The culinary scene in British Columbia is a hidden North American secret, thanks to fish so fresh the salt water practically drips off it, vibrant produce from the farms to the east and a creative culture that mixes a variety of Canadian, U.S., French and Asian influences. While Vancouver gets most of the kudos due to its sheer size advantage, Whistler has packed its small village with amazing culinary options, ranging from the devilish cheese curd soaked poutine dishes served from a cart to decadent fish entrees at five-star restaurants. Here are three ways to dine at Whistler Blackcomb, depending on how much you want to empty your wallet out after a day on the mountain.
In Your Ski Boots
Zogs Dogs (4340 Sundial Crescent RR, 604-938-6644)
There’s a saying in Canada that you can’t leave the country as a visitor without noshing on poutine. Haven’t heard that before? It might have been invented for the purposes of this story, but the message should be taken with extreme seriousness. Poutine is a uniquely French-Canadian, gut-busting snack (that’s good in all parts of Canada) that mixes french fries, cheese curd and gravy on one plate. It’s as good as it is unhealthy. Zogs, a hot dog cart located right next to Blackcomb’s gondola, is the best place to grab an order of poutine in town. Order it with a side of hot dog piled with fried onions.
In Your Jeans and a T-shirt
Alta Bistro (104-4319 Main St., 604-932-2582)
The province of British Columbia has one of the most impressive hand-crafted cocktails scenes in North America. Starting with the famous Gastown haunts in Vancouver, this attention to gorgeous drinks in Western Canada extends to Alta Bistro, one of Whistler’s newest restaurants. Fresh fruits and local ingredients are pressed to order into the glass. It’s a style that carries over (or is it led by?) the kitchen run by Executive Chef Nick Cassettari. The flavors challenge diners with a bistro menu mixing the organic (and even biodynamic) flavors of British Columbia. Sounds expensive? Pft. A three-course prix fixe menu will set you back a mere $19 in local currency.
Once-in-a-Ski Trip Dining Experience
Araxi (4222 Village Square, 604-932-4540)
A fixture in the heart of Village Square since 1981, Araxi has been a leader in the farm-to-table movement since before it was cool. Farmers grow specifically for executive chef James Walt. The regional cuisine mirrors the fresh seafood inspired menus that dot top restaurants in Seattle and Portland. Yes, seafood is king in this mountainous region affected by its proximity to the coast. The multi-tiered seafood tower is the call if you want to explore a variety of Pacific ocean flavors; or look to showstoppers such as the artic char and scallops. Araxi received U.S. fame as the centerpiece of Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen in 2009; the winner getting to work alongside Walt as head chef for a year.