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Inside Noble Pie
Noble Pie

The 38 Essential Calgary Restaurants

Where to find chili pork-stuffed chicken wings, birria short rib tacos, shawarma poutine, and pina colada milkshakes in Alberta’s biggest city

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The Calgary restaurant scene certainly isn’t what it used to be — and that’s a great thing. Once known as Cowtown for its strong beef industry and carnivorous cuisine, the city’s food and drink community has grown in dynamic ways over the past decade. Chefs have innovated on classic Canadian dishes, like the vindaloo-spiced Caesar cocktail at Moti Mahal and the shawarma-topped poutine at Beirut Street Food, even as stalwarts like River Café and Silver Inn Restaurant continue to deliver for longtime loyalists.

Today there are plenty of reasons for all types of hungry travelers from outside of Western Canada to pay a visit. From a robust Vietnamese food scene, to Top Chef Canada alumni working serious magic with Korean cuisine and fried chicken, to a swank 40th-floor restaurant, here are some great reasons to get excited about Calgary.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

Prices per person
$ = Less than 20 CAD (less than 16 USD)
$$ = 20- 40 CAD (16-32 USD)
$$$ = 40 - 70 CAD (32 - 55 USD)
$$$$ = More than 70 CAD (more than 55 USD)

Dan Clapson is The Globe and Mail’s restaurant critic and columnist for the Prairie region. He is also co-owner of Calgary’s The Prairie Emporium as well as the digital media outlet Eat North, a judge for various restaurant award systems, and a regular culinary guest expert on Canadian morning television programs and radio. Clapson’s first cookbook, co-authored by Twyla Campbell, is scheduled to be released in late 2023 through Appetite by Random House.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Calgary Momo House

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4310 104 Ave NE #2150, Calgary
AB T3N 1W2, Canada
(403) 660-7043
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Head to the far northeast corner of the city to find an array of stunning Nepalese food at Momo House. Co-owners and co-chefs Gyanendra Sharma and Prakash Magar draw from their family roots to create elevated versions of South Asian comfort food. The goat- and vegetable-filled momos, for instance, are fried and pan-fried before being finished with a house tandoori spice blend. Dumplings and chutneys are the focal point of the menu, but also try the sukuti sandheko; the combination of aged goat meat, roasted soybean, crispy-puffed rice, and slaw is a true textural delight. [$-$$]

Two plates of dumplings in different hues, one topped with sliced cabbage and microgreens
Fried and steamed momos
Dan Clapson

2. Silver Inn Restaurant

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2702 Centre St N, Calgary
AB T2E 2V6, Canada
(403) 276-6711
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It would be a complete oversight not to include the birthplace of ginger beef on this map. Chef-owner George Wong is said to have originated the Canadian-Chinese dish at this popular Chinese institution in 1975. Decades later, the dried beef, sliced onions, and bell peppers are still wok-fried to perfection in a sweet, tangy ginger sauce — though the restaurant has a long list of other offerings, too. [$$]

3. Vendome

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940 2 Ave NW, Calgary
AB T2N 0E6, Canada
(403) 453-1140
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Owned by the Teatro Group, Vendome boasts an exquisite pastry program alongside a robust food menu. You might not expect either from the humble exterior, which gives off casual coffee shop vibes. Brewed coffee and espresso-based drinks will always hold the baseline at Vendome, but the shop takes a step beyond your everyday cafe with dishes like the brassica and haloumi Caesar and grilled squid with hazelnut romesco. [$-$$]

A long red brick building exterior, with a sidewalk patio covered in spots by bright yellow umbrellas, and customers sitting and walking nearby
Outside Vendome
Vendome

4. River Café

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25 Prince's Island Park
Calgary, AB
(403) 261-7670
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This decades-old restaurant, located on the picturesque Prince’s Island Park, was embracing the whole local and sustainable ethos before those were marketing buzzwords. Owner-operator Sal Howell’s unfaltering leadership has kept River Café feeling fresh and at the top of its game year after year. Executive chef Scott MacKenzie maintains the culinary bar with creations that celebrate all things Canadian, but especially hyperlocally grown and raised ingredients during the warmer months. Having a meal here in the summer, while the on-site garden is in full bloom, is nothing short of magical. [$$$-$$$$]

A server walks through an empty sun-lit dining room set for a meal. There are large windows along one wall, old pendant lights, and long wooden tables
The dining room at River Café
River Café

