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Jan 13, 2012 06:55 PM

Torontonian visiting Calgary....reccomendations, please?

I'm staying in Calgary for a week in February. I'm hoping to get some recommendations.
I'm open to anything - high end, low end, dinner, lunch....

Kindly let me know. thanks!

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  1. Notable
    Vin Room
    River Cafe (might not be open in winter)
    Sky 360 (in Calgary Tower)

    Off the top of my head!

    12 Replies
    1. re: cellophane_star

      Charcut - is her burger food truck worth it as well?

      1. re: atomeyes

        the burger truck is mostly hype. i would recommend 5 Guys, or perhaps Rockys, but keep in mind that you can make an equally good or even better burger on your own grill at home.

        1. re: nonlinear

          difficult to do his own burger at home when he is visiting calgary from toronto

          1. re: ingloriouseater

            oh - sorry for the confusion. I wasn't suggesting that this person cook their own burger, just that the burger options listed here aren't anything better than you can do yourself (I wouldn't go out of my way for one of these burgers, e.g.)

          2. re: nonlinear

            Local 522/510/000 have a good burger as well. It's not big (unless you get a double or triple), and kind of pricey, but so much better than the usual pub burger.

          3. re: atomeyes

            I think the truck is worth a visit if it is near you. Beats any chain, IMHO.

            1. re: atomeyes

              If you do, get the original burger, not the beef. I'd go to the restaurant though. Rocky has a really great beef burger if it's all about the beef for you - but only standard toppings, if that is what you want. Five guys is a chain, good burger for a chain. Only order one order of frys for every two people.

              Cowtown Beef Shack for a great Alberta beef sandwich.

              Open Range for Alberta beef, lamb, and game.

              Shikiji for the Chili Goma Ramen. I,ve bee here over three years and since I discovered it, have had it monthly. Strayed to anothe menu item once, and it was really good, but I returned to the Chili Goma Ramen. I'm addicted I think.

              Jelly Modern Donuts for massive, very good (a bit pricy) donut.

              Olive Chicken for lunch, fantastic Korean fried chicken.

              1. re: Scary Bill

                Bill you weren't lying about the Chili Goma Ramen. I tried it on your recommendation when I just happened to be driving in that part of town the other day. That dish is bonkers! I like Muku quite a bit for Ramen but nothing on their menu can touch the chili goma from Shikiji.

                1. re: johnjohnson78

                  jj, glad you enjoyed it, to me it really is a killer ramen. I think I could be due!

              2. re: atomeyes

                I've only sampled the original Alley Burger from the truck and it was super good. Pickle on a stick for $1 is a good add-on too! I think it's worth checking out if it's convenient. Just be aware that if there's a line up, the wait can be long.

                1. re: cellophane_star

                  River Cafe, Notable, Divinos, Big Fish, Open Range
                  Those are our favourites ☺

                  1. Charcut
                    Globe Fish

                    1. Wa's (Japanese - chirashi)
                      Charcut (burger and poutine)
                      Coup (vegetarian food)
                      Local 510 (mussels and frites)
                      I also recommend Olive Chicken (fast food - fried chicken - ask for the sauce on the side)
                      Vendome (duck confit panini)
                      Wurst (stuffed chicken wings)
                      Farm (cheeses/burgers/salads)

                      1. Thanks for your lists, everyone.

                        now, if you had to choose one or two places for a higher end dinner, where would it be?

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: atomeyes

                          Rouge and Catch.

                          I also noticed someone suggested Mercato above so I wanted to add Bonterra to the list of contenders (midpriced Italian, nice atmosphere).

                            1. re: Scary Bill

                              what do you mean re: type of menu?

                                1. re: Scary Bill

                                  If there's something with a prairie angle to it, i'd totally dig it.

                                  as you know, toronto's blessed with the gamut of ethnic foods (except for fondue and a properly made pizza, for some reason).

                                  also wondering why no one's suggested Ox and Angela. that and Charcut are the 2 Calgary restaurants I heard about.

                                  1. re: atomeyes

                                    You might like Open Range on Edmonton Trail. I haven't been but my Albertan friend said it's very rustic & farm-y.

                                    I wasn't overly impressed with Ox & Angela. I would recommend it for drinks & apps. They had a great looking drink menu and their corn dip and ceviche are AMAZING but I was very underwhelmed with the mains.

                                    1. re: cellophane_star

                                      A few more "Alberta" suggestions:

                                      Smugglers Inn (known for their prime rib)
                                      Farm (farm-y atmosphere, lots of local food)

                                      And again, I'd say District because all their meat (except for the fish) comes from Alberta. They're big on pork products.

                                    2. re: atomeyes

                                      I'll agree with cello, Open Range is definitely "prairie", with a good selection of game on the menu and waiters in Levi's and cowboy shirts. It is my go-to place for out of town guests who want to feel like they are in The West. I've never been disappointed with the food.
                                      Pizza, well that's a matter of taste. Mrs Scary loves Double Zero and sometimes goes there twice a week. Without Papers also makes a pretty good pie. Both use very good ingredients, to make a thin crust pizza. I've been here for just over three years and it seems to me that the "typical" Calgary pizza ( I'm waiting for the criticism) is a greek style pizza, sort of a semi deep dish with ingredients cover by gobs and gobs of cheese, not my style of pizza. I'm sure other hounds can send you in that direction, as I can't.
                                      As to Toronto, well I'll send you to Mississauga for pizza at Marconi, I'm a big fan of their pie. I understand there is a new place in Clarkson (west Mississausage) called Mickey's that everyone is raving about. I'll be in Onterrible in a couple of weeks and intend to try it out.

                                      Do go to Charcut, it's pretty good. And a lot of people rave about Rouge, though I've never been there.

                                      1. re: Scary Bill

                                        if you're looking for the best Calgarian-style pizza (yes, a greek-style pie as bill mentioned), head to Atlas Pizza in the NE. there are other places that serve this style that are probably closer to where you will be, but Atlas does it best.

                                      2. re: atomeyes

                                        In response to the "prairie" angle, might I suggest River Cafe. River would fit the bill for both prairie and high end dinner criteria, as you had mentioned you were interested in. Another place that seems to fly under the radar but is very much a top restaurant is Blink. The chef came from Whistler and Vancouver before that, working in top restaurants there, where the local / regional movement is firmly established in the restaurant scene. Highly recommended for both the regioanl and fine dining again. As far as experiencing our local scene and getting a snapshot of where Calgarians are going to eat at this moment, Ox and Angela, Una, Charcut and Model Milk are the main players. One note about River Cafe, they are closed for the month of January, so might be best to check the restaurant's website to find out exactly when they re-open and if this fits your travel schedule. Good luck.

                                        1. re: formerlyfingers

                                          just so you guys know, I'm a prairie boy. but when i say "prairie angle", i mean "i want some yummy grass-fed beef".
                                          having people in wranglers and plaid serve me food isn't my idea of a good time :)

                                          1. re: atomeyes

                                            haha... I'd suggest Charcut (dinner portioned meat) or District (for beef burgers) then.

                                            If you want a LOT of meat, you could try one of the Brazilian BBQs in town (Bolero or Gaucho) though I'm not sure if they're beef is AB & grass fed.