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Nov 23, 2007 08:15 AM

High end restaurants in Calgary?

I'm going to be in Calgary in a couple of weeks and want a really great meal - not just food, but atmosphere, service, etc. Some place we can relax for a couple of hours, multiple courses (we prefer 5 or 6 small courses over 2 large), good wine. Price isn't an issue, but we want something that is worth the price. It is a birthday dinner, if I was going to be here in Edmonton we'd probably go to Blue Pear. Last time I was in Calgary, we ate at Teatro and loved it. Looking for something along those lines. Major issue is that wife is allergic to seafood.

Any suggestions? Thanks (and I realize that this has probably been covered before...just didn't feel like scrolling back through...)

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  1. I'd suggest Il Sogno, or Capo. Probably the two best restaurants (or very close) in Calgary. Both are Italian fine dining, and if you prefer a change the River Cafe would be my suggestion. River Cafe has a more contemporary menu which focuses on seasonal and local ingredients. It's also just off the Bow River in a park just off of downtown and has one the best views/ambiance in the City. I believe all have menus online. Enjoy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sackman

      Second River Cafe. At the high end we are spoiled for choice in this town, but River Cafe is really THE destination resto in Calgary. That's not to say that you wouldn't also have a spectacular, REALLY memorable meal at, say, Capo, but if I could only have one dinner in Calgary, it would be at River.

    2. There are many choices funny that sackman mentioned IL Sogno and Capo together since the former chef of IL Sogno left to open Capo from what I understand it worked out for the best for all concerned. Chabot now heads up IL Sogno and I'd definitely recommend it as a place to linger over dinner.

      Other recommended restos that fit your general criteria: Divino, Tribune, Rouge... and many others that I'm sure John or yen will come up with... My personal fave for after dinner - Nectar desserts in Inglewood... great spot for sweets, and atmosphere.


      9 Replies
      1. re: maplesugar

        Capo generally does two seatings. I don't feel like it's a place to linger for a long time unless im in the later seating. Their courses are quite small though, so you could definitely go 3-4 courses each. The food is still very good, though i feel the quality has dropped since they first opened.

        Rouge is the restaurant most like Blue Pear. It's in an old house, and their tasting menu with wine pairings run a similar price, and they follow similar food philosophies.

        If you want 5 or 6 small dishes, you're better off with a tasting menu. To summarize for you (because really, you should just use the search function since this has been covered a million times before), John thinks you should go to River Cafe, Muse, Capo. I think you should go to Rouge, Eight, or Divino. Pants and Hart really like Tribune. alex8alot and maplesugar like Il Sogno. The occasional St Germain recommendation gets tossed in from the peanut gallery as well. And BobMac and pants are just all over the place ;)

        People don't seem to recommend the Living Room anymore, a group of former living room people are over at Jaro Blue, which would meet your small courses, but it's more loungy than restaruanty. No one seems to talk about Blink, even though they just won one of enRoutes "top 10 new restaurants in Canada" awards. I've never been in this incarnation. Everyone concurs Blvd has overpriced drinks and below average food, Wild Ginger is overpriced, and John occasionally stumps for Opus on 8th because he's been to several events there. That's the summary in a heartbeat - sorry to take liberties folks, but we all really need some new restaurants, or we need to sticky a few things because i feel like a dictophone lately.

        Anyway, Rouge, Eight, Muse would work great for a tasting menu. Capo would work for a quality of Italian you can't get in Edmonton.

        1. re: yen

          "...And BobMac and pants are just all over the place ;)"

          Hey yen, I "resemble" that remark!!! What about you Pants?

          1. re: Bob Mac

            lol. Thanks for the Ottawa info btw. I got reso's for Beckta on Sunday. I'll let you know how it goes. Was also interested in the Whalebone Oyster house.. you been?

            I assume you're merlin on the "other board"?

            1. re: yen


              Guilty as charged.

              Whalebone is interesting. I enjoyed myself.

              Tiny spot that fills up quickly. I was dining solo and sat up at the bar and "shot the breeze" with the owner while enjoying some oysters and small plates.

              Do not specifically remember what it was I ate. Would have to check back on the archived threads but I did like it. Lots of "character".

              It had been recommended to me by the bartender/waiter who had served me the previous evening at Beckta.

              Stephen Vardy, late of Beckta and then Par-fyum is..perhaps was... [I heard rumours the last time I was in Ottawa that he was heading back to the Maritimes]... the chef but he had the nite off when I was there.

              1. re: Bob Mac

                Vardy was why i wanted to try Whalebone. Ah well, thanks for the news updates :)

            2. re: Bob Mac

              all over the place?!! :)

              i always stick with my favorites though for out of towners - unless something new comes along that's better - Jaro Blue is that 'better' at the moment - I will always stick by tribune and divino though.

            3. re: yen

              lol right on the money as always yen :)

              1. re: calgaryeater

                Ah - didnt know the two seatings only applied Friday Saturday, as those are the only days i've been there. Thanks for the additional information.

                As for how often i dine there? Not as often as you clearly! I've been 4 times total, once for lunch, 3 times for dinner. Im glad you've never experienced a dip in quality - im sure dining there 1-4 times a month really helps in that regard. As for me, my first experience was amazing, and the second experience was pretty much as good (though the company wasnt as good :) ). The third time (lunch) was a bit off, and the last time i noticed a bit of a drop off as well. At lunch the pasta wasnt as good, and at dinner, the carne dish i had was Veal and wasnt as good as the first time i had it either.

                Don't get me wrong - it's definitely of high quality, and better than any Italian available in Edmonton (and many other cities). It's a good meal. But it's not as good as the first few times i've been, for whatever reason, and that is just my perception.

                1. re: yen

                  Although, I enjoyed my one meal at Tribune I would have to say my two favorite high-end restos would have to be Rouge and Capo.

              2. Dan I don't always mean to pimp by blog on here, but there are some links to higher-end places and their online menus if you check out the "places I like" page on my blog:

                4 Replies
                1. re: John Manzo

                  Your blog is an interesting read John; I for one am envious of how well travelled you are. (side bene being you don't have to reiterate recs you've already made).

                  I agree with yen, we need a sticky listing Calgary's better restos. I hesitate to recommend a "top 10 list" since different places have different appeal... (thinking of the rather skewed FFWD Best of list)

                  1. re: maplesugar

                    what about Brava? we had a great meal there 3 yrs it still on the radar? There is a great little place called Piq Niq, enjoyable food and right above Beat Niq, the best jazz club I have attended. If you enjoy live music, this is a really nice combo. Have not been to Piq Niq for a couple of years....can anyone comment on the quality?

                    1. re: cleopatra999

                      "Seven Restolounge" has been getting some pretty rave reviews.

                      I have been in for drinks on the lower level, but haven't had time to dine in the upper level room though.

                      Not as tried and true as some of the other recommendations, but may be a perfect fit for a small group.

                      1. re: cleopatra999

                        Brava is still one of my favourite spots in Calgary. After our last visit we commented on how much we liked the music there, and a few days later I got a CD in the mail from the manager, "Brava Beats." I kid you not. If that's not exemplary customer service, nothing is.

                        I want to add Muse to the list of suggestions. I've only been there three times but all have been memorable.