Wolf in the Fog (Tofino)

When you visit Wolf in the Fog’s ‘About’ section on their website, the first write-up focuses on Tofino rather than on the chef or the restaurant. The “Who” comes afterwards, briefly speaking to the pack that leads the restaurant’s kitchen, front of the house, and bar. They don’t brag about being named Canada’s best restaurant by Enroute in 2014 or its current seat on Canada’s 100 Best (#48). Their laid-back attitude is likely a microcosm of being in Tofino, where everyone I met is so friendly and seemed to genuinely just love life.

It's hard to miss Wolf in the Fog’s two-floor building with its prominent location in the middle of downtown Tofino. The restaurant creates a great atmosphere, especially if you’re seated on the second floor, near the window and can also take in the view of Tofino’s harbour.

One glimpse of the glistening bar and I knew it would be a cocktail night for me. And with their ever-changing bar menu, it’s certainly an area they are focused on. The cockatiel ($16) sported a whimsical crest of citrus feathers and was refreshingly light compared to the stronger cedar sours that my friends ordered.

Thanks to a suggestion from our waiter, two of the sides acted as a great starter: spot prawns and garlic bread. The prawns ($18) swam in a garlicky butter and with the delicate shrimp deshelled, they were ready to snack on like a fancy popcorn shrimp. Its suggested pairing with garlic bread ($8) was unnecessary as between the bread and butter became too garlicky overtaking the sweetness of the prawn. Instead, I opted to have the shrimp first and saved the bread for dipping into the sauce. Trust me, you’ll still want a serving of the carbs, which was like a fluffy focaccia with crispy edges and plenty of shaved Parmesan on top.

The tornado rolls inspired presentation of the potato crusted oysters ($19 for 3) was unexpected, but a safe preparation for those who are squeamish of raw oysters. And since the shellfish was smoked, the dish seemed like it incorporated bacon despite not having any meat. Seriously, if I hadn’t seen the menu, I would have thought I was popping a bacon wrapped scallop tornado roll into my mouth.

We stuck with seafood even for the mains. The baked Tofino halibut ($48) was cooked well, although I could have done without the crispy breadcrumbs as it made the fish gritty. The accompanying gnocchi were a great chewy and soft consistency, smothered in a delicious zesty marinara mixed with chili and tapenade butter. While I’m not sure the gnocchi went particularly well with the halibut, each element was great on its own.

Although the pork belly in the Thai pork belly and clams ($38) could be softer, it was still tasty especially dipped in the yellow curry. As for the clams, despite being sizeable, the curry did cover its natural flavours but the shellfish itself was cooked nicely. Overall, I can’t help but think the dish is missing a fresh element. The sliver of bok choy was a start, but another herb or vegetable would have really pulled everything together.

We were blessed with a huge slice of the Basque cheesecake ($14) to finish. Given its height, I wasn’t surprised the cake’s texture was fluffy and light. Call me suspicious, but the burnt finishing seems too perfect… almost like it was blowtorched rather than baked. Previous Basque cakes I’ve had were marked by cracks and bulges, Wolf in the Fog’s cake was so nice and smooth.

Cakegate aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the dessert, but could have done without the overly tart fruit preserve and crunchy almond clusters. When the cake is good just leave it alone. When in doubt, keep things natural like Tofino. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Tofino, Canada
 Address: 150 Fourth Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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