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"Simple" Upscale Dining in Calgary

This is a bit of an odd request for a foodie forum but please bear with me.

My father has his 50th birthday coming up and my Sister and I would like to take him out for a nice dinner. Seems like a simple request, but his taste for food is, for lack of a better word, "plain". He doesn't like intricate presentation, exotic mixed flavours or overly formal dishes.

Can anyone suggest an upscaleish place in town worthy of major occasion which has "simple" but good food in a more laid back atmosphere?

I'm thinking Italian or Seafood as I know he enjoys both. I was thinking Bonterra for Italian but after bringing my Mother there for lunch to see if she approved, she thought it would be "too formal"... her words, not mine. My initial thought for seafood was The Catch, but now that is out because if Bonterra was too formal than The Catch certainly is.

I just don't want to end up at a Boston Pizza or Red Lobster. Any help is appreciated.

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  1. Catch on the main floor isn't very formal. I assume you didn't mean that?

    1. What about Gaucho? Seems pretty relaxed. I also suggest Fleur de Sel too much, but what the hell...How about Fleur de Sel? Brava can be pretty straight ahead, too, when it wants to be.

      1. Petite might be the answer. It's very laid back, small, and has a simple but delicious menu. Make sure you make reservations if you go.


          1. How about Big Fish on Edmonton Trail? They serve fabulous raw oysters. They are a sister restaurant of Diner Deluxe. I don't find their decor to be "too formal".. quite casual in fact.. you'd be perfectly alright showing up in jeans. Check out the menu as I don't know if the dishes have "exotic mixed flavours"..

            1. Big Fish and Gaucho are good suggestions. I wouldn't suggest Brava - my father thought it was pretentious.
              Redwater Grille on MacLeod?

              1 Reply
              1. re: 23skidoo

                I second Redwater Grille. They're very good and don't seem too formal to me.

              2. Thanks all... Gaucho is a good suggestion and I haven't tried it yet.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Shad B

                  If you want Italian I'd go to Abruzzo (8th Street, 4th Ave SW). It's a little '70's' with the dark wood, and white table clothes but the food is still awesome. Very simple, affordable Italian.

                2. I'd actually recommend Brava. I don't find this place pretentious at all, it is decorated simply and on point. The food itself is also non-pretentious and very good, and I think would be a great place to take your dad.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Hoj

                    Another would be La Vita e Bella by the Stampede grounds - decent Italian food, not too pretentious either. The patio is quite casual and menu affordable.