The Bearfoot Bistro is a simple French bistro at heart, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients and an extensive wine list, the result is anything but simple.
SERVICE: The service was very so-so, especially for a restaurant of this calibre. Our server knew the menu well, like he had rehearsed it many times before - but he never showed an interest in what we, personally, wanted to eat. The service from the sommelier was downright poor - he dropped off a wine list but walked away when we were mid-sentence asking him a question. Even when we were able to flag him down later, he didn't ask what we were eating, how he could help with pairings, etc. Our entrees were on the table for 5 minutes before we were able to flag him down again to order some red wine, even though we had told him earlier that we would be ordering a bottle of red to go with our mains. Fine if this is Cactus Club, not fine when you're a fine dining establishment. We got the feeling that we weren't worth his attention since we weren't ordering the $500 bottles of wine.
FOOD: The food was pretty good, but not that impressive, given that you're paying a minimum of $98 per person for 3 courses (plus a "supplement" for many courses). The food was complex in that each appetizer/entree/dessert was made up of at least 4 or 5 different "components", so you can see the attention that goes into each dish. But sometimes, the combinations didn't go that well together, just blended into each other, or you had to eat the dish with every "component" on your fork to really get some great flavour. There wasn't much to complain about (except that my lobster was overcooked), but the dishes just didn't have the standout quality that I expected, given the reviews and reputation of this restaurant. I much prefer the Rim Rock for both food and service in Whistler.
We arrived in time for our 9PM reservations and had placed our order by 9:20. I wasn't fond of our table as it was right by the entrance with guests swishing by and near the ICE room for vodka tasting. I did notice there were two nice tables behind us that would have been better.... Who were those saved for?
We ordered some virgin pina colada's and received 9/10 ice with approximately 1/2 to 2/3 cup of pina colada. It was way more pineapple than coconut (acidic) - in general a disappointment.
The bread came and before we got our first appetizer around 1 hour in, we had consumed 4 baskets! It was now 10PM and we were starving - what was the problem? The 6 oysters came finally and then, our soups and salad. The mushroom soup was ok - I've made better myself but I enjoyed the mini mushrooms within. My daughter had the salad which arrived with a hair in it so we had to return it. The salad itself had these interesting dried / fried carrots which were tasty but the dressing had no vinegar / lemon juice - it was just oil. A salad with oil and no vinegar is not very tasty so aside from the carrots it was a failure.
Now it was 10:30 and we were starving! The chef sent us some mini (about 1/2 tsp) lamb and tapenade pate's which were more style than substance but it was apparent something was wrong in the kitchen and they wanted to make up for it. At this point we would have appreciated an apology or explanation but even after mentioning it to our waitress who was avoiding us like the plague she evaded us and offered nothing - not even I'm sorry - there's been a delay etc...
Finally, my husband got up to talk to the manager and they said our meals were forthcoming - finally at 11pm we received our main course. It was steak and prawns with potato and vegetables. The steak was tough - I really wanted to like it but it wasn't very good. The prawns were ok as were the potatoes but I couldn't chew through my meat and left 1/2 on the plate. My daughters were falling asleep at the table.
Finally, dessert - it matched the meal - not very good - panne cotta - a watery, gelatinous custard in a mould - not creamy, not rich at all - just a very watered down custard with a lot of fancy small decorations - no substance here at all. My daughters enjoyed the coconut snowball dessert which was essentially ice cream with coconut.
The bill came and they gave us half price on my daughter's meal as well as the oysters on the house due to the problems. That was nice but no-one offered an apology to us - It would have been nice if someone just came over and said sorry but we were made to feel unwanted in the restaurant (bad table when good ones were available), and ignored when things went wrong.
I thought perhaps it was because we weren't drinking - I don't know but for $190.00 for 4 of us - it was definitely not worth it.
My boyfriend took me here for an early birthday dinner and I was incredibly impressed. Though we don't drink wine, I almost wished we did given the lengthy wine list (or wine book may be more appropriate).
