Terra-cotta tiles, well-chosen antiques, and original artwork create a vibrantly chic atmosphere for what has always been one of Whistler's top fine-dining restaurants. Local farmers grow produce exclusively for Araxi's chef, who also makes good use of regional cheeses, game, and fish. The food is fresh and innovative, best described as Pacific Northwest cuisine with a nod to Italy. Seafood is a specialty, so while you can certainly order a superbly prepared beef tenderloin, it's dishes like alder-smoked Arctic char or handmade pasta with wild prawns, scallops, and mussels that steal the show. The two-tier seafood tower is a must-try for seafoodies who love to graze and share. Wine aficionados take note: the wine list is 27 pages long. A heated patio is open in summer, and the lounge is a popular afternoon and après-ski spot, especially for its oyster bar.
Oct 20, 2014
My spouse and I dined at Araxi for dinner on a Thursday evening in early August 2014. We made a reservation using the Open Table reservation system, which was a necessity because Araxi is one of the most popular restaurants in Whistler. Araxi is located toward the middle of the Village Stroll (in the Village Square), near the grocery store and the liquor store. Araxi is open for weekend brunch and daily dinner. Araxi is located in the Blackcomb Hotel
and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The classy indoor seating area includes tables, a raw bar, and a long regular bar. White tablecloths, silver flatware, and glassware abounds. A raised flagstone patio provides outdoor seating. Umbrellas top the tables, and the restaurant provides heaters and blankets, too. Araxi is part of the Toptable restaurant group, which includes Araxi in Whistler and Blue Water Cafe, CinCin, West, and Thierry in Vancouver. The chef at Araxi is James Walt, who has cooked at the James Beard House in New York City and holds other notable commendations. Even though we had a reservation to dine at Araxi, we waited approximately 15 minutes before the hostess sat us. The hostess first directed us to a high-top table in the outdoor bar area, but we chose to sit at the outdoor bar itself, which provided disappointing service. We searched for the bartender to order drinks, then tracked him down to request the complimentary popcorn that he provided to the guests sitting at the indoor part of the bar, then located him to request our check, and so on. Because we actually sat AT the bar, he should have always been present. Immediately after the hostess seated us at a table on the edge of the patio, a server delivered crusty bread and oil to our table while we perused the menu. First, we shared a beet salad, which was a combination of red and yellow beets accompanied by mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, and pecans, and arranged beautifully on the long, thin rectangular plate. For one of our entrees, we ordered scallops, which the chef served atop bright orange carrots and vibrant green snap peas, accented by crispy prosciutto. Fabulous! Even more delicious (although not as colorful) was our second entree, beef cheeks accompanied by cauliflower and potato puree. The presentation of our appetizer and entrees was fantastic, and worthy of any fine-dining restaurant in any big city. For dessert, we shared Pemberton Farms cherries accompanied by house-made sour cream ice cream. (The ice cream was amazing! We can still taste it months later!) When our server delivered our, some mignardises accompanied it, which lent an air of sophistication to the restaurant service. Our meal at Araxi was one of the best meals that we ate during our 10-day trip to the Pacific Northwest. The food at Araxi was delicious, the presentation was stellar, and the service was good (which could have been great if not for that bartender!).