If someone from out of town asks for recommendations on where to eat in Calgary, the options can be a little overwhelming. The no-brainers include Ox and Angela for the sharing plates and old-world ambiance, Model Milk for Justin Leboe’s brilliant take on comfort food, and Teatro if you really want to make a splash.
But what are the other spots that made the list this year?
Adding a new element to 17th Avenue, Anju is the second evolution of Roy Oh’s Korean tapas and one bite of the dishes here will convert any naysayer of Asian cuisine. Eastern décor, a creative cocktail menu (hello, Black Moon Punch) and later hours make it a busy place any night of the week.
Mercato’s answer to everyday dining, this new Mission eatery is delicious Italian but much more affordable. Stop in for a pizza on your way home or sidle up to the bar for the house wine on tap (way more sexy than it sounds).
And if you don’t work downtown, this is a great place to host your next business lunch.
3. Shiki Menya
The craze for ramen noodles has taken over Calgary palates. So much, in fact, that people are willing to line up out the door for a chance to suck back the Goma and Miso Classic at Shiki Menya during lunch hour.
While we’re all accustomed to the long lines for good eats in this city, the wait here pays off.
4. Black Pig
Right next door to Shiki is the Black Pig, a Spanish-inspired eatery where Iberico ham is the star of the show. The Iberico ham on tomato and olive oil baguette and the chicken liver parfait are the ultimate starters.
Residents love this as a new late-night hangout; and even if Bridgeland isn’t your hood, it’s worth the taxi fare.
5. Container Bar
Summertime and the livin’s easy – especially when you have gin and tonics on a Kensington patio. The great minds behind Brasserie piqued our interest this summer when they created a makeshift bar with a limited Brasserie menu.
Keep your eyes peeled for winter pop-up parties here, which are rumoured to happen in early 2015.
When it comes to breakfast, this place is all the rave. Located on Edmonton Trail, you’ll find bliss in the gourmet coffee, crepes and classic Bennys.
OEB is where breakfast connoisseurs and the weekend warrior crowd who are in search of a stiff hangover cocktail unite.
7. The Coup + Meet
For the vegetarian crowd, nothing is better than the Coup. Considering how much this city loves its steaks, this hot spot is still a top choice. It’s what you might call an organic experience (pun intended).
The waiting area and sometimes hangout known as ‘Meet’ is also worth a stop.
Decked out to look like your grandparents’ basement in the 70s, this often-overlooked spot is the perfect place to start any night out with a decent cocktail list and DJs.
8. Yellow Door Bistro
Hotel Arts is a well-known hangout for visitors and locals alike. In the summer we love the Sunday afternoon pool parties and in the winter we have Yellow Door Bistro where the décor and food make for an impressive combination.
For those of you who don’t know about Chef Duncan Ly, we have just one question: How don’t you know about Chef Duncan Ly?
Maybe this is cheating, but we couldn’t mention Calgary’s most notable food spots without throwing a shout out to the food trucks that are as much a part of our culture as the white Stetson.
And this is where it becomes contentious. Count on Naaco to serve up a clever menu of East Indian meets Mexican; Steakout (Holy Grill’s side project) is equally satisfying when protein calls – prime rib on a bun, anyone?; and Without Papers is a must for pizza lovers.
While many of you are probably just making it to Nash for the first time, it’s safe to say that Michael Noble’s latest restaurant is pretty fantastic. With a beautiful dining room and a side bar that’s bourbon-focused, you can’t help but put this one on the top 10.
For date nights, start here before moving to the adjoining Off Cut Bar. Alternatively, book your next Sunday dinner with the family at Nash. Your parents will appreciate your great taste.
Cover image from: Yellow Door Bistro