5. Vero Bistro Moderne

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209 10 St NW, Calgary
AB T2N 1V5, Canada
(403) 283-8988
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If you know, you know. Vero Bistro Moderne has maintained a loyal following for over 10 years, quietly humming away in the Kensington neighborhood. Chef and owner Jenny Chan creates food rooted in Italy and her love for the European country. Her radicchio salad with honey thyme vinaigrette and crispy guanciale is a ridiculously delicious way to start dinner, followed promptly by her black truffle arancini. The signature sweet potato gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, sage butter, and toasted walnuts is (unofficially) dedicated to the blue cheese lovers of the world. [$$$]

A luxe restaurant interior, with orb pendants, textured tabletops, artful plant arrangements, and a strip of sepia photographs decorating a black tile wall
Inside Vero
Vero Bistro Moderne

6. Winebar Kensington

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1121 Kensington Rd NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 457-4148
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Calgary’s longest-running wine bar has been drawing folks into its romantic lower-level space for years. Situated underneath partner concept Eat Crow, the bar offers seating along an open kitchen, providing entertainment along with your drinks. Snag a table by the fireplace for a romantic evening while sharing nicely composed dishes, like the mushrooms on brioche toast, coconut-curried lentil dip, and tagliatelle cacio e pepe. [$$$]

From top-down, a table filled with dishes like prosciutto salad, crudite, olives, and nust
A full spread at Winebar
Winebar Kensington

7. Jinbar

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24 4 St NE, Calgary
AB T2E 3R7, Canada
(587) 349-9008
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Top Chef Canada finalist Jinhee Lee has always been celebrated as one of Calgary’s most talented chefs, so the buzz was strong when she opened her very own eatery in 2020. Jinbar centers around Korean pizza, Korean fried chicken, and cocktails, all offered in a cool, eclectic dining room. The Fried Buldak is a fiery cheese pizza with layers of mozzarella, Korean barbecue spices, pickled jalapenos, and green onions. A popular pizza topping in South Korea, corn stars in the Sweet Corns & Honey Butter Chip pie alongside jalapenos, Parmesan, mozzarella, and parsley on a base of alfredo sauce, all surrounded by a crust garnished with house potato chips lightly tossed in honey sauce. [$$-$$$]

A meat topped pizza on a metal countertop
Buldak and bulgogi pizza
Dan Clapson

8. Paper Lantern

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115 2 Ave SE Basement, Calgary
AB T2G 0B2, Canada
(403) 457-7765
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This lively basement speakeasy in Calgary’s Chinatown whisks guests away to Hoi An, Vietnam, with worn window shutters and fabric lanterns. That’s where owners Nhi Tran and Tanner Ennis gathered inspiration before opening for business. The food, prepared by Tran’s mother, includes less common Vietnamese dishes such as banh xeo and bo luc lac (shaken beef). A nice touch to the menu here is an option for diners to have “what the kitchen is having” on any given night, which can lead to plenty of delicious surprises. [$$-$$$]

A darkened bar interior, with palm leaf wallpaper, deep pink hanging lanterns, and a portrait of a woman on the wall
Inside Paper Lantern
Paper Lantern/Facebook

9. Caesar's Steak House & Lounge

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512 4 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2P 0J6, Canada
(403) 264-1222
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It should come as no surprise that Alberta is home to many a steakhouse, but few are as iconic as the original Caesar’s. Opened in 1972, the opulent marble-laden interior now feels old school in the most charming of ways. Expect prawn cocktails, tableside Caesar salads, chateaubriand for two, and — well, you get the point. Be prepared to step back in time for an evening, and best look your best. [$$$$]

A tufted red leather booth with thick leather armchairs around a marble table. On the dark wood wall there’s an illustration of a horse race. Around the corner is a dark marble bar
A booth at Caesar’s
Caesar’s Steak House & Lounge

10. The Simmons Building (Sidewalk Citizen, Phil & Sebastian, Charbar)

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618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary
AB T2G 0G1, Canada

The Middle Eastern-leaning bakery and cafe Sidewalk Citizen and famed Calgary-based coffee chain Phil & Sebastian have other locations around Calgary, but their buzziest locations are at the Simmons Building in the East Village. The building is also home to the restaurant Charbar, which runs a rooftop bar serving easy-sipping cocktails and New York-style pizza. Together, the three businesses create something greater than the sum of their parts. The whole place bustles during the warmer months of the year (especially the rooftop), so if the crowds are too heavy, take your meal to enjoy along the Bow River. [$-$$$]

A red brick factory exterior, printed with the name Simmons Limited, with a patio awning out front strung with lights
Outside the Simmons building
Charbar/Facebook

