Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper
A week from now, I'll be visiting these parks and the surrounding area for the first time in decades. I'd be grateful for any recommendations at any price range in any of these locations. I'd also appreciate any comments pro or con regarding the restaurants in the Fairmont chain hotels in the three parks. Thanks in advance.
re: Ross H. Munro
Thanks for all the recommendations. In return, as promised, a brief report.
The Edith Cavell dining room at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is excellent: professional and not cloying service, fine appetizers, entrees, desserts and a nice selection of wines by the glass, including dessert wines. Another restaurant serving breakfast elsewhere in the hotel served an utterly bizarre version of my favorite morning dish, corned beef hash. It was composed of flaky pastry rolled around conventional hamburger meat!
As for the dining room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the critical pan posted here seemed right on target. The menu, the clientele and the room itself -- all looked tired and we didnt hesitate to pass it by.
The best suggestion we received from chowhound posters was to eat instead in the dining room of The Post Hotel. Superb! If youre lucky, youll be waited on by Peter, an idiosyncratic, white-haired, European gentleman who, if youre patient, will gently steer you to the very best items on the menu and on the wine list. The results were stunningly good: a mushroom stuffed pasta and scallops prepared in an Asian style; sea bass; and Arctic caribou (the local variety isnt so good, we were told) that was moist, tender, and not gamy. Each dish was sauced perfectly. The smallest of caveats: for a world-class wine list, there are surprisingly few appealing wines by the glass. Focus instead on the unusually large selection of excellent half-bottles.
Took my family to the Fairmont in Louise (for raclette) during spring break in March '05. The service was incomparably atrocious, and neither our waiter nor the lady running the room was interested in fixing the problem (nothing coming from the kitchen - cheese melting, no garnishes, no drinks, no nothing). When I complained super politely the lady running the room looked at me like I had rabies. I am a big fan of Fairmont Hotels and stay in them regularly, but I wouldn't return to the Fairmont at Lake Louise under any circumstances.
Hi, Ross, it's your buddy Lyle from Edmonton.
The Edith Cavell menu is excellent right now, make a reso next week and you'll get treated right by the Manager, Victor.
If you're looking for more casual fare in Jasper, I would recommend Soft Rock Cafe for breakfast and La Fiesta for lunch.
Definitely avoid all of the Greek Steak & Pizza joints in town, they are average at best.
The baked goods and desserts at Bear Paw bakery are hard to beat, particulary the legendary Raspberry-White Chocolate scone and the large Miette loaf of bread.
At the JPL the sushi restaurant on the concourse level is called "Oka" and is world class, especially the tasting menu. It isn't Fairmont, the space is rented to the owner.
For a wonderful Pan-Asian influenced dinner, visit Tekarra Lodge. The chef/owner does many excellent dishes in the Roy Yamaguchi style. They are only open until October 3, though.
In any case, definitely stop by the JPL and say "hi."
Ross, just past Lake Louise in the town of Field, BC (20 mins west on the TransCanada) is a small restaurant called Truffle Pigs Bistro. I highly recommend this restaurant for it's ecclectic menu that is prepared with exception skill and detail. It's a very small place only 8 tables (unless it's warm and the patio is open). Here's a link to their website, although it's not often that up to date, but their food is! www.trufflepigs.com
Not sure if you'll need reservations at Truffle Pigs around this time of year but it might be worthwhile calling in advance if you are planning a Friday or Saturday night.
Of course just down the road from Field is Emerald Lake lodge which has a couple of excellent restaurants attached to it and views that can't be beat.
In Banff there are so many choices, on the high end is the Rimrock Inn's 5 diamond Eden restaurant. I haven't had the honour of dining their yet but friends have and they said the meal, service and view were all beyond compare. On the lower end you can't go wrong at Barpa Bill's, best souvlaki in the Rockies if you don't mind standing at the counter. Or for some excellent South Asian cuisine Typhoon has some great choices at reasonable prices.
I haven't dined much in any of the Fairmont restaurants so I'll leave that for someone else to comment on.