The food was fantastic. I had the 'Surf & Turf' 3-course meal, which was exactly what I wanted and exceeded my expectations. The scallops were fresh and cooked to perfection, as was the meat. I'm not usually a big fan of soups but the apple & parsnip soup was also delicious. I had a couple oysters off his plate and YUM. We both agreed they were the best oysters we've had.
I've been to fine dining places with better service but the food alone would bring me back.
I am reviewing this restaurant based on our expectations of a fine-dining experience. The place was rather empty when we walked in, I was surprised because I had heard this place was great from more than one person. We were seated and then ordered each a 3-course menu for $48. I liked how they let me order 2 appetizers and a main because I am not a big dessert fan. The food was VERY VERY GOOD bordering on excellent, my pork belly appetizer was good and the duck 3 ways was SO GOOD, I would give it a 9.5 out of 10 and I am pretty stingy with my ratings. My main dish, the lamb, was only OK in comparison, it came with a tortellini that was sort of crusty on top because it had either not been cooked through or had been sitting around too long -- inexcusable in my opinion. My husband is vegetarian, he loved his roasted vegetable appetizer, but his main, an orzo risotto, was not great. It had a yucky raisin puree that sort of ruined the dish (especially for me since I hate raisins, but he likes raisins and also didn't care for it much). He loved his toronne dessert, though. The service was friendly but frankly sub-par, the wine took forever to come, food was a long time in between courses, at one point the server took our bread away promising to bring more and never returned with more bread. BUT I did sort of love the hostess, she really cared about our experience and how we enjoyed the food, I wish she had been our server!
This is a rather belated review of a meal had during the June dine-out (3 courses for $45). Really 4 choices in each category (appi, main, dessert); rest were available an added cost. To start off; complimentary valet parking.. and after our meal the car was awaiting us, idling. The person who brought it vanished before we could tip him.
The focus is on the food here with a light over each table in a somewhat spartan room; lovely bar and live music though. My friend and I had several people serving us; each knowledgable and very courteous. The food was fabulous with incredible presentations on the mains and dessert. (The assortment of chocolate desserts on one long plate was a work of art, with flavours to die for.) Amuse-bouche and house-made sorbet between courses were nice touches. When we enquired as to the location of the washrooms (in the Listel hotel) we were personally led there.
The wine list, as expected is not inexpensive, but there are several selections available by the glass.
I somehow expected this place to be snobby but it was not; just great chefs and servers all working together to make memorables meals and evenings for their guests.
I had the foie gras -the real thing, not the mousse of duck and chicken liver Lumiere dares to serve as terrine!- and it was served 3 ways, each amazing, subtle and perfectly done. The Kobe beef was exceptional, the wine match impeccable and dessert was delicious and yet the perfect size.
Of course this kind of diner doesn't come cheap; but we will return since it is is worth spending your hard earned dollars where it is worth the experience!
My bf and I came in for dinner and I just had to write about our fantastic experience.. first i booked us for the vodka ice bar.. which was VERY amazing... they gave us these big coats and a fur hat and took us into the private room which is made of solid ice.. gave us a tutorial about vodka and we each had about 4 different vodka samples. amazing. We then went in for dinner and dessert which was absolutley fantastic. After dinnner, we had the Nitro ice cream which was made at our table.. unreal! The service was fantastic and it was an experience we hope to do again in the near future. The owner also took us downstairs to the wine cellar so we could see this very impressive room. Great adventure we will remember for a long time!
My partner and I were in Whistler for the day and wanted a great dinner before heading back into Vancouver.
We were warmly greeted at the door and immediately shown to our tables and offered beverages. My partner and I had been at the restaurant earlier in the day to make reservations. It amazed me how much it changed for dinner service: lights were dimmed, spotlights were on, candles were all lit. It was lovely.
The Dine in Whistler event was on, similar to DOV, so we had the option of a $98 5-course menu or a $45 3-course menu. We chose the 3 course option and asked our server to pair each selection with wines (which ended up doubling the price, but well worth it).
