Images Courtesy of the Restaurants and Getty Images
From the endless span of snowy slopes to the amazing apres-ski scene, the town of Whistler, British Columbia, has a lot to love. Its most famous attraction is Whistler Blackcomb, the largest ski resort in North America. Anchored by two massive mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, the operation boasts 8,000 acres of terrain, over 200 marked runs and bragging rights for hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics (with a bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics already in the works).
But although the tremendous ski conditions are an obvious draw for skiers and snowboarders during the winter months, it’s the thriving culinary scene that makes the town of Whistler a year-round destination. The resort town even hosts an annual celebration of food and drink called Cornucopia each fall.
Restaurants and watering holes are clustered close to the base of the ski hills, offering everything from casual pub fare to elevated cuisine—all within walking distance of one another. To help you wine and dine your way through Whistler, we’ve compiled a list of notable spots in town.
Image Courtesy of Bearfoot Bistro
Bearfoot Bistro has been a ski town staple for nearly 30 years. It’s for good reason: Executive Chef Melissa Craig has become one of Canada’s top chefs, recognized as Canada’s Gold Medal Plates Culinary Champion in 2008.
The restaurant offers unique, beyond-the-table dining experiences, from sabering a bottle in an underground wine cellar that houses over 15,000 bottles, to sipping on a flight of sub-zero in the ice encased, Ketel One-branded ice room, which claims to be the world’s coldest tasting room. Once seated, there’s the option to start your meal with fresh oysters, shucked at your table.
Afterward, watch on as Craig and her team cook up delectable dishes like the Vancouver Island black cod served with ricotta cavatelli, bottarga, salsify, Romanesco and leeks. End with a sweet treat created by Pastry Chef Scott Penfold, like the nitro ice cream, created tableside using billowing clouds of liquid nitrogen. Add a sommelier-selected wine pairing, or pick a bottle from the extensive cellar.
Image Courtesy of SIDECUT Steakhouse
SIDECUT, located inside the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, was named both North America’s best hotel restaurant and Canada’s best hotel restaurant by the World Culinary Awards in 2022, so make reservations early.
The “Spirit of the Mountains” cocktail menu features multi-sensory cocktails inspired by the alpine regions of the world. Consider the Volcan De Fuego, a rum-based spin on the Old Fashioned that comes served in a glass box, which opens with an enticing cloud of smoke. The restaurant also offers a global wine list, including a selection of bottles that use the Coravin wine preservation system, which allows wine to be poured without removing the cork.
Equally enticing are the dishes served up by Executive Chef Sajish Kumar, who transferred from Four Seasons Doha (Qatar) to the Whistler property four years ago. Kumar’s meat-forward menu features hand-cut steaks ranging from a Black Label flat iron to a Japanese A5 Satsuma Wagyu. If seafood is more your speed, miso cod or spot prawns served with Humboldt squid paella are on offer. Vegetarians are invited to the table, too, with delicious dishes like wild mushroom risotto and house-made green pea gnocchi.
You’ll find authentic Italian dishes made with local ingredients and an extensive selection of global wines (including plenty of regional Italian bottlings ) at Il Caminetto. The restaurant took the gold medal at the Wine Program Excellence Awards and received the “Best of” Award of Excellence at the Vancouver International Wine Festival in 2019 for its curated wine selection.
Pastas and breads are made in-house, and some offerings—like the veal cheek ragu and ricotta gnocchi topped with cremini mushrooms, kale gremolata and pangrattato—are made using Italian-imported oils and cheeses. Recent renovations to the space have created an upscale ambiance, with white tablecloths and minimalist decor swathed in the warm glow of a fireplace—symbolic of the restaurant’s name, which translates to “fireplace.”
Image Courtesy of Wild Blue Restaurant
Wild Blue Restaurant and Bar
When SIDECUT’s Kumar is not in the kitchen, he enjoys checking out Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar, which opened its doors in August of 2022. “The cocktails and drinks are great,” he shares. “I love the vibrant atmosphere and the culinary team offers a fresh and elevated take on Pacific Northwest cuisine.”
Expect dishes like bluefin tuna tataki served with daikon, shiso and lemon dressing, plus sides like the Yukon Gold pomme purée and seared scallops. In the drinks department, keep an eye out for classics like the Vesper martini, which James Bond fans will recognize as 007’s preferred take on the classic martini. Oenophiles will appreciate the wine options, too, with Wine Director Chris Edens prepared to provide picks from over 350 selections of wine in stock.