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Fernie — Dining

For such a remote and tiny town, you’ll find a remarkable choice of good dining, both on the mountain and in town. We suspect that as Fernie becomes a bigger blip on the radar screen, more skilled chefs will find their way here.

On the mountain:
You’d be missing out on a special gourmet experience if you don’t eat at Lizard Creek Lodge (250-423-2057); $$$; reservations recommended; right. Ask to be seated near the grand riverstone fireplace. The Chilean sea bass and filet mignon were both superb. Make sure to try one of the local Okanagan Valley wines to compliment your meal. The fondue lunch, served in the lounge, is said to be excellent. Located at the top of the Timber Express quad, the recently opened (2006-07 season) Lost Boys Cafe features baked potatoes, fresh baked goods, Starbucks coffee and other specialties as well as beer and wine in a beautiful setting with indoor and outdoor seating.

Another gourmet experience is The Wood on the Hill (250-423-4597; $$), with a lively jazz-and-blues-influenced ambiance. It’s located near the base of the Mighty Moose. They serve only British Columbia wines with their creative menu. The Alberta beef tenderloin gets raves from locals. It’s open noon to midnight.

Gabriella’s Little Italy Pasta Place (250-423-7388; $) serves heaping plates of pasta and sandwiches on focaccia. Kelsey’s Restaurant (250-423-2444; $–$$; below left), in Cornerstone Lodge, is a chain pub-style restaurant with a rustic interior and a broad menu.

Slopeside Coffee and Deli (250-423-2440; $), in Cornerstone Lodge, is the place to go for Starbucks coffee and pastries, as well as deli sandwiches, soups and salads. The Griz Bar ($) lays out a mean salad bar, plus you’ll find a basic bar menu for lunch. Downstairs is the cafeteria. For a quick energy fix, check out Spuds “eh,” a meals-on-wheels food truck that drops anchor in front of the ticket window and serves handcut fries with several types of sauces. The spuds with gravy and cheese curds is quite recommendable.

The Yamagoya (250-423-0090; $$) is decidedly Japanese with a full sushi bar, private tatami rooms and sake bar.

In town:
A real culinary surprise is The Curry Bowl (250-423-2695; $$), a tiny restaurant owned by a couple in their 20s. They specialize in “enlightened Asian cuisine” of Thailand, India and Japan. Their Vietnamese summer rolls are a fabulous—and perfect—blend of chicken and shrimp wrapped in rice paper with cucumbers, red peppers, bean sprouts and fresh mint served with a sweet chili sauce. For entrees, which top out at $12.95, try either the Mango Shrimp Curry—shrimp and mango in a fusion of sweet Thai coconut milk and spicy Indian Vindaloo sauce—or the Green Coconut Curry—creamy coconut milk with traditional spices in green-chili-based Thai curry with pumpkin, green beans, peppers and chicken. Whatever your drink preference—beer, martinis, scotch, cognac, port, sherry, British Columbia wines, loose-leaf teas—they have it. They don’t take reservations, so get there early; otherwise, expect at least an hour wait (it is worth the wait). Open daily at 5 p.m.

If you’re interested in a rare dining environment, go to The Old Elevator (250-423-7115; $$$–$$$$; reservations recommended; below), a grain feed store and grain elevator built in 1908 that have been lovingly refurbished. Music of the ’20s, big band and swing add to the step-back-in-time impression, and stained glass windows add mystery to the mountain views. The creative continental menu, which changes seasonally, includes beef, western game, seafood and pasta dishes. The restaurant has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the past three years in a row.

Las Tres Hermanas (250-423-3215; $$) in the Northern Hotel is a festive Mexican restaurant specializing in authentic regional dishes and, of course, margaritas.

Locals recommend “Pasta Tuesdays” at Boston Pizza (250-423-2634; $–$$) in the Best Western Fernie Mountain Lodge, where you’ll get heaping plates of pasta for less than C$10. The Pub Bar & Grill (250-423-6871; $) in the Park Place Lodge is the place for pub grub. Choose from three Chinese restaurants with take-out; locals tell us the best is Ginger Beef (250-423-4611; $).

Relax with a cup of gourmet coffee, cappuccino or espresso at Cappuccino Corner on 2nd Avenue. The black raspberry mocha is a very nice surprise.. Homemade soups and baked goods round out the choices. Board games and six computers with Internet access make this more than a coffee shop.

Dining Legend (Cdn$): $$$$–Entrees $30+; $$$–$20–$30; $$–$10–$20; $–less than $10