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Mar 29, 2007 04:27 PM

Outstanding service in Calgary?

Okay, as promised- here's a thread on places that go the extra mile service-wise in the city with the most acute labour shortage in all of North America.

I'm going to nominate a few, high- as well as low-end:

Capo: An amazing meal that was only improved by impeccable, spot-on, perfectly timed service, start to finish. Waiters were not burdened with more than, I think, three tables apiece.

The Coup: Smiles, smiles, smiles all around- don't like the soup? taken away and comped, no questions asked (and with a SMILE too).

River Cafe: I note a negative experience (which was only marginally negative) on here and I get an apology that I can only describe as... extravagant. Points in heaven for you, River Cafe.

Tubby Dog: Too damn cool, treat the hipsters and the families and old curmudgeons like me with equal aplomb. Fast service and you get precisely what you pay for. The sort of thing Calgary needs lots, lots, lots more of.

The Tribune: the food was kinda meh, but the service- I felt like Diamond Jim crossed with the prettiest gal in the room. Really fantastic, professional staff.

Bumpy's: A cafe that has become, if anything, too successful with its combination of the very best espresso and espresso-based, latte-art decorated drinks with really good, really good-value food, it still manages to staff fantastically, somehow finding barista after barista that would be at home in Seattle or Vancouver, and having tons- eight people behind the counter during a recent lunch rush- of other staff too. How John does this I don't know, but it's a delightful balm to step into a quality coffeehouse in Calgary that is so well staffed.

Globefish Sushi and Izakaya: They poached my favourite sushi guy from Midori! And from the looks of it many more- this place is packed to the rafters but in that open kitchen were six people not counting waitstaff last lunch I was there. Sushi is delivered fast as it should be, and staff are as friendly as anything.

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  1. My last time at Capo, the waiter asked us how muhc longer we were planning on being there. We had just been served our espresso and tea. Granted, no dessert, but this was appalling and his smile didn't do anything to dampen the rudeness of his implicit request for us to leave. Appalling service.

    1. It's good to hear that there are still some places in Calgary where good service hasn't been lost. Still, it's few and far between, in my exprerience.

      I agree with the Tribune comment - every time I have been there the service has been stellar. Same with River, although sometimes I have found the service to be too efficient, since I am a linger-er (to make up a word).

      And I'll definitely give some of the other places on your list a try - esp. Bumpy's, since I'm looking for a good coffeehouse experience. I just wish that Globefish took resos - it's so busy these days!

      1. I'm all for discussing the good places - John, I'll second Bumpy's and Tribune - I haven't been to the others yet....

        Tribune was great both times that i've been there - they really do make you feel welcome. Professional, friendly and efficient service from every staff person we encountered and good food to go with it!

        I would also like to add Divino to the list - the hosts haven't always been the greatest but the service has been professional and friendly every time - they even are pleasant when you ask for a $40 bottle and offer great suggestions. And of course the tempura beans and cheese...all the glorious cheese.....

        1. At Capo you need to vacate tables on Fri & Sat nights. They let you know this in advance so that you are not offended. Utilizing space is why-with so few tables or else you wouldn't get in on busy nights. I was recently at Sugo (an old favorite of mine) and not only was our female server rude and unprofessional, she brought out out entrees while we were still having an appy. Just over an hour-in and out. Good thing we paid $200 for that-for the last time I may add.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CityChick

            Fair enough that you were warned at Capo. We weren't, it was a Tuesday and 7:10 pm when we were ousted.

            The service at PiqNiq is always great. Personable and efficient without being irritating. Server noticed we weren't touching the bread because it tasted like freezer burn. She apologized and brought out some different bread (that hadn't just been pulled out of the freezer upon our arrival).

          2. Mango Shiva, not during Lunch, but in the evenings we had the BEST waiter who was really very friendly but not ovely in your face. It was probably the best service I have had in this city in ages.

            The Coup is great too and really accomodating, effectively it is as described above.

            I liked The Tribune but when I was there I felt the "almost" crossed the line into annoying service. There is a distinct difference between waiters at places like "Jack Asstor's" and places like the Tribune. I shouldn't feel like I'm in one when I'm in the other.

            My mother mentioned the other day that The Metropolitan Grill won't let people who are under 25 make reservations. This I think is ridiculous as I have made MANY reservations for myself and others. That is stupid service.

            6 Replies
            1. re: foxyfreckles

              Mango Shiva, and every other biz in Penny Lane, is no more as of tomorrow. :(

              1. re: John Manzo

                why? and for how long? and my god, how do you know everything that happens in this city!?

                1. re: alex8alot

         - The Calgary development threads are invaluable.

                  Penny Lane is being demolished to build a billion-dollar office towers development there.

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    I knew it was happening, I just didn't realise it was SO soon ... now I'm going to only have my curry fix on the weekends (or when I make it).

                    Talk about a bummer!

                    (my man will also be sad because of the closing of the cigar shop)


                    1. re: John Manzo

                      They're actually moving, I called the restaurant a couple of minutes ago, looks like they're going into a location just across from Flames Central where the old Dairy Queen used to be, they should be opening sometime in the late summer.