4222 Village Gate Square
T: 604 932 4540
Brief Description: One of Whistlers most popular restaurants. A formal restaurant that prides itself on offering good, local food. Prices are in the mid to high range but well worth the price.
August 14th has come and gone, I am now a married woman! Whoo hoo!! And I couldn’t be happier! But you didn’t come to read about my wedding/marriage, you came to read about food and, after what has been a whirl wind few months, I finally have time to start writing up the culinary adventures that I have had over the past few months.
My friend, Allie, and I have had numerous discussions over our favourite Whistler restaurants ever since we met. She is in the Araxi camp, and I have my feet firmly planted in the Rimrock camp (even though I had never eaten at Araxi). For my bridal shower, all of the lovely women that I work with pitched in to get me a pasta maker (hell yes!!) and a very, very generous gift voucher for Araxi. B and I had our wedding in Whistler and so they thoughtfully bought it so that we could celebrate our marriage together once the chaos had died down. It really couldn’t have been more perfect. The night after our wedding, after all of the excitement and emotion of the day, it was so relaxing for both of us to be spoilt with a romantic dinner and reminisce about what an amazing wedding day we had.
Araxi is a very popular Whistler restaurant and a sister restaurant to Vancouver’s West, CinCin and Blue Water Cafe. The spacious dining room is classically simple with terracotta tiles, warm brown furniture and features, crisp white table clothes and wine racks that line the walls. Immediately, I felt that the menu was more appealing and down-to-earth than the menu at West. There were many, many things on menu that I could have ordered and I can’t always say the same thing about West.
Araxi makes some wonderfully innovative cocktails, as does West, and so we couldn’t say no to starting our meal with a cocktail or two. The Frozen Vine, which I ordered, was incredible and I couldn’t stop at just one. I highly recommend indulging in at least one of their cocktails before you start dinner.
With such a generous gift voucher, we decided that this would be an all out gourmet frenzy – we weren’t going to deny ourselves anything! With that in mind, we started out by sharing the Tasting of Oysters ($21.50), which is a selection of five local oysters, all dressed differently; ponzu pearls, trout caviar, cucumber relish mignonette, and finally, Dungeness crab meat. We shared these so I didn’t taste them all but the ones that I did have, the Dungeness crab meat and the ponzu pearls, were deliciously fresh and the flavours were very original.
Moving on to our appetizers and B ordered the Canada Prime Beef Carpaccio ($19.50). The carpaccio was served with layered wild rustic arugula and pecorino romano, drizzled with organic olive oil and finished with toasted house-baked rye bread. The carpaccio was delicate and paired well with the stronger flavours of the arugula and the pecorino.
I ordered the North Arm Farm Squash Blossoms, which were stuffed with Moonstruck White Grace cheese and herbs, and served with a red pepper reduction and tomato vinaigrette ($17.50). The cheese stuffing was a little tangy for me (I am assuming that is due to the sheep cheese) so I wouldn’t be likely to order it again, but it was worth trying. The crunchy coating that gave way to the gooey cheese filling underneath gave a nice contrast in texture but my favourite part was the crumbed mini zucchinis.
The main course menu is very well-balanced with seafood and meat. As an added bonus, the food is mostly local food, with representation of seafood from BC waters and meat from BC farms (the beef, the pork, the chicken and the venison are all local). We actually had a hard time deciding on our main courses as there were a lot of very tempting choices; the lamb loin, the selection of three different types of pork, the prosciutto-wrapped chicken…it was very difficult to narrow it down.
We ended up deciding to share the Roasted Red Deer Venison, served with Across the Creek German butter potatoes and Agassiz hazelnuts, golden beets, apricot and chili glaze and local chanterelle mushrooms ($37.50), and the Qualicum Bay Scallops, accompanied by red wine cured chorizo sausage and Pemberton cauliflower puree, whole Canadian mustard seed dressing and pea top salad ($36.50).
The venison and the scallops, were perfectly tender and so we were thrilled with our decision to share the main courses. Both dishes were incredible and by sharing them we got the best of both worlds.
Our eating frenzy didn’t stop there…it was time for dessert and I already knew that we were going to be ordering the visually-arresting Raspberry Napoleon, which was made up of layers of vanilla sable biscuits, raspberries and lavender cream sinfully piled high ($11.50). A strong cup of coffee made a suitable companion to the sweet, creaminess of the dessert. As stunning as the Raspberry Napoleon looked, it was hard to believe that it would taste even better than it looked. This dessert is now up there next to my all-time favourite Sticky Toffee Pudding (from RimRock). As if all this food and drink wasn’t enough, we ended our meal by sipping on glasses of smooth Prospect Hill ice wine and munching on complimentary desserts.
Final Thoughts: I could have died an extremely happy woman after our night at Araxi; the food was incredible, the service was practically flawless and our evening just screamed of romance. As hard as I tried, I could not wipe the smile off my face that night. Araxi had delivered in every way that we had wanted. If you are visiting Whistler for a romantic getaway or if you just want to enjoy an astounding meal, the look no further than Araxi. Remember to bring a full wallet if you want to enjoy everything that Araxi has to offer – this extravagant evening of gluttony cost about $350!! Thank goodness for the girls at work.