Dinner and outdoor opera in Calgary

Calgary Opera’s Opera in the Village takes place in an open-air tent on the East Village RiverWalk on August 13, 14, 20, 21, 2016. Performances of Hansel and Gretel and Archiebaldo! begin at 1 pm and 7 pm, respectively. Purchase tickets early, and pair the evening affair with reservations at one of the following nearby eateries. Photo by Trudie Lee: Lynne McMurtry and Tracy Dahl in Candide.

Charbar

1
618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0G1

Situated in the magically transformed Simmons Building in East Village, Charbar is the beams-and-brick offspring of the wildly popular Charcut and a cooperative cuisine venture that also features Sidewalk Citizen and Phil & Sebastian café spaces. Linger over ceviche, Argentine-inspired asado barbecue dishes and fugazza-style, deep-dish pizza. The opera is steps away once you’ve consumed your fill.

The Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar

2
925 11 St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0R4

The National Hotel is an Inglewood landmark that had fallen into disrepair. After sitting empty for years, the tan-brick building has been elegantly refurbished. It’s central occupant is The Nash, sister restaurant to the highly acclaimed Notable. Playfully upscale, its dinner menu features wood-fired rotisserie meats and West Coast seafood dishes. It also features one of the city’s coolest cocktail lounges.

Rouge

3
1240 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0M7

Serving local ingredients prepared with French flair, Rouge is one of the country’s most acclaimed restaurants. It is also located in Inglewood just a few blocks east of the Opera in the Village tent. Take a table within its beautifully preserved heritage-home digs or on its garden-side patio for meals so good they ought to be immortalized in song.

Without Papers

4
1214C 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0T1

A casual second-floor hideaway, Without Papers takes a fun approach to classic Italian pizza and is also a nice spot for a relaxing drink. Recommended pies include The Flood, topped with cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, as well as The Prosecutor, judiciously decorated with pancetta, caramelized onions, arugula and mozzarella. Also consider a saucy meatball calzone or spicy, cheese-and-meat calzone.

Bookers BBQ Grill & Crabshack

5
316 3rd St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2S4

Walking distance from the opera grounds, Bookers serves house-smoked barbecue and seafood dishes that may just make you burst into song. Thursday is Caribbean jerk chicken night and the Sunday special is all-you-can-eat crab and ribs. Noisy, fun and family friendly, this converted brick warehouse is a chic grub shack compatible with crowd-pleasing opera excitement.

U & Me Restaurant

6
201-233 Centre St SW, Calgary, AB T2G 2B7

Recently renovated, this popular Chinatown restaurant is located just a short walk from the East Village. Its evening menu features Cantonese and other regional Chinese dishes. These include sharable selections such as sizzling chicken hot pot, mango-sauce pork chop, palace-style chicken and salt and pepper prawns.

Kabuku Restaurant

7
103-414 3 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1R2

Given that Japan is the setting of the evening’s opera, sushi is a thematically appropriate pre-event meal. Located in the northeast corner of downtown Calgary, pleasant Kabuku serves artful, contemporary sushi pieces, rolls and sashimi. Japanese entrees include steak, salmon and cod dishes as well as sharable sushi assortments. Also try the volcano salmon or chicken.

River Cafe

8
25 Prince's Island Pk, Calgary, AB T2P 0R1

A few blocks west of the East Village on Prince’s Island Park, River Cafe serves outstanding Canadian cuisine in a leafy park setting. Its woodsy cottage atmosphere is a perfect match for a seasonal menu that leans to sustainably caught fish and locally raised game meats, notably bison. Weather permitting, reserve a seat on the patio.

Sakana Grill

9
MN-116 2 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0B9

A Japanese restaurant located in Chinatown, Sakana Grill is walking distance from the East Village. On the seafood side, ride a love boat stacked with sushi and sashimi, or go for sushi and sashimi by the piece as well as a rainbow array of contemporary sushi rolls. Or, treat yourself to a grilled entree such as teriyaki salmon, chicken or steak.

500 Cucina

10
1003 9 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0S6

Immediately adjacent to the East Village in Inglewood, 500 Cucina in the sexy Atlantic Avenue Art Block serves lovingly crafted Italian pizza, pasta and mains. Former food truckers Genarro Silvestri and Rocco Bartolotti have settled into a cheerful and airy permanent space complete with an open kitchen, its own pretty little coffee bar and a live-music area handsomely decorated with a selection of bottled wines.

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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