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Going into its fourth decade of existence, Calgary’s original Portuguese restaurant has seen a lot of changes. What remains the same are the robust flavours in the gourmet home cooking of the Da Costa family who opened Mimo in 1984. Owners Isabel and Joao (John) are like godparents to International Avenue’s east side ethnic food scene. “There’s a homey feeling here,” explains their daughter and Mimo manager Carla Da Costa about why the family has never relocated the eatery to a larger location despite the its popularity. “My parents don’t know if they can get that anywhere else. They love that feeling of welcoming everybody and having people share their stories. It’s kind of like history making itself. It’s important to them.”

When Mimo opened its doors in what is now the Little Saigon Centre, the shopping centre was a sort of little Portugal filled with many businesses catering to Calgary’s then flourishing Portuguese community. With the recession of the late 1980s, most of that community migrated to eastern Canada, but Mimo held its ground and expanded from a small back room into what is now a large, bright dining room.

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Appears in 3 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
Eat your way around the world in Calgary

Eat your way around the world in Calgary

Hidden away in Forest Lawn, Mimo is Calgary’s lone Portuguese place, which makes it just that much more special. Loyal clientele return for the Da Costa family’s friendly service and gorgeous, fresh-grilled plates of quail, squid, cod and Portuguese steak as well as steaming paella pans and massive seafood-and-veggie platters.

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Dining with a difference: Unique Calgary restaurants

Dining with a difference: Unique Calgary restaurants

Located on busy International Avenue in Forest Lawn, Mimo serves up Portuguese cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood dishes, most of which are prepared on a charcoal grill. You must try their paella, which is loaded with clams, mussels, squid, crab legs, lobsters, shrimp, chicken and beef in a saffron-sweet pepper sauce.

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Global cuisine on International Avenue in Calgary

Global cuisine on International Avenue in Calgary

The city’s lone Portuguese place, Mimo serves gorgeously prepared Old World dishes. As Portugal is situated on the Atlantic, the bounty of the ocean figures prominently in the restaurant’s menu. Seafood dishes include lobster tails gratinada, crab legs in garlic wine sauce and pork-and-clam casserole. Also recommended are the rich, heaping paella, piri piri chicken and beef medallions in sweet, tangy Madeira wine sauce.

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