It is easy to expect meat-heavy grill rooms and Alpine-style chalet dining places one after another in any mountain resort, but after a few nights in the same place, it can easily get uninspiring. Whistler knows how to do it right, and it is truly wonderful to see so much variety being served in the finest dining establishments in the buzzing mountain village. First, it’s worth noting that the Pacific Northwest is the place for some of the best seafood on the continent, and Whistler restaurants proudly display that on their varied menus. On the other hand, there’s plenty to choose from on land and the thriving Canadian wilderness in British Columbia is great for sourcing local produce and the chefs know it. From Spanish-inspired dishes to French and Italian culinary excellence, everything is beautifully rounded up with a true North American flair.
In its name, Bar Oso pays tribute to both its location as well as the country whose cuisine has inspired the concept. “Oso” means “bear” in Spanish and it is a true homage to the surrounding British Columbian wildlife, while the whole concept behind Bar Oso is deeply rooted in Spanish culinary heritage. Offering remarkable small plates, tapas, and house-cured charcuterie, it is the perfect place to meet with friends after a day on the slopes to swap exciting stories. Traditional Spanish flavors are served through the likes of Iberico ham, Manchego cheese, and Padron peppers. Yet to see what the chefs at Bar Oso do with fish and stunning cuts of meat – now that’s something. Slow-cooked lamb meatballs are full of flavor and gorgeous texture, but as beautiful as they are, it is difficult to beat the Wagyu beef short ribs. Wild scollop crudo with capers as well as the selection of caviar are definitely a must-try.
Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Araxi is a Whistler legend of sorts when it comes to fine dining. Its long-held internationally-renowned reputation really speaks for itself, so don’t hesitate to make a reservation. Araxi, headed by an impressive partnership of executive chefs James Walt and Nigel Finley, celebrates the farm-to-table approach offering only the finest, freshest locally-sourced ingredients in every dish. Firstly, it’s impossible to truly enjoy a stay anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, in British Columbia in particular, without taking advantage of the sensational seafood offering. And when in Whistler, Araxi is the place to do that. Their oyster bar boasts a remarkable selection of various oysters from Cortes Island, Deep Bay, Read Island, Denman Island among others. Locally-caught wild sockeye salmon and Nova Scotia lobster are some of the finest you will find on the Pacific coast. It’s not all seafood, of course, and the land selection is equally celebration-worthy – the grilled lamb sirloin is flavored with fresh rosemary while the pepper-crusted venison loin is served with Japanese tempura vegetables. The space itself is the epitome of timeless sophistication and it’s a fine dining experience that you will want to revisit time and again.
Mountain-style dining reimagined – Il Caminetto prides itself on fusing the finest traditions of Italian cooking and local accents with an artisan flair. At the very core is the farm-to-table approach. Gorgeous antipasti dishes are bursting with flavors – burrata served with grilled pear and aged balsamic reduction, chestnut and wild porcini mushroom soup to name a few. Freshness is everything in Italian cuisine and the same standard is applied here. Don’t expect batches of pre-made pasta only freshened up before serving – at Il Caminetto each and every pasta style is made in-house daily. Therefore, topped off with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, it’s a flavor unlike any other.
Red Door Bistro
While the name “bistro” can sometimes be a little bit like playing the Russian roulette, used by some of the best and some of the worst restaurants out there, we’re glad to admit that Red Door Bistro in Whistler belongs to some of the best restaurants with bistro in their name. The high-end French dining establishment describes itself as French at heart with a West Coast soul. The interior is very Whistler – cozy, exuding mountain lodge warmth, and inspiring long evenings with endless conversations, wine, and food. Red Door Bistro is the best place in Whistler for fine cuts of meat – 11oz Quebec veal, wild boar, hanger steak, lamb striploin among others. The menu is short and concise, filled with show-stopping pieces from appetizers through to mains and desserts.
The Grill Room
The Grill Room is Fairmont Chateau’s in-house AAA/CAA Four Diamond rated restaurant renowned for its steak and seafood offer. The atmosphere is unmatched for hotel dining in Whistler – the large open fireplace and warm wooden elements are as inviting as any. The main highlights on the menu are seasonal regional dishes – prime Canadian beef, sustainably-sourced seafood, and organic, locally-grown produce – paired of course with the finest wines. With impeccable service and a truly refined offer, The Grill Room is ideal for romantic dinners.