GET COZYCasual dining in Whistler offers opportunities to snuggle up with a loved one
by TARA COLPITTS
AS WINTER SETTLES in Whistler, there is a predictable chill in the mountain air. And what better way to stay warm than sharing an intimate meal with someone you love.
Thanks to some of the casual dining options in the resort, you won't have to go very far to bring the heat into your life.
After a day on the slopes carving out turns, your hunger pangs may be matched by the tingle of frozen extremities, so head indoors for an early afternoon après fondue-for-two to regain warmth.
BAVARIA RESTAURANT, tucked on the corner of Main Street and Northlands Boulevard, welcomes patrons into their cozy location with proudly displayed flags of every nation.
The restaurant's opening in 2000 was a result of the love for hospitality felt by longtime locals Angela Ruffer and her late husband Joel Thibault.
Snuggling at a corner table after a rigorous day outdoors, you can journey through the quintessential alpine experience — a three-course fondue meal. It begins with a traditional cheese fondue of Swiss gruyère and emmental, white wine, garlic and, of course, Kirsch. Served with French baguette and vegetables, this will have the blood circulating again in no time.
Next to arrive is the fondue Chinoise of seasoned chicken broth served with chicken, pork tenderloin, prawns, vegetables and dipping sauces. You may wish to substitute the fondue Bourguignon — a hot pot of oil to cook cubes of AAA beef tenderloin in at your table.
Finally, the decadent Belgian chocolate fondue will ensure that if you didn't enter the doors with love in your eyes, you will certainly leave that way.
If you would prefer a more traditional meal, Angela advises that the schnitzel is a house favourite and fall-off-your-chair good — but her indulgence is the slow-cooked pork roast and dumplings. Complete with crackling and beer sauce, this dish reminds Angela of her Bavarian roots and is a perfect display of the love and spirit alive in her old country hospitality.
In mid-winter months, sunshine can seem like an undiscovered precious gemstone. However, the moment the light rays hit Whistler's white veil, an inner warmth takes hold. TRATTORIA DI UMBERTO captures this heat like no other.
Upon stepping into the terra cotta-coloured space, patrons are treated to a piece of the sunny Mediterranean. Authentically Tuscan, the rustic and flavour-forward simplicity is what you can expect to find on your plate and palate.
Enjoy the restaurant's casual intimacy with your loved one and savour fresh creations such as jumbo prawns Provençal, tummy-pleasing minestrone soup, and fresh-baked bread, setting the stage for a memorable rendezvous.
Umberto's passion for accessible elegance shines brightly at the lovingly-coined "Tratt" where locals know they can depend on comfort food, while first-time visitors are recommended to go for a special epicurean adventure.
There is something electrifying about watching chefs wield their talents, and no more so than over a hot searing grill.
MONGOLIE GRILL takes dinner theatre to a whole new level, and may alleviate the ambiguity of your dining companions' preferences if you happen to be on your first date. No guessing game of dietary needs and concerns here. You can each select exactly what you like and the chef will then transform the raw material into a uniquely inspired meal.
Whether you choose to fill up on fresh veggies, meats, seafood, noodles or rice, by mixing and matching the sauces that grab your attention, your dish is guaranteed to be your own creation.
If you want to add some extra warmth at the table, the Peak 2 Peak martini will be certain to provide some spark.
Even if you are the biggest of outdoor enthusiasts, there are some cold fronts that no puffy jacket can combat.
Nestled by the inviting embrace of your chalet's fireplace — or perhaps that of a loved one — sometimes staying inside can be a more pleasurable exploration. And so, we dream of the opportunity to have culinary creations delivered.
GRASSROOTS PIZZA makes "homemade" a phone call away, providing comforting nourishment at the same time as flavour and freshness. All the usual suspects are there to build a regular pie — dough, sauce, and toppings — but the difference is in the details. Daily homemade dough, unique and healthy toppings like roasted vegetables, hot capicolli sausage, sweet potato, tandoori chicken, fresh cilantro and ginger all add to the experience to make it your own.
The multitude of pizzas, pastas, paninis and salads offered to your door leave little rationale for strapping on the Sorels and trudging into the darkness.
So while we travel through the snowy winter season, keep in mind that romantic, cozy nooks await all over Whistler. Just be on the lookout for your comfy corner.
Stay warm, and snuggle up by the fire with a fresh pizza from Grassroots.
Photo: Bonny Makarewicz,