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Best Value Dining in Calgary

What are peoples suggestions for value dining in Calgary. For the days you cannot afford fine dining and want to have a decent meal at a sit down restaurant. Places you leave from thinking the price was almost to good to be true. Any part of the city is okay, more centralized would be preferred. Please include any type of cuisine.

Looking forward to hearing everyones suggestions.

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  1. For a simple meal, I like to go to Banzai -- we normally go to the Southland Crossing one as it's convenient for us. Good udon, rice bowls and pretty decent sushi. They tend to hire Japanese students who don't know a lot of english, but I've never had a problem. There is also a location downtown:


    The beef rice bowl is probably our least favorite.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sweeterpea

      Thanks. That fits the bill, I'll have to give it a shot!

    2. Niko's in Kensington fits the bill, great Italian food at exceptionally good prices. I'm always happy when I leave knowing I got exceptional value and a tremendous meal.

      1. I like Jonas' for Hungarian food, it's $15 for two HUGE pieces of schitzel with lemon wedges and potato salad. It used to be $11 when I first started going there but it's still a really good deal, it's family-run and very friendly.

        For really cheap tasty meals you can't beat pho, but my SO doesn't care for it so I don't get to have it very often :(

        8 Replies
        1. re: hsk

          I've never tried Jonas', I've been wanting to. Seems I am always thinking of them on Monday.
          They are closed on Monday. Too bad for me!

          1. re: Craig L

            Okay, tried Jonas' a couple of nights ago. Good value I would say, lots of food. Rather boring and bland though, expected more. We had the schnitzel and the chicken papricash (sp?). Started with the goulash and the chicken soup. Basically nobody else in the restaurant. Really not that impressed, certainly would not rush back.

          2. re: hsk

            Jonas' food is good, but I would HARDLY call it 'value dining.' It used to be a good value, but their prices have increased by at least 50% in the last 3 or 4 years :(

            I mean, The Hungarian Cookbook by Susan Derecskey is only $13, and the recipes there are just as good as anything i've had at Jonas'. :P

            1. re: nonlinear

              You sound like my mother - "I could have made it myself for 0.25x what it's costing here". As I say to her: you'll never get a meal in a restaurant for the price of groceries, they have to pay the rent, wages, utilites, property/business taxes etc. from what they charge. Also (with mom) - I'm paying so it's not actually costing you anything.

              I think mid/high teens for a good, decent-sized entree is value dining.

              1. re: hsk

                i'm sorry, but this is a VALUE dining thread, is it not?

                EDIT: oh OK, after reading hsk's comment again, it's apparent we have different ideas about 'value.' i guess i'll never get over being spoiled by the american slave labour kitchen staff. right, john?

                  1. re: nonlinear

                    Here's one for you: bacon-wrapped filet and ribs for $12.95 at Trio's, I got a card in the mail and I had to check it out. The filet was somewhat less than 4 oz. and the veg was rubbery but the garlic toast and ribs were great.

                    For the price I thought it was good.

                  2. re: hsk

                    I would agree that mid to high teens is value dining... the only way you're going to get cheaper is fast food. Mind you, some of the things that kind of qualify as fast food, like the take-away Pho I had in the core, are excellent.

              2. What about that place in Bowness, the Wiener Schnitzel House? I haven't tried it yet, but have heard people rave.

                Also at the Chinese Bakeries you can easily have a big lunch for under 5 bucks with a drink and a couple of filled buns.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sweeterpea

                  That Wiener Schnitzel place RULES! Again, it's NOT value dining (entrees in the high-teens), but the food is great and worth the price IMO. You can get fries or salad. I always get the salad, which is awesome euro-style with various fresh veggies and NO LETTUCE :P

                  1. re: nonlinear

                    Thanks, I'll make it a point to try it soon. Also, for dessert, some cream horns from Sweet Home Bakery down the street! (do not get anything else, just the cream horns)

                2. Happy Valley restaurant in Chinatown, ask for the "other" menu and order the chow fun with beef and black bean sauce.

                  1. Ship and Anchor has decent, cheap food, if you don't mind that fact that it's a pub (or that you won't be able to find a seat on Friday or Saturday). Try the penne.

