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3 nights in Calgary

My husband and I will be in Calgary for 3 nights
in early September. Where should we eat? Nothing too
formal. We will be at the Hyatt without a car-if that
matters. Thanks for your help

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  1. Lots of good suggestions here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828249

    1. My pick would be:

      Palomino (across the street)
      District (short walk to 11 ave & 5 st SW I think)
      Notable (definitely worth taking a cab to Bowness!)

      6 Replies
      1. re: josey124

        Thanks for the suggestions. Any thougths on Wurst-second floor or Blink?

        1. re: michla

          I love Blink. Wurst is decent. I would skip District, and my experience with Notable wouldn't make it worth the drive for you.

          I would add Cibo and Divino to your list. The latter is a old standby in the city, but it never loses its charm. The latter is a newcomer on the city scene, but boasts a funky interior and great pizzas and pastas at a reasonable pricepoint. Boxwood would be a great spot for a lunch on a sunny afternoon also.

          1. re: marcopolo

            Seriously? Notable is in my opinion the best that Calgary has to offer.
            Why not District?

            Wurst is a rip off. Very expensive and the service is terrible. Food was ok but definitely not worth the price.

            1. re: josey124

              I enjoy the food at District. I haven't been in a while and my friends have said it's gone very downhill. And their service is usually horrible. I'd say it's been 50% good and 50% bad in all the times I've visited.

              I also think Wurst is ok but not a "must eat". However, I heard their Sunday brunch is worthwhile.

              I would suggest Borgo Trattoria over Cibo. Info in this post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/852085

              On 17th Ave, Farm and Una Pizza are also good.

              1. re: josey124

                Josey124, we'll just have to agree to disagree about Notable. I find the main room large and impersonal, and imho the service is too casual given the price point. Re: Wurst, fwiw I'd originally written 'Wurst is OK', but then changed it to '...is decent'. It's not a must visit, in any case. District, as cellophane_star mentions, has been on a downhill slide.

                1. re: marcopolo

                  Marco I agree with you about Notable, every visit had been underwhelming for me. I just finished up lunch there. Asked waitress about a beer and she says lager so I order, ends up being a hefeweizen.
                  $20 for a quarter chicken lunch. My soup bowl may have been filled a third of the way. Coleslaw was small and nothing special. The chicken was nice and moist but way over seasoned. For $11 I may go back but at their prices you can actually find real gourmet food at many other spots.
                  Notable wouldn't even enter my top 100 in Calgary

        2. If you wanted to keep to a walking tour, and wanted to look around and do some shopping and poking around, I would recommend trying restos in 4 areas below. These are all walkable.

          These would by my recommendations but there are so many great places, it would be overwhelming for you to name them all (and too many to try in 3 days). Other suggestions so far are great too. I won't debate Wurst on this thread, but it would be one of my secondary choices.

          1. Stephen Ave/Downtown Core - Home Tasting Room, Charcut, Rush, Anju, Gruhmans Deli

          2. 17th Avenue - Borgo, Ox & Angela, Una Pizza, Rustic Sourdough (bakery but great deli sandwiches; soft pretzels on Saturdays only)

          3. 4th Street - Purple Perk (coffee shop & stellar old fashioned desserts)

          4. Kensington - Vero or Muse

          1. As always, I am amazed at how much people differ!

            What food do you like to eat? Where are you visiting from?

            Many of the restaurants mentioned are, in my opinion, formal. Muse, Home Tasting Room, Rush. . . to name a few. Some are good, but all are formal.

            District Tavern is one of my favorite informal places to eat! It IS informal. The service is not the best at busy times, but it's a tavern. The food is phenomenal and locally sourced. They have in-house brews that are great. All is reasonably priced.

            I LOVE Wurst! I love the atmosphere (patio and dining room). I love the food there. It keeps me coming back. Often, my husband and I split an entree and order an extra side or appy. My mouth is watering now! The spaetzle with spinach and bacon and cheese.... ohhhh yum.

