Southern cooking should never be second best. Food here is made with the finest ingredients (e.g., chickens are fresh and prepared on an applewood rotisserie, AAA steaks are used, ribs are smoked with hickory rubbed and basted with the finest spices and BBQ sauces available. Just remember their slogan; "Cause barbeque is not just food, it's a state of mind."
Favorite Dish: As soon as you walk into the restaurant, you feel as if you are surrounded by friends. The employees are smiling as well as very helpful and know their menu items very well. You start off with a loaf of homemade bread with sweet butter.
For an appetizer, we chose the Garlic Flatbread (wood oven baked flatbread covered with fresh herbs and garlic). For an entree, we decided to split a full rack of Baby Back Ribs (mouth watering tender, juicy ribs basted with smokey BBQ sauce) served with coleslaw and thick cut fries smothered in home-style chicken gravy.
To wash this satisfying meal down, we ordered a pitcher of Big Rock Honey Brown Lager (an exceptionally smooth and mellow golden-brown lager with a subtle hint of sweet honey which produces a rich creamy head and a clean aftertaste).
The Ranche Restaurant is a fine dining facility located in the restored Ranche House where one can enjoy lunch, dinner, cocktails or weekend brunch. The menu features a wide variety of Alberta regional cuisine. The Grand Salon seats about 125 guests while Charlie's room (complete with original ranch table) seats another 25 and there are private dining rooms available. Sit down beside the massive fireplace in the cozy 'Wolf Den' or enjoy the covered wrap-around verandah during warm weather.
Favorite Dish: Start off with Prince Edward Isle Mussels sauteed in beer that comes with potatoes, red peppers and onions. The sauce is so good, you'll want to capture every drop (so do it with the bread that comes with your meal). For dinner, try one of the following entrées: Beef Tenderloin (it comes with double potatoes and veggies covered in a delighful wine sauce, or Alberta Steak and Pork Ribs (which comes with bleu cheese mashed potatoes and veggies also covered with delicious wine sauce). Wash your meals down with either a glass of St. Gayan Gigondas Red Wine or a pint of Big Rock Traditional Ale. For all this, the total bill came up to $90.90 (CND).
Melrose is one of my favorite spots on 17th Ave in Calgary. This place always has some type of heartbeat, great place to watch hockey and also a great place for singles to meet sexy singles. Make sure you stop in this spot as you hop around 17th Ave.
Favorite Dish: Keiths
I stayed nearby in the Hotel Arts which made a couple of my friends happy since it gave them the perfect opportunity to eat at Saint Germains. Its received other favorable reviews and therefore was on the hot list for my friends to try.
The interior is slightly elegant, but overly so. While a dress code may not be enforced, business casual may be the norm. The tables have white linens, but you can also eat up at the full service bar too if you wish.
Favorite Dish: The salads and starters are good. We particularly liked the oysters made in a citron vodka. But then again we also liked the mussles steamed with beer and herbs.
The entrees were excellent too. The boeuf bourguignon was tender and flavorful. But also listen to the daily specials, like the one we had with the jumbo shrimp and rich pilaf.
The service was decent, but we were there on a quiet evening so had rather attentive service.
The Avenue Diner is a small, cozy diner. If the weather is cooperative, there are a half dozen tables outside that can sit 1~4 people each. The interior is rather narrow, but very deep, so you can sit at one of the small tables, or belly up at the long bar.
The diner is a fully functional coffee shop with a decent food menu. Many customers will just come and go for their coffee and snack, but others with more time to spare will sit down and have a proper meal.
Favorite Dish: The menu changes seasonally, but has fresh and healthy choices. They also take suggestions for their menu if you are so inclined to offer feedback.
Sandwiches and soups are good, so are the eggs Benedict. I'm a fan of the whole grain pancakes with flax and pure maple syrup.
Tiffin Curry and Roti House came highly recommended on Chowhound. I will say the drive there took a bit of creative navigating (though it's across the street from the very significant landmark Short Pants Plaza!), however everyone in my party agreed it was worth it!