11. Koji Katsu

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1111 6 Ave SW Unit 106, Calgary
AB T2P 5M5, Canada
(587) 664-7001
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It may be physically impossible to tire of Koji’s pork katsu, with its crisp golden coating and shattering crunch. Owner Eric Jung serves up the breaded cutlet in a variety of traditional ways: atop a hot soy dashi broth, in curry, smothered in miso gravy. The cheese katsu is like a magnified deep-fried mozzarella stick, only better. [$-$$]

Thick slices of breaded chicken in a pool of curry on a white plate
Katsu curry
Koji Katsu

12. Major Tom Bar

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700 2 St SW #4000, Calgary
AB T2P 2W3, Canada

This buzzworthy downtown restaurant, on the 40th floor of Stephen Avenue Place, hit pandemic hurdle after hurdle on the way to opening, and even sat completely empty for a full year before the doors finally swung open in 2021. It’s now the hardest reservation to get in town. Phenomenal views and a luxe dining room set the stage for chef Garrett Martin’s incredible food. Start off with the Major Tots (house-made tots topped with whipped smoked sturgeon and pickled onions) and Alberta beef tartare with black pepper sauce before diving into some plates of pasta and, of course, some A5 wagyu. [$$$-$$$$]

Four large fried tater tots on a plate, topped with fluffy piles of white fish and pink pickled onions
Luxe tater tots topped with whipped sturgeon and pickled onions
Dan Clapson

13. Pure Kitchen and Bar

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815 8 Ave SW #100, Calgary
AB T2B 3P2, Canada
(403) 475-1899
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Chef Lam Pham keeps Calgarians coming back with his contemporary take on Vietnamese flavors. The top hits from the menu include sate surf and turf (fresh rolls stuffed with beef and shrimp), banh xeo tacos, and his famous char siu sesame doughnut: a tender sesame seed-studded pastry filled with pork, cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro, and Sriracha aioli. Don’t miss his spin on shaken beef, finished with a red wine and soy butter reduction and served with coconut rice, and the pineapple nuoc cham braised pork cheek. [$-$$]

Three small tacos in a zigzag metal tray topped with sprouts and radish
Tacos at Pure Kitchen
Dan Clapson

14. Con Mi Taco

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821 1 St SW, Calgary
AB T2P 7N2, Canada
(587) 890-7192
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Con Mi Taco started out as an occasional pop-up before pivoting to takeout taco party kits, and now is a more permanent concept operating inside Meat and Bread after the shop’s daytime hours. Often touted as the best spot in the city for tacos, Con Mi pulls in crowds with its birria short rib tacos. Now that it’s found a home in downtown Calgary, the little taqueria that could also serves fun drinks, like horchata and tamarind margaritas. [$-$$]

A hand dips two tacos into a cup of consomé
Birria tacos at Con Mi
Con Mi Taco

15. Sukiyaki House

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207 9 Ave SW #130, Calgary
AB T2P 1K3, Canada
(403) 263-3003
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At Sukiyaki House, the sushi is so beautiful you almost don’t want to eat it — almost. Owned by Anna Kwong but primarily managed by siblings Judith and Justin Kwong, the contemporary Japanese restaurant sends out every dish looking like a work of art, from the stunning sunomono salad with snow crab, scallop, and prawn, to the beautiful chirashi presentation. Sukiyaki also has mastered the art of takeout throughout the pandemic, and the menu items travel spectacularly well. [$$-$$$]

From above, takeout containers filled with various dishes on a wooden table
Chirashi, sashimi platter, and other dishes packed to go
Dan Clapson

16. Deane House

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806 9 Ave. Southeast
Calgary, AB
(403) 264-0595
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There is plenty of charm to this restored turn-of-the-century home on the cusp of the Inglewood neighborhood. Like its older sibling, River Café, Deane House is all about celebrating what it means to be regionally Canadian. Head chef Jason Barton-Browne keeps things very seasonal, but there are a few mainstays among the rotating dishes, like red lentil hummus and grass-fed beef tartare with pickled canola seeds. Like many restaurants, Deane House found much success with dinner kits during the pandemic, and its home dinner program has become a fixture of the business. [$$-$$$]

A crowd sit at a single long table surrounded by trees and shrubs, outside a large farmhouse-style building
Dining outside Deane House
Deane House

17. Bridgette Bar

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739 10th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB

If there were an award for most consistent Calgary restaurant, it would go to Bridgette Bar. Since opening over five years ago, the restaurant has transitioned seamlessly from one chef to another without disruption, a trend that holds up under current executive chef MacKenzie Pavka. Signatures include the beautiful wagyu beef carpaccio with mushroom vinaigrette, tuna crudo with brown-butter emulsion and buckwheat, and the pretzel-crusted banana pie. The vast menu also caters to picky eaters with pizza and pasta. [$$-$$$$]

