www.downtowncalgary.com has a great deal of information regarding restaurants located in Calgary's historic downtown core, as does Where Magazine. We have also compiled a short list of some of some of our favourites:
NOTE - Restaurants in Calgary can get exceptionally busy. Reservations are always a good idea, even for lunch.
- There are lots of fast food places in the MacEwan Student Centre (aka Mac Hall). The main floor has pizza, burgers, chinese, tacos, sandwiches etc. The lower floor has a Subway sandwich shop and an Opa Souvlaki restaurant.
- The Den & the Black Lounge, located on the lower floor and main (upper) floors of Mac Hall also serve food.
- The ICT building has two more sandwich places (Good Earth Cafe and Ploughboys) as well as a sushi place.
Near Campus (~ 15 minute walking distance from campus)
The Brentwood mall area (on the east side of Crowchild trail along 24th Avenue NW) has a few more eating establishments.
- Kilkenny Pub
- Madisons Restaurant
In the Downtown Core (via C-Train or a cab ride from the U of C)
- Catch - 100 Stephen Ave SE - Live crab, lobster, fresh oysters, and fish are flown in daily from around the world to this eatery in landlocked Calgary. The oyster bar, on the main level, is rowdy but has more lower-price menu choices; if you want a more intimate setting, opt for the elegant dining room on the second floor, which has tall swagged windows and white-cloth-covered tables. Reservations essential.
- The Saltlick - 101 Stephen Ave SW - Located on the Stephen Avenue Walk, Saltlick is an elegantly designed steakhouse. They serve hearty dishes created by chef Dwayne Ernest. Ahi tuna salad, grilled cheese toast, steaks, sandwiches and more are available. Daily specials are also offered. The Skybar Lounge is located upstairs.
- The Conga Room - 109 Stephen Ave SW - Live, Eat, Drink and Dance with Passion, vibrantly to the sounds of a Conga drum. We are pioneers to what we serve, we bring to Calgary Nuevo Latino. This new trend is product of the internationalization of the Latin American culture. You have seen it in music, arts, sports & now in cuisine. This is the best blend of global ingredients & international cooking techniques with the flavour & spices of authentic South American home comfort cooking. We serve the best of Cuban rums & Mexican sipping tequilas, original blends as well as world famous drinks such as Mojitos & Caipirinhas.
- Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro - 113, 8th Ave SW. - This estimable bar and restaurant calls itself a "wine and cheese bistro," and while a casual spot for a drink and cheese platter is welcome on busy Stephen Avenue, Divino offers a lot more. This bustling, stylish gathering spot offers intriguing light entrees from sandwiches -- lamb confit melt with fig jam -- to pasta -- cannelloni filled with lobster and Chantrelles -- in addition to full-flavored and satisfying main courses such as applewood-smoked Alberta rib-eye and five-spice roasted halibut. And whether you start or end your meal with cheese, you'll appreciate a choice of over two dozen cheeses ordered from a sushi-style checklist. A class act.
- Tribune Restaurant- 118 Stephen Ave. SW - Newly opened in the historic Tribune Block on Stephen Avenue, this restaurant features a retro elegant décor with sandstone walls, tin ceiling and wood-and-leather booths. Serves classy comfort foods such as rabbit rillette, steak frites and a peach-sauced savarin.
- Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club- 109 - 7 Ave SW - A real southern BBQ restaurant featuring American slow-cooked barbecue. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chicken dishes are created on a custom-made smoker from Missouri that weighs one tonne and holds 750 pounds of meat. LONG LIVE THE SMOKER!! Non-barbecue dishes also available. Retro Western setting. Large patio. Breakfast served Sat.
- The Belvedere - 107 Stephen Ave SW - This fine-dining establishment has quickly become one of Calgary's best spots for a special-occasion dinner. Set in a refurbished bank building, the restaurant features a large skylight, wall-hung mirrors, and atmospheric lighting. Up front, separated from the dining room, is a lounge for those who want to soak in the ambience. The menu is updated Continental, culling ingredients and preparation techniques from all over the world. Dishes are complex and exotic, including rack of lamb in artichoke crust with peppermint beet glaze, Angus beef tenderloin with truffled mushroom confit, or grilled Arctic char with saffron risotto. Appetizers and desserts follow suit, and although dishes are elaborate, the quality of cuisine is outstanding. Allow for a leisurely evening.
- The Metropolitan Grill - 318 Stephen Ave SW - This restaurant offers a fusion of Californian and Mediterranean cuisine. Serves Triple-A Angus beef and a coconut shrimp martini. Dancing on Thur, Fri and Sat nights. Sunday brunch and prime rib dinners.
