Bordered by the Rocky Mountains and host of famous rodeo festival, the Calgary Stampede, Calgary is the embodiment of Canada’s West, and its cuisine reflects the city’s unique combination of prairie tradition and increasingly sophisticated tastes. We list the ten restaurants you must visit while you’re here.
Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant
Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant encourages diners to ‘escape city life without leaving Calgary’, with its tranquil location in Fish Creek Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, the recently-renovated restaurant offers contemporary Canadian cuisine, which matches perfectly with the restaurant’s setting in a restored ranch house. The menu features dishes such as elk prosciutto, sous-vide venison leg with a roasted garlic Yukon potato and parsnip puree, and grass-fed Alberta striploin steak. The restaurant also offers 300 labels of wine, and a six course tasting menu that changes each week.
A mainstay of Calgary’s fine dining scene, Teatro serves Italian cuisine with a French twist. Housed in the Dominion Bank building, the restaurant’s interior features high ceilings, large windows, a few historic bank features, as well as an open brass kitchen. The menu highlights local organic produce and game, offering a selection of antipasti, pizzas prepared in a wood-burning oven, risottos and pastas. The restaurant also offers an extensive selection of Canadian, French and Italian wines.
Teatro, 200 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 290 1012
One of Calgary’s most stylish restaurants, The Belvedere is a local favourite for special occasions, business lunches and dates. The contemporary menu is complex and constantly changing, focusing on seasonal food. Foie gras is frequently offered as an appetizer, along with mains such as venison served with peppercorn cream sauce and Alberta bison served on a beetroot risotto. Set in a historic sandstone building, the restaurant’s interior features walnut woodwork, plush draperies and a large skylight. The restaurant also offers an impressive wine selection, with more than 750 wines to choose from, as well as 5- or 7-course tasting menus with wine pairings.
The Belvedere, 107 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 265 9595
Laurier Lounge is an intimate restaurant set in a century old heritage building, the childhood home of George F.G. Stanley, designer of the Canadian flag. The restaurant’s eclectic menu draws inspiration from French cuisine, featuring tapas, sandwiches, and creative poutine dishes, including a Bouillabaisse Lobster Poutine with Quebec cheese curds and PEI lobster. The restaurant is best known, however, for its fondue, with diners able to choose from several different cooking styles. In addition to the cosy dining room, the restaurant also offers seating in a relaxed bar area or out on the patio during the summer months.
Laurier Lounge, 1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 228 3771
River Cafe offers a menu of seasonal Canadian cuisine in the beautiful, natural setting of the Bow River Valley. Located on a lagoon in Prince’s Island Park, the restaurant’s elegant and rustic decor draws inspiration from a traditional fishing lodge, with a bar made from a boat, open-hearth fieldstone fireplace, and an outdoor terrace that offers panoramic views of the park and Calgary. With 24-hours notice, the restaurant can even prepare picnic baskets for customers to eat right in the park.
River Café, 25 Prince’s Island Park, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 261 7670
Named after the Spanish word for flame, Candela serves what its owners call ‘global small plates’. The international dishes are served on small tapas plates, and meant to be shared with friends and enjoyed slowly along with drinks. The restaurant’s menu changes with the seasons, featuring dishes such as tuna ceviche, Korean BBQ tacos, bison sausage, and seared scallops. The restaurant’s interior is chic, yet welcoming, featuring Moroccan tiles, globe lights and chandeliers, low sofas, a large skylight, as well as dark woods with orange and blue accents.
Candela, 1919 4 St SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, + 1 403 719 0049
Located on Calgary’s hip 17th Avenue, Model Milk is set in a former dairy building, the first in the city to use trucks to deliver fresh milk across the province. Traces of the building’s history can be seen throughout the restaurant, with a large white cow head hanging over the entrance, and a lounge that was once used as a milkshake and ice cream bar for the dairy’s family. The menu changes every few weeks, featuring simple preparations of local and regional products. A typical menu features dishes like Quail Cooked in Hay with garden peas, plum and onion cream; and Sustainable Arctic Char served with sour beer aioli and beach mushrooms.
Model Milk 308 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 265 7343
Rouge is set in the former home of A.E. Cross, one of the Big Four founders of the Calgary Stampede, and set on the banks of the Bow River, surrounded by shady trees and a large garden. The menu is seasonally inspired, featuring dishes such as duck confit perogies with scallion salsa; and poached halibut with hazelnut and nettle pistou. A Province of Alberta Heritage site, dinners may be seated in one of several different rooms of the house, including the Atrium, the Parlor, or the Dining Room.
Rouge, 1240 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 531 2767
Located over 600 feet above the city’s downtown core in the iconic Calgary Tower, Sky360 is arguably one of the most scenic dining venues in Calgary. The restaurant offers a slowly changing view of the skyline and the Rocky Mountains as it performs a 45-minute revolution. The cuisine is pan-Canadian, focusing mainly on seafood and meats prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Diners receive free access to the tower’s observation deck, which is located one floor above the restaurant, with the purchase of an entrée.
Sky360, 101 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 532 7966
Formerly known as Jacqueline Suzanne’s Bistro, the Carmichael is set in a heritage building with original pressed-tin ceilings and hardwood floors. The bistro’s warm-toned interior is complemented by its interesting collection of antiques and artwork, with many items available for purchase. This family-run restaurant features a selection of pasta dishes, hand-cut AAA beef tenderloin filets, seafood, and prime rib, along with vegetarian and gluten free options. The Carmichael is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, which features eight different kinds of eggs Benedict, and also offers daily specials, including half-price bottles of red wine on Wednesdays.
The Carmichael, 1219 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB, Canada, +1 403 266 1005