Alternative Thanksgiving dinners in Calgary

Not interested in turkey, ham and the usual fixin’s this Thanksgiving, but you and yours are still Jonesin’ for a fine feast? The following restaurants offer Turkey Day alternatives that are both gobbler-free and family friendly.

Buddha's Veggie

100-5802 MacLeod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2H 0J8

For the vegetarians among us, Thanksgiving is an awfully meaty affair. However, the menu at Buddha’s Veggie, a block north of 58 Street Southwest on Macleod Trail, features a lengthy list of regional Chinese and Asian vegetarian dishes. From Szechuan veggie shrimp and veggie ginger beef to Shanghai noodles with veggie ham, it’s all deliciously meatless. However, if members of your Thanksgiving-averse group simply must have it, an alternate carnivore-friendly menu is available. Open Saturday and Sunday over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Regency Palace Restaurant

328 Centre St SW, Calgary, AB T2G 4X6

A delicious departure from turkey and root veggies, Chinese food is also a crowd pleaser. In Chinatown’s Dragon City Mall, Regency Palace features a spacious dining area as well as private rooms suitable for group dining. The restaurant’s sit-down dinner menu is primarily Cantonese, and the seafood is particularly good – enjoy live crab and lobster umpteen ways. Western-style standards include chicken with cashew nuts and oyster-sauce beef, but traditional preparations abound such as winter melon soup, braised duck and stuffed crab claw. Open the entire Thanksgiving weekend.

Mercato West

5000-873 85 St SW, Calgary, AB T3H 0J5

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and comfort food, and what cuisine is more social and comforting than Italian? Upscale in a cheerful and accessible way, Mercato West on 85th Street Southwest serves big, bold Italian dishes. Expect expertly crafted rustic Italian food in a sociable setting made for sipping wine and sharing food. The restaurant’s open kitchen is part of the fun as you watch succulent steak (try the bistecca alla fiorentina) and whole fish grilled to perfection and house-made pastas prepared with flair. Open Saturday and Sunday, Thanksgiving weekend.

Thai Boat Restaurant

As cool weather sets in, enjoying a Thai meal is a warm and welcome mini tropical vacation. Located on 32 Avenue Northeast close to Barlow Trail, Thai Boat serves attractive and aromatic standard fare such as pad Thai, tom yum soup, red curry chicken and various lemongrass entrees. Its crowd-pleaser of a menu also features Western-Thai-Chinese fusion dishes such as ginger beef, also served in pork, chicken and prawn versions. Open Saturday only, Thanksgiving weekend.

Big T's BBQ & Smoke House Co

2138 Crowchild Trail NW, Calgary, AB T2M 3Y7

It ain’t turkey, but it sure is comfort food! Succulent, messy barbecue with multiple sauces and sides are the order of the day at Big T’s on Crowchild Trail Northwest opposite McMahon Stadium. Sharing is a natural impulse whatever dishes arrive at the table, though the restaurant’s two sampler platters are stacked high with a finger-lickin’ selection of everything from pulled pork and chicken to Andouille sausage and cornbread. Open the entire Thanksgiving weekend.

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