Whistler can be very expensive, especially if you are a family and all love to ski or snowboard! We have been skiing in Whistler for 17 years. My four kids have grown up skiing and snowboarding on Whistler Mountain. We have a home there and spend many weeks a year enjoying Whistler in the winter and summer.
You can’t really do much about the cost of lift tickets, ski or snowboard equipment or food on the mountain. However, you can manage other costs so that you can do the activities that you love while in Whistler.
Cheap Eats Please!
One obvious answer is food! There are many exceptional restaurants in Whistler. Some are very expensive but they offer some of the best service and fine dining that you will find anywhere in the world. My husband and I regularly treat ourselves to these experiences and truly treasure them.
However, Whistler also has some excellent inexpensive restaurants which I would happily recommend.
How do I define inexpensive? Where you can go and eat for less than $15 USD per person. Now, let’s be realistic about this! You are not going to get five star service or ambience in most of these Whistler restaurants. Odds are table service will be rare, but not unheard of and seating may be a little tight. However, I have eaten at every single one of these Whistler restaurants and have walked away with a good meal and a full stomach.
For those with children, all of these Whistler restaurants would work. However, if you need a high chair or booster seat, you may need to contact the restaurant to see what they offer. Finally, some of these restaurants have a liquor license while others do not. If that is important to you, please double check before you go.
Whistler Village does have fast food like a Macdonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken. These choices would obviously be inexpensive, but do not fit my definition of quality food. Accordingly, you will not find them on this list, but are available if you choose.
Remember any photos below with menus and food prices are in Canadian dollars. The exchange rate is constantly changing but if you reduce the price by approximately 25%, you will get the ballpark cost of the food in US dollars.
Whistler Restaurants in Whistler Village only
These Whistler restaurants are all located in Whistler Village. There are other worthy inexpensive restaurants elsewhere, but for the purposes of this article, I have only focused on restaurants in the Village. I will list them in geographic order from the Market Place parking lot (where the IGA and liquor store are located) to the base of Whistler Mountain. In essence, from one end of the pedestrian walking zone to the other.
1. Pasta Lupina
Pasta Lupina is an Italian restaurant with a simple menu that focuses on pasta dishes. This is one of the Whistler restaurants where you can find table service although it does not accept reservations. It has a basic wine and beer menu. The dining room shares its space with the deli counter so it has a relaxed casual vibe. The deli offers fresh uncooked pasta, pasta sauces and pizza dough for home cooking and its website offers cooking instructions. This is a fantastic choice after a busy day of skiing in the winter, or hiking and biking in the summer.
2. Shred Salad Bar
Shred Salad Bar is a new eatery for salad bar or wrap enthusiasts. This establishment is self serve and take out focused. It only has one table for dining in. At the moment, it closes at 7:00 pm so this would be a better lunch place rather than dinner. If you are craving a large salad filled with many sophisticated as well as day to day ingredients of your choice, then this is the place for you.
3. La Cantina
La Cantina is a popular Mexican restaurant that offers enormous servings of authentic Mexican cuisine. Add in a frozen margarita, and you may never want to leave. This is one of the Whistler restaurants that offers modified table service. Order at the bar and then, find a seat, relax and food will be served. Seating is on bar stools, some with your own table while others are side by side along a counter top. This is a busy, bustling eating establishment that is very well priced.
This is a total cheat! IGA is not a restaurant but the largest supermarket in Whistler. I am including it because it has a large prepared food section with high quality food at very reasonable prices. There isn’t any seating so everything is take out. If you are heading up the mountain to ski or bike (in the summer), or going on a picnic in the summer, I would highly recommend stopping by the IGA. You can save a lot of money by pre-purchasing sandwiches and snacks for your day. There are also a lot of hot food choices for lunch or dinner. In British Columbia, alcohol is not sold in grocery stores. However, the liquor store is across the parking lot.
5. El Furniture Warehouse
Out of all the Whistler restaurants on my list, El Furniture Warehouse offers the best “complete” package. Every food item on the menu is priced at $5.95 CAD or around $4.75 USD. There is a full bar with reasonably priced alcoholic beverages. There is lots of seating inside and out (on warm days), and around the bar. It is located on a corner overlooking the pedestrian zone for excellent people watching. In the summer, street performers are often found just outside. As you can imagine, this is a popular spot.
6. Avalanche Pizza
Avalanche Pizza is definitely one of the more casual Whistler restaurants that I am going to recommend. It is centrally located in the middle of the walking zone. Like most pizza restaurants, it is self serve. You can purchase by the slice or order a whole pizza. Seating is offered both inside and on the patio. At $3.50 CAD per slice (or $2.75 USD), this restaurant is a good option for a quick, easy and delicious meal.
7. Gone Eatery
Gone Eatery is a casual, yet wholesome restaurant tucked away inside the book store. It is self serve but with lots of inside seating. The menu is filled with homemade and nutritious comfort food designed to fill you up. This restaurant is a longtime locals’ favourite and would be an excellent choice for those looking for quality healthy food at very reasonable prices.
Zog’s is my cheekiest recommendation of all the Whistler restaurants on my list. The menu is largely hamburgers, hot dogs and fries. However, the food is really good and tasty! I feel that everyone should swing by at some point during their stay in Whistler and treat themselves to something from this menu. If you have always wanted to try poutine, this is where you should go! This is the closest restaurant near the base of Whistler Mountain from my list. It is completely outdoors and open all year long.
There are a lot of phenomenal Whistler restaurants with impressive menus and excellent service. However, many of them come with expensive prices. Are these restaurants worth the cost? Absolutely! My husband and I have spent decades eating in Whistler, most of the time treating ourselves to the delicacies offered there.
However, that is not the only way to eat in Whistler. Everyone can have a great meal there, even if you are on a budget. You might have to sacrifice table service or candlelights, but you won’t have to sacrifice nutrition or delicious tasting food.
If you are visiting Whistler in the summer and want recommendations about what to do, please read my article A Whistler Summer in Canada: 10 Of My Favourite Things To Do.
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