An industrial bar interior with high beamed ceilings, cement floor, wood and marble bar with leather backed bar stools, tall back bar, and two-top tables along large windows
Inside Bridgette Bar
Bridgette Bar

18. Thai Sa-On Restaurant

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351 10 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2R 0A5, Canada
(403) 264-3526
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This longtime restaurant in the Calgary Beltline is a great central option to enjoy a myriad of Thai dishes in a room that always boasts a fun atmosphere. Owner Sam Chanhao is well known for his animated personality and expertise on wine, so you can expect great pairings for tasty dishes like chili pork-stuffed chicken wings, crying tiger beef (grilled rice-dusted beef with a spicy chili lime sauce), and the beautifully presented whole fried tilapia. [$$-$$$]

Chicken wings on a bed of lettuce in a plastic takeout container with small takeout cups of sauce
Stuffed chicken wings
Dan Clapson

19. Noble Pie

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Back Alley Entrance, 720 11 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2R 0E4, Canada

This New York-style pizza maker commanded waits of up to two hours back when it was operating out of a kitchen window at Eighty-Eight Brewing Co., though demand remains pretty high at Noble Pie’s brick-and-mortar location in Calgary’s Beltline neighborhood. Owner Mike Lange could impress even a New York native with pies like the Sweet Cheesus (aged and fresh mozzarella, grana padano, pecorino, caciocavallo, and oregano, drizzled with hot honey) and the Roni (made with famed Ezzo pepperoni). If you consider yourself a pizza connoisseur, this place should be a top priority on your to-eat list. [$$]

A chef in gloved hands sprinkles cheese on top of a pizza in a restaurant kitchen
Finishing off a pie
Noble Pie

20. Tamarind Vietnamese Grill and Noodle House

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908 12 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2R 1K7, Canada
(403) 262-6644
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Previously overlooked due to an unusual location in Calgary’s downtown, this now-fully vegan Southeast Asian restaurant is getting more attention since relocating to the Beltline in 2020. While the name proclaims Vietnamese food, the restaurant also leans into neighboring food cultures, offering up tom yum, vegan pad thai, and laksa. It also makes some of the city’s tastiest tofu in char siu marinade. [$-$$]

21. Yellow Door Bistro

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119 12 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2R 0G8, Canada
(403) 206-9585
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Located inside of Hotel Arts, this eclectically designed restaurant (including the statement piece, a gigantic horse statue that stands tall at the front entrance) offers food from morning to night, but is best known for its breakfast and brunch options. The souffle-style pancakes change from month to month, but are always stacked high and fluffy. Then there’s the pastrami-cured ham omelet with sauerkraut and Alberta mustard hollandaise, and, for sweet tooths, a layered French toast made with cinnamon raisin bread, cream cheese custard, and walnut caramel sauce. Expect the luxe weekend brunch buffet to return more lavish than ever as pandemic restrictions allow. [$$-$$$]

A thin stack of fluffy pancakes on a large plate surrounded by fruit and dots of sauce, and topped with more candied fruit slices
Souffle pancakes
Dan Clapson

22. Proof

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1302 1st ST SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 246-2414
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Proof is the crown jewel of Calgary’s cocktail scene. Though the space is relatively cozy, the bar shelves stretch to the high ceilings with layer upon layer of spirits from around the world, giving ample ammunition to the barkeeps to make just about any drink. If you’re looking to save a bit of coin, pop in during happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily) for some fantastic drink specials. [$$-$$$]

A frothy cocktail in a nick and nora glass garnished with a lemon strip, sitting on a paper menu
A cocktail at Proof
Proof/Facebook

23. Nikos Pizza

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1405 11 St SW, Calgary
AB T2R 0J8, Canada
(403) 453-0553
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Greek-style pizza thrives in Western Canada. Akin to Detroit-style pizza in all but shape (the Greek style is round to Detroit’s square), the deep and doughy pizza comes with crispy edges, and Nikos is especially known for its heavy-handed use of mozzarella. The hearty pies are well-balanced between sauce and toppings, and they make surefire hangover cures. [$$]

A hand pulls a slice of pizza from a pie in a box, trailing huge amounts of gooey cheese behind
Pizza from Nikos
Nikos Pizza

