Best Restaurants in Whistler | 2019 Edition
You came to Whistler thinking it’s just a ski town…..Actually, it offers so much more than just the slopes. It’s proximity to fertile farmland and a steady stream of visitors and locals with cash to spend means that it long been a respected foodie destination. The best restaurants in Whistler now compete with North America’s finest. To be a foodie in Whistler is an excellent place to be. Whether your budget is large or whether it is small, here are Whistler’s restaurants worth noting.
What Makes Whistler’s Restaurants So Great?
Just 25 minutes north of Whistler in the Pemberton Valley lies fertile farmland which produces an abundance of organic produce, some of which ends up in the hands of Whistler’s finest chefs.
For the serious foodie, hit up Pemberton for a Day to get the dirt on where all this good product comes from!
Furthermore, we can’t beat around the bush: there is a lot of money that passes through Whistler each year. Visitors come from across the world to play in this mountain town, and some come prepared to spend big and live large. This has created opportunities for local entrepreneurs and creatives to establish successful and innovate food and drink spots. It’s a virtuous loop that only goes to make the life of a foodie in Whistler even better and better.
While we here at Forged Axe Throwing don’t always live as big as we want (But we know how to have a luxurious time in whistler too), we have been lucky enough to get a taste of the best restaurants in Whistler.
According to our fine tastes, here are our best bets for foodies visiting Whistler.
Forged Axe Throwing Top Picks for Cocktails
This venue offers Spanish-influenced small plates, tapas, and house-made charcuterie. Hand-crafted cocktails and a carefully curated wine list make a seat at the long, stone bar a prime place to be. If you’re a fan of gin, Bar Oso is a place to go. They pride themselves with an original list of gin and tonics, a favourite drink in Spain. A Whistler restaurant with a touch of Spanish flare.
This place is a firmly establish foodie destination in Whistler, but it’s not just with food that it excels. Alta Bistro offers an outstanding cocktail menu with seasonal and changing ingredients and inspirations. Ingredients are local, and Alta Bistro continues to focus on conducting a sustainable hospitality practice.
Ketel One Ice Room at Bearfoot Bistro
Talk about opulence… here at Bearfoot Bistro, you can find a Ketel One sponsored freezer room within which the walls of ice have had niches carved into them. Inside these niches you can find, no surprise, over 40 bottles of different premium vodkas. Don’t feel the decadence yet? You enter this space, which is -25 ‘C, with a borrowed Canada Goose jacket. That should help. The idea behind this space, which is the coldest vodka tasting room in the world, is that the coolness allows you to actually taste the unique vodka flavours as the alcohol ‘heat’ is tampered down. Vodka never tasted so delicious.
Forged Axe Throwing’s Top Picks Five-Star Food
Aura restaurant has got to be in one of the most beautiful spots in Whistler. Nestled next to the less frequently explored Nita Lake, this restaurant is defined by its approach to casual and local cuisine. While parking is free; free shuttle buses can take you from Whistler Village to Nita Lake Lodge. If you’re intrigued by the processes involved in producing fine dishes you’re in luck: Aura has an open concept kitchen so you can ‘eavesdrop’ on the kitchen’s inner workings.
Basalt Wine + Salumeria
Basalt Wine + Salumeria offers artisanal food, accompanied by local and international wine. We love this Whistler restaurant for many reasons. The outdoor patio is a draw for people watchers and those wanting to be seen in the Village. In winter it continues to ooze coziness as Basalt provides heated lamps and blankets. The menus are seasonally inspired and celebrate West Coast cuisine’s best offerings. Basalt focuses on buying organically grown local produce.
Ask a local for a recommendation for the best restaurant in Whistler, and you’ll probably hear the name Araxi come up multiple times. This restaurant was one of the earliest pioneers of authentic farm-to-table dining, so as a diner you can be confident that you are receiving local ingredients that support local farmers. If you are a fan of seafood Araxi is a reliable option. Between 3 to 5 pm freshly shucked oysters are available in Araxi’s very own oyster bar. Plus, the menu features a lot of fresh seafood.
