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Mar 11, 2008 07:58 AM

Calgary - South Downtown Eats?

We just relocated to another office on 11th Avenue and 2nd Street SW (from Sun Life Plaza). Seems that the choices for eats are highly limited in around the area. I miss the Chinatown area already - bubble teas, dim sum, quick cheap food (MBA, Calgary Court, Han's, etc.) and the bakeries...

Other than Thai Sa On, does anyone know of any good, inexpensive places to eat? I tried Viet-West a block away but left less than impressed. Who puts wonton egg noodles in Pho?


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  1. I'm at 11 Ave and 5th St SW - and it's pretty slim pickings around here. there is a Mediterranean Deli, (the same guys as A & A in the NW) it's tasty and quite large portions, our office goes to Flatlands cafe quite often (at 11 Ave and 5th), their daily hot specials are usually comfort food style, quite hearty. Broken City's new menu is decent and they have $7 lunch specials. Sushi Man on 10th and 1st is not terrible, they fill up quickly at lunch. Cafe Koi has great coffee, haven't eaten there but I've heard good things about their food. Sometimes I go to sunterra in the +15 at banker's hall if I need a change...

    1. From 11th and 2nd, let's see...
      - I've always found the food at the Drum and Monkey (12th&1st) to be perfectly decent pub food, and preferable to that from Bottlescrew Bill's (10th & 1st); although the latter has a far better beer selection, so you may have different priorities than I.
      - Michael's Pizza (10th & 1st) is a classic Calgary Greek-style pizza place; of course, pizza is always a little slow, so hopefully your boss is a little relaxed. (Heck, bring her with you.)
      - Korean Village (10th & Centre) is somewhere I haven't been to in a long while, but I recall that their lunches were an excellent deal.
      - There's a satellite location of A&A Deli at 4th St around 13th Avenue; I enjoyed the shawarma from the downtown location last week, although it sometimes is a bit hit and miss.
      - There's an Ethiopian place, Queen of Sheba, on 12th near 2nd Street, in the base of the apartment building. It used to do buffet for lunch, more recently I've heard it was a la carte, but the last time I tried to go there (Stampede Parade day last year -- thought south of the tracks and ethnic would help avoid the swarming multitudes), it wasn't open. That being said, it was Parade day. If it does do lunch, please let me know -- I want to go back, but it's just at the edge of reasonable walking distance from my office.
      - The pho at Vietnam restaurant, 12th Ave just the other side of Centre St or so, is (IMO) quite good, and definitely egg noodle free.

      And you are only 3 blocks away from Stephen Ave, or the Banker's Hall and Gulf Canada food courts; (Sunterra in the former, Koryo in the latter). Although the tracks are a powerful psychic barrier - in both directions.

      14 Replies
      1. re: ByeByeBaby

        queen of sheba does have lunch, at least they did last year, they weren't doing the buffet at the time but considering bringing it back on fridays, so it might be's good food there

        1. re: pants

          There is a donair/felafel place right beside the Queen of Sheba. Delicious. Best I have had in the city.

        2. re: ByeByeBaby

          I drove up 1st street last week, and it looks like that whole block of commercial space that includes the Drum and Monkey all the way south to Cherry Lounge is closed down. It looked like it was scheduled for demolotion to me.

          1. re: djdragan

            i'm pretty sure the drum is still open. the castle pub is still open, but not for long. i've heard that part of the plan involves renovating the cherry lounge/castle pub space and turning it into a Tipperary's. from what i understand the block isn't being demolished, but being pretty seriously renovated with office spaces being put inside the renovated shells.

            1. re: djdragan

              I think that block is protected- no demo. If they build a second tower at Union Square I'm pretty sure it goes north of the current tower U/C.

              1. re: John Manzo

                Ellis Don website says the existing 3 storey historical building will be incorporated into Tower 2.

                1. re: sarah galvin

                  Ah, that IS north but like I say it won't be demolished :-)

              2. re: djdragan

                Anyone know if the Hop'n'Brew is still open (I'm in Vancouver, so I can't check for myself)? If it's getting demolished with the neighboring buildings, I might cry.

                1. re: peter.v

                  It was still open as of last week. Great place! No idea if it's getting demo'd's pretty close to the Beltline Fitness, which i believe is a heritage building. I would think it would be ok...

                  1. re: yen

                    Thanks yen. I got a bit worried hearing that the next door neighbours were getting taken down. The Hop is easily the best bar I frequent in my Calgary summer days.

