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Banff 2013

I've read the older threads. Are there any new restaurants, pubs or bakeries?

Which places would you recommend the most these days?

How is the Bison lately?

The Maple Leaf Grille looks good.http://www.banffmapleleaf.com/

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  1. I went to the renovated Balkan for lunch (souvlaki sandwich) a while back, it was quite good and only $10. Their tzatziki was awesomely garlicky. It's a really nice space now.

    There's a new sandwich place called "Squish" that's right on the main strip. Looks interesting.

    I still love Wild Flour Cafe and Bear St Tavern - they have homemade pepperoni and it is simply awesome.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Shazam

      Thanks! Haven't been to the Balkan in years. I've also heard good things about Barpa Bill's souvlaki.

      Will take a look at the other places you've suggested. :-)

    2. Haven`t been to The Bison but have had several friends recommend it.
      The Maple Leaf Grille seems to be consistently "average". We have eaten there many times over the years, mainly breakfast & lunches. Service is "spotty", the food as above, "average", love the wood/rock interior.
      We always stay at the Fairmont Banff but I wouldn`t recommend any of the restaurants there. Way overpriced for average fare.
      Good Luck! We are staying in Banff for 4 days in early May so will check out the Bison.

      5 Replies
      1. re: rancher rick

        Fairmont Banff is horribly expensive but they have the best chicken breakfast sausages in the universe.

        1. re: rancher rick

          Thanks rancher rick and shazam! Will check out the brekkie at the Maple Leaf Grille.
          Are there any greasy spoon breakfasts in Banff?

          1. re: prima

            Phil's was recommended as a diner option on Tripadvisor, and I noticed there's a Ricky's, that would offer greasy spoon-style options.
            Also found this info about Banff breakfasts: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g15...
            Does anyone recommend any particular baked goods at Evelyn's?

            1. re: prima

              Bit late, but I'll put this up for prosperity's sake.

              The Banff Phil's is not very good. I go there because of the kids, but I find it well below par compared to the Phil's in Calgary. Everything is prepared worse - especially their pancakes, which are delightfully fluffy in Calgary but are more akin to hockey pucks in Banff. Their lunch items are not prepared well.

              I would not classify Ricky's as a "greasy" spoon, it's actually a fairly nice if perfectly pedestrian spot. Food is far better than the Banff Phil's.

              Now, if you want greasy, go to Melissa's. Place is old, the food can be hit or miss, the service can be gruff, but it's the mountain version of the greasy spoon if there ever was one.

              Canmore has Craig's Way Station. It's also a prototypical diner. I'm always leery when I go there but the food always surprises.

              1. re: Shazam

                Thanks! I'm familiar with the Ricky's in Spruce Grove. I agree- it is fairly nice, and probably shouldn't be classified as a "greasy" spoon. It is a good place for bacon + eggs, as well as more brunchy options. I'll try Melissa's breakfast next time I go for breakfast in Banff.

        2. Which is the best restaurant for steak in Banff? Saltlik?

          4 Replies
          1. re: prima

            I have to say that I haven`t had steak at the Banff Saltlik but my wife & I had dinner at the Calgary location a few years ago. The steak was good but unless you want to pay exorbitant prices for a baked potato($8) and slightly less for say, asparagus you may want to reconsider Saltlik. The ribeyes alone were $37 each. We appreciate quality food & don`t mind paying premium prices but that experience was "off the map".
            And I do not recommend Beaujolais in Banff. We dined there on the recommendation of friends + a food critic`s review. It was one of the 5 worst meals we`ve ever had: great service from a young server from Switzerland, a pleasant ambience & terrible food. My dinner was Ok but my wife`s steak was terrible. Her standards are very high so I thought she perhaps was being "picky".......I had a bite of her steak & it was, indeed, awful! Tasted like it had been boiled first.
            We had a conversation with the maitre`d but he seemd quite indifferent to the issue. Never again!!
            Best of luck!

            1. re: rancher rick

              Thanks for your comments! Will avoid Beaujolais. :-)

            2. re: prima

              Best steak, and probably one of the best meals I had in Banff, was at The Bison.

            3. Have had many average meals in Banff but last trip we had a knockout meal at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge restaurant. It's a bit outside of the main downtown (up on Tunnel Mountain Rd.) but I would definitely give it a try if you have time.