- Belgo - 501 Stephen Ave SW - A Belgian brasserie and French bistro, Belgo brings a perfect blend of nouveau with traditional French culture while introducing the art of romancing fine beers. Belgos menu is unique to Calgary and offers world class dishes from Moules & Frites, Fallen Roquefort & Tarragon Souffle to Grilled Diamond Willow Range Organic Alberta Beef Tenderloin created and prepared by Executive Chef, Shaun Desaulniers. Residing in the heart of Stephen Avenue's restaurant row, Belgo's inviting atmosphere attracts an upscale casual clientele. Customers will experience fresh, European draft beers featuring Belgian style ales and lagers while indulging in casual French cuisine. The ambiance reflects a grand, European-influenced design with a mezzanine creating a classy, yet relaxed locale that is sure to satisfy every taste.
- Muriettas - 808 1st St. SW - Located in the historic Alberta Hotel Building (c.1890) Muriettas has a fantastic glass-ceiling dining room that makes you feel as though you are dining in a European courtyard. The menu features Pacific crab cakes, rack of lamb, fresh seafood, pastas and flatbreads. Huge list of wines by the glass. Classy lounge with live piano.
- Chicago Chophouse - Corner of 5th St. and 8th Ave (Stephen Ave) SW - This new stop on the steak and red wine circuit is marketing itself as THE place for a power lunch or dinner, with dry-aged Canadian Angus beef on the menu, and bottles of wine that cost more than what some of the help earns in a week.
- Teatro - 200 8th Ave SE (Stephen Avenue) - Next to the downtown Centre for the Performing Arts in a restored 1911 bank building you will find this stylish restaurant that features "Italian Market Cuisine". The wine list is large, with a good wine by the glass section. This is one of those places where each dish has 15 ingredients but the combinations are done with skill and the cooking is excellent. One of only a few places in town I would order rissoto and expect it to be made to order.
- The Verve - 237 8th Ave SE (Stephen Ave) - The menu includes salads, pastas, internationally-inspired entrées; plus great steaks, and seafood. If you are looking for somewhere to relax, hang-out and enjoy a great martini this is the perfect spot.
- Zen 8 - 513 8th Ave. SW (Stephen Ave) - It's obvious from the crowds that this is the downtown destination for Japanese cuisine. The expansive restaurant fills up at lunch, as does the sidewalk dining area. Inside, the clean-lined space sports lots of wood and select Asian accents. If you're with a group, search for a table, or find one of the tatami rooms; if you're alone, the sushi bar is ideal. Speaking of, the selection of sushi and sashimi is enormous, including everything from the familiar to the exotic, not to mention a few local specialties, such as the caterpillar roll (smoked salmon and barbecued eel) and the cowboy roll (aged beef, ginger, and cucumber). You can order by the piece or have a platter made up with your favorites. If you crave something else, look for teriyaki and tempura dinners, and make sure you don't forget to try the sake. Presentation and service are both outstanding.
- Mango Shiva - 507 8th Ave SW (Stephen Ave) - An Indian food restaurant with a twist, Mango Shiva features Western influenced Indian favourites. Try the mint chocolate chai.
- Cannery Row - 317 10th Ave. SW - Specializing in Cajun food since before it was hip, this dark and woody bar and restaurant in the south-of-downtown Beltline district serves up New Orleans-style R&B and jazz music with food fresh from the coasts of Louisiana and Canada. Diners can find a table or park themselves at the 12-seat oyster bar to watch the kitchen crew get to it on moderately priced classic dishes like "Our Famous Blackened Snapper" and Jambalaya.
- The Silver Dragon - 106 3rd Ave. SE (in Chinatown) - The Silver Dragon Restaurant has been serving Chinese food to Calgarians for over 30 years, so obviously they must be doing something right. They have an excellent reputation that not only spans three decades, but includes excellent quality and service. Because it is located in Chinatown, you are literally in the heart of downtown, so you are only minutes from five-star hotels as well as Prince's Island Park and the Eau Claire Market. The Silver Dragon serves both Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine, and you can choose from over 200 menu items. It offers dim sum on a daily basis. Private dining rooms and banquet facilities are also available. All of the tables have white linen tablecloths with centerpieces that add a touch of class and elegance to the surroundings. It is large and airy, with just the right amount of fresh air and muted lighting.
