Where to eat in Calgary?
January 2, 2007 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Where to eat in Calgary?

I'll be in Calgary next week and would love recommendations on restaurants and good places to get coffee. I'm partial to Thai, Indian, Vietnamese and French cuisines but welcome all good dining experiences.
posted by gsh to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, Calgary's a big place.. do you know where you'll be staying?

  • Thai Sa On is good traditional Thai.
  • Rajdoot is great Indian food, but most of the Indian places downtown are pretty good (just don't go at lunch when they're really busy and the quality drops) - 2424 4th Street SW
  • La Paella for Spanish - 800 6 Avenue SW
  • Oriental Phoenix was Calgary's first Vietnamese restaurant 25 years ago and they have a downtown location - get there early for lunch.
If you have a car:
  • Bagolac Saigon is a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant in the city's south (you can get there on the train, too). Make reservations.
  • Puspa's Restaurant is some of the best Indian food in town, up in the northwest - 1051 40 Avenue NW. Again, make reservations; it's tiny.
Calgary has a lot of Vietnamese, Indian and Chinese places but not so many Thai. I'll see if I can come up with some more.
posted by some chick at 9:50 AM on January 2, 2007

Best coffee in town is probably Cafe Beano which is just off 17th Ave SW on 9th.

Also, it's not coffee but I heartily recommend Oolong Tea House: they have a huge selection of loose teas of all kinds, and you can order a pot to share. It's on 10th St NW.

I'd definitely second Bagolac if you're staying in that part of the city. It's awesome.

If you're downtown and like meat (you didn't say how you feel about slabs of red meat, but one thing they do in Calgary is steak), Saltlik (101 8th Ave) is a lovely room and is pretty delicious and the service was great when I went there.

Also good and just down the block is Divino, which isn't French per se, but is wine-and-cheese centric and is delicious. I went there with family a year ago and I'm still raving about the creme brulee duo I had for dessert.

Disclaimer: I grew up in Calgary and am home to visit a few weeks a year but haven't lived there in a while, so my information may be out of date.
posted by SoftRain at 10:12 AM on January 2, 2007

Nope, SoftRain, those are all good spots and your addresses look correct.

If you want really, really traditional, red-velvet-and-dark-wood steakhouse steak, you have to go to either Hy's or Caesar's. Fanastic meat, great service, and tableside Caesar salad creation.. yum.
posted by some chick at 10:23 AM on January 2, 2007

If your are in the Middle East there is a great East Indian Cafe on Memorial just east of 36 St (across Memorial from the Marlborough WalMart). Homemade quality and not all that busy for lunch which is the only time I've been there.
posted by Mitheral at 10:26 AM on January 2, 2007

Coffeewise, you may also want to give Planet Coffee Roasters a spin -

An online review.
Their site.
posted by Crosius at 10:59 AM on January 2, 2007

The Planet's coffeeshop closed down and now you can only get their coffee at "we brew Planet coffee" locations. The closing of the Planet was the end of an era in Calgary.

You can get their coffee at Caffe Mauro and a few other places. Caffe Mauro is kind of a fun place to hang out - the sandwiches are great and they always have neat art.
posted by some chick at 11:54 AM on January 2, 2007

I went to Japanese village downtown a few weeks ago, and it was decent, and entertaining. YMMV.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:05 PM on January 2, 2007

some chick - Wow, I had no idea they'd closed. I visited there infrequently, but always liked their coffee.

I'll have to check Caffe Mauro out.
posted by Crosius at 2:19 PM on January 2, 2007

"some chick" is right about the closing of The Planet. Their coffee was out of this world good and there was nothing better than strolling down 4th St. each morning with a fresh cup.

If you want a cheap, delicious breakfast there is a little chain called "Nellies" which has my favorite breakfast food in town. I recommend the banana pancakes but you can't go wrong with bacon & eggs there. Decent coffee as well.

Go for the Nellies on 4th St. SW (smaller but less busy than the others), although most of them are all the same. Stay away from the Nellies in the Marda Loop area. It is not officially 'affiliated' with the others and I have found the food just does not compare.

The restaurant itself has that 'hippy' atmosphere which has nothing to do with the food but it's worth noting if you are searching for fine dining.

If you are searching for fine dining, I personally find the best French cuisine to be at La Chaumiere. Their soups are orgasmic and ask for a tour of their wine cellar. However, be prepared to fork up the dough. If money is an issue but you still want the experience, try La Chaumiere for lunch.

As far as Vietnamese places go, I have found that most Vietnamese restaurants in Calgary are relatively the same. They vary in price more on location than quality of food so don't bother eating Vietnamese on Stephen Ave (8th) or 17th Avenue as you can get even better food for much cheaper if you go to China Town. I have eaten at so many that I can't even give one recommendation but take that as advice that you can't really go wrong.

Calgary is a booming city of oil-hungry white-collar businessmen who rack up the company credit-cards for lunch with their "clients". The downtown business area is really hit and miss for dining. The food is all decent, but the pricing can be outrageous. Stay away from 'lucrative investments' like the strategically placed Metropolitan Grill unless you enjoy paying $10 for a pint of Stella Artois.
posted by ageispolis at 4:36 PM on January 2, 2007

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