Time Stands Still at Wagashi Tea House
Serene atmosphere complements thoughtful menu for a tranquil culinary experience
When you step into the warm, sunny space at Wagashi Tea House in Canmore’s Bow Valley Garden Centre, you wonder how no one has thought of this brilliant pairing before. Bubbling fountains, sun-drenched dining area and the halcyon vibe of live plants is the perfect setting to “wash off the noise of the day” and enjoy a meal - especially one created by Chefs Chris and Mariko Thomson.
This husband-and-wife team married their skills and passions to open this unique and beautiful eatery during the pandemic as a place to rest and to heal. Chris is a certified chef de cuisine with extensive experience in culinary hospitality and Mariko is a certified wagashi chef with an expansive knowledge of Japanese cuisine and culture, making them the perfect team to bring this shared dream to life.
As with all great food, Wagashi’s offering begins with the freshest ingredients sourced as locally as possible. The restaurant also offers a weekly market to give Bow Valley residents access to their exceptional seafood offering including fresh seafood, sushi-grade fish, meat and house-made Japanese condiments, dressings and sauces. The menu features most of these products and it’s well worth making a reservation to enjoy breakfast or lunch at Wagashi.
We loved the bento-box Japanese breakfast, which was not only delicious and beautiful, but also healthy with fresh salmon, tamago-yaki omelette, fluffy rice and fresh salad. For something a little heartier, we highly recommend the smoked-salmon eggs Benedict. A carefully choreographed balance of flavour, texture and colour, plus Chef Chris’ house-smoked salmon, these Bennies are exceptional.
If you’re in for lunch, try the tuna poke bowl which features a fresh, house-made poke sauce that diners like so much, they bottled it and have it for sale in the Wagashi market.
A visit to Wagashi Tea House wouldn’t be complete without, well, tea and wagashi. The tea offering is extensive and speaks to Mariko’s deep respect for its culinary and cultural significance. Enjoy your tea with one of Mariko’s delightful wagashi: a traditional Japanese confection. The daifuku mochi is reminiscent of peanut butter and jelly with roasted soybean sprinkled on top and azuki jam within the glutinous rice-paste wrap. The seasonally inspired nerikiri variety is hand-crafted and requires some time to create - so make sure you order yours at the beginning of the meal, so Mariko can create something beautiful for you.
Visit wagashiteahouse.com for market hours, to order takeout or to make your reservation.