The food was awesome, awesome, awesome! I had a salad to start, bouillabaisse for my main and creme brulee for dessert. Partner had Waygu beef to start, tenderloin for the main, and creme brulee for dessert. Our dishes were all amazing, especially the Waygu beef that just melts like good prosciutto. Each dish was tasty, fresh, and clean, and expertly paired with delicious wine. We did not like the pairing for dessert, so it was immediately replaced without a problem.
Our server was attentive, gracious and professional and there wasn't a single moment where we felt we weren't being taken care of.
The next time we're in Whistler, we'll be back.
I was very much excited to dine at the Bearfoot Bistro, but unfortunately, wasn't as smart as some others to cut my losses before beginning. Upon arrival, we were ignored, and then asked, "oh, you are with the other party, right?" Once we defined we were not with "the other party" we were once again over looked at the coat check. Not the warm welcome I was expecting for the price I was about to pay.
We were early and decided to have a drink at the bar. We ordered our cocktails from a the guy behind the bar. He was very friendly and all, but didn't seem to have to have a grasp on the demands of the bar. He asked twice for assistance in making and serving drinks. I commend his ability to know when help is needed, but the bar was only 3/4 full and the restaurant was under a 1/3. While at the bar, we had the opportunity to carefully examine the extensive 40+ page wine list. Extremely impressive at the least. However, there were no "inexpensive" bottles and the the rest were extremely inflated, even compared to the other restaurants in Whistler. It is hard to pay $120 for a bottle you know you can get next door for $90.
When we finally went to our table, we were greeted by a very nice server, "A". He carefully explained the menu and the options for dining. Again, the menu was very well written, with the most affordable option being a 3 course, of your choice, menu for $98 plus wine. Personally, having the opportunity to travel a lot and dine in some of the finer establishments around North America, I was inclined to try the chef's 5 course tasting menu, paired with wine.
Once the decision was made known I was interested in the chef's tasting with wine, server "A" disappeared and server "B" arrived. Server "B" was a knowledgeable guy, but came across as a little forced. The first course was a trio of seafood served with an Asian inspiration. Each of the three components was complex, cooked perfectly and strikingly different. As we finished course one, server "B" came back to the table and asked if I liked the pairing with the dish. As we all know, wine pairing is an educated science completely over ruled by personal opinion. I honestly admitted I did not like the wine as a wine, loved the pairing with one of the dish components, but disliked it with the other two. I admitted I prefer old world wines and the fruit forward wine was unappealing. Instantly, server "B" became almost defensive and appalled that I not only criticized the pairing, but disliked the wine.
The second course arrived and so did server "C". Server "B" never stopped at the table again until the clearing of the dessert course. While server "C" was a delight to dine with, he unfortunately could not make up for the obvious mistakes that had already occurred.
In a final review, I would advise people the environment is stale, unwelcoming and almost hostile if you show the slightest signs of any previous dining competency. I thought the food, while artful and creative, was over priced, but was more shocked at the wine prices. For paying $125/person for a paired wine course, I would expect wine to be poured of greater value than local BC wines that can be purchased at the wine store for $18 a bottle.
Thank goodness there are chefs who still try to be creative instead of cooks at a fancy restaurant. The quince "doughnuts" that went with my duck breast were a whimsical touch and was a good starchy base. The butternut squash puree and spiced jus smoothed out the breast meat as it is less fattier than duck leg (which I personally prefer) and tends to be drier. Kudos to the pastry chef Dominic Fortin because his dessert of olive oil three ways was marvelous. The olive oil ice cream was my favourite and then the olive oil jelly. Just the right balance of olive oil flavour as well as sweetness as a dessert item. The sortilège liquor crème brulée has lots of surface area for a crispy brulée portion and the crème was expectedly creamy. Strong dose of the advertised liquor - superb - and not another vanille crème brulée. Even the cocktails were inspiring... try the Harvest Moon for a Christmas feel.