              1. I second Buffalo Mountain Lodge. I've gone there a few times over the years and always enjoyed their food. Another vote for Barpa Bills. I also like Chaya for their noodles. The Fairmont is expensive, but their weekend brunch is a delight.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Office Broccoli

                  Thanks for the recs, crazy_eoj and Office Broccoli!

                2. Here are the places we visited in Banff:
                  Rundle Lounge at the Banff Springs. I was happy with the seared tuna on foccaccia sandwich topped with arugula, capers, and the mixed greens ($19). While steep for a sandwich, I thought it was one of my better value meals in Banff.
                  St. James Gate pub
                  My friends were happy with the fish and chips (cod), and the shepherd's pie. I tried the Yorkshire puddings stuffed with roast beef, au jus. Miniscule amounts of meat, but decent Yorkshire puddings. Awful version of apple crumble, slightly rancid nuts, very little apple, served in a pie shell.
                  Grizzly House: we tried the $43.95 chicken and beef hot stone prix fixe with cheese fondue. I've always heard about this place, but had never tried it on previous visits. I realized it would be a kitschy tourist trap, but thought I'd like to experience it at least once. Tortellini soup was salty- Caesar salad was a safer bet. Cheese fondue was ok, but I much prefer the cheese fondue at Ticino. Hot stone meat was a novelty, and the sauces were ok. Clothes smell like BBQ when you exit.
                  Saltlik: delicious sides and desserts (mac + cheese, maple squash, scalloped potatoes, apple crumble, ganache cake), inconsistantly cooked steaks (my ribeye was rare, medium, medium well and well done in various parts).4 steaks, 3 sides, 2 desserts, 2 bottles of Malbec came to $260 before tip- more than enough food for 4 hungry skiers.
                  Fantastic breakfast buffet($30 including coffee and juice) at the Banff Springs, but disappointing coffee.
                  I wasn't able to get a table at Bear St Tavern or the Bison, but some friends enjoyed their meals at BST and the Bison. Other friends enjoyed the ribs at Melissa's and the pub food at Banff Ave Brew Pub. One friend was disappointed with the fajitas and service at Coyotes, which had been recommended by a clerk.
                  Also enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Poppy's Brasserie at Chateau Lake Louise, which had even more interesting dishes than the Banff Springs (apple cheddar crepes, pumpkin bread French Toast, eggs Benny, wild mushroom frittata). Hope the Fairmont changes their choice of coffee roast.
                  Nice meal at the Deer Lodge at Lake Louise, with perfectly cooked salmon on their Table d'Hote menu. Also enjoyed the baked potato soup and spinach salad at the Glacier Saloon at Chateau Lake Louise. Avoid the Nasi Goreng on Poppy's Brasserie's dinner menu (I should have known better!)
                  All in all, I dined quite well in Banff National Park! Thanks for all your recommendations and comments.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: prima

                    Wow, thanks for the report back.

                    Color me totally jealous. I love Banff.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      My pleasure. I love Banff, too. Next time I visit, I hope to return to Ticino and the Balkan, which I didn't get a chance to visit on this trip, and try Waldhaus.

                    2. re: prima

                      Thanks for the very helpful review.

                      So you thought the coffee at the Banff Springs was... weird? Because when I go there, I also find it... off. A strange flavour profile - it seems rather lacking in body, doesn't it?

                      I have never liked Coyotes. I've gone there about three times and have totally given up on it. Totally overrated.

                      1. re: Shazam

                        I found the coffee at both the Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise to be a very strong, somewhat bitter, burnt tasting dark roast that needed a lot of dairy to choke down even a cup. I much preferred the complimentary make your own coffee (Keurig coffee maker) provided in the hotel room! I also found the coffee at Sunshine's Day Lodge's 2nd floor cafeteria to be awfully strong, and barely drinkable.

                    3. I actually like to hit the Bison for brunch as there's usually an available table or you can make a reservation whereas most of the the breakfast joints in town are absolutely slammed on a weekend morning. The prices are a bit higher than a greasy spoon but the food quality is also a step above.

                      If you're hungry, a great option is the 16 hour roasted lamb shank dish at the Balkan. I recall this being rich and delicious and the place has a fun and lively ambience.

                      For a modest lunch I like to hit Chaya for a spicy bowl of tonkatsu style ramen. Great way to warm up in the winter!