What We Love Now
IMAGES BY JOERN ROHDE
HandleBar Café and Après
It’s the last run of the day and all that’s on your mind is a fresh, crisp lager to down while you discuss the best face plants of the day. The HandleBar Café and Après, at the base of Blackcomb Mountain in the Upper Village, is the perfect place.
Owners Jonny Law and André Charland wanted to create a haven for craft beer lovers who like to mingle with like-minded folk. With its communal-style tables and lack of distracting TV screens, it’s ideally set up for the focus to be on beer, food and good banter. Locals love the Germanic-inspired street food and often opt for the warm pretzels, currywurst and range of sausages to snack on while they go from the refreshing lagers to the hoppier IPAs. On tap is an ever-changing rotating mix of local and international beers, with some of the highest-ranked being Whistler’s Coast Mountain Brewing’s Treeline Lager, Powell Street’s Ode to Citra-Pale Ale, Four Winds IPA, Yellow Dog’s Play Dead IPA and Bridge Brewing Co.’s Kolsch.
Not a beer fan? They have wine and cider as well.
604-962-2876 | handlebar.beer
Hunter Gather Eatery & Taphouse
Established by longtime Whistler locals Hilarie and Grant Cousar, Hunter Gather has won the hearts of locals and visitors alike with its “nerdiness” for local produce and craft beer. It’s a funky place with animal decals covering the wall, an open kitchen, and bench-style tables. It’s also a meat-lover’s paradise with their mouthwatering 18-hour-smoked, dry rubbed, B.C. grass-fed beef brisket, six-hour-smoked Louisiana pork ribs and smoked lamb shoulder.
However, they haven’t forgotten the foragers and fish eaters among us with their veggie-packed bowls, chunky lentil burger and smoked steelhead chowder. If you’re finding it hard to make a choice, try Grant’s family-style farm platter of beef brisket, barbecue chicken leg, pulled pork and ribs, and for those who like to share, ask about the chef’s daily selection of charcuterie meats and artisanal cheeses.
Want a perfect pairing? Hilarie suggests a glass of Coast Mountain Brewing’s Field Guide Ale with the Pemberton bowl — a cornucopia of vegetables, fresh herbs, local beets, dried fruit and chickpeas; Grant craves a Coast Mountain Brewing’s Surveyor IPA with all that delicious meat, and Manager Mike enjoys a charcuterie board with a glass of the Liquidity Pinot Gris.
604-966-2372 | huntergatherwhistler.com
Opening a restaurant in Whistler was a dream come true for Max and Kara Dobrochodow, owners of Fifi’s Bistro. They named their restaurant after Max’s mother, who was an incredible host and one of the most gracious people they knew. Vowing to embody these traits, they opened their doors in summer 2017 with a menu that has the words “made in-house” all over it.
This is a passion for the restaurateurs who will buy a whole lamb, grind it themselves and serve up one of the most popular items on the menu — lamb burger with mint pesto. Their antipasto menu encourages people to pick and choose as if they were at a friend’s dinner party. Choose two, three or five items from an array of options, from nostalgic devilled eggs to hot and cold smoked salmon to charcuterie featuring elk salami. And enjoy it all with house focaccia, lavash, pickles and labneh.
There has also been a lot of thought put into the vegetarian and vegan menus items, which account for half the menu. The cauliflower tandoori sandwich and barbecue pulled king oyster mushroom sandwich have quickly become customer favourites.
Kara suggests starting the day with one of their house-baked ham Benedicts. The ham is shaved right off the leg, the sourdough English muffins made daily in house, and the organic free-range eggs are sourced from a local farm and served just how you like them. Need we say more? They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
604-935-3263 | fifisbistro.com
Legs Diamond Supper Club
Rich woods complement shiny copper, making this intimate restaurant classic and cozy at the same time, with a little nod to 1920s glamour.
The distinctive restaurant name, Legs Diamond, has two meanings for the owner, Gregory Pettit. A fan of Anthony Bourdain, Gregory was reading Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential when he spotted it. Diamond was an infamous New York gangster who got his alias because he liked to dance, but Gregory also liked the name because it could be applied to the ski hill — you certainly need legs made of diamond to tackle some of the black diamond runs on Whistler Blackcomb. The slight sense of risk the name evokes is reflected in the menu, with items like the spaghetti-stuffed meatballs (no, that’s not a typo), and in their dueling duck, featuring a confit duck leg and pan-seared duck breast.
Gregory has always had a passion for food. Originally from the twin cities of Ottawa and Hull, he grew up influenced by French food, and after 25 years running his own catering company, he decided to open an establishment in Whistler. The pairing of Pettit and Head Chef Ricky Ray, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa, love to take a classic dish and give it a twist. Try their elevated prawn pogos, and their intriguingly named diamond snowballs, made of wild mushroom risotto stuffed with mascarpone.
One of Gregory’s favourite meals is a glass of Tightrope Riesling with the deconstructed Caesar salad followed by king scallops and venison. The venison is farm raised, lean, and melts in your mouth. He suggests pairing it with a glass of the Hugging Tree Merlot.
604-905-0587 | legsdiamondbistro.com