What's for dinner in Cowtown?
March 23, 2012 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Where do I* want to eat in Calgary? *I and a dozen colleagues.

Doing some planning for a small business meeting in Calgary in a few weeks and I am looking for some places I can bring a dozen people for dinner for about three evenings. Somewhere on the east side of downtown would be most convenient (around City Hall), but we can go further afield if need be. I am thinking La Vita e Bella for one evening and have heard generally positive reviews for Catch, but am not settled yet on that. This being Calgary, I suppose a steakhouse is in order -- any recommendations?

As well, I am still looking at lunch possibilities for one of the days, so a lunch recommendation for a Saturday in the neighbourhood would be appreciated.
posted by ricochet biscuit to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For steakhouses downtown, there's the Saltlik and the Chicago Chophouse downtown; both are on the west side, but not far from the 7th Ave LRT line, which is free to ride in the downtown core. There's also a Keg steakhouse in the downtown core and a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse at the base of the Calgary Tower. I haven't tried any of the downtown steak places, but my sense is that the Saltlik and Chicago Chophouse would be preferable to the chain places.

I've eaten at Catch, and really enjoyed it both times. However, it is a seafood resturant and I've sometimes found that there will be someone in a large group who prefers to stay away from seafood.

Some other good places in that part of town:

Teatro - Italian

I'll do some more thinking; I'm on the west side of downtown, so not as familiar with the restaurants on the other end of core.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:01 PM on March 23, 2012

I can recommend the Libertine Public for lunch on a Saturday based on my experience 2 months ago. The food was good, it wasn't crowded and had a great atmosphere.

I think Saltlik might fill the bill for a steakhouse.

I would also post this question on Chowhound!
posted by Snazzy67 at 1:02 PM on March 23, 2012

However, it is a seafood resturant and I've sometimes found that there will be someone in a large group who prefers to stay away from seafood.

I am submitting the scheme to the attendees next week (about a month ahead of the conference) so if there is anybody who vetoes any choice, we can hash it out then.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2012

A bit further south, near Glenmore trail is Kinjo sushi, highly recommended and generally all-around entertaining. (you get to pick your sushi from little boats that float around the circular sushi bar.
A little further south (near Heritage I think) is Kefi, an excellent Greek place. Last time we were there they did some Greek dancing and plate breaking. Great food.
posted by randomgirl at 2:25 PM on March 23, 2012

The meat-centric restaurant I'd recommend is Charcut; my impression is that while Saltlik and the Chicago Chophouse aren't bad, they're more sizzle than steak. Charcut is a very contemporary take on the meathaven; the exact opposite is Caesar's, which is the definition of the old-school steak house. I, too, have heard good things about Catch.

One "Calgary" place to consider is the River Cafe; rustic atmosphere, local ingredients, great location. It's a 20 minute walk or so from City Hall, but totally doable if the weather cooperates.

There was a recent Best-Of in Avenue magazine that may have some more ideas.

Saturdays are a little quiet in the east end of the downtown, since it's mostly offices (and largely government at that). Stephen Avenue (8th Ave) still has some life, but otherwise, you may want to head over to 17th Avenue or to Kensington instead.

NB: I don't usually dine in the upper price range, so a lot of this is second hand. (Let me know if you want a hole-in-the wall or two). Chowhound has a good Calgary presence; it's not super-active as of late, but it's got a lot of good older posts.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:19 PM on March 23, 2012

This is probably not even close to what you're looking for in terms of a business meeting, but if you're in the area you should check out Tubby Dog. Awesome hot dogs and their Tubby Chips are tas-ty.
posted by thebots at 1:18 AM on March 24, 2012

And if you are looking for the opposite of contemporary for your meathaven, look no farther than Caesar's. It's been exactly the same since it opened in the early 70s: dark, banquette seating, no windows, all male wait staff, and amazing beef. You can start with an iceberg lettuce salad with 3/4 cup of blue cheese dressing poured on.

The atmosphere: you can almost feel the dirty oil deals happening all around you. Shazam!
posted by lulu68 at 8:14 PM on March 24, 2012

Just back from Calgary a few hours ago. for what it's worth, Thursday was Catch, Friday was La Vita e Bella, and Saturday was Rush (bonus: Saturday morning was breakfast at 1886 Buffalo Cafe). All were at least very good, and most attendees thought them excellent. A word of caution for anyone on a budget: Catch and Rush both wound up north of $100 per person.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:22 AM on April 23, 2012

For anyone who is using this post for future Calgary excursions -- Kinjo Sushi is not very good.

For sushi, try Towa, Wa's, Zipang, or my favourite for something a bit on the trendier/modern side, Sukiyaki House.
posted by demagogue at 1:55 PM on June 17, 2012

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