New Calgary restaurants, spring 2016

If there’s a common theme among Calgary’s latest restaurant openings, it’s that many of these new and notable eateries are fun, casual and well priced, but incorporate great ingredients in a wide variety of cuisine styles. However, this list also includes one chicly reinvented steakhouse.

Bodega

1
318A 10 Street NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1V8

Launched by Dave Richards of DevaDave Salon and Boutique fame, Bodega features a fusion menu that riffs on the proprietor’s Caribbean heritage. Jerk is the casual Kensington eatery’s house seasoning, but it’s applied with a twist to dishes such as jerk chicken mac and cheese and a jerked honey-bacon cheeseburger. Also on the menu are blackened basa with dirty rice, Caribbean roti with salad and tacos three ways. Family-friendly until 9 pm, the restaurant continues to serve food into the late evening but takes on a music-club vibe.

Full Circle Pizza & Oyster Bar

2
100-933 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 5R6

A long, narrow restaurant with an easygoing lounge atmosphere, Full Circle’s open kitchen fills the air with the culinary perfume of oven-fresh pizza. Serving such classic pies as the margherita and putanesca, inventive creations such as the Dr. Octo-Pi topped with grilled octopus and bonito flakes are winning the new eatery (launched December 2015) considerable buzz. As the its name suggests, East and West Coast oysters are also served, and a short list of non-oyster-and-pizza dishes includes carbonara calzone, ricotta gnocchi and roasted game hen.

The Unicorn Superpub

3
223 8th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1B5

The legendary Unicorn Pub has galloped down Stephen Avenue Walk, right into the former Libertine and Below Deck complex, reinventing itself as the three-floor Unicorn Superpub. In the third-floor sports cantina, Mexican beer and food is the signature combo, with eats that include tacos (check out pig roast taco Tuesdays), quesadillas and house-made hot sauces. On the main level, enjoy cocktails, craft brews and contemporary pub dishes including pizza, robust salads and big burgers. In the Celtic Cellar, the food and live music lean to the Maritimes.

Hy's Steakhouse

4
116-751 3 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 4K8

A grand, Canadian steakhouse chain established in Calgary in 1955 by Hy Aisenstat, Hy’s now features singular locations in six cities. Owned and operated by its founding family, its Calgary location in The CORE shopping centre reinvents the original, closed in 2006, with considerable panache. Its mahogany-and-stone construction, high ceilings, elegant lighting and plush, burgundy-leather seating are powerbroker elegant. And the menu is classic steakhouse from the French onion soup and oysters Rockefeller to New York strip steak and chateaubriand prepared tableside.

Spot On Kitchen & Bar

5
2 Richard Way SW, Calgary, AB T3E 7M9

The sister establishment to 4th Spot in Mount Pleasant, Spot On is located in Garrison Green just south of Mount Royal University. Labelling its cuisine “Canadian comfort food,” the term is accurate. Notable munchables include mac ’n’ cheese with Spolumbo’s sausage, barbecue ribs, jerk-chicken tacos, a lightly curried samosa veggie burger and maple-teriyaki Vitamin Sea salad.

Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market

6
3320 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3E 0B4

At this Westbrook Italian grocery-café-restaurant, you can certainly purchase sauces, but also much more. At the café, lattes and espressos are prepared with house-roasted beans and paired with fresh house-baked pastries. The grocery department carries a wide range of specialty foodstuffs including sauces, but also packaged sandwiches and salads, house-made pasta and fresh-baked bread as well as Alberta meats and cheese. The restaurant serves contemporary Italian dishes – for example, wood-oven-baked, thin-crust pizza, spaghetti Bolognese and red wine braised beef short ribs.

Das Wirtshaus

7
101-1324 11 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3C 0M6

Schnitzel is the unexpectedly spectacular house specialty at this elegantly German dining den on the far west end of Beltline. A polished yet casual place featuring table and booth seating, the room is watched over by a handsome bull moose named Manfred. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday, dishes include salads, a daily soup and bratwurst with sauerkraut, but premium-pork schnitzel is the star from Parmesan to Hawaiian and farmer-style with fried eggs (gluten-free available). Brunch buffet on weekends from 10 am to 2 pm features schnitzel sandwiches, egg dishes, cold cuts, sausages and more.

Cluck n Cleaver

8
1511 14 Street SW, Calgary, AB T3C 1E1

Located on the Sunalta side of 14th Street Northwest, this fun and scrumptious chicken shack is the creation of caterer and Top Chef Canada competitor Nicole Gomez and her poultry purveyor sister Francine. Lunch and dinner bird bites include southern-fried and rotisserie chicken solo or with biscuit, rotisserie potato or French fry sides. Salads, cookies and milkshakes complete the menu.

Ten Foot Henry

9
1209 1 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0V3

Newly opened on the First Street Southwest restaurant row, Ten Foot Henry is home to a paint-on-plywood comic-strip character that once graced the wall of a long-gone Calgary punk-rock club of the same name. A much tidier and less ear-splitting venue, this white-and-wood spot features table, booth and bar seating and a “new North American” menu that leans on the greens.

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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