In previous trips to Whistler, British Columbia, I distinctly remember there being a surfeit of places to get pints or jugs of beer, burgers and fries, deep fried fatty foods, pizza and stuff that would appeal to folks who have spent the previous 7 hours of their day skiing or plummeting downhill on a back breaking mountain bike trail.
And nary a decent cup of good strong coffee to be found.
And a giant gap between salt laden junk food fry ups and the super fancy gourmet stuff you find at some of the high end hotels… and places like Araxia
(which by the way gets some pretty mixed reviews…)
Some exceptions include La Bocca which we did breakfast at one morning – and it was wonderful. The La Bocca patio was always hopping into the evening on their spacious patio area.
And 21-Steps which was very family friendly, upscale, affordable and tasty. And (please note) if you are not child friendly, come by 21 steps after 8 PM or so – because it can get loud- it becomes more of an adult date place later in the evening. Nice to have both options.
Our group had a wonderful meal for 270 at the Whistler Roundhouse Great food, really, really good coffee (!) and desserts – super professional and well presented staff and at 6000+ feet above sea level and 3500+ feet above Whistler village… very dramatic!
Pubs: Honestly, if it can be deep fried in Whistler, it is being done – I was surprised they did not figure out a way to deep dry coffee and serve it on a stick. There was a place that was better than expected: Blacks Pub in the Sundial Boutique Hotel had better than expected pizzas and great staff and service. In a past visit we went to the Dubh Linn Gate (at the Pan Pacific) and that was a hoot – no surprise there.
Back in the village of Whistler there is one thing that has not changed much – the coffee. “The Lift” coffee shop across the entrance to our hotel served tasty and competent JJ Bean drip and espresso based beverages and really, really good baked goodies. I think if someone could find a decent space that was affordable (that is the thing – the rents in Whistler must be unreal) there could be an incredible cafe. Truth be told, such an entity would not likely survive just selling coffee.
There are several Starbucks in Whistler and all of them had regular long line-ups.
Truth be told, my coffee experience was improved by bringing my own Aeropress and a Hario manual burr grinder and a supply of Drumroaster Coffee from Vancouver Island’s best coffee roasting joint.
Overall, Whistler has a lot on the ball – and a little tip here: If you are staying at one of many “affordable” hotels or lodges – prepare to be nickel and dimed. Our room rate for a suite was around $170/night but the parking was almost $40/day – which is absurd. We had a loyalty card which eliminated the $15/day charge for the most basic WiFi connectivity. The secret is: There is lots and lots of free 72 hour parking in Whistler – in the “big lots” – just ask anyone – they are easy to find. And over the course of your stay, you can save hundreds of dollars on parking.
So. Summary: Whistler is definitely not a winter only destination – if you love the outdoors during nice warm weather, then this could be your place.