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Jun 3, 2009 05:15 AM

Cheap Eats in Calgary?

Coming to Calgary from Montreal and looking for some cheap places to eat at. I am open to try anything....all cuisines across the board. There are no picky eaters in our group however one person doesn't eat pork.

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  1. You can always count on shawarma places to not bring the swine and to be cheap to boot- I know Montreal is crawling with great shawarma but so is Calgary and the style here is different- as in BIGGER- some of my faves include Shawarma Knight on 14th St in the Beltline, Shawarma Station (best shish tawouk) on 10 st in Kensington, Tazza on 1st Ave in Bridgeland just east of all the new stuff in The Bridges project, and Jimmy's which has three locations, on on 20th Ave NW sort of between downtown and U of C, one in Rocky Mountain Court condos at 6th Ave and McLeod Tr downtown, and one on 4th St SW across from Sonystyle at about 13 Ave called "Mediterranea." HUGE and delicious shawarma.

    Another great option here is Vietnamese, which does entail pork but it's easily avoidable. Like shawarma, Calgary's spin on banh mi is always on the huge side (unlike the little $2 ones you can get in Toronto and I assume in Montreal, which I admit are more authentic but you still should sample the Calgary spin on them); my faves are Thi Thi across from the Harry Hays Fed Bdlg in the NE corner of Chinatown (itself full of superb cheap eats) and the other is Kim Anh on 17th Ave on the NORTH side of the street, at 5th St SW. 17th is a salubrious street in general and you'll find lots of other diversions there.

    Apart from banh mi there are viet noodle houses in every corner of the city but I'll leave the discussion to others now.

    9 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      Thanks... John. Some great suggestions....I will definitely try some of your spots. The shawarma sounds very good....I am looking forward to sampling that one. Just a side there prov. sales taxes on food in AB? Most of the vietnamese places I go to in Montreal have the taxes (GST and PST) included in their prices.

      1. re: ddmark

        There is no provincial tax, but you will pretty much always need to pay GST on top of the listed prices.

        I have some suggestions for 17th Avenue SW:
        Tubby Dog (they have beef dogs and veggie dogs): 1022 17th Ave SW,
        Thai Tai (banh mi): 615 17th Ave SW,
        The Ship & Anchor (a pub with decent, cheap food): 534 17th Ave SW,
        Sammy's (shawarma): 1235 17 Ave SW. There's no seating at Sammy's, just a counter you can stand at.

        1. re: 23skidoo

          There are 3 seats at Sammy's and there are two 2-person tables outside for the summer.

          1. re: 23skidoo

            if you're going to recommend viet subs, you should be pointing towards Thi Thi, and NO WHERE ELSE! hands down the best viet subs in the city. period.

            1. re: nonlinear

              so how many and which Viet Sub places have you gone to?

              1. re: chewy_bakah

                Thi Thi is the best. Oh, there's lots of good and even very good ones around town. But Thi Thi is the best.

        2. re: John Manzo

          i agree about the schwarmas, although of those manzo mentioned, i've only been to Jimmy's and tazza - both of which are much better than you would find at a typical deli in Calgary. I much prefer tazza, however, since it consists of MUCH higher quality ingredients and is better spiced. also, jimmy's makes their sandwiches WAY TOO BIG and they are very, very expensive - i believe a medium now exceeds $10!!!!! if you go there, but sure to get a small. also, the last time i went to jimmy's they had pre-cut the chicken and left it to sit in a warmer in a bunch of fat/oil, and it was probably the greasiest thing i've ever tried to eat in my life (/me pukes).

          1. re: nonlinear

            I just avoid Jimmy's A&A altogether.

            1. re: nonlinear

              These days my fave shawarma is a toss-up between Shawarma Knight (I can't get over what a beautiful thing their double-wrapped shawarma are- if you don't know what I mean check it our) and Shawarma Station on a good day.

              For donair- Sammy's, no contest.

          2. There is some decent Chinese food in Calgary, mostly Cantonese-style.

            Try Calgary Court (119 2nd Ave SE) in our little Chinatown for a pretty authentic Hong Kong-style café experience (I don't know--are there many of these in Montreal?). Calgary Court has daily specials on the back of the menu. The breakfast combo can be a lot of food.

            Gee Gong Restaurant (206 Centre Street SE) has very competent Cantonese and very reasonably-priced "Peking Duck." Their Hong Kong-style BBQ butcher is quite good, too--great for takeaway.

            Hans Restaurant (116 - 303 Centre Street SW; inside a little mall that has a Thai Tai location on the corner) has delicious Szechuan-by-way-of-Taiwan. Prices are a little higher, but I've always found their dishes quite filling. This is mostly quite spicy food. I would mention to the waitress about excluding pork since some of their dishes have it despite not saying that on the menu.

            3 Replies
            1. re: aktivistin

              Places like Calgary Court and Sun Chiu Kee are excellent suggestions- I have a friend who moved to Mtl from Cgy and he says that these places don't exist in Montreal- remember that Calgary has about 4 times the population of Chinese of Mtl, per capita, so Chinese may be a definite priority for the OP.

              1. re: aktivistin

                Gee Gong and Hans are both lunchtime faves for me! (Haven't tried Calgary Court.)

                For vietnamese, try Pho Hoai on 3rd Ave downtown. Mekong on 17th in Forest Lawn is worth visiting too.

                1. re: aktivistin

                  I have to say that the best Chinese in the city is the Golden Inn, although not cheep/cheep (around 16-18/dish) the portions are Huge and made with fresh delicious ingredients....the salt and pepper squid is amazing! Two dishes and some rice would easily feed 4 people and they give you free tea which they fill up quickly.

                  Golden Inn Restaurant
                  190 Spokane St, Kimberley, BC V1A2E4, CA

                2. I will be in Calgary (first time and very excited) on the 24th of June for 5 days and will report back after the trip. I just hope I have enough time to check out most of the suggested places as well as making a trip to Banff (definitely going to put up a few Banh mi for the trip). I recently spoke to a co-worker who mentioned something about sushi served on a model train in Banff....I will have to check that out as well. Hope the sushi is good.

                  Thanks to all for the great suggestions (and I love this country from end to end!!!)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ddmark

                    if you're going to banh mi thi thi and picking up some banh mi for the road, make sure to ask for 'no oven'. They'll pack the veges separate from the sandwich and wrap it up in cling wrap instead of toasting it and putting it into paper. It'll hold up way better for the road ;)

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