Recommended Chinese Take-0ut in Downtown Calgary?
We will be in Calgary toward the end of the week next week.
We know the city and its restaurants quite well so are not looking for assistance there but we may elect to "cocoon" in our hotel room for at least one of the evenings.
We will be staying at the Delta Bow Valley so are directly across from the federal Harry Hays building and the adjacent "Chinatown". Although I have walked through the neighbourhood toward Centre Street on several occasions, I really do not know "good from indifferent" when it comes to Chinese restaurants. We have not had decent Chinese [i.e. exclude "chicken bobo balls" and for those of you familiar with Edmonton, nothing like the Calgary equivalent of the LIDO] for quite some time here in Edmonton.
Any recommendations for "take-out" so that I can bring it back to our room as we will be travelling with our dog and we may have other family members come join us.
Our tastes are pretty general [with the above noted proviso] although my "significantly better half" unfortunately cannot eat seafood....not sure about the dog....
Thanks in advance.....
Bob Mac, I really like Han's and Delicious Country for regional Chinese (lots of Szechuan, some Shanghainese), both of which are in the little mall on the southwest corner of the Centre St and 3rd Ave intersection.
For Hong Kong-style, Calgary Court (on 2nd Ave) has your baked rice and spaghetti plus one Western and one Chinese special every night. Happy Valley at Centre St and 3rd Ave, NE corner, has Hong Kong fare but also an excellent Chinese barbeque/butcher.
For general Chinese dinner fare, with a mix of Cantonese and pseudo-Szechuan, U&Me on the northwest corner of the Centre St and 3rd Ave intersection (again!) has an excellent list of dishes that come with rice and the house soup if you order two or more dishes.
All these places, except Han's and Delicious Country, also have Western Chinese food.
With Han's you really need to know what to order. It is Taiwanese-style food and quite different from the "normal" Chinese food which is mainly cantonese-style. I went to Han's for lunch with a friend last week. Not knowing what to order, we ordered the taiwanese beef noodle soup and it was delicious. However, the second dish we ordered, which was seafood fried noodles (one would think.. how could you go wrong with fried noodles?), was a total miss. It was bland and unappealing. The squid was mushy.
That being said, I've heard very good things about Han's from my co-worker who is from Taiwan. I have yet to go with him to find out what are THE dishes to order. I don't doubt that some of their dishes are delicious. You just need to know which ones are good and which to avoid. When I go with him and find out, I'll report back.
Gee Gong on Centre St (between 2nd and 3rd Ave) is also quite good for take out if you are in the mood for Western Chinese food. Their salt & pepper squid is very good... as well as their palace style chicken, ginger chicken, ginger beef, singapore noodles, etc.
If you want a "snack", Thi Thi Vietnamese Subs (across from Harry Hayes, next to Pho Pasteur, between 2nd and 3rd Ave on 1St SE) has really good sate chicken subs. Probably on of the best in Calgary. I'm not sure how late they open though (probably not past 6 pm and I'm not sure if they are open on Sat/Sun).
We got the kung pao chicken from Han's last visit and I was disappointed- way too many szechuan peppercorns, it made the dish gritty. Flavour is superb but I don't know if I'd order it again. Han's does this dish of braised cabbage- just cabbage, with garlic and whatever saucy seasoning they add to it, very simple and insipid looking- and it's one of my fave veg dishes anywhere. They also make these odd little sandwich things on a very thinly sliced bread that has a ton of sesame seeds, beef cabbage and something pickled, that are addictive. But I agree with miss.foodie that you have to know a thing or two about Taiwanese to know what's good. The spicy beef noodle soup is indeed to die for.
In the same building I like double happiness- something about a MASSIVE plate of rice, BBQ pork and stewed beef, almost too much on one plate for about $6, is so comforting. Excellent congee (not as good as Caglary Court but good) and ridiculously fast service make this place a go-to for me when other spots, like Han's and Harbour City, are too crowded at lunchtime.