                    1. re: peter.v

                      Great beer, great atmosphere. I agree. Though i know you guys head over to Wild Rose brewery after a long shift at P&S too (so you have two great choices!) :)

                      1. re: yen

                        How I cherish those Wild Rose moments! Yes, I definitely spent a decent amount of my tuition money at WR too (and I had a pig of the SOB in my fridge for awhile). In all this discussion of the Hop, WR slipped my mind. I still haven't found spots as good as those in Vancouver. Seattle yes, Vancouver no.

                        1. re: peter.v

                          SOB - good stuff. Though nothing wrong with the Brown. Love the Brown :)

            2. Actually I think you're spoiled for choice.

              Cafe Koi
              Soba Ten
              That new empanadas place at 11th and 1st
              Singapore Sam's
              Good Earth opening soon in Health on 12th
              Broken City
              Amsterdam Rhino and Red Door
              The Keg (sorry but some people might like it)
              Chili Club
              Vintage (maybe good lunch deals?)
              Spice Cafe (for Malaysian Curry)

              and as noted you're steps from Stephen Ave/DT proper

              and not that far from the corner of 11th and 8th for Bumpy's and Holy Grille.

              You want desperation, try working at the university!

              8 Replies
              1. re: John Manzo

                to add my two cents to john's list...

                soba ten isn't so good - our office has given up on it.

                we're all curious about the new empanadas place, that's on the list to try this week!

                i forgot about chili club and i work above it!! it's fantastic but you need a reservation.

                singapore sam's is good once in a while.

                good earth?! really?! we're dying for a decent coffee around here to run out to, bumby's isn't that convenient to get to in the middle of the day if you want something quick.

                amsterdam rhino is pretty good food but incredibly slow, if you can take the extra time they do have a nice patio in the summer that has been renovated this winter.

                vintage has a good lunch, we sit in the bar when we go, it's a bit more but only a couple dollars than say Rhino.

                also, one i forgot, it's bit of a walk for you but good food, Vue Cafe in the gallery next to Soho Nada across from safeway. Fresh and good.

                1. re: pants

                  Yep, according to Good Earth's website, a new location in Sheldon Chumir (aka Health on Twelfth) is opening in May.

                  1. re: pants

                    And if you are walking to Vue Cafe, The King and I is close. Been there forever but still has a nice menu and better wine selection than some.

                  2. re: John Manzo

                    What is the name of the empanadas place?

                    1. re: aktivistin

                      In addition to the name, where exactly is this empanada place? I did a search of the area tonight, and 11th/1st W has Vicious Circle, the shady strip mall, the Manhattan lofts and TransAlta. 11t/1st E has Cohos/Cantos, two gas stations and the big hole for Keystone.

                      I'm really looking forward to an empanada joint somewhere. Don't get my hopes up, man!

                      1. re: ByeByeBaby

                        I went back through the recent posts and realised that John mentioned a "Color Tinto Café" which had samples at CFM this past weekend. Color Tinto has empanadas as well as Columbian coffee, soups & salads, sandwiches, and breakfast food.

                        Color Tinto is on 12th Avenue SW near 5th Street.

                        Color Tinto
                        620 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R, CA

                        1. re: aktivistin

                          had lunch from there today - it really smells good when you walk in.

                          My co-worker ordered the cuban pizza that was on special today - it was tomatoes, peppers, cheese and shrimp and came with a small salad $8 and the pizza was quite large.

                          I had the P'to empanada - the pastry was nice, fresh tomato, and peppers and lots of cheese, also came with salad (could have had soup) $8

                          We both enjoyed our food but both though it could use some kick - haven't eaten many empanadas so I'm not sure if they are supposed to be spicy or if this is just the white version. In any case, the food was good and they are very pleasant.

                          1. re: pants

                            I agree with the lack of kick...I thought the sample I had at CFM might have been dumbed down for Average Joe...hopefully they ramp it up a bit :)

                  3. Gilchrist has given Flatland Cafe raving reviews. It is a cheap 'n cheery lunch spot right beside Soba Ten.

                    1. Thanks all for your suggestions. I've copied this to a text file for easy, quick reference.

                      We went by Blowfish for lunch today (and bumped into Yen - he's exactly who I thought he'd be).

                      I was a little underwhelmed. The food was decent, nothing spectacular. Not worth the $18 price point they're charging for their lunch special though. Though one of my coworkers commented that $18 for admission to watch our waitress in her semi-transparent paint smock was worth it.