Mentioned earlier for its vodka tasting ice room, Bearfoot Bistro has other fantastic qualities that make it tempting for a foodie in Whistler and make it one of the best restaurants in Whistler. If you’re feeling… subtle… why not try out the champagne sabering which they offer? The menu choices change daily depending on which local ingredients are available. Sometimes you might get to try a rack of wild caribou, or another time pepper-crusted elk carpaccio, or why not some steamed Dungeness crab whilst you’re at it?! A sommelier is on hand to take the wine-pairing choice out of your hands, so you can continue eating.
Forged’s Affordable Foodie Favs
Purebread is our favourite place to indulge in breakfast. Purebread now has three locations, Whistler Village, Function Junction, and Gastown in Vancouver. All are notable because their baked goods, which are savoury, sweet, or both, are incredibly delicious yet surprisingly affordable. This makes Purebread a gem of a breakfast option for your stay in Whistler.
Sure, you can have brunch at one of the five-star restaurants found in Whistler, but you could also eat a delicious selection of goods from PureBread and all for under $10 including coffee. If you want any to go, don’t forget about their namesake, bread. They bake over 20 different loaves, from your classic baguette to a lavender rosemary bread. There are two locations in Whistler, one in the Village and one in Function Junction.
Need more breakfast inspiration?
Ingrid’s is a cute little deli-style café that you could almost walk past and not notice. In fact, many people do, so those that are found inside this delightful, affordable eatery tend to be locals or those in the know. Consider yourself in the know. Hefty sandwiches, bagels, soups, and salads, as well as plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, mean this café is a one-stop shop for the whole gang.
Lunch: La Cantina
Who doesn’t like Mexican street cuisine? Tacos start at $2.50- that’s right!- and are a delicious way to have an affordable lunch in Whistler. In our experience four tacos make a meal, so load up and experiment. If you are feeling extra, order their burrito, one of the best in Canada. Beers are available to wash down the tacos or burrito, and a good vibe exudes from this well-priced and delicious Whistler establishment.
Dinner: Rim Rock Cafe
Rim Rock is a cozy, unpretentious take on fine-dining. It has a perchance for amazing seafood and has long been a go-to for date night. Sample menus allow the indecisive diner to try a selection of items at once, be that marinated ahi tuna, grilled prawns and sea bass cooked to perfection. There is a fireplace, and it’s great for setting the mood on your next anniversary, or just your average Monday night. Make a reservation or turn up early to bag a booth or better yet a table by the fire.
Who screams for ice cream? Well, COWS makes it. Located in the village, why not indulge your sweet tooth with some homemade ice cream that follows an old family recipe all the way from Prince Edward Island. We know, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ice cream is PEI. 32 varieties are out at all times, so go and take a swing at the traditional ‘Let me sample one of each’ ice cream shop inevitability. Even more impressive- their waffle cones are made in-house. Go for it, treat yourself.
There Are Too Many Options – How to Choose?
You want a real foodie Whistler experience but the variety and number of options is overwhelming? Well, you can get a professional to organize your food and drink tour for you.
With expertise and experience, Whistler Tasting Tours guides groups around the best places to eat and to drink in Whistler.
There are a number of tours to choose from. The Finer Things dinner tour features four delicious courses from four different award-winning restaurants potentially including Bearfoot Bistro, Hy’s Steakhouse and Quattro.
Does your group have a sweet tooth? How about the Dessert Tour? In this tour, guests sample innovative and delicious desserts and cocktails created in Whistler. Upon request, you can even ask for the Tour guide to get your group VIP entry to a local nightclub once your wined and dined out!
Are You Hungry Yet?
Whistler is a foodie’s best friend. Sweet, savoury, boozy or bougie there are plenty of options waiting in Whistler’s restaurants. From the best restaurants in Whistler to the most affordable, you’ll have a tasty time in this mountain town. Whether to complement a bachelorette party or just a family trip to Whistler, it’s impossible to stay away from the gastronomical delights we have in Whistler.