Regardless of how hard you rip (or flail) on the mountain this winter, food is the great equalizer ? we all gotta eat. Luckily, with over 100 restaurants and cafes staffed by some of the finest chefs in the country (world?), Whistler has food options for pretty much every culinary preference (we even have two hotdog joints!)
With that much variety it’s easy for really fantastic dishes to slip under the radar so this week The Insider serves up some of Whistler’s lesser-known (but most mouth-watering) meals.
Truffle Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster and Bacon.
$21 at The Firerock Lounge, Westin Whistler Resort, Whistler Village
Who cares that it sounds like a heart attack in a bowl, this ultra-rich delight reads like a list of all the best tasting things in the world. Perfect for lunch, dinner, or the late-night munchies, this cheesy bowl of awesomeness also goes great with music—the Firerock hosts Whistler’s only all-45rpm vinyl night on Thursdays and many of the best DJs in Canada often show up to kick it old school and play real records. Pair the macaroni with a bottle of red and it will feel like a house party.
Sushi Village’s SASS-Roll (left) and Mixed Poke Sashimi
$8.25 at Sushi Village, Mountain Square, Whistler Village
Whistler’s original Sushi joint generally likes to keep their menu fairly traditional Japanese (no cream cheese rolls thank you very much!) However, when they do think outside the box and invent a new roll, like this “Salmon Avocado Shrimp tempura and Scallop Roll,” people take notice. Made with wild pacific sockeye salmon, The SASS is also rolled in a yellow soy bean sheet rather than the traditional seaweed. Another local favourite is the spicy sesame Ahi Poke or Mixed Poke Sashimi.
B.E.L.T.C.H Breakfast Sandwich
$8.99 at The Southside Diner, Whistler Creekside
Another clever dish where the ingredients spell out the name, the Bacon Egg Lettuce Tomato Cheese Ham sandwich is a tried, tested and true Whistler tradition that’s been fighting back hangovers for over 20 years. It’s not that often that a sandwich earns a place in local culture but this one has done just that. A must do. (The Turkey BELTCH is a leaner, meaner version that loses the ham but packs just as much punch.)
The legendary B.E.L.T.C.H Breakfast Sandwich (left) and the unquestionably awesome Billy Miner Pie.
Prime Rib Beef Dip Sandwich
$16.95 at Brandy’s/The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, Whistler Village
Beef dip is another one of those simple classics but the chefs at Brandy’s juice it up with succulent prime rib carved fresh off the roast and served on garlic bread. This meal is essentially why humans evolved to have sharpened canine teeth. Chase your Prime Rib sandwich with a slice of Billy Miner Pie—mocha ice cream on a chocolate crust with hot fudge, caramel and almonds. If I could pitch a tent at Brandy’s and live there I totally would.
Two Tier Seafood Tower
$79 at Araxi, Whistler Village
Pretty much anything on the Araxi menu could make this list as executive chef James Walt is the master of fresh, local cuisine. This one combines 10 fresh oysters, 8 chilled prawns, one pound of mussels, seared albacore tuna, seaweed salad, Tofino smoked salmon and dungeness crab roll, all of it sourced from local BC waters. It’s not meant to be eaten by just one person (but you’re welcome to try) so take a friend and pair it with truffle fries. For dessert get on the handcrafted peanut butter ice cream bars. This is what the good life tastes like.
Caramba’s take on Calamari (left) and Araxi executive chef James Walt’s Two-Tier Seafood Tower
Calamari A La Plancha
$12.95 at Caramba Restaurante, Whistler Gazebo Square
Apparently there are giant squid living in the oceans depths that are up to 45 feet in length. One of the great things about living in a mountain resort is we pretty much never have to worry about one of those things going berserker and attacking our town. Instead, we can attack a plate of Calamari at Caramaba. The crew over there subvert expectations on this traditional Greek dish by grilling their squid with garlic and lemon rather than deep frying, then serving it with a homemade aioli rather than tzatziki. Release the Kraken!
Pancetta Frittata with Potato Tartlet
$13 at Elements Urban Tapas. Main Street, Whistler
A frittata is basically a manlier, Italian version of a quiche (Americans might call it a “skillet”) but regardless of the name it’s basically eggs and stuff baked in a cast iron pan. Where Elements excels is with the “stuff”. They offer five frittata options from veggie to seafood but the local’s fave is the crispy pancetta, red pepper, goat cheese version. Sounds good right, wait till I tell you that ‘pancetta’ is a fancy way of saying Italian bacon…and now it sounds even better. All frittatas come with Elements’ signature potato tartlet and a nice shot of fruit smoothie to cleanse the palate. Who knew breakfast could be so worldly and civilized?
This is just a start. Dig in to Whistler and find your own hidden culinary gems. Then email me and maybe your pick will end up on the next installment of “Whistler’s Best (least-known) Meals.”
Until then, eat, drink and don’t forget to chew.