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May 24, 2009 08:48 AM

Cheap meals in Banff or Lake Louise?

I know the words "cheap" and "Banff" are a bit of an oxymoron, but I am hoping some of you may have good suggestions on where I can go for a decent sit down meal in Banff or Lake Louise without breaking the bank. My budget is around $30 per person. No wine but if an appetizer or dessert can fit in that price that would be great! No chain restaurants please.

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  1. Not sure what type of food you're looking for in Banff but Magpie and Stump for Canadian tex-mex would meet the financial target. Typhoon for asian fusion would also, although I've found their food hit and miss of late and the service too. Barpa Bill's can't be beat for cheap eats in Banff but it's standup Greek souvlaki... so not really what you're looking for.

    I honestly don't know where you would meet that price point in Lake Louse, but I think you could get very close in Field (20 mins. west of L. Louise) at Truffle Pigs ( Truffle Pigs is one of the best restos in Western Canada and is a destination culinary spot for lots of Euros and Americans. Some of the best meals of my life have been had here, and the scenery doesn't hurt.

    2 Replies
    1. re: vanderb

      Tried to have lunch at Balkan today. Not only was the service horrible (for example, when I asked how big the cup of soup was versus the bowl of soup,the waitress's response was "One is a cup and the other is a bowl") but we had to send back the egg lemon soup because it was cold. After 20 minutes the waitress brought it back and it was room temperature. We refused to pay for it, payed for our salad, and left. Stay away from this place.

      1. re: mckenna4

        Balkan is one of my favourite places in Banff. FYI a cup of soup is usually about 8 oz while a bowl is around 16 oz just about everywhere I've ever been to, I'm not sure why you needed to ask, would you have been happier if she brought out the crockery to show you?

        I wouldn't put up with cold avgolemono either but I've never had a bad meal at Balkan (maybe a dozen times over the last 20 years). It's unfortunate that your lunch was bad but speaking for myself, I'd never post advising people to stay away from a place based on one experience.

    2. Dining in Lake Louise; Try the Outpost, it is the Pub at the back of the Post Hotel, the food comes out of the kitchen the serves the 5 Star dining room upstairs so it is always awesome, great portions for a great price. It is a cozy space too with lots of comfy couches and a fireplace.
      Or you can check out the dining room in the Hostel, it's good food and very reasonable. I visited both last weekend and try to go to both whenever I am in the area.

      Dining in Banff; Bumper's Beef House is good, all their meals come with the all-you-can eat salad bar. Balkan is a Greek Restaurant in Banff, where you should be able to just squeeze into your price range.
      Mellisa's Restaurant is another option, although some items on the menu are over your limit, you can definately eat well there for under $30.
      If a Pub is more your style there is the Elk & Oarsman, The Paddock, Tommy's Neighbourhood Pub, Wild BIll's and St. James Gate, all of these will get you in and well fed within your limit.

      The Magpie & Stump is a great choice too, Great Margaritas :-)

      vanderb - Sadly, The Truffle Pig moved a couple of years ago out to Kicking Horse Resort outside Golden.....still good food but not the same atmosphere it had in Field.

      1 Reply
      1. re: slarah

        Totally agree about the Outpost. I haven't eaten there for about 10 years but it's your basic pub grub cooked by some great chefs.

      2. Seconding the recommendation for Truffle Pigs. It's fantastic.

        slarah: Truffle Pigs did move, but only across the street from their old location, not to Golden (??)

        The food at the Mountain Restaurant (near the gas station in Lake Louise) isn't bad (granted I did go after driving many hours from Osoyoos), and it fits your budget. They serve pasta, steaks and ribs. The menu at their website only lists one entree, which I hope just means they have a sloppy webmaster.

        Mountain Restaurant
        Village Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, CA

        Truffle Pigs Bistro
        Centre St, Columbia-Shuswap A, BC V0A, CA

        1. Truffle pigs menu looks good! I'm staying at the hostel at Lake Louise so if food there is good that would make is so convenient. I will probably check out Magpie & Stump in Banff... who can say no to great margaritas! Thanks for the recommendations!