- The Keg - 1101 5th St. SW - If you're a Canadian steak-lover, you're probably already familiar with the Keg. Serving up food in the steak/seafood/pasta vein with a casual contemporary steakhouse setting, this chain of restaurants often fits the bill for an easy and pleasurable family dinner. Pleasurable, that is, as long as there aren't any vegetarians present. While there are some alternative selections to the standard fare such as the chicken fajitas, this is definitely the world of the "I-heart-Alberta-beef" bumper-sticker fans.
- Vintage Chophouse - 322 11th Ave. SW - As revealed in its name, Vintage Chophouse is an old style steakhouse serving Alberta beef the way people remember and love. The Butcher's Platter is a popular choice, offering the customer choice of size and cut of steak. Fresh seafood is also a specialty. Friday and Saturday features jazz and blues in the Tavern.
17th Avenue SW (The Red Mile)(via a cab ride from the U of C)
- Buon Giorno - 823 17th Ave SW - You will find Buon Giorno's restaurant located on trendy 17th Avenue, just across the street from Mount Royal Village, which is just the place for an after-dinner stroll. This quaint little Italian eatery has more than location to offer, though: they feature traditional Italian food like linguini in clam sauce and a locally-famous lasagna; the beautiful and elaborate fireplaces make you feel like you are sitting in someone's cozy and intimate home.
- Fiore Cantina Italiana- 638 17th Ave SW - While many new restaurants attempt to put a contemporary spin on traditional cuisine, Fiore is happy to stick with the classics. All the Italian standards are here: linguini alla marinara and gnocchi alla Bolognese, as well as thin-crust pizzas, chicken, veal and seafood dishes. The decor is smart and casual, with linen and flowers on the tables and tins of tomatoes lining the windows. Take a seat on the sunny patio, order a bottle of vino from the short and reasonably priced wine list, and dig into some traditional Italian cuisine. - except for Sun, Mon & Tues which offers .95 entrees all day.
- The Coup- 924B 17th Ave SW - The Coup is a small vegetarian restaurant on 17th Ave run by Dalia Kohen and Tabitha Archer. Opened on November 25, 2004, they use organic and local produce when possible. Environmentally friendly customers who bring their own take home container for left-overs get a discount on their meal.
- The Sultan's Tent- 909 17th Ave SW. - Although not much to look at from outside, this place is fantastic! Moroccan music plays quietly in the background as you enter the luxurious Sultan's Tent and are seated at a table draped to offer privacy and intimacy. Lean back on beautiful plush pillows while your hands are washed with rose water---all of the eating is done without cutlery. Enjoy the rich experience of Moroccan food with its subtle flavors and scents: delicious, aromatic soups, stews and couscous accompanied by marinated vegetables. Wash down your meal with delicious mint tea and top it off with one of the succulently sweet desserts available. Reservations recommended.
- Kyoto 17 - 908 17th Ave SW. - If you like Japanese food, you have to try Kyoto 17. Make sure that you make reservations because it can get very busy. Whether you want an authentic Japanese meal, sitting in sock feet on the floor, or more Western style dining, Kyoto 17 is perfect. Great food, great atmosphere, and a perfect place to bring friends and family.
- el Sombrero - 520, 17th Ave SW. - This cheerful restaurant offers ceviche Acapulco (snapper, sole and baby shrimp in spicy red sauce). Try the tajitas and generous house and Mexican combos.
Kensington (via C-Train or a - cab ride from the U of C)
- Muse - 107, 10A St. NW. - This elegant, whimsical dining room serves steamed mussels with Pernod and red onion, grilled beef tenderloin with rustic potato Provençal, greens with Alberta fireweed honey vinaigrette. It was also voted one of the best new restaurants of 2004 by Air Canada magazine. Sexy lounge downstairs.
- Osteria Di Medici - 201, 10th St. NW. - Elegant dining room with specialties like bocconcini buon gustaio (rolled veal with ham and cheese) and broiled filet with bearnaise. The dishes here are classics, and none are a better testament to that fact than Antonietta`s tiramisu. It melts in your mouth. Reservations recommended.
- Tandoori Hut - 217, 10th St. NW. - My favourite Indian restaurant! Popular entrées include the butter chicken, tandoori prawns, chicken tikka masala and vegetable korma. Newly renovated with ample seating.
- Marathon - 130, 10th St. NW. - Really there is no better Ethiopian restaurant in Calgary. To be honest there are few better restaurants of any type. Along with the laid back atmosphere, the wonderful music and the exceptionally nice staff it is really a treat for anyone who takes the time to go. The vegetarian/vegan choices are abundant with about 1/3 of the menu made up of pure-veg delights... All of which are essential choices! The best part though is their buffet! A huge selection of the best dishes, including a number of veggie dishes, make this buffet a must!