Tiffin is one step up from an Indian fast food restaurant in terms of atmosphere, but many steps up in terms of quality and flavour. When you enter, approach the counter and look into the glass case to see what curries they have that day. They always carry at least two meat and vegetarian curries. Choose the combination of curries that you'd like, choose your flavour of rice, choose your condiments... and watch as a super-fresh roti pops out of the spiralling roti maker behind the counter! It's the coolest contraption ever! Another standout on the menu is called "mogo masala", which are basically casava "fries" tossed in spicy sauce. They're a must-try for anyone who likes plantain chips, sweet potato fries, etc.
Cafe Koi is a fantastic find in Calgary! It's a cute little "cafe" that is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner just a few blocks in one direction from Calgary's business core, and a few blocks in the other direction from all the bars and clubs you'd need for a great night out. Obviously, a perfect choice for a quick workday lunch or pre-party tummy-filler!
Chic, sparse decor aside, the main reason I love Cafe Koi is that the menu has something for absolutely everyone. Everyone! They have lots of meat dishes in addition to ample vegetarian selections, and all of their dishes perfectly balance health and flavour. On my last visit I had one of their "signature bowls": toasted almonds, five-spice tofu and crispy greens served over rice in a sticky maple-chili sauce. Ummm... yummm! "Signature bowls" make up a big part of the menu, but they've also got great fusion sandwiches, tempting appetizers and delectible desserts (plus lots of mixed drinks if you're chowing down before going dancing!).
Definitely check out Cafe Koi; it's a crowd-pleasure that's good for your health, your taste buds and your wallet!
UPDATE: As of September 2009 The Heartland Cafe has closed and been replaced with Vendome Cafe.
The Heartland Cafe has great home-cooked breakfasts and lunches, a fantastic selection of baked goods, and lots of different coffee drinks for you to try. I am a HUGE fan of their cinnamon buns, which are kind of crispy, very sticky and totally delicious! You should definitely try going there for lunch, as they've always got several soups to choose from, vegetarian chili, different salads and even a few burgers. Prices are fairly high for lunch-style food, but the quality of the ingredients can't be beat. The atmosphere is warm and cosy, with lots of wooden chairs and tables, and local art for sale on the walls. You would never get the impression that this was part of a big chain- it really feels like home.
My friend and I went to Anju earlier this year. It's a fairly new restaurant located in a funky restored house in the city centre.
Upon arrival, we waited at the door for almost ten minutes before being greeted. The slow service continued for the duration of our meal; I sincerely hope it was due to a temporary staffing shortage. However, it was a pleasant enough experience that the service didn't ruin the night (it just put a damper on it).
We started with a shared anju platter, which consists of three "anju" (appetizers) and one "side". We chose crispy rice noodle (my favorite Korean food- simply delish!), grilled eggplant (yum!), truffle yam fries (lots of potential but lacked execution- somewhat undercooked with no discernable truffle essence) and kimchi (hot hot hot!). Seriously, those rice noodles were to die for. As a main course I had a tofu stone bowl, which consisted of silken extra-firm tofu, roasted red peppers, greens and sprouts, grilled zucchini and sauteed mushrooms, all served atop rice that had been pressed into a bowl so hot that it formed a crispy bottom layer. Great idea and well-executed. My friend had a similar stone bowl but with beef, and she enjoyed hers. We both agreed that alcoholic drinks were a bit on the pricey side and the selection wasn't quite right... there were a couple that looked "okay" but none really stood out.
We skipped dessert, played a round of cool 90s-style Dodgeball on a video game terminal in the basement, and headed off. I haven't been back since but I would definitely consider a repeat visit in the future (especially if service picks up!).
This restaurant was our choice for a lunch and we did not regret that we picked this one. After we came home, I found on internet that there are over 35 locations around Canada, but not even one in Saskatchewan. We need at least one Milestones in Saskatoon. I liked the food I liked the atmosphere and the style.
