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Character Eateries in Calgary

I have a buddy coming to town (for Grey Cup) who works live sporting events all over North America. Over the years he's amassed a pretty impressive "been there" list of Diners, Dives & Drive Thru's, though he doesn''t limit himself to greasy spoons. He's also fond of grub that's decidedly non-North American. In short, his list is composed of casual eateries that make you sit up and take notice, either with their atmosphere or menu – preferably both.

A couple of places I've thought of are: Tazza, Blackfoot Truckstop, 1886 Cafe, Lina's Italian Market, The Greek Gas Station/Takeaway on 17th Ave. SW... I'd do a lot better in Edmonton, as I've just been in the Calgary area a couple of years.

He has wheels while in town, but I'm offering bonus points for any place walkable from the Marriott (1st St. and 9th Ave. SE).

Any suggestions?

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  1. Try Nellies for breakfast, lunch at Kanes (mostly for the classic diner theme) and for dinner, maybe one of our great Vietnamese restaurants like Huong Viet on 17 th. ave. If here on a weekend, go to Crossroads Market. Very eclectic and with a wide variety of different food stalls. I had the best pyrogies ever (cept for my Moms) .

    2 Replies
    1. re: beekeroc

      ugh, please do not bring your friend to Nellies. passable at best, especially if your friend is a diner connoisseur. you'd do better with Avenue diner (easily walkable from the marriott). IMHO, Kanes' food is ok, but nothing to write home about.

      But yes to tazza, the greek place, blackfoot truckstop, tubby dog, spolumbos, Thi thi, Mi tierra tu taqueria.

      1. re: marcopolo

        Agreed, 'thumbs down' on Nellie's. Galaxy, Avenue Diner and Dairylane are much better. I still like the Ship and Anchor for a divey place.

    2. A 15 minute walk east would get you to Spolumbo's. Fits the event.

      1. Rocky's Burger Bus comes to mind....you'd be driving there, but it would be a memorable destination.

          1. re: John Manzo

            Hot Damn! Tubby Dog! I'd forgotten all about it.

          2. Lots of great suggestions already. I'd add Boogies Burgers on Edmonton Tr.