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Reasonabley Priced Food in Whistler?

Heading to Whistler for my first time in mid February for a week of skiing. Unfortunately, my accommodations don't include any cooking facilities, so I'm at the mercy of the local restos for my meals (breakfast is included at my hotel, so that's one meal I don't have to worry about!). I'm looking for rec's for lower priced places that will provide decent, interesting and hearty fare to keep me going through the week. Typically, when choosing a resto here at home (Toronto) I lean towards the "ethnic" places: Korean, Thai, Middle Eastern, or cheap 'n cheerful pubs or mom 'n pop places. Not interested in 4 or 5 star dining. Just want good food that won't break the bank!

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  1. I've never been but apparently El Furniture is good, especially given that all menu items are $4.95. The one time I did try to go there, there was a huge lineup so we went elsewhere.

    Nagomi has really good Sushi and it's moderately priced. It's in Le Chamois Hotel at the base of Blackcomb.

    The Mexican Corner is excellent although a little pricey. It's definitely not your average Tex Mex, it's more authentic. It's located near the IGA.

    All the pubs in the village (Citta, GLC, Blacks, Longhorn) IMO serve pretty mediocre food and there is really no compelling reason to eat at any of them. Dublin Gate is probably the best of the lot.

    Zogs near the Longhorn is okay too for quick take out. They do poutine and hot dogs and it's affordable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kwl

      I forgot to add the Wildwood at the Racquet Club. I tend to go there whenever I'm in Whistler and it's always been good. They have some sort of special every night of the week too. Prices are good and it's generally overlooked by tourists. Plan on about a 10 minute walk from the village, depending on where you are staying.

    2. Pasta Lupino is good, get the chicken Parm. It's next to the 7-11. Splitz grill across the street is good for burgers and such. Nagomi has good sushi, Sachi is yummy too and is also open for lunch. Elements has good breakfast, haven't eaten there otherwise. For pizza go to Misty Mountain in the Hilton.

      1. The Indian place upstairs from 7-11 is either pretty decent OR unbelievably crap (more often decent).

        I really like the take-away Greek next door to IGA (Opa's?). It's probably the best restaurant in Whistler in my opinion (insomuch as most are horribly disappointing and way overpriced).

        I like that Mexican near IGA as already recommended (Mexican Corner I think).

        White Spot is always great, and Earl's is very easy.

        Sushi Sachi is the best sushi by a mile.

        5 Replies
        1. re: brokentelephone

          Yes, make sure you go to Indian place above 7-11, NOT the one above the McDonald's. Mediocre would be generous for that place.
          I don't know why no one can start a moderately priced restaurant with really good food here.

          1. re: sarahendipity

            I would imagine:

            (a) transient employee base which is largely made up of people with zero interest in the food industry; and/or

            (b) seasonal customer base which, if not for exorbitant in-season pricing, would not allow a business to survive the off-season; and/or

            (c) general belief that tourists either don't know any better or are at the mercy of what is on offer; and/or

            (d) australians don't know how to cook?

            I think most real 'locals' aren't particularly well off so the neighbourhood spots have to be cheap and as a consequence, probably not that great.

            I find it unbelievably frustrating because Whistler is a world-class mountain, serviced by a 2nd tier village. Yes, N America is not Europe (where places like Meribel have multiple 2/3 Michelin starred restaurants), but Vail and Aspen have incredible dining in droves, and a range of upscale apres ski (and neither of them are as close to a affluent and large metropolitan city).

            1. re: brokentelephone

              I find the restaurant scene frustrating, too. We go 4 times a year and generally cook in. I agree the labor base plays a big part--the vast majority of employees are young Australians that are there to party and ski. And I wonder if something about the laws of the resort municipality discourage Vancouver restauranteurs from opening places up there. But maybe not--maybe it's just the labor situation.

