Montreal Bagels is 100% the best bagel in the city, I moved near there when they opened and all they had was a counter and their oven in the back...but one taste and I knew they'd make it. Happy to see they are still there!
Moti Mahal in Mindapore Mall is the best Indian in the city in my opinion and I eat a lot of it. Family run business (I asked the owner how they made their somossa's (have the lamb and the prawn somossa's! Amazing!) and he took us right into the kitchen, and you could eat off the floor) and great service, fantastic Vindaloo and Butter Chicken if you like it mild.
If you like burgers, The Burger Inn by Chapters (near southland dr) is great. Fresh, homemade buns, fries and super Onion rings. You can have lamb, Bison, Elk, Kobe beef, or just AAA Alberta beef. Not fancy, but damn tasty!
As for bakeries there is one in the Glenmore shopping center, but I didn't think it was very good for breads, but their pastry is pretty good. In fact I have yet to find a "fantastic" bakery in Calgary period. Someone told me that because of the altitude here, bread doesn't rise as well, so that might be it...and we might be out of luck!
I never found many other good restaurants in the south to be honest, most are chain's on MacLeod Trail (Chili's, Earls, Tona Roma's (DO NOT EAT THERE), East Side Mario's etc.). But I have heard that the New Orleans restaurant in Okotoks mentioned by someone else here is great.
Oh, and for breakfast in Braeside area (I think about 90th ave and 24th st sw, close to Glenmore shopping center) is a Nellies which is pretty good home style diner food. Great for a hangover...lol
Moti Mahal Restaurant
1805 14 St SW, Calgary, AB T2T, CA
Indian take out - just south of Glenmore - Green Chili 7519 Macleod Trail
Some people like Karma for Indian 309-4600 130 Avenue SE
I second the recommendation for Mi Tierra for Mexican food - best in the city
I would also recommend El Rincon Latino for Mexican/South American - great pozole, Venezualan pabellon, empanaditas.... it's on Glenmore Trail east near the Glenmore Inn
Chinese I like Leo Fu's just south of Glenmore off of Macleod Trail - Mandarin style food, good service - skip the lunch buffet and order off of the menu: szechuan dumplings, hot and sour soup, duck, ...
Best pizza in the south (arguably the city) is just north of Glenmore at Il Centro - thin crust, hours are challenging, but great pizza as well as calamari
I like Banzai at Southland and Macleod Trail for cheap Japanese rice bowls or bento boxes
For fine dining, the best places in the south are:
The Ranche in Fish Creek - spectacular setting, pricey but good for game, beef; or
Alloy - ok it is a bit north of Glenmore at 42Ave just off of Macleod Trail, great food, look and service, a nice night out, the best restaurant in the south in my opinion
Korean: Koreana just south of Glenmore 7400 Macleod Trail
I don't go too far south myself - the Ranche is about as far south as I get
Ok. You have lots of options then. (This will be long, so sorry in advance).
Lets do McLeod and then the Deerfoot side.
In the Shawnessy area, stay away from the Cattle Baron. If you want a good steak, head downtown. Dont waste your time there.
Greek Plaka is a restaurant beside the Zellers in Shawnessy. You could easily look at it and turn away. Dont. Dont let the fact that its in a strip mall deter you. There is also a donair place in the same plaza that has really great take-out.
Moti Mahal is the Indian Restaurant in Midnapore. They have great butter chicken and Naan bread. Very good place.
There is an absolutely awesome mexican place in Oakridge. Its called Mi Tierra. Take McLeod to Southland, take southland Eastbound as far as you can go. You will pass 24th street and see a coop mall on the right. Keep going. At the end of the road, you have to turn right or left. Turn right and its in the strip mall on the immediate left. Its a take out place, so dont expect great decor. But man, the food is awesome.
In Avenida Mall, just near Anderson is Original Joes (Think Moxies or Earls) and a vietnamese place called Minas. Minas has a great thai style chicken sate soup. Its so good. And uber cheap.
Theres also a place called Pies Plus in the same mall. They have great soups and sandwiches for lunch and of course... pies.
A little further north at Southland and McLeod is a sushi place called Tokyo Garden. Cheap sushi and pretty good for the south end of the city.
Keep going North on McLeod and there are a few good places to try. Redwater Grille, Cactus Club Cafe and Bolero. Redwater is a rustic grill with really good food and not too overly priced. Cactus Club is a step up from Earls. Bolero is a Brazilian restaurant and its very very good. Lots of meat though, so go hungry!!
Ok. The deerfoot side isnt quite and bountiful, but still ok.
The Kilt and Caber is a great pub to hang out at. They have decent pub food and the place is pretty friendly.
Thi Thi subs on 130th. Let me start by saying there are two restaurants in Calgary with a similar name. There is Thi Thi and another called Thai Thi. Thai Thi is awful. Dont waste your time. Thi Thi is AWESOME! They are a vietnamese sub-take out place. They have the best vietnamese subs in Calgary. You have to try it.
There is a restaurant called Coras. They are a breakfast/lunch place with really good breakfasts. They are super busy though.
Other than those, thats about all that I would recommend in that area.
If you like thin crust pizza, the best is at a place called Gondola Pizza. They are a little on the pricy side, but the pizza has a great thin crust.
If you dont mind a drive outside the city (because you are on the outskirts), there are three places that are 20 min away.
1. Okotoks: Its a little place called Best of New Orleans. It just opened up recently and has awesome New Orleans style food. Well worth the 20 min.
2. Turner Valley: Route 40 Soup Company. The place is a rustic little place that has awesome soup that you can take out and make at home, add water or milk. It also has a fantastic menu other than soups. Steak, lamb, fish etc.
3. Bragg Creek: The Bavarian Inn: These guys make a great Elk Rouladin (sp?). They have awesome German food.
If I have missed something that you are looking for specifically, let me know and I can point you in the right direction.
re. Thi Thi, is this the same as the one in chinatown? if so, is it as good? where on 130th is it? I am up in E'ton but my folks are in south Calgary, I never seem to get downtown to TT when I am in town. There is only one place similar to that up here and it is stil not as good.
I'm new to the city and have been looking for great bread. So far: Montreal Bagels on Elbow near Heritage makes the real deal, as good as St Viature, no kidding. Superstore near Shawnessy makes a really good baguette. They also have a calbrese (not tried but doesn't look quite right) and sourdough , as well not tried, but if it is like back east, it is just like San Fran.
Other than that, I haven't found too much. The other bakeries I have found seem to think everything they bake has to be immeditely put into a plastic bag, making everything a variation of Wonder Bread in texture.
If you find a great light rye, let me know.
Tom's Pizza is very good, somewhat pricier, unlike the deep-dish substandard ingredient pizza so prevalent in Calgary. Tommy burger makes a very good burger and fries, with creative toppings.
The only pricier place I've been to is Wellingtons for steak, and while steaks can be hit or miss depending on many factors, mine was good.
re: Scary Bill
"So far: Montreal Bagels on Elbow near Heritage makes the real deal, as good as St Viature, no kidding. "
Blasphemy! LOL Mind you if you were a fan of Fairmount's bagels rather than St. Viateur's like my brothers were, you might agree.
I will have to venture down that way the next time I am in C-town now that Wayne's Bagels have left Kensington and the one in formerly in Eau Claire Market is long gone.