An interesting evening. The handcrafted martinis were enjoyable but a surprising $18.00 each! I stuck to the lobster special ($30.00) which was tasty but not exceptional. My partner easily added on another $30 to the $40 prix fixe. He added fish to his salad and had the sole. The sole de-boning was quite an experience! The wine list was extensive and expensive. The service was excellent and the staff friendly. We did get to see the impressive wine cellar
My girlfriend and I went here for my birthday because she had heard that it was rated the number one place in Whistler. When we arrived, we were asked whether we wanted to eat in the Champagne Lounge or in the Dining Room because they have two different menus. After perusing both menus, we decided on the Champagne Lounge, in no small part because of the oyster special they had. If you go between 5-7 pm, you get a dozen oysters for only $9.95, which is a crazy deal! (However, I just checked on their website and it now says that you only get half a dozen for $9.95 - perhaps it's because we made them re-think their oyster deal! Seriously, we ordered 36 of them! More on that later...)
So we were seated in the Champagne Lounge, and something I liked about this place was that it wasn't very snooty, even though it's supposed to be the number one restaurant. We even saw a couple beside us who were in shorts and jeans, dressed really casually, and the servers didn't treat them any differently. Anyway, our waiter was great - attentive and funny. He told us about their specials, two of which were the oyster deal and this lobster deal they were having: for $29.95, you get either soup or salad, a one-pound lobster, and dessert, which was a flourless chocolate cake. We decided to order 24 oysters to start (hey, it's such a great deal and we're oyster lovers!), while I ordered the lobster special and my gf ordered the flat iron steak, which was $18.
Our waiter brought out yummy bread and then the oysters, which really were the highlight of our dinner. They were so fresh and tasty that we were done with our two dozen in a flash. My gf usually can't eat too many oysters because the oyster taste starts to get to her after awhile. However, these oysters were so fresh that we decided to order another dozen! Honestly, I still can't get over what a deal these were (which is why they probably smartened up and changed the deal to only a half dozen).
Then my soup came out, which was a mushroom soup. Really tasty but small portioned. Then out came my lobster and my gf's steak. The lobster was great, too, and my gf enjoyed her steak and fries. The portions aren't very big, but after all our oysters and bread, we were pretty satisfied. Finally, it was the dessert - once again, yummy but small. Overall, though, we had a great meal and were pleasantly surprised by our experience. Definitely recommended but it's just unfortunate that they might have changed their oyster deal. Oh well, it's still a great restaurant and we might just have to try the dining room side next time (which is a set three-course menu for $39). However, we were so impressed by the prices and food in the Champagne Lounge that we might just stick with it again next time! (Fyi, they also have free valet parking, which is handy because there's not that much parking around.)
If you're in Whistler, I highly recommend trying out Bearfoot Bistro - it won't disappoint!
We had a chance to go here during the holdiays, and there are no words to describe the energy in the room. From the staricase showcasing their amazing wine cellar, to the smiles around this place, aims to please, and with perfection!! From the foie gras and scallops, to the lamb, the marriage of flavors was impeccable. Will be planning another trip there soon.
Amazing place! Treated like royalty here...
I ordered the seared rare ahi tuna with shitake mushroom shavings. It was simply delectable, and you got quite a lot for the price. My Mom had some fantastic champagne and overall the experience was simply amazing. Highly reccomended.
Definetly will be back next time we're in Whistler.
Recommended to us by our concierge. The food was exceptional and very creative. Loved the soy "pop rocks"!!! We were told that their chef won the "top canadian chef" title. Service was great too, professional but friendly. Great wine list, one of the best we've seen (And we've been to French Laundry, Mina, Aureole, etc...). As recommended by our concierge, we sabered champagne in the wine cellar, lots of fun. We went back the next day for oysters at the bar. Best restaurant in Whistler.
The owner is mad (in a good way). He took us down to the wine cellar and taught us how to open a wine bottle with a sword! The food imo is the best in Whistler. Everything was done to perfection. I found the chairs rather uncomfortable and it seems the owner designed them or something like that. He told me everything is the way he wanted it. Someone I respected him for it, even if my posterior did not. Will return.