Due to a strange set of circumstances that transpired one floor above on the Observation Deck of the Calgary Tower (see Off the Beaten Path for details), we found ourselves sitting in the The Panorama Room revolving restaurant only 1 hour after leaving our disasterous breakfast at Nellie's Kitchen. Since our stomachs were still a trifle full, our server, Stephane, recommended that we start with sample plate of their various appetizers. We fully agreed with his choice!
Favorite Dish: While waiting for the appetizer plate, the three of us ordered fresh strawberry daquiris to sip on while we congratulated ourselves on our good luck at landing this free meal! I briefly contemplated ordering a bottle of their US$190 Dom Perignon champagne, but didn't really think that would be in keeping with the spirit of things!
The plate, when it arrived had quite a selection of choices: grilled prawn, scallops, smoked salmon, shaved duck, air-dried buffalo slices, Indian candied salmon, wild berry chutney and lemon slices with dill and mustard mayonnaise to boot. We took our time nibbling away because we were in no big rush for the main course just yet!
A platter for two like this normally costs about US$15
My name is Courtney and I thought you would like to know some interesting things about Sky 360 in the Calgary Tower.
Tonight I was visiting Sky 360 Restaurant with my family for my Mother's birthday, to start off the night we had a new waitress. She was great until we found out she was new. She forgot to tell us the specials and couldn't recommend anything for us. After that she messed up the tables and gave our Appertizers to the table behind us, without asking if it was what they ordered. Our waitress set down the plates and walked away seconds later my father told them they might of gave them our appetizers. If you have ever worked in a restaurant you know if the food touches the table, you don't pick it back up from under their noses and give it to the right table. It's gross and disrespectful. Of course they said sorry and we said it's fine, just don't do it again. After that when they brought out our dinner, the waitress "dropped" my father's steak on the floor. So not all of the plates made it to the table, they told my father they would make him a new one right away and that it would be fine. We were already upset about this and my father canceled his order. He doesn't know what goes on back there or if they really dropped it so instead he ordered another dish. That was fine but by the time we were finished eating, they haven't even starting my father's dish. He wasn't going to wait and make us sit their while he ate 30 minutes later. So he canceled that and just asked for the bill. On top of that the waitress picked up our plates, dropped a knife onto the table, it hit my fathers phone and trying to grab the knife she dropped the phone onto the floor. What a night, and thats just the beginning!! He was furious after that, and wanted to speak to a manager. Of course the assistant manager came and as he was trying to explain what happened and why he was so upset with what happened, the manager came and grabbed the assistant manager and dragged her off telling her she doesn't need to hear any of "his ***". That was the breaking point; my father had enough, he just wanted to tell them why he was upset and why he wanted his meal taken off the bill. He yelled out to him "Why, because you don't want the rest of the restaurant to know how horrible your service and food is!" the manger was furious told him he was calling security and to never come back. As I was getting onto the elevator he told my mother he "Never wants to see our family here again or he's calling the cops" just as the elevator doors are closing he looks at me and says "Your family is disgusting!". I am appalled with the way the Manager handled the situation, he didn't apologize saying how sorry he was for what happened. He just wanted us out. I didn't even comment on how my Prime Rib was cold, my brothers chicken was gross and my father, well he didn't get anything at all. And my mothers birthday was a disaster!! I am disgusted with this place and just wanted to let you know so others won't be fooled by the re-design of the place. No matter how many times you change the look, you can never change the way it always was. Horrible management, gross food and bad service.
Favorite Dish: Nothing, the place was horrible.
The Coup is a "miniature" restaurant on 17th Ave SW in downtown Calgary. Due to the small size of the restaurant, they do not take parties with more than six people and they won't seat any groups until every member has arrived. The atmosphere inside is cozy and slightly Asian-inspired. I went with a group of four and we had to wait about twenty minutes for a table at lunch... several tables of four were "camping" after having completed their meals before we arrived, but the staff were too polite to ask them to leave.
