Dare to share: Tapas and small-plate restaurants in Calgary

Ever face the dilemma of having to please the differing tastes of a bunch of friends while dining out? The eateries listed here solve this culinary complication by serving small-plate snacks or tapas dishes that are perfect for sampling and sharing.

Ox Bar De Tapas

1
528 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B1

Focusing on Spanish-style tapas, Ox and Angela is the closest thing you’ll find to an authentic Spanish tapas bar in Calgary. Enjoy cuisine with a distinctive contemporary twist on its Latin roots. Sharable plates include Iberico ham, grilled octopus and patatas bravas. Make sure to complement your food with selections from Ox and Angela’s signature cocktail menu.

Pigeonhole

2
304 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A8

The elegantly petite sister restaurant to the ever-popular Model Milk on 17th Avenue Southwest, under the direction of chef Justin Leboe, Pigeonhole offers some of Calgary’s most creative contemporary small-plate dishes. The always-changing menu is like a playground for foodies, full of surprising ingredients and ingenious combinations such as nori crumpets with shrimp butter and ricotta dumplings with chili, tomato and crème fraîche.

Cleaver

AB

Hip and rustic, Cleaver serves flavourful small plates that are a little offbeat and a lot of fun. From a surprising selection of sliders (served individually or as a trio) and small plates of lamb, tempura kale or eggplant, this is comfort food for adventurous eaters.

Vin Room

3
2310 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1X2

Both locations of this luxurious wine and tapas bar offer gourmet charcuterie and cheese boards as well as a satisfying array of small plates. At Vin Room on Fourth Street Southwest, pair dishes such as lobster nachos and smoky chipotle short ribs with something special from the restaurant’s extensive and well-curated wine list.

Anju

4
344 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A8

Chef Roy Oh’s Euro-contemporary take on Korean food has become a favourite of Calgarian food lovers. The restaurant’s name translates to “food served with alcohol,” so order a creative Asian-inspired cocktail to go along with Anju classics such as Oh’s Korean fried chicken, lemongrass Brussels sprouts and kimchi fried rice.

Tango Bistro

5
6920 MacLeod Trail SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0L3

Spacious and comfortable, this tapas bistro located in the Smugglers Inn building on Macleod Trail Southeast serves a huge selection of small plates to please just about any palate. Asian, Mediterranean, Caribbean and French flavours abound in dishes such as seared scallops, wild boar bacon wrapped beef tenderloin, and flatbread topped with pear and gorgonzola. Note that many gluten-free items are available.

Winebar Kensington

6
1131 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3P4

The best seats in the house are right around the bar in this downstairs wine bar and tapas restaurant. As the name suggests, the wine is top-notch, but so are chef Cam Dobranski’s fun (and often quite indulgent) small plates. The ever-changing menu has included such dishes as beef flank steak, mushroom ravioli and devilled eggs. Traditionally served with Spanish tapas, the restaurant boasts a nice sherry selection.

Workshop Kitchen + Culture

7
608 1 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1M6

This restaurant in the Theatre Junction GRAND space in the historic brick-and-stone Lougheed Building offers a number of larger-format share plates as well as a good selection of smaller tapas-style plates that can be grouped together for a shared meal. The house-made pickles are always a winner and go well with any of chef Kenny Kaechele’s contemporary Canadian dishes featuring loads of local ingredients.

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