                    1. For a great sit down value meal, my go to is Mirch Masala, a fabulous little Indian restaurant in the strip mall across from Sundridge Mall/ Superstore (same one as the Reef 'n Beef). They have a set meal of one meat, one vegetable, rice, naan, and a soft drink for $8.99, $9.99 if you want the two meat version.

                      The rest of the dishes on the a la carte menu are great and reasonable compared to other Indian restaurants' prices. The Bhaigan Bharta is outstanding, as is the Bhindi Masala. The service is friendly, and the interior tastefully decorated.

                      I also second Banzai as a cheap but good alternative. They even have a stamp card that allows you a free meal every 6 or so stamps you receive. The staff is always enthusiastic and efficient.

                      1. I liked the Pelican Pier for seafood. The fish and chips were great and the key lime pie was to die for.

                        1. Adding Shibuya (453 16th Ave NE) to the list. Izakaya-style menu means you can order a number of starters and an entree without breaking the bank, or stick to sharing the small plates. A few of us were stuffed for only $25/person (including GST + tip, but drinking only water). I like the octopus and the way Shibuya thick-cuts its salmon sashimi.

                          1. Well, I'm going to say this. I currently started a new business which lately takes a lot of time and a lot of money and I've eating at quite a few place and the place I keep coming to is Calgary Court Restaurant in China Town. It's right beside MBA Chinese Restaurant. The reason is this: Individual "HotPot" and when I mean hot pot, I do not mean the fondue type I mean they are basically stew like dishes. For $10.95 you get to pick the type of hot pot you want, plus get your choice of soup, receive a side of veggies (lettuce with oyster sauce), bowl of rice and all you can drink hot tea.

                            They always have little specials on. Another option is to go to their menu and look at the noodles. They have noodles for around $6.95 give or take a dollar or two depending on the type of noodle, but last night my husband and I each had a bowl of noodles and shared a tall glass of Hong Kong style lemon ice tea and with tax and tip we paid $18.00 and we were both full.

                            For me, the prices are cheap and the amount of food you get for what you order is quite decent. I would suggest you try there if you want something cheap. OHHH and breakfast is even cheaper. My husband and I do not pay over $15.00 for breakfast for the both of us.. and seriously for the type of food and amount, it is cheap. No doubt. Cheap.

                            1. Diner Deluxe is pretty good for a value dinner. $17 for braised lamb shank with mashed potatoes and veggies is one of my favs...and its hearty enough that you don't need anything else.

                              Aladdin's Casbah you can get a delicious Kafta Kabob entree for $14 and Baba Ganouj and Hommos appys for only $6.99 each.

                              Diner Deluxe
                              804 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, AB T2E 3J6, CA

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Major_9000

                                I LOVE the lamb shank at Diner Deluxe. I think they have 1/2 price wine one night too?

                                Diner Deluxe
                                804 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, AB T2E 3J6, CA

                                1. re: ladybugs65

                                  this is a slightly different version of value, but Petite for me fits the bill. It is fine dining, the food is fantastic and very creative as well as seasonal and local and all entrees are $20-25. I wouldn't bat an eye at paying over $30 for the quality of this place. To me this is amazing value.

                                  Petite Restaurant
                                  344 17th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3C, CA

                              2. I have a couple suggestions. There are a couple places we like:

                                Sea in McKenzie Towne. It's talked about a couple times on this board for now being under new ownership, but they serve a massive plate of food with all their fish and chips meals (fish, chips, 'slaw). You pay anywhere from $8-12 for a plate, and never leave hungry.

                                The other suggestion I make is Chianti's. Any of their plates of pasta, which always leave me full taste great and go for $11 or less.

                                1. Extreme Bean on Parkdale Blvd (near Foothills Hospital). Worwonton soup to die for, and amazing Singapore noodles that have me breathe fire. This is a coffee shop, not a restaurant, but that's okay. It's really fast casual, a niche that doesn't really exist in Calgary. You can go for ice cream across the street. It's time and money well spent.

                                  1. Fiore's on 17th in front of Western High School has great pasta on weekdays during lunch for under $10, and a great steak sandwich served with spaghetti for $9.99. It's delicious there!

                                    Gaucho in front of Chinook Mall, it's Brizillian all you can eat meat. On Weekdays for lunch it's only $16 for the rodizio style all you can eat meat with the side dishes buffet. Everything tastes really good and for the price you really can't go wrong.