24. Cluck N Cleaver

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1511 14 St SW, Calgary
AB T3C 0Y1, Canada
(403) 266-2067
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Launched by sister duo Nicole Gomes (Top Chef Canada: All Stars champ) and Francine Gomes, Cluck continues to assert itself as the premier fried chicken option in the city, thanks to its great quality chicken meat, Nicole’s top-secret spice blend, buttery biscuits, and indulgent gravy. If you don’t want the full meal deal, go for the Mother Clucker sandwich (fried chicken, honey hot sauce, blue cheese mayo, slaw, and pickles on a homemade bun). [$-$$]

Baskets of fried chicken and biscuits beside an assortment of cookies, french fries, and fried chicken sandwich
A full meal from Cluck N Cleaver
Cluck N Cleaver

25. Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine

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1510 6 St SW, Calgary
AB T2R 0N2, Canada
(403) 454-7400
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At this popular restaurant tucked just off of the 17th Avenue main strip, co-owners Fay and Pat Bruney serve a range of Jamaican specialties: patties filled with ground goat, beef, or chicken, braised oxtail and beans, roti, curried goat, and, of course, jerk chicken. For dessert, try the gizzada, a pastry shell stuffed with a mix of spiced coconut and sugar. Simply Irie’s patio is a great spot to have a casual bite and enjoy a rum-based cocktail or two in the summer. [$-$$]

26. The Ship and Anchor

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534 17 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2S 0B1, Canada
(403) 245-3333
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You will be hard-pressed to find a more community-minded watering hole in Canada than the Ship. Beyond the warm, inviting vibe, the pub raises tens of thousands of dollars a year for a variety of local charities. On any given day, you’ll find people from all walks of life enjoying a pint and a casual bite to eat with their pals. Toss in some live music throughout the week and punk rock bingo on Tuesday nights, and you’d be even harder pressed to find a reason to leave. [$-$$]

A bartender looks at the camera as they reach for glassware on the bar. People fill the bar behind them
Inside Ship & Anchor
Ship & Anchor/Facebook

27. Model Milk

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308 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 265-7343
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Another eatery from Concorde Group — the same folks behind Bridgette Bar and Major Tom, as well as Pigeonhole, which shares a building with Model Milk — this decade-old, award-winning restaurant sits in a pleasant heritage building on the tail end of 17th Avenue. The space had been a wildly popular gay bar and restaurant in the early 2000s, a business that left behind a unique layout spread over two levels with an open kitchen as the focal point. Order one of the elaborate cocktails and dig into the indulgent signature burger topped with mushroom ragout, cheese curds, and creme fraiche. [$$$-$$$$]

An interior brick wall decorated with the logo for Model Milk, behind eggshell blue pendant lights hanging over a long wooden table set for a meal
Inside Model Milk
Model Milk

28. V Burger

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819 17 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2T 0A1, Canada
(587) 387-7272
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Whether or not you’re vegan, this little fast-food spot on 17th Avenue will satiate cravings for cheeseburgers, fried “chicken,” and other meaty entrees. The breakfast sandwiches and burgers appear awfully familiar compared to offerings at mainstay fast-food chains, but nothing close enough to incite a cease and desist. The Lil’ Cheezburger always hits the mark, and the milkshakes — try the root beer swirl or pina colada — are perfect treats on a warm day. [$]

A hand holding a squished sandwich of imitation fried chicken, lettuce, and tomato in a foil wrapper
Chik’n burger
Dan Clapson

29. Alumni Sandwiches

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725 17 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2S 0B6, Canada
(403) 455-7255
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If you need a sandwich fix in Calgary, look no farther than this charming contemporary diner nestled in the heart of bustling 17th Avenue. The ridiculously tasty tuna melt is a must-order, as are the rosemary beef dip and the appropriately spicy hot chicken sandwich. Don’t miss out on the charred onion dip, either. Surprisingly for a diner, Alumni turns out great cocktails, too. [$-$$]

A breaded chicken sandwich with greens and mayo on thick bread, skewered, and served in a paper-lined basket
A proper sandwich from Alumni
Alumni Sandwiches

30. Pho Dau Bo Restaurant

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4909 17 Ave SE #110, Calgary
AB T2A 0V5, Canada
(403) 272-5160
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Any true pho lover in Calgary will tell you Pho Dau Bo is a must-try. The casual spot on International Avenue serves up a wonderfully aromatic broth, which shines especially well in the famous oxtail variation. There’s also a smattering of other traditional Vietnamese dishes, like bo tai chanh (shaved raw rib-eye with herbs, fried shallots, shaved white onion, lime vinaigrette, and raw quail’s egg) and bo la lot (seasoned ground beef wrapped in lolot leaves and grilled). It’s also one of the few places in Calgary that serves custardy ca phe trung (egg coffee). [$-$$]

