Whistler, BC – Staying & Dining at Nita Lake Lodge (Lunch at Cure Lounge & Patio)

Follow Me Foodie to Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler!

Eat. Sleep. Play.

No, they can’t possibly show it all themselves, but thank goodness I can help! That video makes even me want to move to BC… and I live here already. When it’s not raining it really looks like that especially up in Whistler, but unfortunately it rains a lot. However we need that pouring rain to give us lush forests, glaciers and nature.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (14)Stunning. I swear I didn’t alter the photo and I took that picture behind a window with a point and shoot too. That’s a raw image and it doesn’t even capture all the beauty Nita Lake has to offer. I’m no photographer, but that’s almost postcard worthy!

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (7.2) (Custom)I am not a frequent traveler of Whistler yet as to why I had no idea about the rustic, yet elegant Nita Lake Lodge. I was hosted here last weekend for the Araxi Longtable Series at Lost Lake and The Canadian BBQ Championships, and after discovering it I was a bit surprised how much this luxury resort flies under the radar. This intimate boutique hotel is no secret, and it’s ideal for couples or families who want to really relax and getaway. It is quite sophisticated so I found it more for adults, although they have facilities and activities for guests of all ages. Complimentary kayaks and canoes can be used right on the lake for leisurely paddling since it’s a smaller lake, and complimentary bikes can be rented for the many trails around the area.

It is located in Whistler’s Creekside which is a 5 minute drive from Whistler Village, so it might not be as convenient for those looking to be in the middle of all the action. However, they have a complimentary shuttle upon request which takes you to and from the village, or wherever you need to go in the Whistler area within reasonable distance, so it’s quite accommodating although it ends at 11pm. Night owls will have to take a cab, but if you have your own car, a bonus is they offer complimentary parking for guests too.

Being slightly off the beaten path they have to compete with Whistler Village, so they make it as convenient as possible for their guests. They really try to provide everything at the lodge. There is even a yoga studio and of course spa, but I was a little more curious about their restaurants. No surprise there, although Nita Lake Lodge was, and so were their restaurants.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (15)Nita Lake Lodge has three restaurants. Fix Cafe is their casual pay at cashier restaurant featuring a selection of house made baked goods, local 49th Parallel coffee (excellent coffee which is also featured in their rooms), and a limited selection of ready made sandwiches and soups. Cure Lounge is their casual all day restaurant featuring snacks, burgers, salads and sandwiches, and Aura Restaurant is their upscale dining option only open for dinner. Cure and Aura are beside each other and they share the same patio, but the indoor dining is in separate rooms. All of the restaurants feature Pacific Northwest cuisine which is predictable considering the context of them being in a hotel/resort in Whistler.

The Executive Chef at Nita Lake Lodge is Michael Guy, who is a farm-to-table advocate when it comes to his menus. His roof top garden supplies the lettuces, herbs, garnishes and some produce for the restaurants. Given the size of the garden and the restaurants, not everything can be grown and sourced here, so he purchases a good amount from local farmers and markets he supports. The menus are culturally and ethnically inspired so not all the ingredients are local, but it showcases his style well. Read more about my thoughts on the “eat local” movement here.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (7)I only just discovered these restaurants, so I went in neutral and ended up being pleasantly surprised. I was hosted for brunch at Aura and had lunch on my own time at Cure Lounge. Both were actually pretty good and affordable considering the context (not typical luxury hotel pricing). I haven’t had dinner here yet, but I would certainly try it and the view is worth coming for alone. The Nita Lake view is up there along with Rainbow Park, North Arm Farms, and Lost Lake, and if you are not staying here then at least visit for one dining experience.

Aura-RestaurantPhoto from where.ca

Restaurant: Aura Restaurant (Brunch post)
Cuisine: Pacific Northwest/Fine dining
Last visited: August 4, 2013
Location: Whistler, BC (Creekside)
Address: 2131 Lake Placid Rd
Transit: Westbound Lake Placid NS Sarajevo
Phone: (604) 966-5700
Price range: $10-20 for brunch/lunch, $30-50+ for dinner

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: 4 (for brunch)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 5
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • Modern fine dining
  • Pacific Northwest cuisine
  • Executive Chef Michael Guy
  • Farm to table ingredients
  • Seasonal menus
  • Sophisticated/elegant
  • Patio seating
  • Special occasions
  • Set menus available
  • Gluten free friendly
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Wines/cocktails
  • Breakfast Sat.- Sun. 7.00am to 10.00am
  • Brunch Sunday 10.00am to 1.00pm
  • Dinner Wednesday to Sunday 6.00pm to 9.00pm
  • Twitter: @NitaLakeLodge

**Recommendations: Pork Belly & Fried Egg Sandwich

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (7)It’s worth showing again isn’t it?!

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (1.2)Cure and Aura are beside each other and they share the same patio, but the indoor dining is in separate rooms. You can enjoy this patio for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

On the table:

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (23)Left to right: Banana Bread, Vegan, Pumpkin & Coconut Loaf, Zucchini Blueberry Loaf, and Brownies. These were from Fix Cafe (discussed below), but they brought them up for us to sample at brunch. I had one of each and then two of the vegan, pumpkin and coconut loaf, and two of the zucchini blueberry loaf. It wasn’t because they were “the best” of the four, but those ones appealed to me most and I ended up liking them most.