I had dinner at the Bearfoot bistro a couple weekends ago. I had heard it was good. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their wine list is way too expensive, and for such a huge list I found it disappointing that they were "out of stock" on the bottle I chose. ( La Frenz Cab) The food started out good, the appetizers were actually quite nice, we finished them & I was eagerly awaiting the mains.............for the first hour. By about an hour & 15 minutes later I was beginning to get annoyed, our wine was almost gone ( along with our invisible waiter ) and we still hadn't had our main course. When I flagged down the server & mentioned to him that the food seemed to be taking too long, he corrected me & told me that at the " Bearfoot Bistro" people come to "dine" & enjoy the ambiance. He was not apologetic for the huge delay, in fact he was condescending and rude towards me. When we finally got our mains , the food was not good at all, my elk was blue rare & my wife's food was almost cold. By this point we just wanted to get through the 3 course menu & get out of there so we choked it down , crossed our fingers & waited for dessert. Dessert came and it was worse than the mains. We didn't even eat it. As the server cleared our half full dessert plates he didn't even bother to quality check. Bottom line : don't go there.......head over to Apres or Araxi instead.
Quite simply, the Bearfoot serves the best food in Canada and perhaps in North America and I say this having eaten in all the top rated restaurants in London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Montreal.
Melissa Craig gets the best out of excellent ingredients and produces inventive dishes that are full of depth but never over-complicated.
The servers are cheerful, relaxed and knowledgable.
Having read positive reviews and recommendations over the years, a small group of us were eager to dine at the Bearfoot Bistro. What followed was a very disappointing meal, due to high expectations, the cost of the meal versus value, and sub-par service.
Great service can save a mediocre meal, and bad service can taint good food. In our case, we fell into the bad service category though there were also some mishaps with the food.
I feel that the evening got off to a bad start when we were pegged as low spenders. Bearfoot is renowned for their wine list, but a fine dining establishment should still provide good service regardless of the potential tip at the end. Especially when other tables in clear view are getting better treatment.
We were never offered ice water, and no one came around to fill our glasses with bottled water other than the first pour. When we wanted to order wine to go with the entrees, it was hard to get someone's attention and when he did get to our table, it was obvious that he did not want to be there once he saw that we only wanted to get cheaper by the glass wines.
For the most part the food was quite good and there were a few great dishes in the mix, but it was overpriced in light of the accompanying service and a few minor mishaps (i.e. grit in one of the seafood dishes).
If the service had been up to expectations, then it could have been a good evening despite the high price (we could have chalked it up to the tourist markup and happily paid the bill). As it was, we left feeling like we paid good money to be treated like second class citizens. It may be that this was a statistically anomaly for them that happened to hit many low points, but I won't be giving them a second chance.
My wife and I celebrated our anniversary in Whistler in 2005 and chose Bearfoot Bistro for dinner. It was one of those rare dining experiences where everything comes together perfectly - you are at the apex of appetite just before you get over-hungry, the sun is just going down outside the window, the kitchen gets the food just right, the wine is paired to perfection, and the servers manage to find the exact balance between being attentative and ignoring you. I have referred to this meal to friends as quite possibly the finest dinner I have ever had.
The highs - The decor is simple but cosy, and I love the wine crate covers on the walls (mmm... Far Niente...). I started my 5 courses with a seafood dish paired with a wonderful riesling before moving onto an incredible foi gras matched with a sauterne that blew my socks off. All of this was just foreplay for the caribou, cleverly served with a port, of all things. One bite and sip convinced me that I had just eaten the finest combination of food and beverage in my life. My wife kept things more simple and went for a seafood starter before the lobster special, paired with a crisp white, which was also excellent. Service was outstanding. At one point, the waiter poured me a glass of wine that was not on the "by the glass" menu, simply because "it is the best pairing for your course".
The lows - none.
I have not been back yet, partly because it's in Whistler but partly because it was the kind of meal that you don't want to ruin the memory of with a potentially second-rate second visit. This is ridiculous of course, so I plan on returning in the spring for a vacation. Bring on the caribou and port!