              I also wonder if it has to do with the fact that Whistler is such a great middle class destination--my own personal theory is that tourist towns have a great restaurant scene only when they attract a wealthy clientel. Aspen, Sun Valley/Ketchum, these resorts that attract rich people have great restaurants. I can name dozens of other ski resorts and tourist destinations that attract a more middle class crowd, and serve he same kind of overpriced and forgettable food you find in Whistler. Steamboat=awful. All of the Summit County towns are resorts--no good also. North Lake Tahoe--ehh. Frankly we go to Sun Valley because the food is so good in Ketchum; even if the snow isn't, all is not lost.

              All that said, for the OP, check out the Brewhouse and Splitz, in addition to the other suggestions. And for lunch on-mountain, you can have a really nice meal at Christine's on Blackcomb for just a few bucks more than your overpriced burger in one of the lodges. The bouilliabaisse is, surprisingly, terrific.

              1. re: brokentelephone

                Whistler does mid range dining poorly but upper end dining well. Bearfoot Bistro, Araxi, and The Rim Rock are all restaurants that would stand up anywhere. Didn't Gordon Ramsey declare Araxi the best restaurant in Canada?

                1. re: kwl

                  I actually disagree on Rimrock--to me the menu is really dated and the execution is uneven. The thing that irks me about the higher end places in Whistler in general is that they, too, are overpriced. I can eat really, really well at nice restaurants in NYC or Paris for the prices that Bearfoot and Araxi charge.

                  This is something I find at a lot of ski resorts--bad mid range dining, bad ethnic, and a few maybe good but overpriced high end places.

          2. I haven't been to Whistler in ages but the food at the Brew Pub was always surprisingly adequate and reasonably priced. Nothing to write home about but decent food that won't break the bank. I remember the Spaghetti and Meatballs being particularly good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: islandgirl

              We had a nice casual meal at the lounge in the Nita Lake Lodge (Cure Lounge & Patio) back in February. If you go before 6pm their "happy hour" specials were really good and the food was excellent - $15 for burger and fries for an example of the price point - seemed reasonable for Whistler and locally sourced ingredients

            2. +1 on Splitz grill for burgers. Lots of options for every diet.

              Also, Moguls coffee house has some pretty decent food - lots of baked goods for breakfast, healthy and substantial lunches - and the small independent bookstore that shares the building with them is fantastic, as an added bonus.

              2 Replies
              1. re: geekmom

                How about the cafes in Function Junction-
                aka The Heart of Whistler-too bohemian for the crowd here?

                1. re: Sam Salmon

                  I kind of assumed the OP would be staying in the village and not have a car.

              2. Wildwood at the racket club is great for breakfast and brunch but I found dinner a miss. Gone Bakery in the village next to the country grocer has amazing soup and sandwiches for a reasonable price.

                Elements on Main St is a good find, tapas dining with a decent wine list. The food at the Brewpub is quite good and the beer is tasty too.

                1. Suggestions here are good. If you go to Sushi Village (which I love) and order carefully you can get out of there very reasonably--Plain udon soup is $4.95, plus a roll or two, or get the Tempura Noodle for about $10 and it's a full meal. We also like the Chinese Bistro next door. Not Richmond level quality, but very reasonable, and not expensive. Ciao Thyme in the upper village has excellent breakfast/brunch foods. Samurai sushi is another decent takeout/bento box option.

                  1. Merlin's has always featured pretty basic pub food but they seem to be upping their game of late. They've added a Vietnamese-ish pork belly sandwich that is quite good and a decent deal at $12. Good-sized chunks of pork belly fried on the ends to a frazzled delight somewhat akin to a puffy, crispy pork rind. Great place for an apres pint or three right at Blackcomb base.

                    If you don't mind heading to Creekside, Creekbread is a favorite of ours for wood-fired, but non-Neopolitan pizzas that are reasonably priced. The same group also owns a similar pizza place in the town of Paia on Maui. Fun atmosphere and very kid-friendly.

                    Even in overpriced environs like Whistler, pasta is always a lower price point, and we've always enjoyed Trattoria Umberto (Il Caminetto not so much), again, sticking mostly to the pastas if you're being price-sensitive.

