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Dinner before Flames game?

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Hi all - I've got two friends coming into town from Toronto in a couple of weeks. We're going to an 8 p.m. Flames game (Saturday night) and looking for a good dinner first.

Criteria:
* within walking or short driving distance to the Dome
* we can't get to dinner until a 6 p.m. reservation, so it has to be a place that can get us out in time to make the game
* entrees in the $25-$35 range (flexible on this)
* would love to go to a restaurant that is somewhat "Albertan" - neither friend has ever been to Alberta before
* preferably no Asian
* not formal; we'll be wearing hockey jerseys - but something nicer than a pub

Any suggestions? One place that crossed my mind was Wildwood. What d'ya think?

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  1. i think wildwood would be good - they have good beer too - their bison burger is tasty and the salad was nice and fresh too - mind you it's been almost a year since i've been there, so times may have changed.

    that reminds me...i have a gift certificate for Wildwood I should use!

    1. Il Gallo Nero comes to mind, but only because people have recommended it before. It's been awhile since I've been to a Flames game myself. Inglewood fits the short drive criteria as does 17th Av, 4th street...so loads of options although most that are coming to mind are the leisurely dinner type. I've had a good experiences at Vintage Chophouse (320 11th Av SW) although we've always been in the resto side not the bar area... I think their tavern might fit the bill as an upscale pub: www.vintagechophouse.com

      You may want to check out this pre-game thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/445887

      1. I'm not familiar with Calgary restaurants, but had you thought of checking out the restaurants in the Saddledome, itself? During world figure skating championships, we ate at the Avison Young Club which had a decent (albeit limited) buffet, but the prime rib was very good. We returned another day just for the prime rib. (However, I'm not sure if one is restricted on having Club seat tickets).

        The other restaurant is located high up in the Saddledome. You can either access it by an elevator or climb up all those stairs into the nosebleed section (which we did, silly us). Not cheap, but both the food and service were good. The restaurant has a formal look, but I didn't get the impression that we would be barred based on what we were wearing. In fact, the staff made us feel very welcomed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Libertycafe

          The high-in-the-sky restaurant in the Saddledome is called HBSC Saddleroom restaurant. It's definitely "Albertan" as it has a steakhouse menu, offering Alberta AAA beef steak/prime rib.. You can click onto its menu from the Saddledome website. I'd definitely go back if I ever had to go to the Saddledome for some event. You can even see the ice arena from one side of the restaurant.

        2. Mavericks in the Big 4 building is as Albertan as it gets :) It's nothing pretty, nor special, but everyone sits there in Flames Jersey's, orders a steak sandwich, and drinks beer. It has the added advantage of being on site.

          Wildwood is a decent option, but i assume you mean pub and not restaurant? The restaurant is a bit too "white linen" for jerseys imo.

          Il Gallo Nero is close, and it's on my list of "must tries", but it isnt very "Albertan". Ditto on Ed's.

          Come to think of it, Down 17th, you might want to try Cilantro's. It's game and meat (CRMR restaurant - same owners as Divino, Ranche, etc...). Casual enough to wear a jersey, good food and the right price point.

          I think a 6pm reso at Caesars might work out as well... it's only 5 minutes from the dome by car. And there's nothing more Albertan than that!

          GL

          13 Replies
          1. re: yen

            i thought about cilantro as well. vintage is also a good option - the bar side is great, they also have a driving service to the games

            1. re: yen

              Re: Wildwood - I actually meant the restaurant, but I wasn't sure if it was too "white linen" for jerseys. I guess it is. I'll rule out Mavericks - the four of us will be wearing Oilers jerseys (gasp!), and I think that would likely be frowned upon there!

              I'll check out Cilantro and Vintage - I haven't been to either.

              Hubby and I also really like Bonterra, though there's certainly nothing particularly "Albertan" about it.

              1. re: LittleMrs

                I thought about Vintage, but the price is significantly higher than 25-35, especially when you factor in that they've gone to ala carte, and sides are in the 8-10 range as well. Ordering the cheapest steak on the menu, one side, still comes out to 42 bucks plus tax and tip. And that doesnt include your 12 dollar salads, nor your 12-20 dollar appetizers. They are also occasionally slow. I mean really slow, so there would be no guarantees on getting out in time.

                And ah - Oiler jerseys. Mavericks would not be a good place for that. You're awfully brave, but keep the faith (im an Oilers fan too!) :)

                1. re: yen

                  You shouldn't be going to any Calgary Restos wearing Oiler Jerseys! Just Kidding!
                  Anyway, for your criteria I would also recommend Cilantros. I hesitate to recommend Wildwood because I haven't been there for a while.
                  Go Flames!

                  1. re: yen

                    After checking out the Vintage menu - I'd agree that it may be a little too pricey. Anybody been to SaltLik for a steak? The menu on their website looks good - but it doesn't list prices...

                    1. re: LittleMrs

                      What about Blink?

                      1. re: LittleMrs

                        I would have recommended Saltlik, the food was pretty good, service was timely...I had the almond crusted cheese pate, which was good, very rich though so I'd suggest sharing. I can't comment on the steak none of us ordered it, go figure. Last time I was there however I had a server, who was clearing a table behind us, drop and break a 1/2 full water glass on my back... not exactly fond memories. Would I give it a second chance? Looking back on it, yes... but I'd probably request a booth ;)

                        1. re: maplesugar

                          I've had similarily bad service at Saltlik as well. The food is ok, i like the skinny fries, but it's too inconsistent that i wouldnt take visitors to Alberta for the first time to Saltlik. I'd want someplace that's got the best chance at delivering a good impression.

                          1. re: yen

                            I agree, and I think since the guests are visiting for a few weeks they'll have ample time to experience Alberta food. If it were me, for the sake of time and simplicity I'd probably just go to a pub...Drum & Monkey comes to mind (last I checked it was the only place on that block thats still open).

                            1. re: maplesugar

                              I would recommend the Drum & Monkey too, I ate there a lot before Christmas and the food was consistently good and alway quick to arrive. Having said that, I don't know how busy it would be before a game? I doubt they take reservations...Vicious Circle is also close but my one experience there involved several hairs underneath the cheese on my sandwich so can't really recommend it! I've heard good things about Michael's restaurant, which I think is somewhere on 10th Ave near 1 St SE, pizza and so forth.

                              1. re: irishgirl

                                Michael's is on 10th Av at 1st Street SW many many years ago we lived there. Cable was free but there was better entertainment from the daily lineup at the Mustard Seed. Pizza was always the well executed, thick and cheesy variety...not necessarily a bad thing if you've enjoyed a few pints.

                    2. re: LittleMrs

                      The pub in the basement of Wildwood is surely 'jerssy' territory.

                      1. re: LittleMrs

                        "I guess it is. I'll rule out Mavericks - the four of us will be wearing Oilers jerseys (gasp!), and I think that would likely be frowned upon there!"

                        LOL - there are some decent places on Gasoline Alley southbound, it's probably as close as you can get without frowns.

                    3. The Lion's Den is a Calgary institution. Can't get much closer to the 'Dome than this so could park on site and walk over. It's diner style but people love it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sarah galvin

                        The lions den stayed closed since the June floods 2013 =(