Do-good dining: Restaurants for Change in Calgary

For low-income Calgarians, nutritious food can become more luxury than necessity. On Oct. 18, participating restaurants in the Restaurants for Change initiative raise proceeds for Community Food Centres Canada and its local outlets that help make healthy eating accessible for our most vulnerable. Here are participating Calgary restaurants where patrons can help do some good by simply dining out. [Photo: River Cafe]

The Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar

1
925 11 St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0R4

Settled in Inglewood’s old National Hotel – a site as old as the community itself – chef Michael Noble’s second restaurant writes a new (and decadent) chapter for the 1900s-era sandstone building, adding some modern urban grit to its interior. Watch the chefs prep your dishes with great care with their open kitchen. Start with their pan-seared B.C. halibut cheeks with prosciutto dressing, beluga lentils and josper oven-roast tomatoes. For a taste and feel-good main, try the wood-fired free-range “Happy” rotessorie chicken with buttermilk mash and black garlic.

Cibo Urbano Cucina

2
1012 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A5

A taste of Italy nestled in the heart of 17th Avenue SW, walking in the door you'll discover why Cibo’s mission to simply serve great food is literally its name. Cibo – Italian for “food" – welcomes guests with freshly baked pizza smells from its open kitchen. Share appies such as lamb meatballs with tomato, black olive, spinach and pecorino or truffle parmesan fries with white truffle oil, grana padano and sea salt. Notable pies include the goat cheese with black olives, caramelized onion, arugula, artichoke and smoked eggplant or the wild boar bacon with fennel salami, smoked pancetta and house-made sausage.

CHARCUT Roast House

3
101-303 Centre St SW, Calgary, AB T2G 2B9

In the heart of downtown at the Le Germain Hotel, CHARCUT’s emphasis on extravagantly simple ingredients put this urban-rustic, meat-focused restaurant and its co-owners, John Kacson and Connie DeSousa, on the national culinary map. For those feeling really carnivorous, start with a half or full CHARCUT charcuterie board of artisanal cured meats and then dig in to some house-butchered bison brisket with beech mushrooms, boar bacon, sour cream and soft polenta or Alberta beef feature steak with smoked poplar bluff potatoes and salsa verde.

River Cafe

4
25 Prince's Island Pk, Calgary, AB T2P 0R1

Surrounded by the natural beauty of Prince’s Island Park north of Eau Claire Market, River Café brings seasonal tastes from both the water and the land to one of downtown’s most beautiful escapes. Taste the land with their Kolb Farms bison tartare with Saskatoon berries to start, and dig in to some Driview Farms Lamb with roasted cauliflower, cucumber, grapes and apple-candied dulse. Taste the waters starting with side stripe shrimp crudo with kohlrabi and smoked aioli cilantro and try the Haida Gwaii halibut with campo beans and sea asparagus for an entrée.

Scopa Neighbourhood Italian

5
2220 Centre St NE, Calgary, AB T2E 2T5

Centred in the heart of Tuxedo Park on Centre Street NE, Scopa chef Justin Lall’s Italian-style menu creations blend simplicity with boldness. With its recycled-wood interior, Scopa’s casual atmosphere serves all occasions, including family outings or lunch with the office. Try bruschetta with a hint of sweetness with their pepe rosso selection with golden raisin and almond. For traditionalists, go for the tagliatelle polpette pasta with veal meatball, red wine, tomato and grana padano. For a vegetarian pie, don’t miss the Funghi with roasted mushrooms, cream sauce, white truffle oil and fried rosemary.

Deane House

6
806 9 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0S2

Just last year, the team behind the River Café went downstream the Bow River to Inglewood, bringing new life to the historic Deane House just east of Fort Calgary. From prairie to coast, this 100-seat restaurant’s menu serves dishes from all over Canada. Lean back and appreciate the historical décor honouring Northwest Mounted Police Captain Richard Deane, the original house owner, while nibbling on fresh-shucked oysters with mignonette and fermented hot sauce as you wait for entrees such as the applewood grilled boar with maple-glazed apricots and sugar snap peas.

Notable The Restaurant

7
133-4611 Bowness Rd NW, Calgary, AB T3B 0B2

Chef Michael Noble’s first restaurant NOtaBLE has become a culinary jewel in Bowness, winning over many neighbourhood regulars with its dedication to tasty, locally produced dishes with generous portions. Browse the location-centric menu items or see what’s on their rotisseries daily such as rack of Heritage pork or Alberta lamb. Try fan favourites like crispy potato rolls with rotisserie pork, jalapeño jack cheese, spicy ranch and salsa verde to start or try new chef creations such as the Canada 150 burger with a Brant Lake Wagyu beef patty, maple back bacon, Oka and A1 aioli on a sesame bun.

Posto Pizzeria and Bar

8
1014 8th Street SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1K2

Set in a small but refined space on 10th Avenue SW, Posto Pizzeria & Bar – attached to next-door Bonterra Restaurant – brings a curious side of Italy to Calgary’s Beltline with its creative pizza toppings and piatti offerings. Go nutty with its chicken pizza pie with almond pesto, goat cheese and red peppers or reel in some slices of smoked salmon pie with leek, caper, crème fraiche and lemon. For shared piatti, the swordfish bresaola with capers, lemon and arugula is a fan favourite.

If “animals are our friends, not food” is a life mantra you live by, then the inaugural VegFest at Shaw Millennium Park in Calgary on Sept. 23 is your can’t-miss food festival this fall. Between the local live music and guest speakers, these participating local merchants will be there to serve up tasty vegan dishes and treats to sample.
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