Size does matter: The search for the best nachos in Whistler!

After a day conquering fresh terrain and unturned tracks on Whistler Blackcomb, you and your ski peeps are hungry like the wolf and more than deserving of a mother munch down. The one and only singular menu item that your group can divide and conquer together is nachos. Sharing your stories over a tower of nachos is part of the après fun.Follow me on my own nacho taste tour to find the raddest nachos in Whistler.  Factors like size, cheese layers, toppings and price all contribute to deciding which establishment has the best nachos. Whistler has a slew of pubs, bars and restaurants that cater to the nacho fanatic (see a full list below).  These are my findings based on four of Tourism Whistler’s top picks. Stops included the Longhorn Saloon, Merlin’s, The Mexican Corner and The Mallard Lounge.
The Fiesta:When you are craving an authentic après ski fiesta complete with happy Spanish speaking people, margaritas and mucho carne, be sure to head straight to The Mexican Corner in Mountain Square.  The Mexican Corner nachos are ample in size and well worth the $22, especially if you are a carnivore.  Layer upon layer of black beans and cheese and the fact that your guacamole is included sets The Mexican Corner apart from the competition. You can max out your weekly protein intake in one sitting. Arriba!
Whether you choose the Mayan pulled pork, steamed lamb or pulled chicken, you’ll find the meat so tender it will melt in your mouth.  Remember that any nacho dish with this much meat requires digestion time before you hit the dance floor. Pairing these nachos with a Cadillac Margarita (Cuervo 1800, Grand Marnier and freshly squeezed lime juice are $15 a glass or $56 a pitcher) and a siesta are a good call if you plan on taking your après party into the wee hours.

The Big Daddy

Holding the nacho crown for 12 years in a row, Merlin’s Nacho Daddy offers the ultimate tower of power. If size alone were the deciding factor, Merlin’s would win hands down. Impressive to say the least, any group of people who can polish off a $29 plate of nachos this big in a single sitting deserves an award.  The cheese factor is notable, layering deep into every tortilla chip crevasse.  Merlin’s doesn’t skimp on the cheese needed to give their nachos its claim to fame. Size aside, toppings like olives, jalapenos and sweet red onion make an impressive presentation. However, additional extras like chicken, pork or chorizo and $3 sour cream, salsa and guac may cut into your beverage budget. Gotta love the $19 nachos for two. The signature double Caesar is the apres bevy of choice at Merlin’s, served in a mason jar and stacked to the seasoned rim with beef jerky, pickles and giant olives. If you have to choose a day of the week to party après at Merlin’s, Fridays go off! Catch Whistler’s favourite band The Hairfarmers at Merlin’s and dance off your nachos.

The Legend

Stumbling into the Longhorn Saloon and Grill from the base of Whistler is a no-brainer and wins for convenience.  When you are spent from an epic powder day, not having to go far for a party is as much of a lure as the nacho feast itself. With the best patio in town, the Longhorn Saloon is about to undergo a massive renovation.  Diehards can look forward to a patio expansion that will seat 350 people outside alone! Holy Guacamole! It’s all about atmosphere at the Longhorn. If you want to enjoy the scene, the sights and the babes, this is the place to go rip up a platter of Legendary Nachos. $20 includes basic toppings like cheese, jalapenos, olives, tomatoes and sweet onions. If size is everything, the Longhorn is only a runner-up. Not the largest on the block, the Longhorn still boasts a reasonable stack. It may not win for the largest serving but it super-sonic après vibe takes the cake.  Toppings like bacon, beef, chicken and guacamole are available as extras and a no-brainer for ski bum big spenders. If you are on a budget, splurge on a badass Bulldog and save on the toppings. A Bulldog is the Longhorn’s party in a jug. For $22 order a mini pitcher of lime margarita complete with an upside down submerged bottle of Corona. As the slush in the margarita begins to melt away, the Corona slowly seeps into the mix…a party in your mouth!  They don’t call it the legend for nothing!

Fivestar sneaky – WINNER the Raddest Nachos in Town!

If you’ve got any preconceived notions about The Fairmont Chateau Whistler and think it’s the last place to find nachos and a great vibe, think again. Not pretentious at all, The Mallard Lounge at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler not only offers the best nachos in town (in my personal opinion) but the grooviest, most comfortable après atmosphere on tour. Here’s why. After a hard day on the hill, when sizeable Wonder Routes like the Peak to Creek or Showcase T-Bar / Blackcomb Glacier made your day, so must your platter of nachos. Value, comfort, presentation and atmosphere are all big players as well, but size is key.  There is something to be said about sitting on a large comfy sofa chair and relaxing to groovy beats by barefoot artist Papa Josh after shredding hard all day.

Overall, The Mallard Lounge rocks the perfect size nacho platter complete with thick and deep cheese, heaps of traditional veggie toppings like green onions, black olives, tomatoes and cilantro.  The Nachos Grande includes guacamole at no extra charge.  Additional toppings like beef or chicken are $8 but not really necessary because of the solid and stacked base. Staff are hip and happy and will help you decide on the perfect Whistler complimentary brew.

Nachos and après go together like 2 fat powder skis. They were made to be paired. Keeping it simple with staple veggie toppings makes this a top pick.

Bottom line, when you’ve ripped hard all day and the nacho cravings have kicked in, you need to know who serves the raddest nachos in town.  If you could survive on one Whistler menu item alone – make it a tower of nachos! Try them all and decide for yourself. I did.

Additional Whistler pubs, bars and restaurants that offer nachos:

The Amsterdam Cafe Pub
Cinnamon Bear Grille
Dubh Linn Gate Pub
Dusty’s Bar and Grill
Garibaldi Lift Company
Crystal Lounge
Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar
Rolands Pub
Tapley’s Neighbourhood Pub
Westin Whistler Resort and Spa

About the author  ⁄ Stephanie Florian

Founder and fearless leader Play Outdoors Media Inc. TV and radio host, adventure journalist, surfer chick, Mom I'd like to rip with.

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