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Apr 16, 2008 10:35 PM

Calgary Petroleum Club - Calgary - with images

A business event resulted in me going to this "members only" venue for a dinner and function. Not knowing much about this place, I quickly scanned the dinner menu on their website before heading out. Not impressed by what I saw, but then again, with the large numbers going, I figured it would be a standard set of plated dishes that would be served... and I was right. The meal could have been had at any run of the mill hotel restaurant, as there was nothing inventive or remotely interesting. I suppose having to satisfy a diverse crowd, and by diverse I really mean it - people from over fifty countries were in attendance. So the organizers must have selected the most neutral items they could from the kitchen. Anyhow, thought I'd report what I had. And if anyone has actually been there for a proper sit down meal (though not sure how many CH'ers are paying the $2,500 annual membership dues) and had any insights into the "real" food of the menu from executive chef, Liana Robberechet.

1) Crabcake, cream sauce
2) Pickled beet salad
3) Roast beef
4) Cheesecake

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  1. I've been to the Club for the lunch buffet when I was on a course. It was good and service was attentive, but yes, really nothing more than a decent hotel restaurant. The buffet was not nearly as good as the Banff Springs when I went there years ago, but it was not too shabby.

    Considering their members are primarily older males who made their money in the patch, I'm not surprised the menu isn't too creative.

    7 Replies
    1. re: peter.v

      Interesting, and as I would have expected.

      I don't think the MO of the club is to provide world class dining, but rather a private place to conduct business, socialize, etc.

      1. re: young lion

        >young lion
        I just had the expectation that given the members are used to the finer things in life, the food would be more inventive and exciting than what I saw. For the socializing aspect of the place (we were in the main hall on the second floor), it seemed quited dated and not spectacular by any means either. I think halls in some of the higher end hotels in the city are much newer and better looking. Not sure what members see in this place and their high fees. :)

        1. re: jay_kay

          'Not sure what members see in this place and their high fees.'


          1. re: sarah galvin

            Well I asked the hosts of the event, people I know and are worth hundreds of millions of dollars (but its "new money"), and not even old oil patch money. Seemed that its not even a great place for that, rather more useful for renting outright for their own parties, such as the event I attended. For regular folk like me, having to pay a few grand a year just to have that right seems weird to me, when I could technically just rent out a hall in a hotel for the same purpose and IMHO get better food. Oh well. :)

            1. re: sarah galvin

              Bingo (Sarah). This place has nothing to do with food and I'm a little surprised to see it even mentioned on Chowhound.

              1. re: John Manzo

                The biggest perk of the CPC is that you get member rights / entrance to similar (better) clubs all over the world.

                1. re: John Manzo

                  Looking at their website before my visit, it seemed they do play up their chef (e.g. not just some Joe behind the grill) and food philosophy ( and the local Calgarians (maybe that was the problem) I talked to did say I could expect to get something nicer than my hotel, so hence I did have some expectations about the food. So just based on this self promotion by the club and the positive word of mouth I received, I am not sure if I'd say this place has "nothing to do with food", and Chef Liana might be insulted :), though it may not be their main reason for being I agree with sarah galvin. I was more curious to hear if anyone had eaten a meal not in a group setting to learn what their impressions of the real menu was like.

        2. To be fair, ANY restaurant serving 100 people at once would be providing standard plating similar to hotel restaurants. That's the only way people could be served in a timely fashion.

          I don't think too many individuals pay the dues, most of the memberships are corporate and they use it for meetings, speech type functions and entertaining just like hotel banquet rooms, but I've alway thought the food was pretty food, more like a better hotel. It's been several years since I've had an a la carte meal there, it was no better or worse than at any other high-end restaurant downtown (but a lot more reasonably priced, I don't know if it still is).

          1 Reply
          1. re: hsk

            Thanks for being the one to reply to my main query from my original post - where I asked if anyone had eaten a non-group function meal at this place. I'd asked a bunch of Calgarians beforehand if I should expect anything special after learning I'd be going there, most said the food should be good but underestimated the "for a group" setting and resulting standardized offerings. I didn't get to see their menu that night, but for comparison, the meals I had at the Sheraton Eau Claire (again in more banquet type setting) was much better than what I had at the Petroleum Club, so if it were me in the same situation again, I'd definitely say the hotel does a better job than this club.