* Click here for rating key
Araxi Restaurant Restaurant Review: A sibling to Vancouver's CinCin, Blue Water Café, and West restaurants, Araxi is both a de facto refuge for après skiers (there's an outdoor bar) and a sought-after summer outpost. Chef James Walt is the force behind the “100-mile” menus that showcase locally sourced ingredients. The seafood and oyster bar serves an extravagant two-tiered tower piled with oysters, spot prawns, Dungeness crab, Arctic char and more (be sure to check out the year-round daily oyster specials offered between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.). An inventive small-plates menu includes Canada Prime beef tartare and a Dungeness crab sushi roll, while mains list a prosciutto-wrapped rabbit leg with fresh rabbit sausage, butternut squash purée, smoked rutabaga and Brussels sprouts. Similar inventive touches show in the pan-roasted Yarrow Meadows duck breast with chili, garlic and shallot broccoli, and crisp Parmesan polenta. Aaron Heath's smaller scale desserts are intense. Among the standouts are hazelnut donuts with dulce de leche dipping sauce, spiced hot chocolate and poached Okanagan pears, and Valrhona chocolate fondant with milk chocolate Earl Grey tea ice cream. There are also sweet boxes to-go featuring petits fours, handcrafted chocolates or macarons. The wine list overseen by wine director Samantha Rahn features an array of Champagnes and local and imported vintages, plus some rare finds. Restaurant director Neil Henderson and the knowledgeable staff are consummate hosts.