                    1. In addition to some of the suggestions here:

                      Last season we found the food at the Fifty Two 80 bar in the Four Seasons at Blackcomb to be really good and not too expensive. The regular menu is pricy, but go to one of the special nights where they do gourmet hot dogs and tacos and it's fantastic and easy on the wallet.


                      The Southside Diner at Creekside is really affordable and super good. Unless you're staying down at Creekside, it's a great place to grab breakfast or lunch on the way out of town. Insane line ups on the weekends though..

                      An affordable option is also the tapas menu at 21 Steps. It was really mediocre a few years back but they seemed to have kicked it up a notch recently. It's also a cool space to eat in.

                      I agree with what others have said about Araxi and the others. The food is good but overpriced. Also have found the service at Araxi to be really overbearing. Last time the server was asking permission to take long empty plates and wine glasses away each time which got annoying and was awkward.

                      They have a fantastic vodka list so we usually will stop in for a martini before heading somewhere else for dinner.

                      1. If you don't mind the 5 minute drive south to Creekside, I agree with abigllama, the Southside diner is very good. Also, just down the street, you can find some excellent southern style BBQ at Rolands Pub/BBQ Bob's



                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Scoffier

                          Pretty sure BBQ Bob's is no more. We went a couple of years ago when they were setting that up and were selling the BBQ offerings at Rolands and it was amazing.

                          Made a point of going back for more the next year, after the BBQ place was set up, and it was awful. Not sure what went wrong or we got them on a bad night.

                          Looks like it's the Red Door Bistro now?

                          1. re: abigllama

                            Yes, BBQ Bob is gone, and Rolland's has a new menu without the BBQ items. I took a look at the Red Door Bistro menu, it looks pretty pricey.
                            Southside diner has always been reliable, but I see that their prices are creeping up too.

                            1. re: Scoffier

                              We just had Southside on the way back to the airport today and it was awesome. Prices have gone up a bit but still well worth it. It's definitely advanced diner food. The homemade ham is particularly awesome.

                              A good find on this trip was Peaked Pies on Main St. They have fantastic Australian meat pies. We had them for apres in our hotel and they were really good. The steak pie has the Sidecut steak spice mixed in. The Chicken, mushroom, leek, potato pie was also really excellent.

                              We got it as take out, but it's a counter service place with a few seats to eat in. They also offer scoops of mushy peas and mashed potatoes on top of the pies. Sounds odd to me but based on the flavour and spicing of the pies I will check it out on next visit.


                        2. I know the OP is long gone but I've found a few to add--I'd love to know about other's new Whistler finds as well.

                          I'll second Cure Lounge in the Nita Lake Lodge. They do a surprisingly nice job for a reasonable price. I just had a pretty generous bowl of Thai-ish seafood stew that was absolutely delicious, for $10. The fish and chips was also very good--definitely not frozen fish. They do sliders during "apr├Ęs" (I guess you can't have happy hour in BC?) for $5, and have beer and wine for $5 as well. I like Samurai Sushi in Creekside; it's a hole in the wall, order at the counter, very popular with locals. Fuji Japanese Grocery, by the Convention Center, has a take out counter and cooler with to go items as well. Neither of these would be anything to write home about it a city but here in Whistler, I am thrilled for these options.

                          I just tried Southside Diner as well and would third the recommendation.

                          I got a sandwich from Ingrid's today, and I know locals love the place, but salsa on a sandwich? There's a lot of odd, hippie-ish combos there. But prices are good.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: christy319

                            christy319 I've always loved Ingrid's but strictly for breakfast. The breakfast sandwiches and wraps are awesome and a good value. Had lunch there once and also found it a bit odd with weird vegetable combos and lots of sprouts on things I wouldn't put sprouts on.

                            The breakfast is still awesome, reasonable and fast and didn't disappoint on our trip last week. We went three times actually.

                            1. re: christy319

                              Happy Hour in BC is coming soon apparently - article from March 2014