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Calgary eats

paul Jul 5, 2004 11:55 PM

Two nights in calgary. Looking for: classic alberta steak and good chinese. Any recommendations ?

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  1. l
    Lisa RE: paul Jul 6, 2004 04:28 PM

    When I lived in Calgary a number of years ago I used to love the Silver Inn (NW Calgary I believe) for Chinese food. I read a review of the Silver Inn in Gourmet magazine about a year ago and it was still getting rave reviews.

    As far as other Calgarian restaurants, I hear good things about Michael Noble's "Catch". Great seafood as well as memorable beef and game items on the menu.

    Calgary's a nice city. Enjoy!

    1. j
      John Manzo RE: paul Jul 6, 2004 05:20 PM

      Hate to burst the stereotype bubble but steak is not more abundant in calgary than in any comparably sized city. We have the same hy's and keg as other canuck cities; I've heard raves about Carver's but that's in an uninteresting area, NE Sheraton Hotel, but I'm also assured it's worth the trip; have also heard much good about Saltlik on Stephen Ave, a strip where upscale dining abounds (Catch, Murrietta's, The Belvedere, Teatro, and my favourite, Centini). The best steak I've had in Calgary was actually at The River Cafe, one of the best restos in Canada. Absolutely amazing regional, artisanal specialties with local meats and produce in a gorgeous setting in Prince's Island Park with the quiet of the river and the awe-inspiring backdrop of the downtown skyline just within reach. It's special.

      For Chinese... I like the cheap and cheery places where you can get a nice bowl of congee for next to nothing, and for me that's the Double Greeting Snack House in Chinatown. The massive Hong Kong style places that pepper 905 in Toronto are, blessedly, in Chinatown proper in Calgary (places like Harbour City, which is not massive but still); I would suggest you stroll through Chinatown and see what you fancy.

      I'd also recommend you consider the one ethnic cuisine that Calgary, in my studied opinion, does better than any place I've visited in North America: Vietnamese. Viet in Calgary is like Sushi in Vancouver: ubiquitous and delicious. My absolute fave is Co Do on 17th Ave and 14 St SW but you will see many and you should check some out.

      10 Replies
      1. re: John Manzo
        JWh RE: John Manzo Jul 6, 2004 09:31 PM

        A Calgary must is SPOLUMBO’S. Thick Italian sandwiches. On the top of the list is the famous Spicy Sausage Sandwich (handmade sausages covered in hot and spicy tomato sauce)They can do any type of sandwich (as long as there is meat)They also have numerous salads as well as daily specials. On Friday's be sure to try Mama's meatloaf....oh soo good!!! Owned and run by ex-Calgary Stampeder football players Tony Spoletini and Mike Palumbo. Eat in or take out. (noon hour is very busy if you are planning on eating in your best bet is to go before noon or a little after 1:00PM)

        1308 - 9 Ave SE, 403-264-6452 (located in Inglewood, just east of downtown)

        Everytime I am back in Calgary we head to Caesars Steak House for dinner.This is your traditional dark wood steak restaurant,with professional tableside service but the food is outstanding and each meal comes with garlic cheese toast (mmm I can taste it now), French Onion soup,your choice of salad & potato's/rice. I have never had a bad meal, well worth it! Located in downtown Calgary @ 512 - 4 Ave SW.

        1. re: John Manzo
          paul RE: John Manzo Jul 7, 2004 03:57 PM

          appreciate it. what about ceasers for alberta beef ?

          1. re: paul
            Bob Mac RE: paul Jul 7, 2004 04:24 PM

            Paul, it has been years and years since I have eaten at Caesar's but I have a "carnivore" friend who when visiting Calgary rarely eats any place other than Caesar's or the Owl's Nest in the Westin.

            This is a guy who has been eating almost exclusively beef and he loves Caesars.

            1. re: Bob Mac
              Bob Mac RE: Bob Mac Jul 7, 2004 05:04 PM

              Having just had lunch today at Teatro [written up below under the "Calgary Recommendations" thread]I would add it to my list of Calgary spots

              1. re: Bob Mac
                paul RE: Bob Mac Jul 7, 2004 07:01 PM

                Thanks Bob. If you do ethnic, vietnamese as suggested above or chinese, silver inn or harbour inn?

              2. re: paul
                ybnormal RE: paul Feb 16, 2007 10:06 PM

                Unfortunately, I have to relate a bad experience. Went to Caesar's about half a year ago for a going-away dinner with friends. Simply put, all the beef is good there, especially the filet mignon. However, big caveat: almost nothing else was. This includes the salad, the sides, the cheese bread, the dessert - all horrible - yet you still pay big money for it. For instance, the mixed green salad was essentially store-bought with a flavour-less dressing. Cheese bread - garlic toast with POWDERED parmesan. French onion soup with a baguette and .... you guessed it... powdered parmesan. And its hard to make a dry stuffed potato. I was there with a few other people that like good food and were completely turned off by what happened.

                I used to go to Caesar's more often, but unless it has changed since my visit then, it is no longer the standard for steak in Calgary. I'm hoping it was just a one-time experience since it used to be good (ie. maybe something happened to the sous-chef that night), but since it was just such a bad experience, I'm very hesitant to go back. Maybe someone that has been there recently can say if my experience was an anomoly. Sorry for ranting...

