Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Prairie Provinces >
Mar 17, 2010 07:21 PM

'Canadian Food' Experience in Calgary/Edmonton/Banff?

A friend has asked me for suggestions on what to feed or where to take 2 women from Germany who have never been to Canada before to experience 'Canadian' food in Calgary. They'll also be heading to Edmonton and Banff during their 2 week stay.

These are the food items we could think of that are unique to Canada and some of the potential restaurants/locations where they could try the foods:
-Montreal style Bagels (Montreal Bagels on Elbow Drive)
-Poutine (District or Laurier Lounge)
-Saskatoons (I can make a pie)
-Maple syrup (easy enough to make breakfast at home)
-Other French Canadian specialties? (Sugar pie, etc)?

Any other suggestions? I don't know these individuals personally so I'm not sure if they'd appreciate some of the food items that maybe have a Canadian spin to them. If you have ideas along those lines please share. For example, ginger beef is a type of chinese food only found in Canada. I haven't seen items like satay beef/chicken bánh mì outside of Calgary either.

The women are in university so we're looking for reasonably priced options in the cities mentioned.

Laurier Lounge
1111 7 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A1, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There's also Saskatoon tarts etc at CFM, Pearson's has a whole range of sask berry products..and while you're there Tarte au Sucre I think you can find at the Quebec booth - along with creton.

    I'd suggest any restaurant sourcing from local producers (there was a recent thread) would be Canadian (without getting too cliche) - Albertan even. Forage does local very very well...I was at their Bison dinner last month and I'm still dreaming about it... I don't know when your friends guests arrive but their next dinner is March 24 -: $49 for dinner, dessert, coffee/tea &grat incl.

    ETA: YYC Restaurants with a focus on local food:
    Local Calgary Specialties thread:

    1 Reply
    1. re: maplesugar

      Thanks for pointing to the other threads! They arrive on March 26th so it doesn't seem like we'll be able to go to Forage.

    2. Edmonton comments:
      Blue Plate Diner for a pemmican burger.
      Normands for other game.
      Buffalo Valley meats for musk oxen, caribou, bison, elk - u cook
      Costco - Manitoba walleye - u cook
      Superstore - wild rice - u cook
      Smoked Sockeye salmon

      Blue Plate Diner
      10145 - 104 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 0Z9, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: odee

        Walleye aka pickeral
        Lobster, (East Coast) Dungeness crab West Coast), and Malpeque oysters (PEI) from Superstore
        Alberta Beef and lamb
        Dunn's Montreal smoked meat at Costco OR Palace of Eats restaurant for Smoked meat sandwiches
        Beef Shack on MacLeod for one of the best beef sandwiches anywhere.
        Coffee Crisp Chocolate bars
        Butter Tarts
        Back Bacon
        A 10-12 lb Hutterite chicken
        Canadian Cheddar cheese and cheese curds
        Arctic Char
        Habitant-style pea soup
        Tim Hortons (make it early in the morning when they're not quite awake)
        Icewine (as opposed to Eiswein)
        Rye Whisky
        BC and Ontario wines

        1. re: Scary Bill

          Odee - Thanks for the Edmonton recs. Pemmican burger sounds interesting - I might have to try that the next time I'm in Edmonton.

          Scary Bill - Lots of great suggestions! Good call on the montreal smoked meat & beef shack. I've been meaning to go to the beef shack so this is a great excuse to go.

          1. re: Scary Bill

            I second the Cowtown Beef Shack on MacLeod for high quality beef sandwiches. My favourite is the beef dip. I love their au jus.

        2. When I think of Canadian food the dishes that come to mind are:
          - Poutine
          - Elk, Bison, or Venison dishes - maybe burgers in Canmore? Or an exotic fondue at Grizzly House in Banff?
          - Nanaimo bars
          - Caesars
          - Salmon dishes
          - Montreal smoked meat
          - Sushi - I know this is strange but the BC Roll and Spider Roll were invented in Vancouver and lots of debate about whether the California Roll was actually invented in Vancouver by Tojo's as well

          Hmmmm I thought Banh Mi was was fairly common dish in Vietnamese cuisine - I've seen it in Vancouver, LA, San Fran, TO?

          You could also introduce well known dishes/ingredients from each region?

          The Grizzly House
          207 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B4, CA

          6 Replies
          1. re: foodkarma

            And don't forget to have them drink up the Bloody Caesar - Calgary's own contribution to the cocktail lexicon!

            1. re: foodkarma

              Foodkarma - Elk/Bison/Venison dishes are all great suggestions. Also, to clarify the banh mi Canadian thing - although it isn't unique to Canada, I haven't seen/heard of the satay version outside of Calgary. (Or maybe I wasn't looking?)

              1. re: llkerr

                You are right, the "warm/hot" banh mi is hard to find outside of Calgary. I've talked to a few chowhounders in the Vancouver area and they have not managed to locate the satay banh mi in the Vancouver area.

                1. re: llkerr

                  whoops - sorry I didn't read too clearly, didn't catch the "sate" part. Yes then I'll definitely agree - Van has lots of yummy cold cut, pate, lemongrass chicken type banh mi's. Never seen sate meat there.

                  1. re: foodkarma

                    Ahh, so I wasn't just under a rock when I lived in Vancouver. Calgarians didn't believe me when I said they didn't sell Sate Viet subs in Van..

                    1. re: Alexa

                      Why would they not believe you? There aren't sate subs in Toronto either.

              2. For a food experience, you could suggest a visit to Blackfoot Crossing -- many Europeans love learning about Native heritage -- you can tour the area and museum and sample native foods in their restaurant. If you're lucky, they may be having a Powow when they visit, check out the website.

                Also another food experience might be a visit to Buffalo Horn Ranch, just outside of Calgary. You can tour the ranch and sample or purchase some of their products and have a bbq at home later.



                Pearson's Berry Farm is also not too far from Buffalo Horn Ranch as well. Depending on the time of year, they may be able to pick their own berries.


                4 Replies
                1. re: sweeterpea

                  blackfoot drossing restaurant didnt have any native foods when i was there.its just a cafeteria with premade frozen burgers and fact when i was there they stopped selling burgers because they ran out of buns.go here for the museum and history not the food.

                  1. re: howlin

                    Cheese Factory (in edmonton) has great poutine!

                  2. re: sweeterpea

                    Sweeterpea & howlin - Thanks for the museum suggestion. I'll pass that along!

                    1. re: sweeterpea

                      Years ago, about a year after they had opened I think, we went to Blackfood Crossing for lunch - looking for a good "native food" experience. The restaurant was not clean - dirty cutlery, tables not wiped, floor not swept etc., the service was terrible - the waitresses looked and acted like they could not care less and didn't really want to be there, and the food was a great disappointment. My overall impression was that there was absolutely no interest from anyone there in running a real restaurant. I would never recommend this place,. As I said, that was years ago, and I have never been back - and unless I hear from a LOT of other people that it is not still like that, I never will be back. I'm not sure why the restaurant is still open - I just can't believe it makes any money from what I've heard from other people who have had the same experience as we did.

                    2. There's also Saskatoon berry wine from Field stone Winery. The winery is around the strathmore area. You can buy their products at many liquor stores in the Calgary area including Sobey's (western cellars).