            Catch is in the Hyatt. Downstairs, at the Oyster Bar, is informal. It's isn't the cheapest, but is really good -- and they have well-priced daily specials.

            You are very close to a great spot for Pho Satay -- Saigon Y2k.

            If you need a late-night bite, You & Me is also close (Chinatown). I really like their dinner for 2, substitute crispy garlic chicken for the main entree.

            Diner Deluxe is good for breakfast.

            One of my go-to restaurants is within walking distance of you-- Farm. Tuesday is prix fixe (3 courses for $30). Locally-sourced ingredients. I love the atmosphere here -- sitting at the bartop is fun because you can see the chefs at work. They have fantastic berry iced tea. I love their charcuterie/cheese boards! The best I've ever had -- a well-planned accompaniment to each. I have never had a bad meal and love to converse with the servers.

            3 Replies
            1. re: girlfoody

              We are coming from Boston. By "not formal", I meant I did not want my husband to wear a jacket or a jacket and tie. We love all kinds of food. Hubby is not so keen on steak. We love small plates and tapas style eating. Is there a "must" for out of towners? Thanks for all the help

              1. re: michla

                Try Vin Room, Home Tasting Room or Taste restaurant for tapas.

                1. re: michla

                  Vin Room is a great idea -- very unique in concept, great small plates. I LOVE their grilled calamari.

                  My absolute favorite restaurant in Calgary is Il Sogno. It is modern Italian (not the Boston variety). They have a chef's tasting menu. Specifically, hubby and I always order the 6-course one and split it. We often split the wine pairings, as well, but I guess that depends on your budget, preference, and appetite!

                  I think District Urban Tavern is a must. Please see what I have said above -- I have yet to see something similar anywhere else in my travels. Be sure to order a Ball jar of beer and a bucket of bacon to start your meal!

                  I stand by Farm as a rec, as well. It's my second fave. ;)

                  Skip my rec for Catch -- coming from Boston, well . . . it's a seafood restaurant. In the prairies. It's as good as it gets here (and is quite good), but coming from Boston? Don't do it.

                  I still love Wurst. ;)

                  Please skip Muse. I have had terrible experiences there.

                  If you're up for a bit more than a meal, Big Rock Brewery has a fun brewery tour and beer tasting. (I would eat lunch beforehand, though, as the food was not impressive.)

                  Please look at menus and prices before arrival. I don't want to hear of a casualty due to sticker shock heart attack! :D

              2. I can't add much that hasn't already been mentioned here. Different tastes for different folks, but I think it's hard to go wrong if you find your way into Charcut, Divino, Home, Farm, Cibo, etc.

                For what it's worth, what hasn't been mentioned is that you happen to be staying across the corner from Deville, which IMO is one of the top 3 coffee houses in the city. So if you're a coffee drinker, make your way over there for a great cup of coffee.

                1. I am visiting the City for 2-3 days in October as well and looking for some resto recommendations for my wife and newborn who have never sampled Alberta fare. As a former Calgarian, I know a number of the cheap eats that I should look for (Peter's, Galaxy Diner, Tubby Dog), but I am looking for some 'authentic' Calgary restos (that is, those specializing in BEEF!) that aren't too high-end.

                  I was thinking Palominos could be a good casual option, but what other options could people suggest for a great steak.

                  We will also be heading out to the Banff/Canmore area for a few days...any can't miss spots?? Most the boards I have read seem to point towards casual places in Canmore (Rocky Mtn Flatbreads, Grizzly Paw)...any other highlights??

                  Thanks!

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: pablo_13

                    Again, see this post for Calgary, particularly because many Alberta beef restaurants are mentioned: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828249

                    In Banff, I like to eat at The Bison, Maple Leaf Lounge and at the Banff Springs Hotel (particularly Waldhaus and Castello). Wildflour Cafe is good for breakfast or lunch.

                    I was in Canmore a few months ago and didn't really find anything beyond casual eats. I have heard good things about Crazyweed.

