Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Banff has just 8,000 residents but punches above its weight when it comes to dining options. Stunning views? Cozy fireplaces? Ethical ingredients? Vegan options? Here are insider tips to help you find your next restaurant meal in Banff, Alberta.
Regional, seasonal, Canadian: these are the guiding principles behind the Bison, which offers up a map of Alberta and British Columbia that shows which family farms they source bison, beef, vegetables, pasta, bread, tea and wine from. The vibe here is “modern mountain elegance” and live music happens Thursday and Sunday nights. Bison – the namesake protein – comes as short ribs or rib-eyes or worked into ragù. Sundays are celebrated with brunch.
It’s all about “fire-roasting dining” at the Farm & Fire inside the Elk + Avenue Hotel. Wood-fired flatbreads lead the menu offerings, alongside rotisserie chicken, porchetta with crackling and grilled flank steak. Don’t worry, plant-based eaters, there’s a farmer’s vegan pot pie, and you’ll also find fancy takes on green beans, mushrooms, potatoes and carrots. Desserts not to be missed include a baked Alberta and pavlova with vegan meringue and coconut-beet whipped cream. Takeout is an option.
Alberta is cattle country, and Chuck’s Steakhouse takes its beef seriously. The restaurant sources ethically raised local cattle from three ranches and then dry-ages the meat in-house. Steaks (chosen by ranch, cut, size and options like Wagyu) are grilled over hardwood and mesquite and range from $48 to $105, although sauces and seafood are extra. Vegetables are meant to be shared; steak frites and 45-day, dry-aged burgers are more affordable options.
Sometimes, a restaurant’s biggest draw is the view. Such is the case at upscale Sky Bistro, which is perched on the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Diners have to take a ride in the Banff Gondola to get to their meal. You can DIY or get a “Sky Experience” package that includes the gondola plus an appetizer and entrée. The locally minded menu goes from Arctic char to sunchoke-ricotta gnocchi and salmon served with British Columbia clams.
Eddie Burger is a playful burger joint that’s deadly serious about its meat, sourcing hormone-free, humanely raised meat from family-run Benchmark Alberta Angus. Burgers always come with fries. Chicken, elk and veggie patties are options, as are vegan Beyond Meat burgers served with vegan cheese and gluten-free buns. Upgrades at this eatery include sweet potato fries, poutine, Caesar salad and deep-fried pickles. The milkshake bar cleverly caters to kids (non-alcoholic) and adults wanting to try something alcoholic like the Shaft on Draft, with Park Distillery espresso vodka, cold brew and Alberta honey.
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