I even went to Fix Cafe after to buy slices of the pumpkin and zucchini loaf home, but I enjoyed the banana bread and brownie too. The brownie was actually excellent and they rivaled famed ones at Purebread in Whistler Village. They also offer gluten free versions of their banana bread and brownie.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (29)Spiced Tomato and Sausage Ragout – 3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • Lamb merguez sausage cooked in a hearty stew of potatoes, tomato, spinach, chickpeas & cilantro, topped with two soft poached eggs…..available without lamb $14.75
  • The ragout was part tagine (North African meat stew), part ratatouille (Provençal stewed vegetable dish), and part Shakshuka (Middle Eastern breakfast featuring eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce).
  • It wasn’t authentic to anything, but Pacific Northwest in style.
  • This was the most “dinner” sounding item for brunch, and although hearty, it wasn’t that rich.
  • I think the lamb merguez was made in house and it was pretty good and slightly spicy, but the flavours were not infused into the stew.
  • It tasted Mediterranean and olive oil based rather than butter or meat stock based, so it still seemed light and relatively “healthy” for what it was.
  • The predominant flavour was tomato and there were some spices, but the bold flavours were mainly coming from the lamb merguez.
  • It was a pretty soupy dish so I wished it came with cous cous or bread to soak up the sauce with.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (30)Runny Egg Yolk Series photo! The eggs were nice and runny and the yolks contributed to the sauce.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (25)Fraser Valley Pork Belly Sandwich - n/a

  • Slow cooked pork with bacon, hot house tomato, baby arugula, white cheddar, sunny side egg & smoked tomato jam on a pretzel bun with a green salad. $14.25
  • The pork belly was slow cooked, tender and pan fried so a bit crispy on the exterior. It was lovely.
  • This wasn’t my order so I only tried a bite and therefore I can’t “rate” it or say much more about it.
  • I don’t like writing about a dish based on taste.
  • However based on that bite I wanted to change my order and it seemed like the brunch “winner”.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (28)Banana Bread French Toast3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • House made gluten free banana bread with real whipped cream

    (1/2 order in photo, full order $11)

  • I wanted to try this so I ordered it as a side and had it for “brunch dessert”.
  • I’m not sure how the full portion looks, but based on the sample I liked it.
  • I wasn’t blown away since banana bread French Toast is quite common nowadays and something you can do at home, but the banana bread was good.
  • It was moist, dense and not too sweet, but I like mine with lots of nuts which is personal preference.
  • I think they could have done a lot more with this since banana bread is just banana bread, but I still liked it.
  • It didn’t taste gluten free in a good way and it wasn’t missing that middle note in texture.
  • I’m not sure if those strawberries are local because the season ended a while ago, but I did see some local strawberries at the grocery store in Whistler which surprised me.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (24)Gluten Free “Green Pancakes” n/a

  • Greens and Rootdown Organic Farm kale infused pancakes topped with berry sauce, acai powder, strawberry agave syrup, toasted almonds & golden berries $13.75
  • I mentioned gluten free as one of my 10 Food Trends I Want to See Die in 2013, but this I was really curious about and it sounded amazing.
  • It wasn’t my order so I only had a bite, which isn’t enough to “rate” or actually write much more about it.
  • Again, I don’t like writing about a dish based on taste.
  • However based on that bite I couldn’t taste the greens or kale infused in the pancakes.
  • The pancakes kind of tasted normal, but I could tell they were gluten free because they were missing that middle note in texture.
  • They were soft and tender pancakes, but I wished they used quinoa flour and millet for texture, and I was hoping for more kale presence.
  • There weren’t quite enough almonds for the stack of pancakes, and it would have been great to have the berries folded in the pancake batter too.
  • My bite didn’t seem too dessert like, but I did want more flavour from the pancakes themselves and it kind of relied on the berry sauce for flavour.

Aura Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 Fix Cafe at Nita Lake Lodge

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (22)Fix Cafe (open 7am-6pm daily) does not offer the Nita Lake view since it is located in front of the lodge. There are seats, but it’s more “grab n’ go” and good if you’re planning a picnic, quick and casual lunch, or snack. I stocked up on their Vegan Pumpkin and Coconut loaf and Zucchini Blueberry loaf although their brownies were good. They have a very small selection of house made ice cream and ice cream sandwiches as well.

Fix Cafe is a bit of a local secret too. They actually supply a lot of the cafes in Whistler Village and the breads at Alta Bistro. This summer they started putting on a community “Fix BBQ” every Friday 4-8 pm featuring house made sausage or veggie burger, condiments and selection of salads for $10 on their Fix patio.

