Canada’s oldest national park, Banff, offers a spectacular landscape of glaciers, valleys, mountains, and lakes. Here are the 10 best spots to eat in this scenic region.
Restaurant, Mediterranean, Greek, $$$
Balkan Restaurant brings lively Mediterranean flavors and hospitality to the heart of Banff. Opened more than 30 years ago by Jason and Joanna Karlos, the restaurant specializes in preparing authentic Greek family recipes with fresh ingredients. The couple’s sons, Stavros and Yanni, recently modernized the decor and menu while remaining true to Greek culinary traditions. The interior features rock walls, a hard wood communal table, and colorful Greek art. The restaurant offers a special dinner night on Tuesdays and Thursdays, featuring belly-dancing, ouzo shooters, and – most importantly – plate smashing.
Restaurant, Steakhouse, North American, Canadian, $$$
Located in the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, the Bow Valley Grill offers seasonal cuisine in a relaxed setting. The interior features sculptures and tables handcrafted by local artists, in addition to a striking view of the Fairholme Mountain Range. Diners can watch their meals being prepared in the open kitchen. The restaurant is particularly well-known for its excellent breakfast, which features a la carte and buffet dining options. At dinner, go for the Seared Pacific Scallop with cumin cauliflower puree, caperberry, smoked salmon roe; or the Striploin Steak and Frites with truffle pommes frites, garlic puree, and red wine jus.
For 10 consecutive years, Eden has received the AAA/CAA Five Diamond award for its regionally influenced French cuisine and exceptional service. The restaurant’s upscale interior is decorated with dark woods, landscape art, and comfortable leather chairs. Set in Rimrock Resort Hotel on Sulphur Mountain, Eden lets diners enjoy stunning views of Rundle Mountain and Spray Valley while savoring their meals. A la carte and fixed price menus are available, with entrees changing regularly. The restaurant’s staff includes a team of certified sommeliers, who guide diners in choosing the perfect wine pairing from their selection of more than 17,000 bottles.
Restaurant, North American, Swiss, European, Canadian, $$$
Grizzly House is a Banff institution, known for its fondue dinners and retro decor. The restaurant opened in 1967 as a disco nightclub and began serving fondue in order to comply with local liquor laws. Little has changed since the restaurant’s early days, with an interior that features a disco ball, bearskin rugs, wood-panelled walls and other vintage furnishings. The soundtrack is straight out of the 1970s. Each table is topped with a working old telephone, which once helped singles connect at the club. In addition to 14 types of fondue, the menu offers Alberta beef steaks and wild game, along with a selection of more than 100 wine labels.
Bar, Restaurant, North American, Canadian, Steakhouse, $$$
A Banff landmark for more than 36 years, Melissa’s Missteak has been voted one of Banff’s top restaurants by Calgary Herald readers for seven straight years. Locally owned and operated, Melissa’s is set in a historic building dating back to the early 20th century. The restaurant offers a fantastic breakfast menu until 4pm; burgers, sandwiches, soups, and salads for lunch; and a choice of seafood, BBQ, steaks, and other Canadian entrees for dinner. The upstairs bar area is a popular gathering place for locals in the evening, featuring sports plasmas, darts, pool, pinball, and affordable drink specials.
Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, North American, Canadian, $$$
The Bison specializes in sophisticated Canadian cuisine made with organic, local ingredients. The restaurant’s interior embodies rustic chic with Douglas fir beams, concrete floors, and views of the copper open kitchen. Windows on three sides offer views of Rundle Mountain, or diners can also enjoy the scenery out on the bright terrace. As the restaurant’s name suggests, bison is the signature meat. Try the bison short ribs with roasted potatoes; or a bison burger topped with red pepper relish, bacon pickle aioli, cheese curds and double smoked bacon- served up with delicious fingerling potatoes tossed in pesto mayo. A wine list that emphasizes labels from Canada and the Pacific Northwest perfectly completes the menu.
Located in the Juniper Hotel, the Juniper Bistro offers made-from-scratch cuisine in a scenic setting. The menu features international dishes with a local spin, like the Moroccan lamb saddle made with fig, olive, spinach and spice stuffed in Canadian lamb saddle; as well as classic dishes such as the Juniper burger: a house beef brisket and short rib patty on a brioche bun, topped with thick-cut black pepper bacon, smoked cheddar, and juniper berry mustard. Set on the slopes of Mount Norquay, The Juniper Bistro has views of Mount Rundle, Vermillion Lakes and the town of Banff, which can be enjoyed on the outdoor terrace.
Restaurant, North American, Canadian, Seafood, $$$
The Maple Leaf serves upscale Canadian cuisine in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The menu emphasizes Canadian steak, seafood, and wild game with dishes like grass fed bison stroganoff; and cast iron west coast halibut. The alpine decor perfectly matches the cuisine, featuring copper and wrought iron accents, rock fireplaces, along with touches of wood and leather. The walls are lined with bottles representing the restaurant’s 600 wine labels. Winner of Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence, the wine list highlights vineyards across Canada in addition to a few well-chosen international selections.
Restaurant, Italian, European, North American, Canadian
The Terrace is an elegant restaurant set in the Banff Park Lodge. The menu changes with the seasons, with both a la carte and multi-course tasting menus available. Dishes like the Alberta wild boar tenderloin, which is marinated in a fig infused balsamic then pan seared, demonstrate the chef’s ability to prepare the region’s seasonal ingredients with sophisticated flare. The interior features panoramic windows that offer fantastic views stretching from Sulphur Mountain to Mount Norquay. The inviting atmosphere encourages diners to linger after diner, sipping a glass of wine by the fireplace.
Restaurant, Wine Bar, Canadian, Contemporary, Seafood, $$$
Located on top of the Sally Borden Building, Three Ravens Restaurant & Wine Bar offers some of the best views in Banff thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows. Watch the sun set over the mountains while choosing a meal from the restaurant’s seasonal menu. The selection changes regularly, but you can expect dishes like maple and sake glazed sablefish with mushrooms, golden beet coulis, dashi braised daikon, allumette potatoes, and nori dust; and gnocchi ai funghibeluga lentil and ricotta croquette, with crispy kale, taleggio cream, and sage oil. The menu also offers suggested pairings from the extensive wine list.