                                    Gaucho Brazilian BBQ
                                    5920 Macleod Trail S, Calgary, AB T2H 0K2, CA

                                    1. I also second Banzai, good food for a decent price.

                                      I'll also throw in House of Kabob (Persian, I believe) on edmonton trail across the street from Big Fish/Open Range.

                                      Usually the main's are under $15 and you can get a discount for takeout, but I always seem to fill myself up on hummus and pita for an appy.

                                      if you're near a T&T supermarket they have specials on some of their hot foods and even sushi after 7 or 8 pm.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: HungryTon

                                        Banzai has the best chicken teriyaki I have ever had. Better even than any I've had in Seattle or Portland, where teriyaki is a local religion.

                                      2. If you want a great meal that you can take home and just heat up in the oven try Red Tree in Marda Loop. They have great Friday evening meals that you can order Friday afternoon and pick-up after work. The meal is $20 per person and includes a starter, meal and dessert.
                                        I had their Friday meal a few weeks ago and it was a great alternative to going out because we could grab a good bottle of wine on the way home and we weren't broke at the end of the night.

                                        1. added some to database and some links

                                          Jonas' Restaurant
                                          937 6 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0V7, CA

                                          Calgary Court Restaurant
                                          119 2 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0B2, CA

                                          Happy Valley Restaurant
                                          100 3 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0B6, CA

                                          sea. fish n' chips
                                          45 High St SE, Calgary, AB T2Z 3T7, CA

                                          Sweet Home Bakery
                                          7930 Bowness Rd NW, Calgary, AB T3B 0H3, CA

                                          Ship and Anchor Pub
                                          534 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R, CA

                                          Banzai Restaurant
                                          526 4 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0J6, CA

                                          Banzai Restaurant
                                          9737 MacLeod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2J 0A0, CA

                                          Niko's Bistro
                                          1241 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3P8, CA

                                          Trio Pizza & Steakhouse
                                          4515 MacLeod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2G 0A5, CA

                                          Wiener Schnitzel Haus
                                          4703 Bowness Rd NW, Calgary, AB T3B 0B5, CA

                                          Mirch Masala
                                          3735 Rundlehorn Dr NE #3, Calgary, AB T1Y 2K1, CA

                                          Aladdin's Casbah
                                          12445 Lake Fraser Dr SE #109, Calgary, AB T2J 7A4, CA

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: rosetown

                                            more links:

                                            Shibuya Izakaya
                                            453 16 Ave NE, Calgary, AB T2E 1K3, CA

                                            Pelican Pier
                                            4404 14 St NW, Calgary, AB T2K 1J5, CA

                                            1. re: rosetown

                                              added to database:

                                              House Of Kabob
                                              1115 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, AB T2E, CA

                                              Red Tree
                                              2129 33 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 1Z7, CA

                                              Extreme Bean Cafe
                                              3303 3 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 0M1, CA

                                              Fiore Cantina Italiana
                                              638 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B4, CA

                                          2. Not sure if OP is still interested in the same topic. I just went to T & T supermarket (Harvest Hills) today and saw a flyer for their Mon - Fri take home meal menu. Each meal has 3 main dishes to go with free steamed rice and hot soup, only $19.99. I have not tried it but if the actual meal looks like what they showed on their flyer, it's enough to feed 3 - 4 people! They also have some individual meals for about $5. Worth giving it a try. I believe it's only available at their Harvest Hills location.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: althetrainer

                                              Somewhat related, T&T sells fantastic frozen Chinese meals.

                                              1. re: althetrainer

                                                I haven't tried these but I've had lunch from their take-out food and the only thing that was good was a pumpkin soup they had one time. If these meals come from the same counters it looks good but is oddly bland.

                                              2. Try Southern Spice for their Masala Dossa specials on Wed and Thu

                                                $6 for a huge plate of amazing Vegetarian Dossa (a large golden brown crispy rice and lentil crepe stuffed with masala style curried potatoes and vegetables served with a coconut and spicy chutneys and a bowl of sambar (Spicy lentil/vegetable soup) http://www.southernspicecalgary.com/i...

                                                Southern Spice
                                                4655 54 Ave NE #102, Calgary, AB T3J 3Z4, CA