Fueled by a booming economy, chefs have the mind space and bankroll to dabble in creativity. That's evident in a crop of head-turning new eateries. To get your started, here are our top tips for eating out in Calgary.
Tip #1: Sample the Whole Gamut
Beef? Yes. But there’s room for fusion, Spanish tapas, farmer’s market pot pies and haute cuisine too.
Tip #2: Eat Meat
Tender, barley-fed beef that gave Calgary the nickname Cowtown, and made it Canada’s steakhouse capital— Calgary boasts 100. Or try that beef in a burger, served to share with duck-fat fries at one of many upscale burger bars.
Tip #3: Take Out From a Food Truck
Today’s go-to for something authentic and innovative (and affordable). Calgary has 37 food trucks, plus regular pop-up dinners hosted by celebrity chefs. Search on Twitter for the latest fare and locations.
Tip #4: Say Yes to Beans
Don’t go to the Calgary Stampede without sampling this quintessential cowboy staple. Stampeders serve five tonnes of baked beans every year.
Tip #5: Try Twists on the Old
A new generation of Calgary chefs is modernizing traditional meat-and-potatoes Prairie cuisine. The new guard is keen on things like pizza as art, artisan charcuterie, field-to-table heirloom root vegetables and cold-pressed canola oil. You’ll see entrees on menus like gourmet wild mushroom and local goat cheese perogies, Korean braised short ribs and bison carpaccio.
Tip #6: Sip the Signature Cocktail
In the Stampede tradition, wash down your bacon-centric pancake breakfast with a spicy Bloody Caesar, invented at the city’s Westin Hotel. You can go back to dry toast with orange juice when you get home!
Tip #7: Go Ethnic
Calgary hits all the global cuisine, too: Chinese BBQ duck, Japanese ramen noodles, fresh salmon sushi, smoky kielbasa, Neapolitan pizza and artisan Italian sausage.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget to Shop!
If there’s a place to get your cowboy/girl on, it’s Calgary. Make time for shopping, too — especially for boots, hats and silver belt buckles.
You can work off dinner the Cowtown way — on the mechanical bull!