                    1. re: cellophane_star

                      Thanks, those look like some great recommendations
                      My shortlist is (in order):

                      -Open Range
                      -District Tavern
                      -Model Milk
                      -Charcut
                      -Peters' Shake (nostalgia tastes good)
                      -Shikiji
                      -Galaxy Diner

                      Doubt I'll have time to hit them all, but it is good to have goals

                      Your Banff picks are a bit out of my price range, any additional recommendations in the area would be appreciated

                      Now I just need to find somewhere to buy a good saskatoon berry pie and I am set!

                      1. re: pablo_13

                        For casual food in Banff, you could try Wild Bill's Saloon. From what I recall, it's not fancy but it is Alberta-ish! Also, The Bison has a casual dining room underneath the main room. It's less expensive and sells stuff like pizzas, burgers, etc. I can't remember the name though...

                        For Saskatoon Berry Pie, my recommendations would be Sunrise Berry Farms at Kingsland Farmers Market (they sell individual and full sized pies!) or Pies Plus Cafe in South Calgary. I'm not a big pie fan but both of these places have impressed me.

                        If you're going to Charcut, make a reservation! Model Milk and District do not take resos. I haven't been to Open Range but I heard it was good.

                        1. re: pablo_13

                          Shikiji obviously isn't cowboy food, but it is my favourite ramen house (they have pretty good sushi too). My problem with the place is that since I tried the chili goma ramen, I heven't been able to move on to other menu items. It grabbed me unmercilessly by the cerebellum and won't let go. I have to have it every time I go there, which is typically once a month.

                          I will second Open Range as a great place for visitors, it's where we take out-of-towners looking for an Alberta cowboy food experience.

                          1. re: Scary Bill

                            Same thing happened to me! I can say however, that I've had some very decent sushi there and the bento box was also tasty....you get a great assortment for the $$

                        2. re: cellophane_star

                          I spend a lot of time in the Bow Valley (Banff/Canmore) Canmore has some great places: Crazyweed is great, but there is also "O Bistro" on main st., "Tapas" (a favourite that changes up the menu occasionally) just behind Main on 10th St., The Trough, Zona's, Some like going to Murietta's. Also on main there is the new Brazillian BBQ place...I think it's called Gaucho's (I've only been there once). :0)
                          If you are looking for amazing vegetarian/Vegan fare... go to Nourish in Banff!

                          1. re: cellophane_star

                            The Banff Springs Brunch is a good event! ...a Great selection for everyone and the price is decent!

                          2. re: pablo_13

                            Palomino is focused around southern BBQ, so while you can get beef there it probably isn't of the 'Calgary' steak variety.

                            You could try Saltlik, it's a branch off of the Joeys chain and focuses on steak. Also heard good things about the beef at Model Milk lately. Unfortunately most of the steakhouses are of the higher end variety.... Vintage, Trib, Caesars.

                            In Canmore I always enjoy Crazyweed and its very family friendly.

                            1. re: crazy_eoj

                              For a more modestly priced steak, try Reef 'N Beef.
                              http://www.reefnbeef.ca/
                              An older RnB thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/317913

                          3. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. We had a great 3 nights in Calgary as well as a wonderful night at Lake Louise. In Calgary, we ate at Divino, Home Tasting Room and the Palomino. Divino was good-I had the Bucatini which was wonderful. The tempura haricot vert was also great. The place was packed, but our waiter did a great job and was very attentive despite the crowds. I think the only negative is that neither our waiter nor the hostess were very friendly-in fact kind of grumpy. The Home Tasting Room was a far better experience. The food was great, the staff was welcoming, attentive and engaging, and the atmosphere is also wonderful. I had a green salad and the cod special. All excellent. I would highly recommend the Home Tasting Room. I had hoped to go to District on Sunday night, but the Steelers were playing (my husband is from Pittsburgh) and we heard that the Palomino had the game on a big screen so we ended up there instead. Pretty good barbeque and a fun place to watch the game. Great waitress. Hope to return and try some more places.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: michla

                              Thank you for letting us know how you made out. I love hearing the 'after' stories.