Calgary, Banff, LL, road to Montana
we're making our way to your area this week and are looking for your favorite places (we'll be flying in to CGY, staying 2 nights at the Marriott, driving to Banff area, camping 3 nights, then on to Glacier). I've done some searching on the board but can't seem to compile a comprehensive list.
beer (as in microbrew)
we'll be hiking/camping so no fancy dress places
semi-vegetarian (fish, eggs, cheese)
a great breakfast is our favorite way to start the day, but we're also looking for happy hours and other special places to be on the look out for especially those roadside, ramshackle joints!
Thank you! Will be sure to report back ;)
Assuming you mean the downtown Marriott, your choices are practically endless. For oysters you will absolutely have to visit the oyster bar at Catch (Stephen Ave and 1 St St, next to the Hyatt). Casual dress is fine in the oyster bar, which is the main-floor level.
Brewpubs: Brewsters (8 St and 11 Ave), Wild Rose (in a quonset hut across from the Calgary Farmers' Market, google for map- you'll need a car for that one), and Wildwood, 2417 4th St SW which also has EXCELLENT food.
Local faves- well if you're talking "institutions," there's Peter's Drive Inn, River Cafe, Silver Inn (where ginger beef was invented), 1886 Cafe, Caesar's steakhouse, maybe the Panorama Room in the Calgary tower...
The main local ethnic cuisine is, I'd say without question, Vietnamese, and you'll find Viet places all over town, including several in Chinatown, just walk around and do stop into a Chinese place for dim sum too- standouts include Harbour City and U and Me but there are many discussions on this board around dim sum in Calgary. Calgary also has an abundance of Indian and Middle Eastern (from cheap shawarma places to more upscale dining rooms). So, as ethnic options go, you'll be spoiled for choice for Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, and there is a burgeoning sushi scene here too. There are of course tons of Italian but I don't think of that as "ethnic" any more...
Being pesco-lacto-ovo, you'll have no problems whatsoever.
re: John Manzo
I would echo John's recommendations for Calgary and would add a couple of more. For the best Irish pub in town I would go to the James Joyce which is just around the corner from your hotel. For a great cheese shop I would recommend Janice Beeston's in either Kensington or on 17th Ave/8th Street SW. Although I have not been there I gather Tazza in Bridgeland is very good for Lebanese. If you make it to Whitefish, Montana try the Bulldog Bar for their burgers.
I'm personally not a big fan of the Joyce; it's way too Diageo-Irish-pub-in-a-box for me, and the food is inconsistent at best. As an alternative, I'd recommend Bottlescrew Bill's, just on the south side of the tracks at 10th Ave and 1st St SW. The food's okay, although it's pretty carnivorous - the menu is sort of upscale pub with a Western influence -- but the beer list is impressive; 200+ types including a wide variety of local microbrews. Truth be told, though, the pub I head to is the Bear and Kilt; in a basement a few doors down from the Joyce. I like the food better; simple, honest pub food -- I don't drink, so I can't comment on the brew there too much, and it's nothing particularly special as far as atmosphere or whatever goes.
The only breakfast I've been to downtown (aside from the cafeteria at work) is the 1886 Buffalo Cafe, a 20 minute walk from the Mariott in Eau Claire. It's an awesome breakfast in a tiny historic shack that used to be a lumber company's office (in 1886, natch).
Hart50's right about Tazza, though -- it's pretty awesome. A decent second choice (and much more convenient) is the Falafel King on 1st St SW just south of 8th Ave.
In Canmore, I like Chez Francois at the Best Western Inn. The best Eggs Benedict in Alberta, IMO. I am sure they could swap spinach or salmon in place of the usual ham.
In Lake Louise, I love the Glacier Saloon down in the basement of the Chateau Lake Louise.
Which route are you taking to Montana. I would recommend taking Hwy 40 thru Kananaskis which then hooks onto Hwy 2 or 22. It is VERY scenic and takes you thru some great small towns including Black Diamond / Turner Valley, home of the famous ROUTE 40 Soup Company. Delicious Soup, sandwiches and baked goods!
I have always preferred the very scenic drive of Hwy 40/ 22/ 6 thru Waterton Park to the drab Hwy 1 / 2 combo freeways. The scenic route is only 40 more km's (25 miles) and can sometimes be quicker depending on traffic around Calgary