Nita Lake Lodge
2131 Lake Placid Road
T: 604 966 5700
Brief Description: An upscale European restaurant with a particular focus on local produce, including produce from the lodge’s own garden. The lakefront location is stunning, as is the food. Prices are mid-range but the quality bar is high.
Our anniversary gift to each other was the memorable Araxi Long Table Dinner – perfect for two foodies. Whilst we were in Whistler we had the tough decision of where to dine on our free night. We were going to default to one of our favourite restaurants, Rim Rock Café, but a recent review by Andrew Morrison on Nita Lake’s very own restaurant, Aura, made me think twice. B persuaded me to give Aura a try and I’m so glad that we did.
As the name indicates Nita Lake Lodge is located right on the banks of Nita Lake. I can’t rave about the setting enough (it was one of main factors in deciding to hold our wedding there). With mountains, trees, and a lake, it is a tranquil piece of the world that makes my heart happy.
Aura is the hotel restaurant located on the ground floor of the lodge. In addition to indoor seating, there is an outdoor lakefront patio with highly contested tables with a view. Tim Cuff is the chef at Aura and his resume is pretty impressive with gigs at Vancouver’s West restaurant, Tofino’s Wickannnish Inn, and Mission Hill Winery. The food, which was well-executed, refined, and mostly local, truly exceeded my expectations.
Prices are extremely reasonable for the quality of the food. There is, of course, a la carte but there are also a number of well-priced tasting menus; a 3 course prix fixe for $49, a 5 course tasting menu for $70, or an extravagant 10 course Aura tasting tour for $125. We opted for the 3 course prix fixe, which was certainly more wallet-friendly than Rim Rock would have been.
Something surprising happened to me at Aura. I hit the equivalent of a foodie home run with my food choices (you should know that this rarely happens to me!). The braised bison ribs were incredible. The veal cheeks were ridiculously tender with such a delicate flavour. And, just when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, out comes the pièce de résistance; dessert. Wow. The lemon meringue pie was a welcomed assault on my taste buds. The only thing really letting Aura down was the service. I’m not one that needs to be waited on constantly so I don’t often complain about not being tended to but we did feel like an after-thought for most of the night (and no, it wasn’t busy). To be fair, when our server was around he was friendly and knowledgeable.
Final Thoughts: A very impressive dining experience. Aura is absolutely perfect for a romantic dinner whilst in Whistler (even better in summer when you can enjoy the view). Our discovery of Aura has now made our visits to Whistler much more difficult as we now have to decide between Araxi, Rim Rock, and now, Aura. My my, those Whistler locals are spoilt.