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Calgary - cheap and wonderful

c
Conky Jan 27, 2006 08:54 PM

I am looking for all of the uncompromisingly wonderful restaurants in calgary that are not seriously expensive. I grew up there and since have been living in Montreal and San Francisco where places like Au Pied de Cochon in Monreal or A Cote in Oakland are special yet in the $15 - 25 range not the $25 - 50 range.

I love the River Cafe and Teatro but they seem to have gotten more expensive since I left.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a great diner in the $15-25 range?

  1. j
    John Manzo Jan 28, 2006 11:52 PM

    I'd say first off that high or low end, Calgary is an insanely better value than San Francisco. When I spent $42 for competent but not earth-shattering sushi in San Francisco last summer, I longed for home (home being Calgary).

    As to suggestions- naturally it depends on the cuisine you're looking for. I can name many places in Calgary that are outrageous values, but since you cite two that are French, I'm not sure I can help. But you're a chowhound, right? You're not just looking for places like Teatro, right?

    With all that said.... the best deal I have had just about anywhere has been at Soba Ten Noodle House. To have house-made soba with mountain veggies, fried rice cake and the most deeeeelectable meats or tofu... at ridiculous prices (easily less than $20 per person for dinner, 15 or less for lunch)... it is a religious experience. It gives you faith in humanity.

    Other places where I've left just shaking my head at the absurd value (bear in mind that some of these are non-table-service, some are in the northeast or southeast, none are French, some are pure halal or for other reasons don't have alcohol, never mind have a wine list)...

    Babylon
    Tiffin's Curry and Roti House
    the caffe at Lina's Italian Market
    Atlas
    Cafe Koi
    Uptown Sushi
    Restaurant Indonesia
    The Orchid Room
    just about any Vietnamese resto in town
    The Coup (pure veg, no reservations, was reviewed for en route's best new restos in canada)
    The Siding Cafe
    Anpurna Curry Pot

    6 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo
      j
      JWh Jan 29, 2006 01:47 PM

      I would go to CILANTRO on 17th ave - they have plenty of options on their menu for under $20. It is by far one of my favorite restaurants in the city and can be done on a budget. It has a wonderful atmosphere and outstanding food. Some menu highlights for a budget meal include:

      -Blackened Chicken Breast Salad $14
      -Seared Beef Tenderloin Salad $15(beef is peppered and ohh so good)
      -Any pizza is $15-$17 - my first choice would be the Pear/Gorgonzala Pizza
      -Any pasta dish is $18-$20 (and is large enough to take some home)

      Those are just the items that would fit into your budget. The menu includes alot more and anything on it is sure to be good.

      See link below for the menu / location.

      Link: http://www.crmr.com/cilantro/menus.php

      Image: http://www.crmr.com/cilantro/menus.php

      1. re: John Manzo
        a
        at the line shooting 2 Jan 30, 2006 12:19 PM

        what happened to your liking of towa sushi for value? i heard it's gone downhill of late?

        1. re: at the line shooting 2
          j
          John Manzo Jan 30, 2006 12:43 PM

          I could have listed that too.... never had complaints about it, it's just that Uptown is better value and much closer to where I live!

          I would also add Cilantro as per JWh's suggestion

          AND for "French," Bistro JoJo (now in Marda Loop) is not expensive and the one time I've been there it was pretty great- nice cassoulet but a small portion (but not expensive either).

          1. re: John Manzo
            b
            Bob Mac Jan 30, 2006 03:07 PM

            What is the "Marda Loop"?

            1. re: Bob Mac
              j
              John Manzo Jan 30, 2006 04:00 PM

              Marda Loop is the BRZ between South Calgary and Altadore, with retail centred on 33 Ave SW between 20th St and Crowchild. There is some more retail around Safeway and along 34th Ave but the core is 33rd. It would like to become the new Kensington or 17th Ave but considering that new condos are going up so much faster than new retail, I'm thinking that The Bridges (inner NE on the old hospital site) will overtake it, since The Bridges is building live-work spaces and retail in every building, whereas Marda Loop is trying to SLOWLY transform a crappy old working-class 2 blocks of shops (think fabric stores, vacuum repair, and a motley couple of low rise office buildings with horrible old-school "Chinese" restos) into something more chic- and succeeding in some small ways, but generally it's a big disappointment. Jo Jo is a bright spot there for sure.

              1. re: John Manzo
                b
                Bob Mac Jan 30, 2006 04:33 PM

                Thanks for the explanation John

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