Cinnamon Bear Grille: delicious and affordable Whistler dining
If you think eating out at Whistler means double the price for half the quality, glide your ski buns over to the Cinnamon Bear Grille for some healthy and affordable eats. Located in the Hilton Whistler in the Village, steps from the Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas, the Cinnnamon Bear is tucked into a cozy space with a fireplace and and one window overlooking the outdoor pool (when snowing, multiply the cozy-factor times ten).
Not content to serve ordinary hotel restaurant fare, executive chef Julian Owen-Mold spends his days scouring local farmer's markets for the freshest in produce, meat and seafood. While his Whistler guests are shredding powder on local mountains, Owen-Mold and pastry chef Karine Dubreuil are whipping up delicacies from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. Even the wine list reflects the local focus drawing heavily on moderately priced BC and California wines.
On a recent visit to the Cinnamon Bear Grille, the local delicacies began early with the Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese and Beet salad. The salad comes in a very shareable portion and thankfully, my colleague and I didn't have to fight over the cheese, since there's lots. The citrusy dressing with hints of coriander and cinnamon in the candied pecans was very satisfying and make this salad a great starter. For a light meal, pair it with the spicy BC octopus carpaccio strewn with salty caperberries and the tataki of albacore tuna with beet paint, seaweed and yuzu vinaigrette.
If however, after a day on the slopes "light meal" isn't going to cut it, move on over to the mains.
Both the beef short-rib and roasted ling cod we ordered arrived in ample portions and were priced at $26. The short-rib was just like mom used to make (minus the foie gras butter, that is) and fell apart at first fork contact. Swimming in an unctuous madeira sauce and accompanied by a fistful of french green beans and a slab of pommes dauphinois (aka scalloped potatoes), this is Sunday dinner cuisine at its best.
Roasted Ling Cod
The moist and flavourful filet of BC ling cod arrived atop homemade arugula gnocchi and a smattering of tender veggies. It's hard to say which was more enjoyable, the succulent gnocchi or the in-season, perfectly cooked brussels sprouts.
If you're thinking of skipping dessert, think again. One of the highlights of the meal are pastry chef Karine Dubrueil's lemon sablés and homemade ice cream and gelato in a crazy amount of different flavours. Try the poached pear to sample the vanilla gelato or the blueberry cobbler for the lavender ice cream. If it's just the ice cream you're after, order it from the kids' dessert menu for only $6.
For breakfast at the Cinnamon Bear Grille, the made-to-order omelettes are the way to go.
Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa
4050 Whistler Way
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4 Canada
Tel: 604-932-1982 | Fax: 604-966-5093