Good choices but ask for the chinese or "other" menu at Happy Valley. The rice noodles with beef and black bean sauce is amazing. The minced..chopped...pork, can't remember what word they use but it's ground pork with corn and rice looks like dog food but tastes really good.
From Han's I would recommend the beef with peppers and the eggplant dish which I think is just called sichuan eggplant.
Sorry, I forgot to add which dishes I like at these places:
- Han's: the Sichuan eggplant as mentioned above and the spicy green beans that have ground pork--they fry the green beans, pork, and ginger until ultra-crisp but yielding juicy flavourful beans
- Delicious Country: there's this chicken dish that has nuggets of chicken and lots of chilies... maybe it's called Special Chicken or something like that? Also, avoid the pig's ear--there is some kind of spice in there that left my tongue numb and tingling, like it was very alkaline
- Calgary Court: the specials are great value, the eggplant and ground pork hot pot, won tons are quite good
- Happy Valley: green beans with sliced pork but sub garlic sauce for the black bean sauce, the fish and tofu hot pot, 2-item barbeque over rice (roast pork and roast duck)
- U&Me: green onion & ginger over steamed chicken, fried tilapia, but avoid the fried "oysters" which are mostly balls of batter
I'm not as big a fan of U&Me
I do quite enjoy Gee Gong (roast pork, bbq duck) take out with the ginger/green onion sauce. You can scale up the amount you want, and add a few dishes to create "dinner".
If you and your family want to enjoy good but westernized, I think the Silver Dragon is best in class, and some of their vegetarian items are quite good (pea shoots with garlic, bok choy with abalone mushrooms) as well as the standard food.
Hope that helps -
It does thank you.
aktivistin, missfoodie, john manzo, sharonanne:
Advice and suggestions are much appreciated. I will print this thread off and hopefully remember...darn altzheimers...to take it with us to Calgary when we go.
I know nothing about Taiwanese cuisine so that may not work for us as would not have a clue what to order apart from your suggestions. At least I have something to work from or be able to associate a name to a location.
re: Bob Mac
I "elbowed in" on another thread which has since "disappeared" from the list to say that I took Gobtopper up on his suggestion and tried the Silver Dragon for take-out when we were in Calgary last week.
It definitely is as advised "westernized" Chinese but it fit the bill for us that evening.
Apart from the food what particularly impressed me was the fact that I inadvertently left my credit card behind and the proprietor was good enough to track me down through the concierge at the Delta Bow Valley and advise that they had it in the till so I could go back and retrieve it. Quite frankly, absent the call I probably would not have noticed until the following day or later when I reached into my wallet to use it.
Friday for lunch we ventured down to Stephen Ave. and had a terrific meal at Divino. Another poster has recommended the gnochi and porcini mushrooms. We second that recommendation. It was delicious. Very rich, good portion size for a lunch.
The following day we were going to have lunch at River but neither of us are big "brunch/eggy" fans so we cancelled our reservation and enjoyed a casual meal at the Siding Cafe. I enjoyed some wine as my wife ventured through Art Central. Her vegetarian lasagna was very good as was my duck.
That nite we took our dog for another walk along the Bow and picked up some smoked chicken and barbequed ribs at Booker's to bring back to the hotel. The area is nicer at the earlier hour and with the adjacent Cecil having been shut down so the throngs of "crack heads" have ventured elsewhere.
All in all, a decent fairly relaxing few days in Calgary.
Thanks for the Chinese and Thai suggestions that we have now been able to associate to a location having walked through the few blocks that constitute Chinatown.
We'll have to get to l'Epicierie and Bite in Inglewood the next trip
re: Bob Mac
Bob Mac - Glad to hear it - I go to Silver Dragon pretty regularly with the inlaws and enjoy the posh/quality version of all those western classics from growing up. The front house management hasn't changed in, I believe, three decades. Tracking you down at the hotel is a nice touch.
I'm sure you'll find l'Epicierie up to snuff.