

More Details on

Southside Diner  
Gone Bakery & Soup Co.

Gone Bakery & Soup Co.

Neighborhood: Whistler Village Price: Budget
House-baked bread is the key to the superior sandwiches here—whole wheat turkey and avocado, for instance—but you’ll do even better with soup of the day, made that morning, and a hunk of bread also fresh from the oven that morning. Tucked in a corner of Village Square, this is an excellent economy lunch option for a midday ski break.

More Details on

Gone Bakery & Soup Co. »
Ingrid's Village Café

Ingrid's Village Café

Neighborhood: Whistler Village Price: Budget
Ingrid’s is a small-town throwback, a compact family-style breakfast, lunch and early dinner café that would fit right in on the Canadian prairie. Nothing fancy here, just eggs and such for breakfast—or organic muesli—sandwiches, soups and meal platters, such as chicken schnitzel. The most expensive item is $7.50, and the service is invariably amiable.

More Details on

Ingrid's Village Café »
Splitz Grill

Splitz Grill

Neighborhood: Whistler Village Price: Budget
Burgers in Canada are often dubious items, diluted with oatmeal and other suspicious substances. Not here: This is a cafeteria line burger bar, where guests choose their meat (including Salt Spring Island lamb and teriyaki salmon), bun, toppings and sides as they move down the line. If you beg and plead they may even ignore Canadian “law” and not over-cook your burger. Skip the hot dogs, though. Overhead, video screens run endless loops of boarders flying off Whistler/Blackcomb cliffs. Some of the diners actually watch.

More Details on

Splitz Grill  
See All Whistler Restaurants »
ADVERTISEMENT