We can’t believe how many restaurants we ate at this year. Between handling our mortgage business and eating, it seemed like we just ran out of time to write about all the fabulous places we ate. Below is the first in a series of posts that will touch on restaurants that we enjoyed this year, but didn’t have time to blog about in 2010… ENJOY!
Waves Coffee House
Waves Coffee House originated in Vancouver in 2005 and franchises have started to pop up all over Canada. It’s a fresh take on your regular coffee house, offering of course a wide variety of coffees and teas but homemade soups, sandwiches and baked goods as well. In addition to your favorite specialty coffee choices they have some unique and delicious coffee offerings! They lovingly call their Americano a “Canadiano”; it is a Canadian company after all! If you want a treat, try their Rooibos Symphony, a blend of African Rooibos tea, white chocolate chips and milk. Caffeine Free and like drinking a dessert, it’s sinful and delicious.
The trend toward sustainable locally grown food is making way for some really inventive and tasty menu items at new up and coming restaurants, Boxwood is the perfect is example. Owned by the “River Café” this little Café in Central Memorial Park is a great place to stop for lunch, dinner or even a little snack. Wholesome comfort food with a twist they serve up homemade soups and sandwiches, local rotisserie chicken, pork and lamb and a variety of sides from quinoa salad with lemon preserves, pepper and feta to warm lentils with spinach, cumin and coriander. If you are looking for healthy comfort food and something a little different Boxwood is the perfect place to go.
Quynh Vietnamese Cuisine
Of all the Vietnamese restaurants I have been to in the city this one is one of my favorites. It has to be one of the largest in the city but is also the most elegant and well-decorated Vietnamese restaurants I have been to. Large black and white prints of Vietnam adorn the walls and give you glimpses of Vietnamese life to enjoy with your Pho. In addition to the atmosphere food is excellent! Their menu is one of the most extensive I have seen as well so there is certainly something for everyone. Fast, friendly and efficient serve round out the experience. A must try if you are in the north east!
Bross Sushi Bar and Grill
If you want a different take on the Japanese food you are used to try this little gem in Braeside. Their specialty is “Kushiage”, breaded, deep-fried meat and veggie combinations on skewers with an assortment of homemade sauces. Another interesting items include their “Crunchy” roll which is soft shell crab, cream cheese and fish roe fried in panko breading. If it’s sushi you are after they have all the usual suspects and their prices are excellent. Check out their lunch specials and combinations to try a little bit of everything. The “barley tea” they offer in place of the usual green tea is offered cold or warm and you can help you self to as much as you like.
Salt & Pepper Mexican Restaurant
Mexican food is some of my favorite and Salt & Pepper serves up fairly authentic Mexican delights in a colourful and warm atmosphere. Although some menu items seem slightly pricey, the giant plate of Fish Tacos with beans, rice and guacamole or massive chorizo stuffed burrito is placed in front of you will be more than satisfied. Service may be a little on the slow side, but this isn’t “Taco Bell”, relax with some Sangria and enjoy the experience.
With so many choices for coffee in Calgary, Café Beano is charming little coffee house with some amazing coffees. They are certainly in the running for best Soy Latte in town, and their Ginger Snap cookies are massive, chewy and just plain delicious. They also make great sandwiches on baguettes with mozza, basil and tomato and balsamic vinegar. It’s a great place to grab a quick coffee or snack or just sit and people watch when you are on 17th.
If you are looking for take out and want something fast Thai Tai is both. A Calgary born franchise with 4 locations the prices are great, service is speedy and the food is awesome. One thing I love is that in addition to the noodle soups, vermicelli bowls and Vietnamese subs they have an oriental salad for those of us that are watching our carb intake. It comes with Chicken, Shrimp or beef and has a small serving of rice noodles with tons of leafy greens, carrot, bean sprouts, tomatoes and cucumbers. Yum!!!
La Dolce Vita
If you happen to be in Bridgeland and would like to grab a bite you can find a little taste of the Italian “Good Life” at La Dolce Vita. If you have a craving for authentic Italian that is miles above the normal spaghetti and meatball fair found at mainstream Italian restaurants, La Dolce Vita is where you will find it. Fresh made Gnocchi, venison in red wine sauce, fresh made pasta and perfectly grilled salmon are just a few items you might find on the menu. They also have an excellent and extensive wine list to pair with your meal. That and the rustic décor that surrounds the restaurant makes it a great fine dining Italian experience.
Sakana Grill DT
Sakana Grill was one of the first Japanese Restaurants I tried in Calgary. Many a fun evening have been spent with friends over sushi and saki, and I can proudly say that I deflowered many a sushi virgin at the Chinatown location. They also have “Happy Hour” sushi each day between 2-5 and after 9pm where you can get a “Love Boat” of various rolls, sushi and sashimi for a fraction of the price and single pieces of Toro sashimi for $1.05. If it’s a birthday or special occasion and you want to put a loved one on the spot, let the server know and they will dress them up in a kimono and Japanese head piece, sing them a fun song and take a picture for you to take home and embarrass them with in the future. ☺
Oolong Tea House
One of our picks for the best salsa at the “Sun and Salsa” festival came from an unlikely source the Oolong Tea house, a salsa infused with market spice tea and smoked Lapsang Souchong Chinese black tea. The Kensington tea house opened a second location in McKenzie with all the same great teas. Who knew the world of tea was so vast with teas that help you focus, get rid of sore throats or just warm your insides. They have hundreds of varieties of tea from green tea, white tea, yerba mate and of course Oolong tea and their staff is friendly, warm and knowledgeable and always happy you help you choose a tea that is right for you. They also sell teaware and take home packages of all of there teas so you can enjoy all that is awesome about the Oolong Tea House at home.
Vintage Chop House
A perfectly grilled steak is a thing of beauty. Pairing it with the right glass of wine can be heavenly. The Vintage Chop House serves Canadian Prime Beef, which is the top 1% of all beef graded in Canada. They offer a variety of cuts for all tastes from Tenderloin to New York and my personal favorite the “Cowboy Rib Chop for two” a mouth watering 34 oz of bone in rib steak. Paired with truffle mac & cheese or lobster mashed potatoes and a bottle one of their 300+ varieties of wines makes the Vintage Chop house the perfect and indulgent special night out with your sweetheart. Definitely in the running for best steak in the city.
Most people go to a steak house for steak, especially one that is so aptly named for its specialty. But I am used to being the one that orders the salad especially when they have such a variety of options available and when there is a salad WITH steak and goat cheese on it?? I am in! Chinook’s newest eatery has something for everyone and offers another dining choice for shoppers looking for something more than food court fair. I have read some recent reviews about the service and have to say ours was excellent. All new restaurants have kinks and I imagine the negative experiences are just growing pains. Whether it’s a quick fuel up double smoked bacon and cheddar burger lunch in the midst of a long day of shopping or a nice steak dinner before a movie, Chop is a nice addition to the ever growing Chinook Mall.