This past weekend, my wife and I went up to Whistler for a ski fix and to give its food scene a look/taste.  After a some research, we settled on Alta Bistro, a nice little place in the Lower Village.

After a long day of skiing, we were famished and actually showed up 30 minutes early to the restaurant in the hopes that they could accommodate us.  “No problem” was the answer, and we were ushered to our seats by the affable waiter.  Once seated, we were greeted by our main waitress, who walked us through the menu.

Why, hello there...

Alta has two set courses:  one at $29 and one at $39.  They are available online, and though they don’t look like much, they are excellent value in every sense.  While we decided on what to eat, we ordered some cocktails.  My wife had the delicious Hemmingway Dacquiri, while I had the Boulevardier.  I have to say that the Boulevardier was a rather stiff drink.  That stuff will put so much hair on your chest you’ll feel like Robin Williams.  But I digress…

We opted for the $39 menu.  We both started with the lovely Miyagi oysters which were creamy smooth and ocean fresh.  A great way to start the meal.

Next up was the house-made duck liver parfait, smoked duck rillettes, rye and molasses breadcrumbs, and lemon balm.  The dish was served on a rustic-looking cutting board, and you are invited to mix and match the ingredients to your liking.  I found the duck liver parfait to be wonderfully veloury.  Liver can taste a little tinny/bitter if prepared poorly, but this stuff was so well prepared I wished I had a tube full of it so I could carry it around 24/7.

Angus Beef Love

The final course for me was the Angus Beef Bavette, which involved numerous, thick cuts of beef accompanied with, amongst other things, swiss chard, beets, chard and sunchokes.  The meat was rare/medium-rare, which is just how I liked it.  It wasn’t overly seasoned and the taste of the beef went well with the earthiness of the winter vegetables.  Again, a big “thumbs up” to the kitchen for preparing the swiss chard so expertly.  They managed to maintain the integrity of the taste and texture, without it being rough and difficult to eat/digest.  The portion size of this dish was just right, and by the end of this very enjoyable meal we actually had to say no to dessert.

Our entire experience was really heightened by Alta Bistro’s atmosphere.  It has a quiet, informal kind of charm, highlighted by the tasteful lighting, murmur of conversations, and ski-inspired art work.  All members of the waitstaff were very friendly, knowledgeable, interested in the food they served, and passionate about all the kitchen had to offer.

It has been a while since I’ve had such a pleasant dinner experience.  I would definitely recommend coming to Alta Bistro, and would absolutely come back again, if only to soak up the atmosphere (and a drink or two…).
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