Know Before You Go: Dining in Whistler
Updated July 13, 2021
Food, glorious food. Most of us love mealtimes and it’s one of the top reasons we travel, to savour not only a new destination but its unique culinary offerings. Whistler has an incredibly varied dining scene, inspired by its international locals and visitors alike, from award-winning executive chefs to pie masters, bakers and mixologists – we like our food as adventurous as our mountains.
You’re Not You When You’re Hungry
We’re all learning to adventure differently, and while demand for our food establishments remains high there are some issues with staffing post-pandemic (this is happening globally). This means we need to be more proactive in our dining decisions to avoid the dreaded hangry syndrome (where you get irritated because you’re hungry) and make reservations, which enable the restaurants to better prepare.
It also means we have to be patient and respect that the people serving us are doing their best to keep us safe, as well as fed and watered.
Here are some strategies to help you avoid any hunger pangs when you visit Whistler.
Strategy #1: Book Ahead
Popular spots and times are going to fill up quickly, so if there’s a certain restaurant you want to dine at or a particular occasion you want to celebrate then book ahead where you can. Some of Whistler’s restaurants take reservations online, however, you may need to email or call to make arrangements if you have a group (check the current COVID-19 protocols for group size).
If you’re in-resort and looking to make a booking then calling or going in, in-person is your best bet.
Strategy #2: Walk-Up Plan
If you decide to take the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach then we’d suggest heading out for dinner before the hunger pangs begin. Wait times for walk-ups are usually around 45 – 60 minutes and many places can’t accommodate a drink while you wait, so we’d suggest you take a pre-dinner stroll after putting your name on a list.
Take a look at some of Whistler’s public art, explore the Cultural Connector, or simply amble along the Village Stroll, appreciating the way it was designed to flow like a river. Just don’t stray too far (read: get lost) and keep an eye on the clock!
Some restaurants have extended their patio areas to accommodate extra diners, so expect to see more alfresco dining taking over the Village Stroll (and bring a sweater as it can get chilly when the sun drops behind the mountains). There might also be a few places you didn’t even know had a patio that you should consider visiting!
Strategy #3: Take-Out Picnics
Whistler has some beautiful parks, lakes, grassy nooks and hidden forests that make for great alfresco dining locations. Bring your picnic blanket, select the type of take-out food you’re after (it could be from multiple places), and enjoy a feast in the mountains (just make sure you dispose of everything in the bins provided).
The Resort Municipality’s Park Eats program runs from 11 AM to 5 PM (weather dependent) at the parks during the summer, bringing local food trucks and pop-up foodie tents to you. Read more about it in, Know Before You Go: Whistler’s Lakes and Parks.
Knowing that people are going to want to stay outside and spread out more the RMOW has added additional picnic tables and benches throughout Whistler Village, along with more recycling, composting and garbage disposal units for the take-out packaging.
Strategy #4: Creative Timing
I could tell you the time of day based on my stomach rumbles, but if you have a bit more flexibility in your schedule, consider shifting your mealtimes a bit earlier or later to avoid peak times.
This method has a double payoff as you usually get a quieter munch, and then as other people head for their eats, you get to enjoy a less busy trail, stroll, hike or bike.
Strategy #5: Order In
Your Whistler pad might have its own kitchen, a balcony with a stunning view, or a cozy living room with a crackling fireplace to take advantage of during a night in. You could gather some locally produced goodies from the grocery store, order a meal kit from one of your favourite restaurants, check out the in-room dining menu, bring back some take-out, or get something delivered.
You can order Chef-prepared meals and groceries through Whistler Cook’s Fridge Full Delivery, choosing a delivery time and portion sizes that work for you. Alternatively, Whistler Dine In will deliver whatever you fancy; with 17 different menu options and a range of cuisines, you could have a feast in the comfort of your own bed fort (they’ll also drop off liquor and groceries).
Strategy #6: Dining Tours
Another dining idea is to head out on a tour that includes food. Whistler Tasting Tours is a multi-stop, walking lunch or dinner experience where each course is served at a different location. Read more about what it’s like going on one of these tours in Tasty Tours Dinner Edition: Whistler Tasting Tours.
You can also add a personalized charcuterie board from foodie gurus, Picnic Whistler, to a distillery tour tasting adventure in Whistler’s Function Junction area (transportation included). Or, if you’re after more action with dinner, then try the Salmon Bake ATV Tour, which takes you up to the Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain.
Whistler Dining and Patio Etiquette 2.0
- Stay home if you have any symptoms, however mild, and get tested if your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19
- Practise physical distancing
- Mask wearing is recommended in indoor public spaces for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated
- Wash your hands often.
- Create a dining strategy to avoid being hangry
- Look for signage at your chosen restaurant as to what their protocols are and abide by them to make it safe for everyone
- If you have to wait then make sure you’re the required two metres (six feet) apart from others
- Pack your patience. Give people the benefit of the doubt, space and understanding.
- Running late? Call the restaurant and let them know. Not only does it mean they might be able to hold it for you, but it gives them the heads up not to rush the previous diners.
- Don’t “no show” on a reservation – enough said
- Don’t get frustrated with the hosts – they want to get you seated as much as you want to eat, but they can’t magic a table out of nowhere, so if there’s a long wait, consider going for a stroll or enjoying some retail therapy
- Never be afraid to call and cancel a reservation, the restaurant appreciates it and it could be you benefiting from someone doing just that the next time you’re looking for a table
Here’s a peek at some of our food stories to give you more insight into Whistler’s dining scene, from where to get the best ramen to vegan wraps and chicken wings:
A great resource for perusing Whistler’s food options is Whistler.com’s Doors Open Directory, which details the COVID-19 safety measures establishments have implemented, as well as any special features.
Start planning your trip to Whistler – we hope to see you on a patio soon or maybe by the lake with a picnic watching the sunset…