A table full of dishes including pho, rolls, and skewered shrimp
A full spread at Pho Dau Bo
Pho Dau Bo Restaurant

31. Moti Mahal Restaurant

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1805 14 St SW, Calgary
AB T2T 3T1, Canada
(403) 228-9990
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Among Calgary’s prolific East Indian food community, the longstanding Moti Mahal is especially beloved for its generous portions of shahi paneer (house-made cheese and tomatoes in a fenugreek-infused cream sauce), lamb bhoona (braised lamb and caramelized onions in a ginger and turmeric curry sauce), and chicken mumtaz (curried chicken meat slow-cooked with a mix of jaggery, dried chiles, apricots, and lemon). Moti Mahal has some fun on the cocktail side of things, too, spicing up a Caesar with house vindaloo sauce or infusing chai spices into bourbon for an Indian take on an Old Fashioned. [$$-$$$]

32. Blackfoot Truckstop Diner

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1840 9 Ave SE, Calgary
AB T2G 0T8, Canada
(403) 265-5964
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This famous truck stop in the Inglewood neighborhood is known for its low prices, bottomless coffee, and 24-hour operation. The interior of the diner offers plenty to look at, from defunct mini jukeboxes to a model train that circles the room on a track suspended from the ceiling. A deliciously lowbrow plate of grilled cheese (made with Kraft Singles, obviously) and onion rings is guaranteed to cure any hangover, no matter how severe. [$]

A restaurant exterior at night, with large light-up sign reading Blackfood Diner, with Canadian maple leaves on either side
Outside the Blackfoot Truckstop Diner
Blackfoot Truckstop Diner/Facebook

33. Roy's Korean Kitchen

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2024 4 St SW, Calgary
AB T2S 1W3, Canada

After closing his famed eatery Anju, Roy Oh took nearly two years to reemerge in the city’s food scene. Now, people flock to his Mission restaurant, Roy’s Korean Kitchen, to eat the chef’s long-standing specialties like oxtail tortellini, crispy tofu with maple sesame kimchi, and pork belly with lemon aioli. Oh serves up Korean barbecue platters, too, as well as plenty of soju. [$$-$$$]

Trays of various meat cuts in bright sauces, on a textured background
Meaty, smoky, saucy bulgogi platter
Roy’s Korean Kitchen/Facebook

34. Alloy

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220 42 Ave SE, Calgary
AB T2G 1Y4, Canada
(403) 287-9255
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Opened in fall 2007 and still going strong, Alloy is an exemplar of how you can make a fine(ish) dining spot work outside of the “cool” parts of a city. Co-owner Uri Heilik runs a tight ship when it comes to the front of house, which guarantees a great wine list and impeccable service on every visit. His fellow co-owner, chef Rogelio Herrera, keeps things fun in the kitchen, and his vibrant personality comes through in every menu item. [$$$$]

35. To Me Vietnamese Sub

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5250 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary
AB T2H 0J2, Canada
(825) 882-2828

Calgary is the proud home of Canada’s only Vietnamese drive-thru. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it To Me Vietnamese is a teeny structure on a busy street, but you can spot it by the lineup of cars spilling out of the drive-thru lane during peak times of day. The coconut curry chicken banh mi is a real winner, especially for the money. [$]

A small drive-thru exterior, with a menu with images alongside a longer print menu. A large sign for To Me Vietnamese Sandwiches hangs overhead in the background
The drive-thru at To Me
Dan Clapson

36. Respect the Technique

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221 62 Ave SE # 150, Calgary
AB T2H 0R5, Canada
(403) 399-3438
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You never quite know when and where chef Kaede Hirooka will be in the city, but as soon as Calgarians catch wind on social media of his next pop-up, they flock to him in droves. Though he’s well known for his funky take on ramen (umami-laden broth filled with homemade noodles and topped with delicious fried chicken), the chef is perhaps most famous for his gyoza-stuffed chicken wings. They are absolutely delicious and, unlike many things in life, truly live up to the hype. Hirooka has also found a lot of success in the grocery realm with his red miso-cured bacon, which can be purchased at a variety of stores in Alberta. [$-$$]

From above, a pale bowl filled with deep red soup and ramen noodles, topped with a fried egg, meat, and shopped scallions
Ramen at Respect the Technique
Dan Clapson

