Being a writer, I have to admit that the restaurant’s name, Wolf in the Fog, appealed to me well before I read any reviews — or even planned to visit Tofino, a remote surfing town on the western shore of Vancouver Island. Why? I loved the name. Poetic. Evocative. Vaguely spooky. And unique. Restaurants seem to be named after someone (Joe’s Pub), somewhere (Trail’s End) or something to eat (Fig & Olive), so a phrase like Wolf in the Fog just made me swoon.
With a spectacular space, extremely nice staff, fantastic food and the uniqueness of such a standout place in such a small town (which actually has quite a few high quality places given its few-block size), the creative name was a harbinger of what was to come. When a trip to Tofino, B.C., was planned for another reason, Wolf in the Fog was the first reservation I made.
Fish. Forage. Feast.
That’s what you see when you go to their website (wolfinthefog.com) which also happens to be a beauty. Click on the homepage and the next words are, “Rough. Rugged. Fearless.” Special words to describe a restaurant that couldn’t be anywhere, but there. With Tofino’s ocean and inlet access, the fish is biting fresh. With ancient cedar forests surrounding the area, the space is soaring — and crafted of rough-hewn wood.
A striking driftwood wolf stands in a central location in the upstairs dining room where our evening began with a drink named after a tree. The Cedar Sour honestly tasted and smelled like cedar, thanks to the rye that’s actually infused with the wood. Lemon, thyme and egg white combined for a spicy tangy drink, topped with two speared cherries on a wooden skewer. Glasses and plates are mismatched and interesting.
Halloween Added Element
I was struck by the fact that everyone I met in Tofino was happy to be there and seemingly happy to be alive (despite frequent rain that doesn’t seem to deter anyone from biking, surfing, running or even swimming with wet suits and rain gear). Yet, due to the towering evergreen trees and dampness in the air, the landscape has a vaguely ominous feel. Our dinner at Wolf in the Fog happened to be on Halloween night, which only added to the atmosphere. Waitstaff we’d met at other restaurants in town were hanging out here in stylishly ghoulish garb to celebrate with friends. Wolf in the Fog’s waitstaff was also in Halloween regalia and everyone was getting a kick out of serving with extreme makeup, fake teeth, boils and wigs.
Food, of course, comes from the earth. But the dishes at Wolf in the Fog had a deep richness that felt especially earthy. Chopped Kale and Grains had nuts, seeds, fresh cheese and camelina oil dressing. Grilled Cornish Hen with new potatoes, wild mushrooms, onion, sherry glaze. The Bamfield Seaweed Salad with shiitakes, wild rice, daikon. Deep hues and resonant flavors combined for unforgettable tastes. Although Tofino Blackout Cake was tempting, we ended our dinner with the Sticky Toffee Sundae made with vanilla ice cream, crème fraiche, crunchy candied pecans and a rich banana toffee sauce. It felt like autumn and it also made us feel good.
Back into the Mist
We finally made our way to the downstairs bar and had a bourbon on the way out. An earlier extreme rainstorm had quelled, leaving a fizzy drizzle in the air. Passing revelers in vintage gowns and an array of hobgoblin get ups, we found our car in the fog and drove back to our hotel, The Wickaninnish Inn. Locally known as The Wick (wickinn.com), it’s yet another mystical and beautiful place in this special corner of the world, but that’s a whole other story. — by Leslie Long, RFT Contributor; photos by Christopher Pouget Photography
More about the restaurant: wolfinthefog.com
More about Tofino: tourismtofino.com
If You Go
Wolf in the Fog
150 Fourth Street
Tofino, British Columbia V0R 2Z0
Tel: 250-725-WOLF (9653)
Facebook – facebook.com/wolfinthefog
Twitter – twitter.com/wolfinthefog
Instagram – instagram/wolfinthefog