Dining at ski resorts often means having commodity cafeteria food. I happily report in this Whitefish dining review the fare at Whitefish Mountain Resort is so much more. Obviously, if your heart desires commodity cafeteria food you can find it. In addition to on-hill dining I also provide reviews of two dining spots in the town of Whitefish Montana. Loula’s Café and the Buffalo.
Whitefish Dining Review — Lunch Mostly
Our dining at Whitefish during the time we were skiing was a lunch only affair. The desire to cook and eat our own food drove our choice to rent a condo. So our breakfasts and dinners were in our condo, but we took our lunches in on-hill venues. Two lunches (and yes one lunch-dinner combo) were had in the Hellroaring Lodge and our last on-hill lunch was had at the Summit House.
Whitefish Dining Review — Hellroaring Lodge
The first day of skiing we took our lunch break at the Hellroaring Lodge. Hellroaring Lodge is easily and fearlessly accessible by skiers and non-skiers of all abilities. You will find the Hellroaring Lodge at the top of chair six and at the bottoms of the Swift Creek Express and Big Mountain Express chairlifts, so everyone can get there without fear. It is accessible on foot as well as by chair.
We appeared at the lodge probably around 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm. We had a brief wait but essentially the staff immediately seated my cousin and I. The menu was interesting and they had daily specials too. I ordered the tomato soup and a sandwich (for the life of me I can’t remember the title of that dish). I am glad to report both the soup and sandwich were definitely not “commodity cafeteria food”. I thoroughly enjoyed both the soup and the sandwich.
At this time I did not have any beer, but be certain it is available at the Hellroaring Lodge. They had one microbrew entitled “Bong Water” on tap. I contented myself to lots of water while I was skiing.
Whitefish Dining Review — The Hellroaring Nachos
One of the items on my list of things to do at Whitefish Mountain Resort was to have the Hellroaring nachos. On day two I quit skiing early (Whitefish Jesus, have mercy on my legs) and I met my cousin at the Hellroaring lodge around 1:30-2:00pm and we ordered the nachos. The waitress recommended we scale back our ambitions and have a half-order. We listened (I am older and wiser and that often means listening to others who are in a position to know) and got the half-order.
Well, it took us 3-4 beers to finish the nachos. I think Hellroaring Lodge needs to offer a ¼ plate of nachos. After the nachos and the beers my cousin and I waddled back to our condo and we both lapsed into a carb-coma. Eventually we come out of that carb-coma and went to the Bierstube to keep the beer-pressure up, but neither of us ate again that day.
Whitefish Dining Review — The Summit House
On the last day of skiing I was back at it. We went to the top of the mountain skied down Whitetail making our way to the Flowerpoint Chair which we started to ski off of to seek and destroy powder. At some point we got off of the path and found ourselves at the summit of Big Mountain and it being lunch time we got out of our skis and walked into the Summit House.
Being lunch time it was a busy place, but after a bit we came upon a prime seat being vacated and grabbed it up. We got up close to the window and started to remove gear. A local sat down next to us and he had this whopping Qdoba sized burrito on his plate. I was so happy to see that knowing I was not stuck to standard commodity cafeteria food. I let my cousin get his lunch first while I guarded our gear. Lars returned with the burrito and then I launched off on my burrito run.
Whitefish Dining Review — Burrito and Chilli
I too got a steak burrito and I also got a bowl of chilli and a bottle of water. The price tag on all of that was $18.00. That burrito however, was Qdoba sized and was probably around $12.00 (I recall distinctly the overall bill but not how much each was). Not the cheapest, but I was expecting a more dear price.
So how was the burrito? It was fantastic! I asked for the real hot salsa and again I listened to the warning and instead had medium put on and took a side of the hot salsa. That hot salsa was not at all hot and I returned for another cup. However, a different employee helped me out and the cup of salsa he provided was close to the real deal (still not living up to the warning, but I was there to ski not to challenge my palate).
The chilli was good basic chilli. I would easily order it again, but it made no attempt to zing my palate.
The Summit House offered more “off-piste” dining than the burrito, but I do recall seeing Asian cuisine in the form of Pho on the menu. Yes, if you were looking for a burger and fries that too was available (though my guess is the choices would be higher quality).
Whitefish Dining Review — A Valuable View
The real value in eating at the Summit House is the view. The weather pattern while we were at Whitefish was snowy and cloudy nights and mornings. Mountain top clouds and fog till about 10:30-11:00 am and then the heavens made an attempt to get bluebird on us. They did not succeed on going full bluebird (day 2 was the closest to that) but by noon visibility from top to bottom was reasonable. This meant our window seat provided the breathtaking view you would expect from being on the top of a real mountain.
Whitefish Dining Review — A Regret
While I did not make a close inspection of the bar, it was there and is a full service bar and full of customers who are better skiers and more familiar with the mountain than I (not as a high a bar as I would like).
In the end I was quite happy with the stop at the Summit House and while I paid a bit more for the food than I would normally expect, I am okay with that especially considering I found the food good.
My one dining regret at Whitefish Mountain Resort comes from an act of omission. I did not get to dinner at the Kandahar. Reading up on the Kandahar and I see a posh-place that really goes out of their way to pamper their guests and a kitchen that aims to produce culinary art. All the more reason to return to Whitefish Mountain Resort, right?
Whitefish Dining Review — Dinner and Breakfast
What did we do for dinner then? When we checked into our condo we inspected the kitchen and then devised a meal plan. We got back in Cornholio and went back into town and went grocery shopping. We bought fixings to make spaghetti and breakfasts. This included wine, salad, bread, eggs, hash browns, bacon, yogurt, and fruit. We cooked a big batch of spaghetti and sauce and that was our dinner for our stay here. In the morning it was eggs of some variety and hasbrowns.
Whitefish Dining Review — Loula’s Café for Dinner
The first night we were in town we stayed in an in-town hotel and drove to Loula’s Café. Loula’s was easy to find, easy to park, and easy to get into. The staff seated us immediately and my cousin ordered from their decent beer menu (me doing the driving contented myself with water). I found the atmosphere inviting and comfortable. Loula’s is a place with familiar foods prepared in a slightly unfamiliar way. The menu had a southern flair to it with a few overtly southern foods on it and southern flairs added to a number of other items. There were some distinctly non-southern items on the menu as well. My cousin ordered a salmon and I ordered a blackened ribeye.
While the ribeye was not bad, it was not good. The blackening overpowered the essential good flavor of the steak. I should have known, but I thought I would try. I had garlic mashed potatoes and a side of green beans with the ribeye. If I am in a position to return to Loula’s I’ll simply order another dish. My cousin ordered a salmon dish and he reports it as being good.
Whitefish Dining Review — The Breakfast at the Buffalo
We had two breakfasts as The Buffalo Café. Both times I ordered the Denver omelet and hash browns. Oh yeah there is coffee and toast too. I have no complaints about the breakfasts I had there and the price was right in line with my expectations. While I would recommend the place for breakfast, I can not speak to lunch or dinner.
The atmosphere in the Buffalo was inviting and earthy. I would feel comfortable returning for lunch or dinner, but will seek another breakfast joint just to try something else.
Whitefish Dining Review — Overall
Overall, I have no complaints about the food offered at Whitefish Mountain Resort and its immediate environs. My experience was a basic and fundamentally American one but there were other restaurants offering other cuisines as well. I am an adventurous eater but the purpose of the trip was to ski.
I have no words of warning or sour observations to share. In general I found the food services good in terms of quality, cost, value, and decent and even friendly service. You will not find it hard to find a good place to eat in and around Whitefish Mountain Resort.