- The Broken Plate - 302, 10th St NW. - A contemporary Greek kitchen and bar. Fresh cuisine, attentive service and festive atmosphere.
- Julio's Barrio - Corner of Memorial Drive & Kensington Rd. NW. - A new large and lively spot in the Kensington area, serving authentic Mexican cuisine in generous portions. Lots of sharing-sized appetizers, ten different flavours of margaritas. Festive environment, great bar and plenty of parking. Patio.
Other Areas (via a - cab ride from U of C)
- Bookers Crab Shack & BBQ- 316, 3rd St. SE. - With a rustic warehouse interior, this casual barbecue seafood restaurant offers buffalo shrimp and shellfish by the bucket, apple brandy BBQ ribs, catfish po' boy and a great jambalaya. All you can eat snow crab Suns and Mons. Live blues bands Fri and Sat nights.
- The River Cafe - Prince's Island Park - Inspired by the natural surroundings of Prince's Island Park, on Bow River, this restaurant has the look of a fishing lodge and creates a pastoral dining experience. The exquisite regional Canadian cuisine includes Northwest Territories caribou, British Columbia oysters and Pacific salmon, Alberta Black Angus beef, and Alberta lamb. Reservations essential.
- Aida's Mediterranean Bistro- 2208, 4th St. SW. - This bright Mediterranean bistro features delicious, homemade Lebanese cuisine. Try the roasted red-pepper dip and stuffed-grape leaves. Food is very good and the prices are reasonable. Wine list is pretty good and also priced right. None of this "3 times store price". Vegetarians welcome! It is, however, often infuriatingly busy, with half of the tables reserved but no one sitting there. Thus, reservations are recommended.
- Fleur de Sel- #2, 2015, 4th St. SW. - French cuisine in a brasserie setting. Combining nouveau with traditional, try tuna loin and wasabi beurre blanc, rack of lamb with maple mustard crust. Try the chocolate pate...for all that's holy TRY THE CHOCOLATE PATE!
- Wildwood Grill & Brewing Company - 2417, 4th St. SW. - With one of Calgary's most praised fine dining establishments on the open, airy upper level, and homemade brew served up in the pub below, you might just be tempted to reset your Rocky Mountain destination from Banff to Wildwood for just one weekend. It does, however, beg the question: What is Rocky Mountain cuisine anyway? Well, right off the bat, you do not need to be versed in the nuances of jerky and granola in the least. Anticipate local ingredients galore, like buffalo, Caribou, Spolumbo sausage, rabbit, buckwheat honey and Yukon Gold potatoes. Yes, in Alberta, we do know how to grow more than just cows, though you'll find some of that on the menu as well. Now, the essential goodness of these down-home ingredients is combined in thoroughly savvy ways: There is saffron halibut served over barley risotto with Oka cheese. There is caribou ragout, and forest mushroom flatbread, and lamb burgers with ligonberries. Naturally, there is back bacon. And a great wine list too.
- Buchanan's - 738, 3rd Ave SW. - Buchanans looks like an old fashioned San Francisco neighbourhood Chop House. A delightful modern interpretation of an American classic, this restaurant is famous for Alberta Beef, yet they always serve an excellent daily fresh fish. A shrine to single malt whisky, Buchanans features 146 selections plus a predominantly North American wine list with dozens of by the glass choices. Contemporary food in a comfortable, old fashioned setting. Lunch and dinner with a bar that is always open late.
- Singapore Sam's- 555, 11th Ave SW. - A favourite with late-nite club hoppers, Sam's is open late and has a great buffet.
- Gerry's Downtown (formerly the Husky House) - 1201, 5th St. SW - Another stop for night-owls, this place serves breakfast 24 hours a day!
Some of our favourites by style:
Buddha Veggie; vegan Chinese restaurant -- top Canadian
5802 McCloud Trail
Mysore Palace; south indian
731 6th avenue sw
Chutney's; beautiful decor, downtown in the Sunlife building
112 4th Avenue SW
La dolce vita; everything is fresh
916 1st Avenue NE
Osteria de Medici
Kensington and 10th Street
The King and I; neomodern Thai, remarkable decor
822 11 Avenue SW
Selected Fish, game, etc.:
River Cafe; game
Prince's Island Park
Catch by the delta
Stephen's Avenue Mall
Deane House; Ok food, quiet, historic
Sunfood cafe; vegetarian
2 Flr Sundance Mall
Beaujolais; superb restaurant, quite expensive at 150 dollar per person
212 Buffalo St.
Eden at the Rimrock; the best in Banff, have to make reservations months in advance