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Suggestions for Vancouver (downtown area) and Whistler

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Hello all,

My friends and I will be snowboarding in Whistler in early March and we are looking for places to eat and things to do in Whistler and Vancouver. We will be staying in downtown (with a car).

What are a must-try during our short trip in Vancouver/Whistler?

We are not looking to go to fine dining restaurants, just good food that we can't get anywhere else. And places to shop or visit would be great too.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. A couple of lunch ideas...
    Meat & Bread - try the Porchetta.
    If you get a sunny day, take a short drive to Go Fish on Granville Island.

    1. Not much of anything in Vancouver that you can't get anywhere else. You might enjoy trying Japadog for a snack though. I like the bricks-and-mortar store on Robson but there are a couple of carts too.

      Another idea would be to do an izakaya crawl. Again, not really unique to Vancouver itself, but there are a lot of them within walking distance of one another. Guu with Garlic is a fun place that might appeal to a group of snowboarders :-) -- then you could go down the hill to Zakkushi for some meat on sticks (veggies too if you have any vegheads in the crew). Fun beverages to be had at Guu too...

      1. Where are you from?

        5 Replies
        1. re: vandan

          thanks for the suggestions!

          I'm from California.

          1. re: mpower310

            I could happily send you a novel if you want, I have a document I send to all my out-of-country friends when they're coming for a visit.... reallly long to post though, I could email you?

            1. re: meghany

              We want the novel! Post it meghany, you know you want to :-).

              1. re: grayelf

                Oh ok! Tweaked for appropriateness... though I do have to agree with greyelf, there's not really much you can't get elsewhere, esp. coming from California.

                Here goes:

                While considered kitchy by some in Vancouver, I would suggest a few hours at Granville Island Market.... good place to wander, lots to see and eat, lots of local vendors selling homemade art and jewellery.

                Shopping? Depends what you are looking for. Robson Street has lots of the big stores, as does Pacific Centre, but I would suggest wandering through Gastown and Yaletown.... lots of unique boutique-type shops, many carrying local goods and some really cool stuff.

                As for Whistler, to be honest, the really outstanding/unique places are mostly the expensive ones, but there's still lots of good eats to be found.

                For sushi - Nagomi Sushi (I prefer this to Sushi Village which is generally the go-to in Whistler but way overpriced IMO)

                There's also a fantastic tapas bar called Elements in the upper village, but it's a small space, so it depends on the size of your group (they don't take resos as far as I know).

                Dubh Linn Gate and Garibaldi Lift Co. (both at the base of Blackcomb) are good spots for people-watching and apres... pub food, don't expect to be wowed, but good drinks and atmosphere.

                Creekbread has great wood-oven pizza… thin crust, organic ingredients (they have a vegan pizza too!) and delicious salads all made with local product.

                For brunch/lunch, GO to Ciao-Thyme Bistro (Blackcomb Way, near the Chateau) and go early to get your hands on their delicious cinnamon buns.

                or

                Wildflower at the Chateau... well known for its breakfast buffet as well as a great bfast/brunch menu.

                There's a few places within a stone's throw of each other in the village, Citta's, the Amsterdam and La Bocca, which are again all great for people-watching and patio dining... decent food too but atmosphere rules.

                If you're traversing Whistler (as opposed to Blackcomb) you must end your day at Dusty's (Creekside) – more great people-watching and people-meeting, great drinks and good grub (and yes, atmosphere).

                Oh and if you're going with someone you want to impress, dinner at Bearfoot Bistro complete with some sabered champagne should do the trick. NOT cheap but if you wanted to do one nice dinner out, this is the place to do it.

                Aura at Nita Lake Lodge is one of the newer places in Whistler and is fantastic, great local ingredients and well-priced for what you get.

                Gone Bakery in the Village Square has great scratch-made soups and sandwiches for a quick and healthy lunch.

                Sidecut at the Four Seasons is the place to go for steak (skip Hys and The Keg).
                21 Steps is a great bistro in the main village and they often offer a really good prix fixe menu.

                Southside Diner (across from the Husky station at Creekside) is an awesome little diner that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great comfort food.

                Three Below (in the main village, same building as the movie theatre) calls themselves a sports bar but they have a big menu that would appeal to most palates.

                1. re: meghany

                  Meghany, thanks for putting that together--it's hard to find Whistler recommendations. We go a few times a year and I generally find the dining scene so disappointing (I completely agree that the best and more interesting places are $$$$), considering how close Vancouver is. You've given me a few new ones to try.

        2. Disclaimer: I spend most weekends in Whistler... and sorry for the novel.

          4 Replies
          1. re: meghany

            No thank you meghany for the Whistler recs. Gonna be there in a couple weeks and needed an update on what's good there these days. It's been 3 years since my last visit.

            1. re: bdachow

              Sorry I didn't make that clear - that IS up to date.

              1. re: meghany

                Yeah, it's great to have up to date Whistler reccs here. It's one area that seems to get neglected.

                1. re: grayelf

                  Yeah any Whistler recomendations have to be up to date, considering the ridiculous turnover rate up there. It's too bad too, because there have been some good places shuttered up there. It seems all that has longevity are the chains (Earls, Spag (WTF?!), the Keg), the places people go for "atmosphere" and drinks, not quality food (Amsterdam, Cittas, La Bocca, Dubh Linn) and the super high end places that wealthy tourists keep in business (Araxi, Bearfoot, Umberto's).

                  It's hard to keep reliable staff, which I think is a huge contributing factor.

          2. For brunch in Whistler Wildwood at the tennis club is always a favorite, as is Elements but be prepared to wait due to the small space.

            In Vancouver Nicli Antica pizza is great and won't break the bank. Izakaya is a great option too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: vancityfoody

              thanks for all the suggestions! Much appreciated

              1. re: mpower310

                Alta bistro in whistler is phenomenal. Prix fix bistro fare at $29 and $39 for 3 courses and some of the best food I've had anywhere. Smallish place with smaller plates but oh so good. It is always full so reservations essential. If you go there you will see why it is always full. How they can do such great food at this price point in whistler I have no idea.