                I concur that the best steak is made at home, and I also suggest Carvers at the Sheraton.

                For Chinese, I really like Shan-Tung (14th St NW just north of Kensington). Ask for the Chinese menu and have the hostess translate. The dinner for 6 is really good. As suggested already, Central Grand is very good for dinner, and U & Me for Dim Sum. Regency Palace in Chinatown for fondue is good too.

                1. re: ybnormal
                  Shazam RE: ybnormal Feb 17, 2007 05:43 PM

                  Wow, I'm shocked about the salad. Their Caesar Salad is incredible, at least the last time I had it.

                  I agree with you about the rest of their food.

                2. re: paul
                  Major_9000 RE: paul Sep 27, 2007 12:42 PM

                  Caesar's always has excellent meat. I've never had a bad cut there or an order that wasn't done exactly how I'd asked for it. The thick leather and ambience is starting to get a little dated but it also adds to the Charm. If Steak is what you want, Caesars is the best place for it.

                3. re: John Manzo
                  FelixThe Hound RE: John Manzo Jul 26, 2004 02:21 AM

                  Have you had Vietnamese in Edmonton?

                  1. re: John Manzo
                    Shazam RE: John Manzo Feb 16, 2007 08:43 PM

                    You must try Ming Chau in Inglewood. Their soups are comparable to Co Do's, but it's their BBQ dishes that are to die for. Get the BBQ Chicken + BBQ Pork Chop + Shredded Pork on rice. It's mislabeled on their menu as BBQ Chicken + BBQ Pork Chop + Egg on rice (I think it's #84). It is the best Vietnamese BBQ Chicken and BBQ Pork in town, hands down.

                  2. m
                    Miles RE: paul Jul 11, 2004 10:50 PM

                    For Chinese, I'd probably go to the Central Grand, which is upstairs in the mall on Centre St and 16th Avenue north for upscale, and to the U and Me Restaurant in Chinatown for Dim Sum. I also love the Harbour City Restaurant, also in Chinatown.

                    Steak: go to Caesar's for the steak, and Hy's for the Calgary steakhouse experience. The best steaks in Calgary, though, are cooked at home (unfortunately perhaps). I've never had a steak cooked as well as the 10 oz Centre Cut New York that my buddy buys from the packer, 30 days dry aged, and grills over coals.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Miles
                      cdoyon RE: Miles Feb 11, 2007 09:50 AM

                      Steak : Update
                      Hy's = Closed in December 2006

                      1. re: cdoyon
                        John Manzo RE: cdoyon Feb 12, 2007 07:20 AM

                        ....building demolished for a new skyscraper. They'll be back.

                    2. MandalayVA RE: paul Feb 17, 2007 10:12 AM

                      I second Spolumbo's. One of the best sausage sandwiches I've had, and I'm from New Jersey where they know a thing or two about sausage--also a really excellent tomato-onion salad. For beef, I can recommend Buchanan's--an awe-inspiring burger and a nice steak. 738 3 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB, Canada - (403) 261-4646.

                      1. John Manzo RE: paul Feb 18, 2007 07:18 AM

                        Spolumbo's has moronic hours though. Not being open for dinner at a neighbourhood joint like that is pure 1989. This is the 2007 version of Calgary, dammit.

                        1. s
                          stakhanov RE: paul Apr 15, 2007 04:09 PM

                          For really good beef, that would definitely be the various versions of prime rib that will make your mouth water, and with huge portions.

                          Smuggler's Inn is one of the best.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: stakhanov
                            CookieGal RE: stakhanov Apr 15, 2007 05:50 PM

                            I was at smugglers last night.... and I had chicken and ribs, while my boyfriend had a big cut of prime rib. Truth be told for the first time ever i was really disappointed in my meal there... chicken and the ribs were both dry, tough and lacked the gooey sauce! The service though, was exceptional, and the waiter compt'd both our meals.... really upstanding. I have had a bad run with service and food for the last few months, you just can't find both to be exceptional!

                            example... I was at 8 on Friday.... *gave it a go, after my HORRIBLE first visit there with the old chef, took the recommendations of ever body here... and yes I was very pleased with my meal, I had the salmon and it was beautiful! BUT the service was totally unacceptable, we were seated at the bar, and the bartender left us half way through our meal, food was slow to come, and drinks were only topped up once.. and boy was I parched after waiting 30 minutes with a dirty plate in front of me, then an additional 20 for the bill! Won't be back there, not even for the mouth watering crab croquette.

                            But back to the Beef.....
                            Vintage does a nice cut of Alberta Beef... and If you are looking for beef downtown I would recommend that over the above mentioned SaltLik (which is just an earls spin off... where I was once served a frozen piece of fish :( yuck) Vinatge has a really great menu with a Beef focus. Lots of the other above recommendations are great... especially Teatro, River Cafe, & Murrietta's)

                          2. w
                            wongjym RE: paul Sep 27, 2007 12:34 PM

                            I would consider central grand for dim sum on the 2nd level on 16th and Center St or if you can go farther, try Forbidden City in the NE.

                            River Cafe is always good for a very nice meal.

                            Try Hanna Sushi, Shikiji or Kyoto 17 for some good fish.

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