Location, location, location
With an address right in the heart of Whistler village Araxi is both well known and well visited.  The restaurant has an international reputation and now its own cookbook.  Chef Gordon Ramsey even sent the winner of last year’s Hells Kitchen to work here for the 2010 Olympics.  Despite all of the accolades we had been to Araxi twice in the past and while the food was very good the service and the servers themselves (cool as a cucumber) did not make as feel welcome.

The Bar at Araxi
We made a reservation for 8:15 but decided to arrive at 7:30 and sit in the bar for a cocktail since it was too cold outside to enjoy the spacious and well-set patio.  We did think about sitting at the outside bar (which faces in) under a heater but the few bar spaces were already accompanied when we arrived.  The bar itself has about 20 seats with an additional 5 or 6 tables all with a view of the Raw Bar where you can watch the chef preparing various sushi rolls, sashimi, and oysters for the restaurant.  The Cadillac Margarita served martini style was a great start.

Dine in Whistler
Many of Whistler’s restaurants were participating in Dine In Whistler, Araxi included, that ran until June 30th and offered 3 course price fix menus.  Tara chose this option, which was based on local ingredients, and ordered the pea shoot soup with crème fraiche, the spinach and ricotta gnocchi and the crusted halibut.  The soup was good but the shoots so long that a knife and fork were required.  The gnocchi was delicious served in a wine sauce and topped with roasted nuts.  The crust of the halibut was a bit over done but the fish was great and the red and white quinoa underneath made a nice addition.  Jeff had the Ribeye of Bison topped with a Qualicum Bay scallop.  The Ribeye was well cooked and tender and the scallop excellent.  As an additional side we had the house cut truffle fries (hand cut fries tossed in truffle oil and topped with finely grated cheese) which are now on our favorites list!  A bottle of Gipsie Jack 2005 Pinot Noir was a great accompaniment.  Over all the food was very good and very well presented.  Our only complaint was again the lack of any ‘engagement’ from the server what so ever.  But perhaps this is their intent?

With no room for desert we headed to the lounge at the Fairmont (another of our favorite spots).  Our experience at Araxi was much improved from our previous visits but we still wish the servers would ‘lighten up’ a little.  It is Whistler you know!

Araxi on Urbanspoon

Update: We received a call from Steve one of the floor Managers at Araxi today (July 12th) who wanted to apologize for the lack of engagement we had with our server during this visit. It was very much appreciated and we look forward to meeting him and dining again at Araxi on our next visit to Whistler.