Elevated eats: Lunch on the Plus 15 in Calgary

You and your lunch mates never have to face traffic or the elements when you choose to dine at a restaurant on the Plus 15. As well, the downtown’s second-level, indoor walkway system will take you directly to a variety of eateries, such as those listed here, that are suitable for takeaway as well as sit-down casual meals with colleagues and business-lunches.

Goro & Gun

1
245-225 7th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2P 2W3

At the top of the escalators on the Plus 15 level of Scotia Centre opposite a wedge-shaped Starbucks café, Goro + Gun serves the downtown’s best ramen bowls. Naturally, the place is busy at lunchtime, so reservations are recommended. Bestselling bowls include miso ramen with sliced pork belly, the inventively delicious spicy-lamb ramen and the refreshing spicy, cold seafood ramen. Also try a beef, chicken or mushroom bento-box, all of which include lobster-California roll pieces.

Eighth Ave Trattoria Ltd Partnership

2
15E-525 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1G1

In the Plus 15 system’s newest and shiniest southwesterly reaches, on the sunny second level of Eighth Avenue Place, you’ll find Eighth Avenue Trattoria. Its snack and coffee counters do steady business, and its two-step, central seating area is a pleasant spot to enjoy paninis and bratwurst or chorizo hotdogs. Daily-special entrees include butter chicken on Mondays and turkey with stuffing and gravy on Fridays.

Sunterra Market

3
450 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 5H1

One of four locations in the downtown, Sunterra in TransCanada Tower serves a wide selection of the Alberta market-restaurant chain’s wholesome signature meals prepared with locally grown ingredients. Its service counters include a deli case featuring soups, sandwiches and samosas, a creperie and juice bar as well as a hot-entree window serving hearty “big-pan” meals such as paella, tandoori roast chicken and stuffed pork loin. Seating is available on two levels under east-facing glass walls.

Spice Cafe & Lounge

4
220-800 6 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3G3

A visit to this petite Malaysian restaurant in Place 800 is worth trekking to from the far-flung corners of the Plus 15 labyrinth. The plush and cozy, closet-sized spot looks down over Sixth Avenue and has the feel of a full-sized restaurant. The curry rice bowls (chicken, beef, veggie and more) are recommended. Also try the gado gado salad with its boiled egg, veggies, tofu and peanut sauce as well as Malay noodle bowls and various stir-fries.

Mercatino

5
210-500 Centre St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1A6

As its name suggests, Mercatino in The Bow building combines a mini-market layout and cafeteria-counter service. Its Mediterranean-style meals are best enjoyed on the sunny and very spacious Plus 15 seating area inside the arch of The Bow’s south side or on the narrow seating area facing Chinatown. Expect daily lunch features at its hot-entree and buffet counters such as chef’s risotto, Vietnamese-style subs and Spolumbo sausage with perogies.

Township Bar & Grill

6
181-250 6 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3H7

On the lower level of Bow Valley Square, Township Bar & Grill features a lightly clubby, business-casual vibe that’s cheerful enough for an office celebration meal and handsomely low-lit to suit an easy-going business lunch. Created by locally renowned chef Duncan Ly, the lunch menu features a sandwich selection that includes a Kobe beef burger and baby-shrimp clubhouse. Hot entrees include sirloin steak and frites, wild mushroom pizza and chicken carbonara fettuccini.

Rise Bow Valley

7
181-250 6 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3H7

Situated in a main-floor kiosk next to Township Bar & Grill, down the escalator from the Plus 15 level of Bow Valley Square, Butcher and the Baker makes the kind of farm-fresh, takeaway sandwiches and salads you’ll be instantly hooked on. Among them, try the shaved Alberta sirloin baguette with horseradish aioli, tomato and onion and the jerk-chicken baguette with lime slaw and mango salsa. Knockout sides include mac and cheese with diced, cured pork and sweet peas.

Holy Grill

8
200-444 5 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 2T8

One of the busiest breakfast and lunch joints on 10th Avenue Southwest, Holy Grill has now launched a larger and more polished location in an unassuming corner of the Plus 15 in the 444 5th Avenue building. Its burly yet wholesome paninis include the vegan-friendly, cheese-and-veg New Californian as well as an Italian deli-meat panini and bacon-egg-cheddar version. Burgers include beef, blackened-chicken and a particularly tasty veggie burger. The roasted beet salad (large or small) is highly recommended.

Kabuku Restaurant

9
103-414 3 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1R2

Perhaps surprisingly, there are not many good sushi eateries on the Plus 15. Ramen spot Goro + Gun is one, and Kabuku at the bottom of the Calgary Place escalators is another. Featuring booth, table and sushi-bar seating, this is a pleasant street-corner restaurant in which to enjoy a selection of sashimi, nigiri sushi and various rolls. As well, hot Japanese entrees include miso-marinated cod and Fujiyama Alberta strip loin steak. For celebratory meals, consult Kabuku’s list of chilled and warm sake.

Ceilis On 4th

10
351 4 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0H9

When lunch calls for pub grub and pints of ale, visit Ceili’s on the Fourth Avenue Southwest side of Calgary Place just below a busy stretch of the Plus 15 network. Always buzzing with sociable discussion, this restaurant and pub serves snacks and pubby entrees with a contemporary spin. Mains include Thai chicken flatbread, crispy chili prawns, burgers as well as soup ’n’ salad combos.

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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