Thomsons Restaurant
By Bob Keelaghan

Committed to Healthy Culinary Surprises

Thomsons was well known for its gourmet Canadian cuisine, but this eatery in the Hyatt Regency made a bold move in 2013 by introducing what it calls “free range culinary” to its menu. It was a push towards presenting healthier sustainable food and giving its chefs free range to be creative and make additions to the menu based on what inspires them and the availability of seasonal ingredients.

This light rustic fine dining fare keeps the kitchen on its toes and keeps customers coming back for pleasant surprises. “Committed to sourcing fresh, local, sustainable products, our culinary team showcases their free-range creativity by influencing menu updates every week,” says Thomsons' manager Amrut Misra. “Since last year, we have changed the menu 40 times. Every couple of weeks we change the menu.“

With 40 chefs from 22 countries on staff, there is a lot of culinary inspiration to go around. “It is very diverse in the creativity and how they bring their experience together,” says Amrut of his culinary colleagues. “Every chef that comes here has a passion for preparing the food.” Seated at the half-moon bar adjacent to the restaurant’s open kitchen, patrons can get a good look at these chefs in action. Seating 152, the expansive dining room features brick-and-sandstone walls, numerous chandeliers and large ranching photos. The full menu is also available in the adjacent Sandstone Lounge.

Any time you come in you can try something new. Every couple of weeks we change the menu. - Ahmrut Misra, outlets manager
Thomsons Restuarant, Fine dining, steaks, seafood, lamb, brunch
Thomsons’ expansive rustic fine-dining room seats 152.

Local, Sustainable Ingredients

The dinner menu is rooted in regional cuisine: steaks, pork chops, rack of lamb and venison are the specialties. All are raised on southern Alberta farms within approximately 200 kilometres of the city. To better inform the customer, all the ranches and farms that supply Thomsons’ ingredients are listed on the menu. Literally showing the customer where their food comes from, some of the photos that adorn the walls were taken at these ranches. Seafood selections such as scallops, shrimp, Artic char and halibut are approved by the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program.

Some of the restaurant’s herbs and garnishes are harvested metres from the kitchen. “During summer we have a rooftop garden where we grow herbs and vegetables: rosemary, parsley, micro-greens and, sometimes, tomatoes,” explains Amrut. “This year we started working with local beekeepers. We are managing two colonies through a treatment-free, organic process. Next fall, we’ll be able to use the honey.”

Thomsons Restuarant, Fine dining, steaks, seafood, lamb, brunch
The dining room and lounge are decorated by the work of western photographer JoAnne Meeker.

A Plentiful Sunday Brunch

Thomsons is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week, but on weekends it goes to town with its Saturday breakfast buffet and consistently popular Sunday brunch. Amrut lists a selection that seems to go on for hours: sausages and potatoes, custom-made omelettes, freshly prepared eggs Benedict and pancakes, shrimp, mussels and a carving station with beef. Best of all, with the large dining room, brunch-goers can take their time, relax and enjoy leisurely meals.

Thomsons Restuarant, Fine dining, steaks, seafood, lamb, brunch
Thomsons is located on Stephen Avenue Walk, in the Hyatt Regency Calgary.
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