Get cozy at these intimate eateries in Calgary

Some restaurants are cavernous, giving patrons room to spread out and feel anonymous. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to get seriously cozy and settle into an intimate dining experience. These restaurants may be small on space, but they’re big on atmosphere. [Image credit: iStock.com/Predrag Vuckovic]

Monki Breakfastclub & Bistro

1
1301 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3C 0J4

With only a couple dozen seats, Monki is miniscule. That (along with the fact that they make a delicious brunch and don’t take reservations) accounts for a consistent lineup for seats. But it’s worth the wait. The exposed brick walls and hipster charm create a friendly feel, and the food – bennies, frittatas, paninis and other mid-day fare – is fresh and always tasty.

Pigeonhole

2
304 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A8

Be sure to reserve early – not only is Pigeonhole one of Calgary’s most celebrated restaurants, it’s also small. With mismatched vintage plates and an open kitchen, the room feels both luxurious and relaxed, despite the fact that it’s serving some of the most upscale and innovative small plates in the city.

Sidewalk Citizen Bakery

3
618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0G1

Separated from the Simmons Building’s other eatery, Charbar, by glass walls, Sidewalk Citizen bakery’s seating area is both close to the action and tucked away, which gives it a sense of warmth. Plus the food – sandwiches, Israeli-inspired dips and baked goods all made in-house – is made with care and always full of flavour.

White Elephant Thai Cuisine

4
1808 19 Street NE, Calgary, AB T2E 4Y3

A tiny restaurant nestled within The Pointe Inn in Motel Village, White Elephant makes what is arguably the city’s best Thai food. It’s cozy and feels a little like a secret hideaway. You’ll be grateful you’re in on this secret as you tuck into plates of papaya salad and authentic pad Thai.

Una Pizza & Wine

5
618 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B4

With bar seating and only a handful of tables, it’s no wonder that Una has a lineup every night of the week – but it’s an experience that’s worth the wait. Comfortable, rather than crowded, staff never rush guests as they nosh on thin-crust pizzas, fresh salads (the kale Caesar is the go-to) and charcuterie while sipping on carefully chosen wines.

Vero Bistro Moderne

6
209 10 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1V5

Vero is a small room, and the tables are placed quite closely together, but the tight squeeze gives the room a friendly and energized vibe. And the food – inspired by French and Italian cuisine – is high-end, expertly prepared and made all the more intimate if you visit for “no-menu Tuesday” when the meal is chef’s choice.

Naina's Kitchen Ltd

7
121 17 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1H3

Naina’s isn’t fancy, but this little place certainly has a homespun vibe, and if the inviting atmosphere isn’t enough, its home-style food will have you coming back. Stuffed burgers are the house specialty – go easy with a patty stuffed with cheese or veggies, or go full on glutton with a poutine or pulled pork stuffed burger.

Suzette Bistro Mission

8
2210 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1W9

A cute little French bistro, the white tiles and café tables of Suzette are as charming as the restaurant’s crepe-laden menu. Order a savoury galette (a buckwheat crepe filled with meat, cheese, seafood, spinach and other fillings) or a sweet dessert crepe, and take a moment to pretend that you’re actually in France.

Dairy Lane Cafe

9
319 19 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 2J2

With just a handful of tables, this tight but comfy little diner is much more than a mom ‘n’ pop hole in the wall. Serving fresh food prepared with locally sourced ingredients, Dairy Lane’s brunches, burgers and salads are delicious and wholesome and taste all the better for being served in such an intimate little room.

Menyatai Japanese Noodles

10
24 12 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1Y3

This tiny spot is reminiscent of miniscule restaurants in Japan, which makes Menyatai’s ramen and other noodle dishes taste even more authentic. In addition to what is probably the city’s biggest variety of Japanese noodle soups, Menyatai offers traditional Japanese appetizers, tempura and rice bowls.

Shawarma – a Middle Eastern dish consisting of roasted meat shaved off of a spit and usually served in a pita wrap sandwich or as part of a meal platter – has become a grab n’ go staple food in countries all over the world. These Calgary spots serve up some of the best shawarma in the city with all of the traditional accouterments as well as other favourite Middle Eastern dishes. [Image credit: iStock.com/Lauri Patterson]
When you’re shelling out for a restaurant meal the quality of the food is obviously important, but so is the experience. Some restaurants just feel good. These Calgary spots offer both great meals and appealing atmosphere for an always-special dining experience. [Image: Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant]
With its distinctive flavour and fatty richness, duck is a poultry ingredient that is considered a luxurious treat. Particularly prominent in both French and Asian cuisines, duck can be prepared in many different ways, all of them almost universally delicious. Here are a few spots in Calgary where you can get your duck fix. [Image credit: iStock.com/giovanni1232]
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