Dinner and a movie at CIFF in Calgary

Food and a film is a great combo, however, the annual Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) makes dinner and a movie extra special from September 21 to October 2. Launched with a gala party and film screening at the Jack Singer Concert Hall, it’s followed by more than 200 screenings at Eau Claire Market Cinemas and Globe Cinema. Make CIFF movie nights memorable at these eateries.

Ristorante Pulcinella Inc

1
1147 Kensington Cres NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1X7

Just down the hill from the CIFF gala opening party at Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Pulcinella serves Fellini-worthy Italian food in a sociable setting. Neapolitan pizza is the house specialty, but the menu also features plenty of pasta dishes from gnocchi al pomodoro to fettuccini with wild mushrooms. Sharable antipasti dishes include steamed mussels, ahi tuna with bread and black truffles, and a meat-and-cheese platter.

Winebar Kensington

2
1131 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3P4

Also in close proximity to the CIFF gala opening, Winebar Kensington is often populated with folks enjoying wine and casual contemporary tapas dishes on their way to or from evening outings. The menu at this lower-level hideaway changes with the seasons and the whims of the chef. These Latin- and European-influenced dishes comfort and surprise in equal measure. For a special sip, ask about the restaurant’s sherry selection.

Barley Mill Bow River

3
201 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary, AB T2P 4R3

Always a popular pre- and post-movie spot with cinephiles, the Barley Mill is situated in a warm and welcoming converted house on the west side of Eau Claire Market, which is home to Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinemas, one of two main CIFF venues. With its generous selection of on-tap ales, the restaurant serves pub-inspired dishes from classics such as fish and chips and shepherd’s pie to updates such as its coffee-braised short ribs and Guinness, crab and asparagus soup.

Joey Restaurants

4
208 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary, AB T2P 4R5

Just outside the Eau Claire Market west doors, Joey Eau Claire is a convenient spot to eat before or after taking in a CIFF screening at Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market Cinemas. The restaurant’s warehouse-chic interior complements a menu that hews to steak (blue cheese sirloin), seafood (lobster-and-prawn ravioli) and a mix of both (steak and sushi). Also select from three rotisserie chicken meals.

Buchanan's Chop House & Whiskey Bar

5
738-3rd Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0G7

As its name suggests, Buchanan’s is a New York-style chop house. A short distance west of Eau Claire Market Cinemas on Third Avenue Southwest and Seventh Street, the restaurant serves a selection of fine steak dishes. Also choose from lamb by the rack, chop and shank as well as several seafood dishes and a very popular cheeseburger. In the lounge, you’ll find one of North America’s largest Scotch whiskey selections.

Silver Dragon Restaurant

6
106 3 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0B6

One of the city’s best-loved dim sum spots, Chinatown’s Silver Dragon also serves Cantonese and Szechuan dinner cuisine. Fish and seafood dishes are a standout, including entrees prepared with fresh crab and lobster plucked straight from the restaurant’s seafood tank. Highly recommended, the Peking duck meal is served as one, two or three courses. Eau Claire Market Cinemas is located just west of Chinatown on the opposite side of the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre.

Escoba

7
624 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1G4

Across Eighth Avenue Southwest from Globe Cinema, one of the two main CIFF venues, Escoba is a cozy bistro and wine bar with Latin leanings. The small-dish starters (applewood cheddar risotto balls!) and charcuterie are recommended, and Escoba’s steak and seafood entrees are cinematically sumptuous. Go for Alberta beef tenderloin or paella prepared with lobster, a whole lot of other seafoods and Andouille sausage. Absolutely do inspect the wine list.

Barcelona Tavern

8
501 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1G1

Located in the CORE Shopping Centre a short stroll down Eighth Avenue Southwest from Globe Cinema, Barcelona Tavern is a new and notable Latin-inspired eatery serving tapas. Within its lengthy small-plate selection find short rib empanadas, Canadian oyster and mussel dishes, poached halibut cheeks and much more. Larger sharable dishes include charcuterie and paella. With two open-air levels, this room generates a big, sociable buzz.

The quintessential Mexican meal, tacos are also a relatively scarce commodity in Calgary. However, we’ve done some digging and unearthed the select few restaurants that make truly marvelous versions of these hand-held snacks.
The city’s summer season features a delicious dance card of culinary festivals and events. Many, such as Stampede-time pancake breakfasts, are easy to access the day of, but the various tasting and tippling shindigs listed here can fill up quickly, so purchasing tickets sooner than later for these foodie festivities is recommended. Image credit: iStock.com/kasto80.
The city’s pathway system is one of the longest in North America. Given its lengthy stretches, the occasional rest and snack stop, though few and far between, are a welcome sight when walking, biking and inline skating. Here are a few restaurants, cafés and snack shacks located on or near our scenic cycling system. Image credit: iStock.com/mihailomilovanovic.
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