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Nov 16, 2009 11:50 AM

Bison Mountain Bistro, Banff

A new one for me and a great find. Dropped by for a midweek lunch and a break from the cold. Received a nice, warm welcome to a really nice space. Great decor and a nice modern take on the usually dated or stuffy Banff lunch spots or chain places. Yes, there are bears and mountains on the walls, but on huge canvases and wood boards with a fresh, contemporary take on the mountains theme. There's a cool little bar area with comfy white leather bar stools that I imagine is a nice spot for evening drinks. Huge, thick wood tables split the daytime dining area made up of smaller tables with big windows letting in plenty of natural light. Menu was really well priced and everything sounded like I wanted to eat it, which is always a good start. After much deliberating I opted for the Bison burger (with saskatoon berry chutney, comte, pickles on a wild flour organic brioche) and (great!) fries with a small side of house smoked ketchup washed down with a pint of Grizzly Paw beer, from down the road in Canmore. Service was great, space was great. Everyone really friendly. I will certainly be back for more, maybe dinner next time.

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  1. Yeah, now that Fuze is gone, Bison is the best in Banff.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dan G

      Dan G:

      Any idea where Chef Gary has gone now that Fuze is no more?

      1. re: Bob Mac

        No. their website mentioned something about maybe starting up again in Calgary, but if that has happened it would have been on CH by now, and I also read the most recent Calgary city palate, no mention... hopefully he shows up somewhere not too far away, not too long from now.

        1. re: Dan G


          Coming to Calgary. Count on it. 3 to 5 months

    2. Bison's one of my fav restaurants in AB.

      Love the Duck Benny for brunch, the Bison Burger with a good bowl of Bison Onion Soup is also awesome any time.

      My boyfriend and I love the charcuterie board best though. We recently booked a photoshoot there (mostly just for the charcuterie board). I haven't seen it on the menu in awhile but they used to have this truffled duck poutine - so yummy!

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodkarma

        Yes, the duck benedict is very good. My favorite Bison menu item is the trout, beet and goat cheese sald, which evolves over time. I've probably had it 6 times, and I don't think it has ever been the same but it is always amazing.

        1. re: Dan G

          Good to know - never had the trout. I've had the Tuna twice and the Halibut once and all were great! Agree about the dishes evolving each time... it's a great experience every time too.

      2. Not to be missed:
        The Ceasar's.. I think they put some of their smoked ketchup in them, they are fantastic..
        Lavender Smoores. homemade lavender-infused marshmallows, I wish there were more deserts like this around.

        1. Is this the same place as The Bison Restaurant and Lounge (located at 208 Bear St)?

          2 Replies
          1. re: djdragan

            Yes. Not sure if they changed the name or not, but same place.

            1. re: djdragan

              It appears to be - the sign, a photograph, on their website shows 'The Bison Mountain Bistro'. They name themselves on the website as 'Bison Restaurant & Lounge' . Their website address is 211 Bear St not 208. Definitely the same place.

              The Bison Restaurant & Lounge
              #213, 211 Bear Street, Banff, AB T1L 1B5, CA

            2. We went up to Lake Louise this weekend to spend our first anniversay and stopped by the Bison on the way up for dinner on Friday. Unfortuantely we failed to make reservations, and the upstairs dining room was full so they could only seat us in the Deli/Lounge on the ground floor. (too bad as I really wanted to try their merguez corn dogs).

              It was a smaller menu, and my wife and I ended up sharing a few different things. The roasted mushroom pizza, the shrimp and crab mini tacos, and the Alberta cheese hog plate.

              Wow, what a great meal! The pizza was amazing, tons of different types of mushrooms, a very intense flavour, and the lemon was a nice touch.

              The cheese hog was also very tasty. Excellent cheese ( a creamy goat cheese, and gouda) and some lovely prosciutto and wild boar pancetta (although I think it was supposed to be a sausage - the pancetta was great so we didn't mind). This also came with some great bread as well as crackers, dried fruit (cranberries and figs), pickles, and some seasoned cashews. On fridays all their deli stuff was 50% off, so this was a great deal for $9!

              The taco's were our least favourite, they were quite fresh, but we found them a bit bland.

              All in all, it was still a great meal. So good in fact, that we decided to try them out for brunch on Sunday on our way back to Calgary. Another great meal. I had the Broeck Back Benny, and my wife ordered the omlette of the day (which was roasted mushroom and goat cheese).

              One of the best bennie's I have ever had. Great hollondaise over a perfectly poached egg, back bacon, and caramalized onion compote on a homemade biscuit. Even the potatos on the side were excellent.

              I tried a bite of my wifes omlette and thought it was a bit dry, but she had asked for it without the cheese and really enjoyed it. The ketchup they served (looked homemade) was also very nice, with a smokey taste.

              We also split a side of banana bread, which was also great, very moist and not too sweet.

              4 Replies
              1. re: djdragan

                Great to read your review! I love Bison, and always make a point of stopping when I'm in Banff. I am curious where you ate in Lake Louise. My husband and I are heading out there in two weeks for the weekend, and neither of us have spent any time there. There doesn't seem to be much info on the boards either.

                1. re: sebell

                  Hi Sebell,
                  We ate at a few different places around around our hotel (Chateau Lake Louise). We got in late Friday and had some dessert/coffee at the Lakeview Lounge. Pretty nice setting as the Element Skating event was going on and we were able to watch some of the action.

                  For late breakfast/early lunch on Saturday we went to the Deli. The sandwiches are all pre-made, but they tasted pretty fresh to us, and we both enjoyed ours (roast beef for me and a tuna salad for the wife).

                  We went back to the Lakeview Lounge that afternoon, and had the High Tea. It was a bit pricey ($39pp), but everything was great (loved the scones) and we had a really nice table by a window.

                  We tried Poppy's Brasserie for dinner that night, They offered a buffet for about $29pp, but we decided to order off the menu. We had soup to start (seafood chowder and french onion). Both were pretty bland and watery. I had the lasagna which was ok, and my wife had a veggie and noodle stirfry with tofu. She wasn't a big fan of it saying it was a bit bland. I tried a bit and other then the tofu (which I can't stand) I thought it was decent. We skipped dessert as we had a lot of sweets at tea in the afternoon.

                  All in all the food was decent, but I felt the quality should have been a bit better (particularily for the dinner we had) given the prices we charge.

                  I remember reading that the Post Hotel, located in the village has good food. You might want to give them a try. BTW the village is only about a 5 min drive from the Chateau. We took a quick drive around the village on Sat afternoon, but it didn't look like there is much there. There is a strip mall there, and I think I may have seen a pizza place and a coffee shop. Some of the other hotels may have some options as well.

                  Have fun, its beautiful up there!

                  1. re: djdragan

                    Laggan's at the Lake Louise village is pretty good - they've been there for at least as long as I've lived out here ('99) - solid food, nothing mind blowing but good soups. muffins and such.

                    Last time we were there I went to a new coffee place next to the candy store (same side of the strip as the grocery) I'm no expert (plus it was late and the kids were out of sorts) but the coffee & sandwiches we picked up there were quite good... and as a plus they're open later than Laggan's.

                    1. re: djdragan

                      Thanks for the tips. I think we'll check out the Post Hotel, I've also heard good things.