          1. I was glad to see this post, since I was about to ask the same thing. I have 3 nights at the Chateau Lake Louise, and putting together a breakfast, lunch and dinner in the area for 3 days is going to be a bit of a challenge.

            Looks like I will be checking out Truffle Pigs for sure on night one (so that I can repeat if necessary on night 3). Are there any more casual places that I can bring kids?

            Since hiking is on the menu, I'm wondering if there is a nearby place to pick up a picnic type lunch.

            And breakfast, I'm guessing this will be at the chateau, but does anyone know from experience if I'd be better served at a cafe nearby (if there is such a thing)? Should I go shopping for breakfast fare somewhere on the way to Lake Louise (coming from Kelowna)?

            4 Replies
            1. re: non sequitur

              The Chateau Deli at your hotel will do you a nice picnic lunch in a day-pack (@ Fairmont pricing, of course).

              For breakfast, check out Bill Peyto's at the Lake Louise Alpine Hostel down the hill (3k?) They do a good, solid, inexpensive breakfast. Kid friendly too. Tough to beat the daily buffet in the Poppy Brasserie at the Chateau, though.

              En route from Kelowna, and not really breakfast food (except in my world) the "D" Dutchman Dairy on the right as you are leaving Sicamous has awesome ice cream. And your kids can check out the calf barn. They sell cheese too.

              1. re: girlwithafork

                I'll always detour for ice cream, particularly when it is awesome!
                And I do like to visit cheese producers (another post for Kelowna mentioned Poplar Grove winery for "Tiger Blue" cheese (in Pendicton) and Carmeli's (near Cedar Creek winery, 12 Km south of Kelowna).

                1. re: non sequitur

                  IMHO all the cheese at Poplar Grove is outstanding although service in the cheese room can be painful. Carmelis can't be missed either, not every day you get to sample upwards of 50 goat cheeses (from cheve to seriously aged).

                  If you're going by Salmon Arm don't miss Gort's Gouda farm, outsanding selections of Gouda's and other Dutch cheeses, only 5 mins off the TransCanada on the west side of town.

                  mmmm cheese

                2. re: girlwithafork

                  I realize that this thread dried up a year ago, however there are local delis in Lake Louise that aren't as pricey as The Chateau Deli. In Samson Mall (the village) there is Laggin's Bakery, which is popular for hiker-friendly sandwiches and all kinds of baked treats. The prices are not overly high, although the fresh baked sweets will typically run you about $2 per item, which is seems high but may still seem tempting when looking at the immense variety through the 15 foot long glass display (I reccomend the all-natural-ingredient "nature cookies"). They also have a wide variety of fresh breads and a 'day old' sweets/bread section around the back of the counter where you can find still-fresh baked goods for a steal. The Trail Head Cafe is also in Samson Mall and offers wraps and specialty esspresso-style coffees. Deer Lodge, right next to the Chateau will make a "hiker's lunch" consisting of a sandwich, fruit, a baked treat and a beverage, and of course the Chateau Deli offers a variety of quality sandwiches, but with a Fairmont price tag.

                  As for breakfast, the Mountain Restaurant beside the Husky gas station is a good choice, however it is not open every day of the week. The Trail Head Cafe, again, makes some good breakfast wraps and coffee. You can get breakfast at Laggin's Bakery for a fair price, however the eggs are cooked by microwave (eww). The Village Grill & Bar atop Samson mall offers all day breakfast, although I haven't experienced it yet. The restaurants in most of the hotels (such as The Chateau, Deer Lodge, The Post, and The Lake Louise Inn) and the Hostel also offer breakfast; However even breakfast can become expensive in some of the hotels' elegant dining rooms (I paid $20 for the Deer Lodge weekend breakfast buffet, which I feel was worthwhile, but a bit pricey for breakfast).