Make mine mussels: A Calgary seafood standard

Mussels are those black-shelled mollusks that are so often served in a flavourful broth with bread or French fries to soak up the extra juices. A staple of French, Spanish and East Coast North American cuisines, there are many delicious ways to prepare mussels, with or without the accompaniment of other seafood. Here are some of the best places in Calgary to get your mussels fix.

Catch Restaurant & Oyster Bar

100 Stephen Ave SE, Calgary, AB T3Z 3J7

The upstairs space at Catch offers an upscale seafood experience but downstairs at the Oyster Bar you don’t just get a more relaxed (and possibly rowdy, especially if you catch the after-work crowd) experience, you get to choose from a variety of mussel preparations (Thai curry, Provencal and the very compelling bacon and mushroom) or big plates that mix mussels with other ocean delights.

Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro

113 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1B4

Is there any more sophisticated snacking than a plate of mussels with frites and a good glass of wine in a bustling New York-style bistro? Divino’s mussels appetizer is served with tomatoes and garlic in a white wine and caper broth (perfect to dip those fries into), making it the perfect combination of upscale and casual, just like the restaurant itself.

Sky 360

101 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1J9

Making a lunch of mussels while getting a bird’s eye view of the city from the Calgary Tower’s elegant revolving restaurant? Sounds like a pretty spectacular afternoon, especially when you’re digging into a plate of P.E.I. mussels swimming in a smoked tomato broth with chorizo sausage and a side of focaccia to mop everything up.

Custom Kitchen

113-1803 60 St Se, Calgary, AB T2B 0M5

This chic Beltline brasserie is decked out with checkerboard floors, tiled walls and other Parisian details, so it’s natural that it offers up a suitably French-style mussels dish. Parc Café and Brasserie’s entree-size mussels dish is jazzed up with double-smoked bacon, onions and cider. Start with one of eatery’s mixed green salads for a perfectly balanced meal.

Posto Pizzeria and Bar

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

Bonterra Trattoria’s sister restaurant and next door neighbour, Posto specializes in richly topped thin-crust pizzas, but it also features some nice pastas for those hankering for noodles rather than flatbread. The black pepper linguine is topped with a nice portion of mussels as well as prosciutto, leeks, tomato and fresno chili.

Barcelona Tavern

501 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1G1

Mussels are a key part of Spanish cuisine and Barcelona Tavern does its namesake city proud. There are two P.E.I. mussels dishes on the menu: for something spicy, go for the mussels chorizo with white wine, Pernod and oven-dried tomato, or for something even richer, the mussels tarragon cream with aged sherry and fresh sourdough.

Murrieta's Inc

200-808 1 St Sw, Calgary, AB T2P 1M9

This downtown stand-by (known for its killer wine list) sits in a gorgeous historical building and gives diners a great view of bustling foot traffic on Stephen Avenue Walk. If you’re in the mood for mussels, try the lip-smacking cioppino, a tomato-based fish stew packed with mussels, scallops, whatever fish is in season, prawns and some angel hair pasta.

Rodney's Oyster House

355 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A5

Unlike some other seafood joints in town, rather than being inspired by European flavours, Rodney’s is a wholly Canadian East Coast affair, with owner Rodney Clark (yes, there is an actual Rodney) having learned his trade in his home province of P.E.I. While oysters rule here, Rodney also does a mean mussel. Get fresh steamed mussels when they’re in season or cold marinated mussels any time of the year.

Notable The Restaurant

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

While chef Michael Noble’s cozy restaurant in Montgomery is best known for its rotisserie meats, the kitchen also puts out some very popular seafood dishes. Notable imports its West Coast mussels from Salt Spring Island and pairs them with a Thai curry broth and plenty of crusty bread for sopping.

Ox Bar De Tapas

528 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B1

A contemporary and very stylish Spanish restaurant with a particularly tempting cocktail list, Ox and Angela has an extensive tapas menu, which includes mussels done in a traditional escabeche style (marinated in a vinegar-based sauce). Ox’s tapas-sized version is served with friend bread and a mojo verde dipping sauce on the side.

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