Steak or Breakfast in Calgary
My boyfriend is coming to visit for what I believe is his first time in Calgary (at least in a long time) and when I asked him if there was anything he wanted to do in Calgary he told me "have steak". So I was wondering if you guys had any good steak places to suggest. I already have stuff like Caesars, Chicago Chophouse or the Saltlik in mind, but I haven't been to any of these places, and are they any good?
Also, my boyfriend loves going out for brunch so some suggestions for breakfast places would be nice too. I'm already considering the places from this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/542392, but any other suggestions would be great.
IMHO I would avoid Chicago Chophouse and Saltlik. With Caesers it can be rather hit and miss although your BF may enjoy the 60's steakhouse ambiance. Vintage Chophouse used to be pretty good but it has been getting rather lukewarm reviews on here lately.
For something a little different, I would recommend the Wildwood and order the Elk Rib Steak. I was there on Thursday evening and it was sublime.
There are as many opinions about steak in Calgary as there are cows in AB I think... my suggestion would be (a little bit of a drive but worth it) Bear's Den:
If his preference is to try Alberta beef - i would recommend Vintage. While there have been mixed reviews, most of them are expressing disappointment in menu changes, and diminishing value. The steak itself is still very good. Bear's Den has reasonable food, but the atmosphere pains me.
If his preference is more a Montreal type of steak (they primarily serve USDA there), then you're better off with Ruth's Chris.
These options are all quite pricey - depending on where you are located in the city, you can do fairly well AAA at Caesars, Wellingtons, or Carvers. The problem is, most steaks out here are all wet-aged. Which, imo, doesnt showcase Alberta beef very well. Is buying a good steak and cooking it at home an option?
Depending on what your preferences and budget are, im not sure there is a definitive option that works well. Additional details might be helpful. Same for brunch. What kind of brunch is he looking for (AYCE, greasy spoon, typical odd-ball breakfast place)?
I don't go out for steak much myself, would rather buy some good quality naturally-raised beef or buffalo from a butcher like Venture Meats, and then try very hard not to overcook it at home. Recently I have had good experiences at Open Range and the Ranche in Fish creek because you can get good quality steak or Elk, Buffalo, Caribou and the like which are more fun anyways, and neither of them are classic downtown steak houses (which are like steak houses in any other downtown, nothing special to Calgary).
For brunch my favourite places are Big Fish (good food, no rush to get out, at least on Saturdays), Diner Deluxe just down the street (spend a lot of time waiting in line but the food and atmosphere are great), 1886 in Eau Claire downtown near the YMCA, and Buffalo Cafe in Inglewood (or Eat! Eat! if you can't get in to Buffalo Cafe) fun to walk around in the area afterwards.
Thanks so much for all your tips. Between my work and his work, we unfortunately didn't have the chance to go out for steak in Calgary, but we did end up going to a few places in Banff. He got a steak at Elk & Oarsman, whereas I went for the better choice and got an Elk burger (the pineapple in it makes it really good, and I have a penchant for sweet potato fries). We also went to Bumpers, which was nice.
We did manage to go for brunch a couple of times; once at Belmont Diner (despite the "endless" toast and "bottomless" coffee and hash browns, it still seemed a little overpriced) and once at Diner Deluxe, which I really liked because you can get so much more than a "normal" breakfast (we went on a weekday, so there was still a little wait, but nothing unreasonable).
We slept in and did Buffalo Cafe for lunch, which was really good. I got their Jamaican quesadilla and loved the mango salsa that comes with it and was so impressed with their SALAD. Not the boring lettuce and tomatoes crap you get at most restaurants, but they also had chickpeas and alfalfa sprouts. Very nice touch. Also their chai was good, unlike the sickly syrupy stuff you get at some cafes.
I must confess that we did Nellie's once, but he's missed Sunday brunch so much (he's interning in China now, whereas he used to drag me out to brunch every weekend) that any place is good enough for him.
Thanks again, and I hope to put this thread into good use some other time!