by Rikki MacCuish
The following article appeared in SPIN Newsmagazine
For many people, a fine dining experience is one of the main highlights of a vacation. It feels good to be treated like royalty, to have your glass filled before you even ask by attentive staff that always seem to know your question before you ask it, not to mention the creative and mouth-watering courses served throughout your evening. It’s indulgence at its finest.
At Sun Peaks, visitors and locals alike have their choice of restaurant types, but Peter Ernst, owner of Bella Italia, feels that visitors are especially looking for an experience that is unique.
“People in a resort want to find those places . . . where they have something unique, whether it’s a great burger at Macker’s or a nice pork dish at Mantles,” he says, adding fine dining is about a combination of exceptional food, service and atmosphere.
Bella Italia, which is located in the Hearthstone Lodge and has been open for three years, is the mountain’s only Italian restaurant. It is known for flavourful pasta and signature dishes such as the duck and shrimp linguine, but also serves savoury fresh seafood and other meat dishes, as well as homemade indulgent desserts like their chocolate tarte.
Another important factor that draws people to fine dining establishments, and which Ernst emphasizes, is that everything is made fresh to order.
“Every dish we make gets its own ingredients and it’s made by hand so there’s nothing pre-cooked,” he says.
According to Ernst, Bella Italia is fine dining with a casual touch so families can come and not get scared away by prices or selections on the menu. Ernst believes that Sun Peaks has also, along with his restaurant, grown in quality from its pioneer days and is more than able to cater to a higher-end dining experience.
“I think that [Sun Peaks] has decent eating establishments now and it’s getting better year by year,” he says. “We consider Bella Italia to be good enough that international clients say ‘this is as good as Seattle or Los Angeles,’ and we’re very happy that we’re coming up to standard for the international high-end clientele.”