Dinner in Banff: A Calgary road trip

Calgarians visit Banff National Park and the town of Banff all year round. While the mountain park retreat is a natural spot to dine and shop in combination with winter snow-sport outings and summertime Alpine hikes, there are also many arts and cultural events and festivals to attend. While in Banff, fuel your getaway with a visit to one of these dinner destinations.

Magpie & Stump Restaurant

1
203 Caribou St, Banff, AB T1L 1B4

A thoroughly warm and weathered cantina, this rustic, Caribou Street landmark and ranch-house eatery has punched up its Mexican munchies. The emphasis is on classic-contemporary tacos with mandatory menu appearances by burritos, fajitas, chili rellenos and more. Swig a tequila or two with your meal, or sip Mexican beers and Acapulco-approved cocktails. Reservations are not accepted, but your nice, little niños certainly are.

Waldhaus Restaurant

2
405 Spray Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J4

One of The Fairmont Banff Springs’ many eateries, the Waldhaus Restaurant is imbued with a uniquely fairytale quality. Down the hill from the main hotel complex, this handsome Alpine dining hall above the Bow River serves beautiful Bavarian cuisine. Mountainous mains include beer sauerbraten, lamb venison and vegetarian-friendly root-vegetable rösti.

Wild Bill's Legendary Saloon

3
201 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1C4

This second-floor bar and grill overlooks Banff Avenue. A little bit country and a little bit Rocky Mountain, its hickory-wood-smoked meats add a savoury kick to its take on pub cuisine. Recommended dinner dishes include pulled pork sliders, elk burger with smoked gouda as well as half or whole roast chicken. A party place later in the evening, check the venue’s website for a calendar of live-music presentations and events, including mechanical bull nights and karaoke Tuesdays.

Toque Canadian Pub

4
124 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1A7

Named for that cozy article of all-Canadian winter headgear, Toque serves a creative and generously portioned take on the restaurant-pub cuisine so popular in this resort town. Visit the Banff Avenue eatery in the stately Mount Royal Hotel Building for all-day dishes such as elk-and-bison meatloaf, prairie poultry pie and poutine topped with bison and pulled duck. Toque’s Canuck kick also encompasses craft beer and whiskey.

Saltlik Steakhouse

5
221 Bear St, Banff, AB T1L 1B3

The Banff Saltlik is a woodsy shade more casual than its sister location on Stephen Avenue Walk in Calgary. With a high ceiling and exposed-beam construction, the popular steakhouse reflects the town’s Alpine architecture and laidback ways. While steak is the signature meal (you’ll lik the plate!), beyond-beef mains include spaghetti and meatballs, rotisserie chicken and ahi-tuna salad.

The Block Bar & Restaurant

6
5-201 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1A5

An international fusion restaurant, Block Kitchen & Bar on Caribou Street unites Mediterranean and Asian flavours in an inventive lineup of hot, cold and very shareable tapas dishes. For those who favour a variety of tastes served with leisurely drinks, try the cheese and charcuterie board, meaty Asian lettuce wraps as well as smoked buffalo flatbread and seared miso scallops.

The Juniper Hotel & Bistro

7
1 Juniper Way, Banff, AB T1L 1E1

Located on the Mount Norquay side of the Trans Canada Highway opposite the town of Banff, The Juniper Hotel & Bistro features a view of the town site and surrounding mountains that’s a meal in itself. The restaurant’s Canadian contemporary cuisine features international touches. Main-dish options include mushroom gnocchi, Alberta rib eye steak with crispy fish cake as well as duck breast with lentils. Should you linger too long, consider booking a room and returning to the dining room for eggs Benedict.

Park Distillery

8
219 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1C8

With backwoods panache aplenty, this gorgeously designed room on Banff Avenue features its own glassed-in distillery and a neatly forested back bar ornamented with a sweet bear-and-woodsman portrait. Apropos of this stylish campout chic, rotisserie and wood-fire-grilled meats and saucy burgers are its signature food moves. Suggested itinerary: Embark on a 3 pm distillery tour followed by an early dinner, then purchase some take-home house spirits at the Park shop.

Three Ravens Restaurant & Wine Bar

AB

An internationally renowned arts institution, The Banff Centre also happens to house three eateries. Among them, Three Ravens overlooks the town and mountains beyond. The restaurant’s suitably attractive food rises to the scenery with dishes such as citrus-crusted Icelandic cod, Moroccan braised lamb shank and Alberta bison strip loin. Pair your dinner engagement with attendance at an arts event or gallery showing.

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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