37. Beirut Street Food

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Bay C, 7220 Fairmount Dr SE, Calgary
AB T2H 0X7, Canada
(403) 512-7772
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Lebanese food is widely available in Calgary, but few restaurants are as enticing as Beirut Street Food. Tucked away in a very unassuming location on the dividing line between an industrial area and residential neighborhood, this wonderful fast-casual eatery woos diners with (mostly) made-to-order pita, which you can watch cooks prepare through the window. It’s rare to find a menu where everything is delicious, but there isn’t a dud among the appropriately messy shawarma wraps stuffed full with coal-roasted chicken or beef (or falafel), pickled cabbage, pickles, hot peppers, and — dear God — that heavenly sweet sauce. The donair (doner) or shawarma-topped poutines are Canadian-Lebanese fusion at its best. [$]

From above, three plastic containers arranged on a table. They’re full of shawarma covered in sauce, pickled vegetables, and french fries
Shawarma platters to-go
Dan Clapson

38. Empire Provisions

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8409 Elbow Dr SW, Calgary
AB T2V 1K8, Canada
(403) 244-0570
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This diner and deli concept, run by Karen Kho and Dave Sturies, is a favorite of many in the Calgary food service industry. On the deli side, the duo has conjured up a long list of cured meats, fresh sausages, and snack foods, while over in the diner guests can sit down to tasty no-frills comfort foods. If you leave without some Filipino beef jerky and Empire Dill Pickles, turn your car around and try again. [$]

A worker behind a deli case, with pendant lights hanging overhead, and lots of light filling a seating area beyond
Inside Empire Provisions
Empire Provisions/Facebook

1. Calgary Momo House

4310 104 Ave NE #2150, Calgary, AB T3N 1W2, Canada
Two plates of dumplings in different hues, one topped with sliced cabbage and microgreens
Fried and steamed momos
Dan Clapson

Head to the far northeast corner of the city to find an array of stunning Nepalese food at Momo House. Co-owners and co-chefs Gyanendra Sharma and Prakash Magar draw from their family roots to create elevated versions of South Asian comfort food. The goat- and vegetable-filled momos, for instance, are fried and pan-fried before being finished with a house tandoori spice blend. Dumplings and chutneys are the focal point of the menu, but also try the sukuti sandheko; the combination of aged goat meat, roasted soybean, crispy-puffed rice, and slaw is a true textural delight. [$-$$]

4310 104 Ave NE #2150, Calgary
AB T3N 1W2, Canada

2. Silver Inn Restaurant

2702 Centre St N, Calgary, AB T2E 2V6, Canada

It would be a complete oversight not to include the birthplace of ginger beef on this map. Chef-owner George Wong is said to have originated the Canadian-Chinese dish at this popular Chinese institution in 1975. Decades later, the dried beef, sliced onions, and bell peppers are still wok-fried to perfection in a sweet, tangy ginger sauce — though the restaurant has a long list of other offerings, too. [$$]

2702 Centre St N, Calgary
AB T2E 2V6, Canada

3. Vendome

940 2 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 0E6, Canada
A long red brick building exterior, with a sidewalk patio covered in spots by bright yellow umbrellas, and customers sitting and walking nearby
Outside Vendome
Vendome

Owned by the Teatro Group, Vendome boasts an exquisite pastry program alongside a robust food menu. You might not expect either from the humble exterior, which gives off casual coffee shop vibes. Brewed coffee and espresso-based drinks will always hold the baseline at Vendome, but the shop takes a step beyond your everyday cafe with dishes like the brassica and haloumi Caesar and grilled squid with hazelnut romesco. [$-$$]

940 2 Ave NW, Calgary
AB T2N 0E6, Canada

4. River Café

25 Prince's Island Park, Calgary, AB
A server walks through an empty sun-lit dining room set for a meal. There are large windows along one wall, old pendant lights, and long wooden tables
The dining room at River Café
River Café

This decades-old restaurant, located on the picturesque Prince’s Island Park, was embracing the whole local and sustainable ethos before those were marketing buzzwords. Owner-operator Sal Howell’s unfaltering leadership has kept River Café feeling fresh and at the top of its game year after year. Executive chef Scott MacKenzie maintains the culinary bar with creations that celebrate all things Canadian, but especially hyperlocally grown and raised ingredients during the warmer months. Having a meal here in the summer, while the on-site garden is in full bloom, is nothing short of magical. [$$$-$$$$]

25 Prince's Island Park
Calgary, AB

5. Vero Bistro Moderne

209 10 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1V5, Canada
A luxe restaurant interior, with orb pendants, textured tabletops, artful plant arrangements, and a strip of sepia photographs decorating a black tile wall
Inside Vero
Vero Bistro Moderne