Fix Cafe on Urbanspoon

 Cure Lounge & Patio at Nita Lake Lodge

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (1.2)Restaurant: Cure Lounge & Patio (Lunch post)
Cuisine: Pacific Northwest/Burgers/Salads
Last visited: August 3, 2013
Location: Whistler, BC (Creekside)
Address: 2131 Lake Placid Rd
Transit: Westbound Lake Placid NS Sarajevo
Phone: (604) 966-5700
Price range: $10-20 for lunch

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: (for lunch)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 5
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • Casual lunch/snacks
  • Pacific Northwest cuisine
  • Executive Chef Michael Guy
  • Farm to table ingredients
  • Seasonal menus
  • Patio seating
  • Good for groups
  • Gluten free friendly
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Family friendly
  • Wines/cocktails
  • Breakfast Sat.- Sun. 7.00am to 10.00am
  • Brunch Sunday 10.00am to 1.00pm
  • Dinner Wednesday to Sunday 6.00pm to 9.00pm
  • Twitter: @NitaLakeLodge

**Recommendations: Chickpea Fritters, Mixed Lettuces, Thai Fish Chowder

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (1.2)The restaurant does not seem to draw a lunch time crowd, even given the gorgeous patio, but I didn’t mind because it made it nice and quiet. All I needed was the view. Lunch could use more effort, even if business is slow, because it is still a luxury lodge. It was not bad, but just quite average although very reasonably priced for the ambiance. The menu was limited and there wasn’t much selection, and it was more lounge than restaurant like the name suggested.

On the table:

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (6)**Mixed Lettuces – 4/6 (Very good)

  • Grain mustard dressing/roasted beets/beet chips/herbs/white cheddar $11
  • I normally would not order this, but when the greens are farm fresh and/or picked from their rooftop garden, then I want it.
  • I would have loved more roasted beets and 1-2 more ingredients like fresh peaches, berries, or nuts because I found it a bit repetitive.
  • It was a very simple and delicate salad, but the greens were excellent and they stole the show.
  • I can appreciate simplicity, but this was a bit too simple and it could have used a bit more even if it was just edible flowers.
  • The beet chips were good for texture and I enjoyed the salad as a side more so than as a main.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (5)**Spiced Chickpea Fritters - 4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)

  • Curry mayo/spiced ketchup $6
  • This was my favourite thing I ordered.
  • I’ve had a fair share of chickpea fries and so often they are dry and crumbly, but these were super moist and creamy inside.
  • The filling was almost like curried polenta, perhaps with added coconut milk, and they were well seasoned and spiced.
  • The outside was crispy and lightly crusted with cornmeal and I liked the nutty texture and flavour it gave.
  • It seemed a bit redundant to serve curried chickpea fries with curry mayo, but it was still good.
  • The spiced ketchup was also good, but I think it would be nice with a mint and cilantro yogurt dip.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (3)Saffron Risotto Croquettes - 3/6 (Good)

  • Tomato Relish About $8
  • It was pretty much arancini.
  • They were crisp outside with a creamy risotto and cheesy centre inside.
  • It was predictable and delivered to the description which is a good thing.
  • I found the arugula on top a bit random though and the tomato relish might have been better as marinara served on the side for dipping.
  • I enjoyed these, but it was better enjoyed as a share plate.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (4)Calamari – 2/6 (Okay)

  • Spiced cornmeal crust/smoked paprika dip $9
  • These came recommended, otherwise I probably would have skipped it. I rarely order calamari outside of a Greek restaurant.
  • It was a pretty small plate and the rings were baby rings so I couldn’t taste much squid.
  • They were tender with a thin and crispy cornmeal crust, but they were so small that all I could taste was mostly batter.
  • I prefer the larger sized squid and I like the legs as well and not just the body.
  • I found this very average for what I think they are capable of, but I can see it being popular for people looking for a go-to snack.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (2)**Thai Fish Chowder - 4/6 (Very good)

  • Manila Clams/Mussels/Fish/Herbs $11
  • This was a pretty big shocker. Originally I ordered fresh oysters, but they ran out which was very surprising for Whistler.
  • I ordered this instead and I normally wouldn’t order Thai food at a non-Thai restaurant, but I felt like a soup.
  • This was incredibly rich in flavour and texture and it was almost like a Tom Yum Thai bisque.
  • It was very creamy, smooth, sweet, salty, tangy and spicy and it was full of flavour.
  • The mussels and clams were a bit fishy, but at least not overcooked and still safe to eat.
  • The fish was a bit overcooked, but still edible and the chowder broth was the highlight.
  • I could taste ginger, garlic, lemongrass, coconut milk, lime and Thai basil and it had the same flavours and intensity as a traditional Thai soup, but it was not traditional at all in style.
  • It was definitely a Western interpretation of Thai soup, but I didn’t care.
  • I wasn’t expecting authentic anyway and this isn’t a Thai restaurant. I just wanted good, and this exceeded expectations.
  • I actually dipped my chickpea fritters in this and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Nita Lake Lodge - Whistler (1)The Standard Burger - n/a

  • 6oz Pemberton beef patty Blue Buck BBQ sauce/smoked cheddar/arugula/roma/bacon/roasted garlic mayo. Served with salad or fries. $15
  • I didn’t get to try this, but I was surprised they used roma tomatoes instead of local heirloom tomatoes being the season.

Cure Lounge & Patio on Urbanspoon

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