Banff/ Lake Louise/ Jasper
I have been invited to a Big Fat Greek wedding in Calgary on the July long weekend. Since we have never been out West, a bunch of us have decided to spend the following week in Banff, Lake Lousie and Jasper, returning to Calgary for the Stampede. Our Calgary meals are taken care of, and I have made a reservation for dinner at the Post Hotel. Can anyone recommend restaurants in Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper? I have a guidebook, but would be interested to hear what other hounds think are worthwhile splurges, local faves, or off-the-beaten-track.
Marni from Toronto
I'm not Canadian -- I'm from Chicago and was checking this board for responses to a Vancouver inquiry I posted -- so I hope it won't be improper to respond. We've been many times to the Banff and Jasper parks, as once we discovered them they seemed like heaven to us -- the most magnficent places on earth, possibly. We were last there two years ago, so I hope these recommendations are still apt: the Fiddle River Seafood Co. in Jasper has very nice food. The Tekarra Lodge has a nice dining room (though it changes ownership a lot)in a spectacular setting; it's a lovely place for a hike after dinner. Banff has a lot of good restaurants, but we had an especially good meal at an excellent Chinese restaurant that also exists in Calgary (where we had an even better meal); I think it's called the Golden Dragon or the Red Dragon or some such -- help, anyone? We don't much like to eat or hang out at the Banff Springs, though it's a sight to see, but I would get a drink at the bar overlooking the Bow Falls just to sit and take in the scenery. In Lake Louise, I would suggest getting sandwiches and brownies from the bakery at the strip mall in town (there's only one) and then take them along for a hike around Bow Lake, an hour or so up the Icefields Parkway. Have a swell time -- I'm getting jealous just thinking about being there, though we're bound for Vancouver this Sunday.
Marni, I would second Toni G's recommendation of Fiddle River in Jasper. Although it features fish in landlocked Alberta and is in the midst of beef country, it is the spot that we enjoy the most.
Another spot is Andy's Bistro [I could have the first name wrong] but you can't miss it. Close to the Athabaska Hotel and Earls near the Toronto Dominion Bank.
Last fall we ate there as Fiddle River was closed during the "shoulder" period between the summer tourists and winter skiiers. It was o.k. but not much better than that.
Others, like Teri have spoken about the dining room at the Tekkara and also the one just a little ways down the Icefields Parkway [which I am assuming you will be taking to get up from Lake Louise]called Becker's Bungalows.
You will find that Jasper is dominated by Greek cuisine even if the name does not seem Greek given its long history with restauranters of Greek extraction.
The Pyramid Lake Resort is supposed to have a nice dining room and that area is a nice drive with a beautiful picnic area on a small island accessible by a foot bridge. The water can be still and affords a "mirror like" reflection of the surrounding mountains.
If you go up to Maligne Lake stop at one of the picnic areas [I think it is the 7th Bridge], the one that has a bridge across the river, lots of wildlife including black bears.
We were up in Jasper three weeks ago but spent most of our time at the Jasper Park Lodge except for a take out pizza we picked up at the townsite. The Lodge is beautiful. However, from past experiences I cannot truthfully recommend the food given the prices.
I'll leave Lake Louise and Banff to others who go there more often but the Post is a fine selection.
Beaujolais, Giorgio's, Coyote's and the dining room at the Lodge up Tunnel Mountain Rd. are spots where we have dined well during past visits, but that was some time ago.
Enjoy your trip.
First: don't miss Canmore, which is about 20 minutes west of Banff. It's a great little town, and the chow is outstanding. All the Canmore-ites swear by Crazyweed Kitchen, which is great, but there's also one of the best smokehouses around, at Valbella Meats. By all accounts The Quarry, on Main St. is really good. I also like the Village Bistro on 10th ST for light lunches.
In Banff, Coyote's is great. For a blowout, try Eden at the Rimrock; my wife was there earlier this year, and had the tasting menu, which was by all accounts great and fabulously expensive ... but worth it.
Make sure you drop by The St. James Gate for a pint as well.
Have a great time.