ISO good chow in Banff
My husband and I are heading out to Banff later this month. I haven't been there in a few years. I've heard that Eden is great (but pricey) and that Le Beaujolais has slipped in recent months. Any other recommendations (any price range)? Also, any spots for a great breakfast (preferably with great coffee)? I'm also intrigued by all of the posts about Canmore (Crazyweed, in particular). How far is the drive from Banff and would it make sense to stop there on the way back to Calgary or is it in a different direction? Many thanks.
I was just in Banff for the first time last week. Hopefully, you'll have better weather than we did, and will actually see the mountains :-)
We were travelling with 2 young kids, so we couldn't go out too lavishly. We went for the lunch buffet at the Banff Springs hotel one day, more to see the hotel than for the food, but were pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of the food. $28 per person, with 3 hours free parking, free hotel tour, a million-dollar view obscured only by mother nature, and the kids were both free. (After seeing my 4-year-old eat, they may change their kids policy though!)
Other posters have mentioned Coyotes. We went there twice for breakfast. Excellent coffee, and I thought the breakfasts were great. My son had french toast stuffed with blueberries. I had a sundried tomato and cheese frittata one day, and huge huevos rancheros with blue corn tortillas the next. My wife had eggs benedict, and a "southwest" fritatta. All was superb. I would love to try them for lunch and dinner too.
We had breakfast at Phil's one day, and it was so-so. If we'd found Coyote's before that, we wouldn't have gone there.
My wife and I got a babysitter one night, and had a very nice meal at Giorgio's Trattoria. I thought the carpaccio was superb, but could have eaten twice as much as was offered for the price ($16).
Evelyn's, which has 3 locations, had really good coffee. My wife, who LOVES coffee, declared their French Roast to be the best coffee she had tasted in memory. The location next to the cinema seemed to be slightly better than the one on Banff Ave..
We didn't get to try it, but one local highly recommended Pad Thai to us. I understand that it is a very small place inside an interior mall along Banff Ave. (the one with the clock tower). Great, cheap Thai food.
We tried Earl's with the kids one night, and should have known better when they couldn't supply a highchair. The cedar plank salmon was good, but mostly I was trying to keep my eyes on the kids, so I couldn't really give them a fair assessment.
Both Saltlik and Fuze looked really appealing, but again the kids were an issue. There never seemed to be any people in Saltlik when we walked by, but I think the main dining room must have been upstairs.
Because of the rain, we took the kids swimming at the Banff Centre one day (great facility), and just upstairs from the pool in the Sally Borden building was a small cafeteria called the Gooseberry Deli & Juice Bar that seemed to have a really good selection of fresh sandwiches, juices, etc.. We didn't stop to eat there (it was too early for those who think "brunch" was intended to replace breakfast and lunch), but it looked very nice for what it was.
One last tip: If you go to the Columbia Icefield, take your own food with you. Those dear Brewster folks sure know how to make money by cramming people into buses, but they can't make a decent sandwich to save their lives, and the cost was outrageous.
I haven't been to Banff since May 2003, but definitely loved Saltlik. The fondue at Walliser Stube Wine Bar in the Chateau Lake Louise is fantastic and comes with a million-dollar view. I wasn't overly impressed with Coyote Cafe or the Mexican restaurant across the street from it, whose name escapes me right now!
The new star in Banff, IMHO, is Fuze Finer dining, amazing food and great service. Pricey, a bit, not as bad as Beaujolais though.
The Grizzly House in Banff is great if you would like to try a fondue dinner (classic cheese fondue, a large variety of meats, chocolate for dessert, very yummy.
Canmore is about 20 minutes east of Banff, and is right on the Highway as you drive from Banff to Calgary.
If you are at all able, you may want to venture 30-40 minutes West of Banff to Lake Louise and take in the Post Hotel and Dining Room. IMO, one of the 10 best restaurants in Alberta (some would argue the best, and they may be right) The wine selection is amazing, but if you both plan to drink, stay overnight, the road to Lake Louise is not an easy road to drive (single lane - undivided) as opposed to the 2/3 lanes divided between Banff and Canmore. If the cost of dinner and lodging at the Post are a bit much for your budget, there are other nice but more reasonable Lodges in Lake Louise, like Deer Lodge.
Hope I was able to help.
Thanks. Will definitely check out Fuze and probably stop in to try a spot in Canmore on the way back to Calgary. If we have the time, we'll make the trip to Lake Louise - haven't been there since I was a teen-ager.
Any suggestions for a good breakfast spot in Banff? I've been to Melissa's once and will return but wouldn't mind an alternative. Thanks.