As you enter the restaurant there is a daily special board, where you'll see the frittata, soup and smoothie of the day. Today's soup was Curried Yam and Lentil, so I decided to order it as a side to my "tacos". In addition, I ordered a glass of fresh-squeezed cranberry-apple lemonade with extra ginger juice. Others in my group had sandwiches, salads and quesadillas. My food was quite good - both the soup and drink were standouts. The "tacos" were somewhat disappointing, as the taste of fresh veggies and quinoa wasn't enough to detract from the lack of seasoning. Some cumin, cilantro or chili pepper would have given the dish some punch.
Update! I went back to The Coup recently for a weekend brunch. I chose their version of huevos rancheros, which was called El Sombrero. The menu description sounded good, but what I was served was a tortilla with an overwhelming whole-wheaty flavour, stuffed with scrambled eggs, eight or ten black beans, swiss chard (?????) and two slices of avocado. It was served with "salsa" that was basically just pureed tomatoes, and "organic hash" which apparently is health-food code for mushy cubes of potatoes. It was one of the worst breakfasts I've ever eaten, and it was expensive at about $20 (with tea and tip). I have definitely written off The Coup as a dining destination; until they learn to actually season their food and pair appropriate ingredients I won't be going back.
Julio's Barrio bills itself as an "authentic" Mexican restaurant. I just spent six months in Mexico and I can say with great assurance that there is nothing authentically Mexican about Julio Barrio's. The food they dish up is your run of the mill Tex-Mex and in no ways dips "south of the [other] border". However, it's not bad. A little pricey for what you get, maybe, but not bad.
We went to Julio's Barrio around 8:30 on a weekday night and found it very busy. We started with their chips and salsa; the chips definitely were not made on the premises. We asked for more and were told our second basket would be $4! I'm not paying that for tortilla chips from a bag! We also ordered a pitcher of margaritas. They were really, really, really sweet and didn't have an authentic lime flavour, but as someone who likes sweet drinks I enjoyed mine. The tequila enthusiast of the group thought they were an abomination. The restaurant also does a VERY strange drink where they tip a bottle of Corona into a margarita and leave the bottle sticking out. Ummmm... Jose Cuervo is rolling in his grave!
For dinner I went with their burrito, which, nicely, is vegetarian unless you add additional chicken or beef. They stuff their burritos with their chili mix, which is a nice blend of vegetables and beans. It's definitely an idea I'm going to replicate. It was served with refried beans (surely canned) and rice (probably Uncle Bens). I believe the burrito was $18. Someone else had the same dishes as me, and the third person had fajitas which they said were good enough. It's just kind of sad that prices were so high, when we could go to our favorite Mexican restaurant in Victoria and get amazing food, all freshly made to order, for the same price. While the food at Julio's Barrio is okay, it's very poor value for your money. You wouldn't even need to know how to cook to make an identical meal using pre-packaged ingredients from the Mexican food aisle at Safeway. The food had no heart and soul.
The Chocolate Bar located on 17th Ave in Calgary was voted one of the top 5 Dessert places in Calgary. It is also is a small and charming coffee house.
The first thing you’ll notice once you step inside the Chocolate Bar is not the warm, inviting, coffee house atmosphere, nor the attractive prices, or even the wide selection of desserts and drinks on their menus. The first thing you’ll notice is, well, all the chocolate! Milk and dark chocolates are sprinkled, poured, and dipped over the decadent desserts, making the treat ever so sweet.
They have more than just chocolate as well. They have a large variety of desserts for all tastes. Cakes, cookies, ice cream, sundaes and specialty pastries come in many different flavors. Take your goodies to go or sit in the European style café. This shop is about the passion for chocolate.
Calgary has a great range of dining options. Many of the most popular restaurants are concentrated downtown, on 17th Avenue SW or in Mission (4th Street SW), but other great options exist...