If you know, you know. Vero Bistro Moderne has maintained a loyal following for over 10 years, quietly humming away in the Kensington neighborhood. Chef and owner Jenny Chan creates food rooted in Italy and her love for the European country. Her radicchio salad with honey thyme vinaigrette and crispy guanciale is a ridiculously delicious way to start dinner, followed promptly by her black truffle arancini. The signature sweet potato gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, sage butter, and toasted walnuts is (unofficially) dedicated to the blue cheese lovers of the world. [$$$]

209 10 St NW, Calgary
AB T2N 1V5, Canada

6. Winebar Kensington

1121 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB
From top-down, a table filled with dishes like prosciutto salad, crudite, olives, and nust
A full spread at Winebar
Winebar Kensington

Calgary’s longest-running wine bar has been drawing folks into its romantic lower-level space for years. Situated underneath partner concept Eat Crow, the bar offers seating along an open kitchen, providing entertainment along with your drinks. Snag a table by the fireplace for a romantic evening while sharing nicely composed dishes, like the mushrooms on brioche toast, coconut-curried lentil dip, and tagliatelle cacio e pepe. [$$$]

1121 Kensington Rd NW
Calgary, AB

7. Jinbar

24 4 St NE, Calgary, AB T2E 3R7, Canada
A meat topped pizza on a metal countertop
Buldak and bulgogi pizza
Dan Clapson

Top Chef Canada finalist Jinhee Lee has always been celebrated as one of Calgary’s most talented chefs, so the buzz was strong when she opened her very own eatery in 2020. Jinbar centers around Korean pizza, Korean fried chicken, and cocktails, all offered in a cool, eclectic dining room. The Fried Buldak is a fiery cheese pizza with layers of mozzarella, Korean barbecue spices, pickled jalapenos, and green onions. A popular pizza topping in South Korea, corn stars in the Sweet Corns & Honey Butter Chip pie alongside jalapenos, Parmesan, mozzarella, and parsley on a base of alfredo sauce, all surrounded by a crust garnished with house potato chips lightly tossed in honey sauce. [$$-$$$]

24 4 St NE, Calgary
AB T2E 3R7, Canada

8. Paper Lantern

115 2 Ave SE Basement, Calgary, AB T2G 0B2, Canada
A darkened bar interior, with palm leaf wallpaper, deep pink hanging lanterns, and a portrait of a woman on the wall
Inside Paper Lantern
Paper Lantern/Facebook

This lively basement speakeasy in Calgary’s Chinatown whisks guests away to Hoi An, Vietnam, with worn window shutters and fabric lanterns. That’s where owners Nhi Tran and Tanner Ennis gathered inspiration before opening for business. The food, prepared by Tran’s mother, includes less common Vietnamese dishes such as banh xeo and bo luc lac (shaken beef). A nice touch to the menu here is an option for diners to have “what the kitchen is having” on any given night, which can lead to plenty of delicious surprises. [$$-$$$]

115 2 Ave SE Basement, Calgary
AB T2G 0B2, Canada

9. Caesar's Steak House & Lounge

512 4 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0J6, Canada
A tufted red leather booth with thick leather armchairs around a marble table. On the dark wood wall there’s an illustration of a horse race. Around the corner is a dark marble bar
A booth at Caesar’s
Caesar’s Steak House & Lounge

It should come as no surprise that Alberta is home to many a steakhouse, but few are as iconic as the original Caesar’s. Opened in 1972, the opulent marble-laden interior now feels old school in the most charming of ways. Expect prawn cocktails, tableside Caesar salads, chateaubriand for two, and — well, you get the point. Be prepared to step back in time for an evening, and best look your best. [$$$$]

512 4 Ave SW, Calgary
AB T2P 0J6, Canada

10. The Simmons Building (Sidewalk Citizen, Phil & Sebastian, Charbar)

618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0G1, Canada
A red brick factory exterior, printed with the name Simmons Limited, with a patio awning out front strung with lights
Outside the Simmons building
Charbar/Facebook

The Middle Eastern-leaning bakery and cafe Sidewalk Citizen and famed Calgary-based coffee chain Phil & Sebastian have other locations around Calgary, but their buzziest locations are at the Simmons Building in the East Village. The building is also home to the restaurant Charbar, which runs a rooftop bar serving easy-sipping cocktails and New York-style pizza. Together, the three businesses create something greater than the sum of their parts. The whole place bustles during the warmer months of the year (especially the rooftop), so if the crowds are too heavy, take your meal to enjoy along the Bow River. [$-$$$]

618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary
AB T2G 0G1, Canada

11. Koji Katsu

1111 6 Ave SW Unit 106, Calgary, AB T2P 5M5, Canada