Before trekking out to Whitehorse I had asked one of my colleagues for some recommendations. Funny thing was, for one reason or another, I was only able to go to a couple of her recommendations. Despite this, I am happy to report that I had some wonderful meals in Whitehorse and ensured that I still hit local establishments.
My best experience was at The Wheelhouse Waterfront Dining restaurant. It was the last place I was able to enjoy a meal before returning home. It is the fancier and pricier restaurant in town, but I loved the ambience of the antique tins and wooden crates from all across Canada and the nautical elements.
In terms of the food, I had never had Artic char before. Their grill offering came with quinoa, which was putting me off. Thankfully they allowed me to substitute it with the braised mushroom rice that normally comes with their duck confit dish. I did not receive the bruschetta that is listed on the menu, perhaps because of my rice substitution. Instead, my meal came with a side of vegetables. All together it was a superb dish! The Artic char was a hefty fillet topped with herb butter and arugula. My friend and I agreed that it tasted less like salmon and was more similar in texture to tuna. It was cooked well, moist, even without the herb butter. The braised mushroom rice was a great pairing to the Artic char. The rice wasn’t heavy and its flavour did not overpower the fish. There were ample mushrooms, which I can appreciate. The vegetables were orange carrots, purple beets, and red peppers. Adding a bit of the herb butter to them made them very enjoyable and I was able to eat everything on my plate. This is particularly noteworthy considering I almost never eat beets!
Next up is our first unexpected surprise, brought to us by a colleague who was also working the event I was at. The Gold Pan Saloon is very much what one would imagine a sports bar to be, a long bar that wrapped around half the space, multiple screens featuring different sports (I stopped counting at five), but still a substantial seating area. Lunch was hopping on both days that we attended, a Friday and a Sunday. My first visit I had the seafood board which included deep fried mussels, shrimp, calamari, with sourdough bread and two dipping sauces. It also included salsa fresco which helped lighten the deep fried factor. We debated if it was too much food for one person, but since a woman at a nearby table had ordered it and did not seem to be having any trouble we decided not to split the dish. I enjoyed the variety and tapas-style offering. I savoured the chili sauce because there was a hint of heat, it was not sweet, and it had enough vinegar to act as a counterpoint to the taste of the mussels and calamari. My second visit I ordered the salmon burger. The patty retained the natural flavour of the salmon with a hint of dill and lemon without taking away its innate juiciness. Two not-so positive comments I have about the Gold Pan Saloon is that it is a pricier lunch (even considering we are talking about Whitehorse) and they aren’t consistent in their kitchen. The first visit my colleague was able to get a half-and-half order of salad and fries. When I tried the same thing on my second visit, I was told no and just got a full salad.
A couple of other honourable mentions include The Deck and Legends. At The Deck my friend and I split their Deck sampler and a two-piece fish and chips dish. You can probably sense by now that I love ordering a bunch of things so I can try a lot more dishes. We really liked the fish dish. The batter was light with great taste and the fries were very easy to munch on, not overly salty, nor oily. On the other hand, the sampler was a good amount of food, but nothing that stood out. It was the first time I had a jalapeno slammer, which was a jalapeno with goat cheese inside and bacon wrapped around it. It wasn’t spicy and the bacon definitely made it easier to eat the jalapeno. The wings and ribs were overdone so I didn’t enjoy the meat as much as I expected to.
Legends had good breakfasts at reasonable prices. I had all of my three breakfasts there because of my work schedule and location. For my first breakfast, I loved the bannock over bread option, although it was a denser bannock than I’ve had before. My second breakfast was a great bagel sandwich, where the bagel was soft, and having two types of meats, Canadian ham and bacon was standard and were not oily at all. Finally for breakfast three, being able to substitute more sausage links when I didn’t want to eat eggs anymore to accompany my large pancakes filled me up as I knew I wouldn’t be able to have lunch that day until much later than normal.
I hope that I am able to return to Whitehorse one day as there were so many other places that I wanted to taste their food fare.