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Primal Eats Tofino, BC: The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickanninish Inn

January 17, 2013

The-Pointe-Restaurant-Wickanninish-Inn

In my experience, there is typically an inverse relationship between a restaurant’s view and food quality. In short, the more beautiful the view, the crappier the food. Think of the last scenic restaurant you visited. How inspired was the food? These types of restaurants tend to be tourist traps, coasting by with their mediocre food and million dollar views.  There are, of course, exceptions – restaurants which serve terrific food, where the awesome view is simply the cherry on top. Restaurants like the The Pointe at Tofino’s Wickanninish Inn.

The first time I stood in the Pointe Restaurant dining room, I was just doing a drive by on my way out of Tofino, and wanted to satisfy my curiosity about the place I had heard so much about. I walked around the resort, and just took a quick peek into the restaurant. I was floored by the view. Picture a massive enclosed gazebo perched precariously over the jagged rocks, with the surf pounding practically at your feet, and huge weaves rolling by. You feel like you’re eating on the ocean, not by it. And if the ocean view isn’t awe-inspiring enough, you’re also treated to vies of one of Tofino’s most beloved beaches, Chesterman Beach. You see surfers’ heads bobbing in the distance, and watch as one by one they ride those powerful waves to shore. It was truly breathtaking. I knew I had to come back.

Luckily, I also knew I wouldn’t be sacrificing on the dining aspect of the visit. The awards it has garnered include: Vancouver Magazine’s Best Resort Dining, Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards (#1 in Canada).

I visited for lunch rather than dinner – I wanted daylight to soak in the views! And the views were just as phenomenal as I had remembered. I’ve never been to a restaurant with a better view than this one. I should qualify that I am most certainly a west coast gal and very partial to waves and the ocean in general.

The menu was… interesting. It had been recently revised, so it’s fairly new. I’ve never had to struggle so much to find something to eat. I can always find at least a couple of options anywhere I go. For me, it’s not just a matter of being paleo – I also don’t eat pork or fish/seafood. And in Tofino, of course the focus is seafood. But I was also surprised at how pork heavy the menu was. I finally settled on the Bourbon Barbeque Beef Brisket Bun (Smoked Brisket, Onion Rings, Mushroom Jus, Mustard Aioli, Cheddar). But even with this main, I had to sub out the onion rings, which were battered – I asked for some sautéed onions and mushrooms instead. When I asked for no bun, the server informed me that they had gluten-free bread made of rice flour. He seemed slightly baffled by my claim of not eating bread in general, and explained to me that without it, it’ll simply be a pile of meat. Perfect, I thought. But I decided to just give the bread a try to a) make things simple, b) because it is the Pointe and I was curious and c) even though I knew there’s for sure be other stuff in it other than rice, at least rice was the base. I also tried some of their fresh made juice – I believe it was a citrus strawberry blend – very nice.

Bourbon-Barbeque-Beef-Brisket-Bun,-The-Pointe-Restaurant,-Wickanninish-Inn

Let’s talk about the bread first. I ate a couple of bites to satisfy my curiosity, but then I left it alone. It tasted okay – just like toast. And it’s certainly great that there’s a gluten-free option. I can scrape the meat and sauce off, without having to worry about ingesting gluten, and also have a couple of bites for the novelty of it. But, quite honestly, I have zero interest in bread.

The brisket, on the other hand… that I quite enjoyed. IT was very tender, well-seasoned, and flavorful. And the portion size was very generous (which makes the $20 price tag easier to swallow). Just the right amount of cheese and sauce accompanied the meat. The mushroom au just was also very flavorful. And the mushrooms and onions were good. Everything tasted great and I was quite happy with the meal.

Service was friendly and helpful, but a little scarce. Our server disappeared after checking how we were enjoying the meal, never to be seen again. And so on a couple of occasions, another server needed to be flagged down. Any other time, this would be an annoyance. Here, I was quite happy to let the lunch drag on leisurely into the afternoon, wanting to absorb that view and imprint it into my memory.

The service could’ve been more attentive, and the menu more varied. But the food was tasty and overall, I was very happy with my experience. I would highly recommend everyone visiting Tofino to stop by – preferably while it’s still light out, as the view adds so much to the experience.

The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn on Urbanspoon

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron January 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

I’m with you on the bread, I’m not tempted by the GF stuff either. And if I’m going to knowingly have gluten, it ain’t gonna be in the form of a piece of bread (homemade or not). I think we might be in the minority on this one though.

You don’t eat fish/seafood? Have you written about this before and I’m just having a senior moment? I know you wrote about the pork, and that you take FCLO. Anyway, if you haven’t … a penny for your thoughts.

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admin@primalist January 19, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I’ve only ever written about it in passing, knowing that I’m fully in the minority on that particular issue… it’s basically the pollution aspect – there’s no such thing as “organic” seafood. The oceans are contaminated – toxins, mercury, you name it. Considering how careful I am with sourcing all my other food, I can’t wrap my head around consuming seafood/fish. I do believe that omega 3′s are important though, hence the FCLO, sardines, and perhaps some mackerel and wild salmon — all the fatty fish that have tons of omega 3′s and tend to be the least contaminated.

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Aaron January 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Makes total sense. I’m also very careful about sourcing the seafood I eat (mostly sardines). You want to be in a minority? … try thinking that veggies, in particular green leafy things, aren’t da bomb nutritionally speaking. I’m not out to change anyone’s point of view about them, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around their elite status.

Ah well, at least we’re not ordinary :)

admin@primalist January 20, 2013 at 10:27 PM

I definitely don’t put veggies up on a pedestal. But I was interested in Dr. Wahls’ success with a paleo diet that was very veggie-heavy. My focus is on meats, but I do try to incorporate some veggies in, just in case.

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